―― Now that you've read『The Book』, what do you think of it?
Araki： The last scene really moved me. The suspense builds up over the course of the story, the resolution is really intense, and then the ending is quite sad. It's a really rich ending that differs from the usual happy ending of a lot of stories. I think it fits Morioh and Otsuichi perfectly.
Otsuichi： …"Rich ending"… That's nice to hear.
―― How do you feel about your works being turned into novels?
Araki： I think it's perfectly fine. An author with a lot of ability turning one of my works into a novel is extremely interesting. This time in particular I was really able to to enter the world of 『The Book』.
―― Enter the world of 『JoJo』?
Araki： Yes, I was felt like I was able to fit into the world, or perhaps pulled in is a better way to describe it. I was able to become Otsuichi-san's Josuke. I haven't read many novelizations of manga, so I may be misunderstanding some authors' intent, but there are times when I think "Well, this is a bit different from the original..." 『The Book』, on the other hand, feels like a properly written and ripened work. How long did it take you to finish it again?
Otsuichi： How long... probably about 5 years? I have a huge pile of rejected manuscripts. I think ultimately I ended up with over 2000 pages of rejected manuscripts. Despite that, these 5 years feel like they've gone by really fast.
―― Writing for 5 years and 2000 rejected manuscripts. That's quite impressive.
Otsuichi： I wasn't using the characters of 『JoJo』 freely enough. In other words, it was as if the characters I was using were like puppets, which made them feel off. It made me realize that I needed to rethink my approach and so I used these manuscripts as a way to refine my strategy for writing. I thought that I would only be able to do something like this once in my life, so if I put something in the book from the manuscripts that I wasn't satisfied with, I would regret it for the rest of my life. So, I kept my head low and went 5 years without releasing anything.
Araki： But I think it really paid off. It's an incredible book.
Otsuichi： I really appreciate that you drew brand new illustrations for『The Book』, but I'm also very happy that I can see the characters from Part 4 in your current style.
Araki： It's just in my nature to worry about the little details of drawings, even if it's for a novelization. Details like adding snow in the background because of the book's setting in the winter of Morioh. Or the fact that the book's original villain is someone that Josuke and the others fight, but he's not meant to give off the appearance of an evil, strong enemy. Rather, he's supposed to be like the protagonist in this small town, so his life's background is also important. The reality of that part caught my attention.
Otsuichi： All the illustrations you drew were even greater than I expected. This illustration you drew for the first few pages that just jumps out at you, this one is fantastic.
―― Otsuichi-sensei, what was interesting about the writing process for the novelization？
Otsuichi： I tried to put into some references that only fans of 『JoJo』would understand. That was really interesting. It felt like I was writing a doujinshi.
Araki： You really got a lot of use out of those references (haha). There was a feeling that you were relaxing to an extent while writing them in.
Otsuichi： In the beginning, I was opposed to using any of them all. But, that just made the story feel like a borrowed work. When I put in references, I felt like that strange feeling went away and so I decided to use them liberally.
Araki： You've been saying since a long time that you wanted to turn Part 4 into a novel.
Araki： Don't you think it's because Part 4 is similar to Otsuichi's world? I bet there was a lot of resentful authors when 『The Book』 released.
Otsuichi： I think there's a lot of authors who would've produced a really interesting story if they novelized Part 4. Seeing how certain authors read and understood 『JoJo』would be really interesting I think... You would be able to see what part of JoJo each author liked.
―― Are the stand powers within the book (for details, go and read it!) your original creations?
Araki： Stands are certainly a reflection of one's worldview. Seen from an outside perspective, someone might think that the stand is not particularly great. If the person who made it, however, thinks "This is so cool!", then that's good.
Otsuichi： "Stands are a reflection of one's worldview...", this is a nice phrase.
―― What is your favorite character from Part 4, Otusichi-sensei?
Otsuichi： Yoshikage Kira. Although he's the main villain and a serial killer, his idea of wanting to live a quiet life was extremely surprising to me. I've even incorporated that kind of thinking into my own life.
Araki： Kira is a forward-facing character, I intended to create a sort of 'evil hero' with him. To be honest, I couldn't write this into the manga, but there's more to Kira's background. Kira's mother abused him in a way, and his father turned a blind eye to it. He felt bad for Kira so to an extent he tried to save him. It's just, if I write this into the manga he'll become a sympathetic character and it would be hard to see him as an enemy. I couldn't write that balance, or maybe it because it was a magazine for young people. But, in Otsuichi-san's story these kind of sad parts are also included, they're fairly good.
―― From the perspective of a novelist, what is the distinguishing point of 『JoJo』?
Otsuichi： I think that differs from person to person, but for me it's the production. In a normal manga, a thing or a character will be appear suddenly to surprise the reader. With 『JoJo』 however, first the environment will be established and then the character or thing is presented. It gives off a sort of creepy and exciting feeling. I really like that method of surprising the readers, so reading 『JoJo』 is pure bliss.
Araki： Thank you. Although, that's unintentional (haha).
―― From the perspective of Araki-sensei, in where lies the appeal of 『The Book』?
Araki： Within 『The Book』 there's a lot of suspense. Also, the theme of 'heritage of fate' also shows up within the book, which I think is quite good. To be able to write a new story without straying from that theme, it's to be expected from a talented a writer as Otsuichi-san.
Otsuichi： I started to pay mind to the phrase 'blood relationships' after reading 『JoJo』. A little while back, I started to like keywords like 'father' and 'child', and began incorporating the idea of 'blood relatives' into my own works.
Araki： The feeling of the Part 4 characters being placed into Otsuichi's world is another good part of 『The Book』. Part 4 characters like Josuke and Okuyasu being written so deeply, it might even be better than the original manga they came from.
―― Because you can put more detailed psychological descriptions of the characters within a novel, right.
Araki： When I was writing Part 3 and 4, my head editor told me to write a sad story. I tried to do it, but it might've been because I was too young, I was unable to do it well. All that is in the 『The Book』, however. It's the completed version of all the things I was aiming to do with Part 4, it's fantastic.
Otsuichi： That's good to hear... it gives me a sigh of relief.
[Translated by Eas]