In the first part of our interview with Wakayabashi, we talked about what he went through before the release of Shiawase Kanako no Koroshiya Seikatsu!
- Toshiya Wakabayashi
A manga artist. His notable works include Tsuredure Children (Kodansha), Boku wa Ohime-sama ni Narenai (ASCII Media Works), Koisuru Michiru Ojou-sama (Square Enix), and more. He is currently writing the smash hit series Shiawase Kanako no Koroshiya Seikatsu (Seikaisha)!
After the previous series ended, he went through trials and errors and posted Kanako's storyboard on FANBOX!
──First of all, congratulations on the release of Shiawase Kanako no Koroshiya Seikatsu Volume 1!
Thank you very much.
──We heard that Kanako was first posted on pixivFANBOX.
After sending my daughter to the nursery school, I took a break with my wife at Starbucks where I came up with the idea of Kanako. But her reaction was lukewarm at best (laughs). I realized the plot would probably be easier to understand if I put it into a drawing, so I did just that and uploaded the storyboard on FANBOX.
──And this right here is the storyboard that you've made public for everyone to see on FANBOX.
The editor advised me to draw a love comedy featuring a group of working adults, but I told them I didn't want to draw romance, at least for the time being (laughs). I did try drawing it, but the things that went through my head were doubts like is this really interesting, do I have to be the one coming up with this, are working adults really that eager about romance, are they not thinking about smacking the heads of their bosses instead... Yes, I'm quite a cruel person (laughs).
There is a lot of manga about assassins on pixiv and most of them are sophisticated and dark. But these manga titles are mainly for teenagers and not working adults, so I figured the competition wouldn't be that severe if I drew something for the adults. Still, in the end, I ended up creating a manga that exclusively satisfies my own preferences. I wanted to take a path that I would find enjoyable and this is where it's gotten me. I don't really know myself who this manga is for, ultimately (laughs).
──I feel like the structure of the manga is both similar and different compared to, pardon me for the classic example, the Hissatsu series.
I agree. I personally think there are so many unreasonable things in society, so I was pretty sure I wouldn't run out of ideas for this manga. But I also don't want my story to follow a certain pattern because that's the recipe for a bored audience. So I have to create a manga in which the protagonist is growing and her relationships with those around her are gradually changing. Still, the part where the characters find relief by killing whoever pissed them off is what's interesting about this manga, so I can't take that away. It's a different type of difficulty compared to the one I faced when I was working on Tsuredure.
Of course, there are works and authors who consistently achieve the same figures even though they keep using the same pattern. I think these people are amazing. And I can't just try to imitate them. I'd love to ask these authors how they always seem to manage to nail it, though.
Kanako did go viral, but... The challenging path continues
──When you were creating the storyboard, did it cross your mind that the manga would go viral?
I honestly anticipated about 30,000 retweets. I did my calculation, you know. For instance, I figured people would give me one point because the story depicts a relatable character who wants to kill their boss in their exploitative company (laughs). Another point because the manga is in color and easy to read. One more point because each topic covers only one page and 4 panels, so it's easy for people to organize their thoughts about them. One point for the thrilling way the story always ends. Finally, one more point for the animal puns. So there, I anticipated 5 points which would translate to 50,000 retweets. But since I was a bit skeptical too, I decided to settle with 30,000 retweets as the final forecast (laughs).
Well, I think at the end of the day, the most important question remains: Can this series make money or not? That's why I decided to also create the dojinshi, release the LINE sticker set, and manage the FANBOX. Back when I was working on Tsuredure, I was too busy with the serialization that I promised myself I would try various things next time. Hence why I'm trying out different challenges with Kanako right now.
The manga's newest chapter has been translated into English, but they're currently revising the puns to make them more understandable in English and that has led to my drawing new animals (laughs). My apologies to my overseas fans for keeping you waiting (Note: The interview was conducted at the end of April 2019).
That video was a lot of work to edit (laughs).
I just wanted to give the fans something they could enjoy and use to spread the word. I did consider using TikTok, which I already used for Tsuredure, but the time limit of 15 seconds sounded a bit too restricting and I doubted teenagers knew what Tsuredure was.