The following ‘afterword’ is different from the norm. It is a ‘spoiler filled afterword’.
For those who have yet to read the main story, please do not read this afterword.
If you do, you will regret it for the next 3 days! In other words–you won’t be regretting it for 4 days and more.
Once this afterword ends, there will be a ‘normal afterword that is spoiler-free like usual’, so everyone can read that first.
“Since it’s Sigsawa, this afterword is probably the same as the others in being spoiler-free, so let’s have a look!”
For those who had such thoughts at this point, I did space out a few lines, so please, escape immediately. It’s dangerous here.
Run away right now!
Really, run away!
Have you escaped?
Well, that’s how it is–can I start now? Has everyone else evacuated?
I assume that you, who didn’t run away, did read the main text, right? Am I wrong?
Now then, I’m beginning.
I rarely write such ‘spoiler filled afterword’.
This afterword will involve the content of the story, and it’s really in depth. It’s basically a normal explanation. Yes, I had an urge to try this for a long time.
This work was announced very early, the name was so unique, and it was already serialized on the niconico serialized novels’, so the readers asked all kinds of questions (mainly on twitter).
I suppose I have to answer these questions here, and at the same time, talk about the story creation. It feels like an audio commentary of a movie. Yes, I had an urge to try this for a long time.
●The plot of this story I initially thought of.
I did mention in my previous afterword that I came up with this story in my dreams. However, when plotting this story, the plot had a drastic change.
Then, what exactly was the initial story?
To avoid revealing the story in the last volume’s afterword, I could not explain back then. Now that I’m going to reveal this to everyone who completed this story–
The initial story was ‘a rather passionate love comedy’.
The beginning was the same, that the protagonist, a high school student and an author, had his real identity known by his classmate, who works as a voice actress. However, there wasn’t anything like the Limited Express showing up or anything. The protagonist was summoned to the library, and then, it was,
“Hey, sensei, please join the Drama Club!”
“Please write a scenario where I’ll be the main character. I think you’ll definitely be able to write a brilliant story.”
“I’m a professional author though. If you ask me to write, I’ll write…but how much are you going to pay me?”
“Aren’t you scared of me spilling the beans?”
“Please allow me to write for free!”
Well, I felt writing this scenario out was a little too messy.
A school was the main setting, and there would be many other characters debuting, all kinds of tense situations revolving around the protagonist’s secret, and the protagonist and heroine playing hide and seek with each other–
This story was a unique love graffiti, and was originally planned to be a light-hearted, cute, trendy love comedy series.
Why did it end up like that?
I did mention in my previous ‘afterword’ that even I don’t remember, since I didn’t record that.
First, the plot changed, and the protagonist began to talk about the profession of an author in the train ride to Tokyo. As for the ‘neck play’, it was only added later on, but I can’t remember when exactly did I add it.
Based on my records, it had been at least 3 years back (in 2011), that I began editing the file name based on the plot.
No no, seriously, how did it end up like that? –But I don’t regret it.
I suppose it is my DNA to fully refuse writing an ordinary love comedy. Yes.
● About the story in the story, ‘Vice Versa’.
The story in the story ‘Vice Versa’, plays a huge role in the story. As before, there was a huge difference in the initial conceptual phase.
In the first plot, I wrote a completely different story. The story had the main character transported to a different world (Well, it’s the same till this point), pilots a huge robot in that world, and ended up with a Battle Royale that could be seen as a proxy war.
And again, during the conceptual phase, I had such a thought,
“Ah, in that case, it’ll end in one volume. Even if the story’s edited into an anime, I guess it’s hard to make a second one.”
So I didn’t use that as the story in the story. This plot is such that even the ending was completed, and became ‘a story I want to write in the future’. However, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to write it out at all, so I don’t know whether that story is an upgrade or a downgrade. If I’m to write a story of a Robot Battle Royale,
“That’s just as I thought!”
I hope that I’ll be able to think this.
“What a hassle. Now I need to think of another story as a story inside a story!”
And because of this, ‘Vice Versa’ was born.
As introduced in the story, in this story, I prioritized the advantageous concept of ‘letting the protagonist be able to travel between two worlds and show off all kinds of settings’.when I came up with this story. I did write a simple setting, but after that, I really thought hard for a lot of ideas.
However, I hope that everyone can enjoy ‘Vice Versa’ as well as the actual text. Mr Kuroboshi even helped me with the character setting, and my heartfelt thanks really are hard to put in words.
Besides the story mentioned in the actual story, I did think of many scenarios…as for whether this story will be published as a spinoff, this is a little, well, please don’t have too much hope on this.
Rather than have it as a novel, maybe I’ll propose an ‘original script’, and have some air it as an anime? Is anyone interested? I see, guess not.
● Regarding the protagonist’s name.
I suppose everyone who read the main text has realized–the protagonist in the main work never had his name shown, neither the real nor pen name. He’s basically anonymous.
First off, I never intended to have a pen name for this one.
The reason is that I don’t want a pen name similar to an author working in real life, even if it’s just a little similar, so I thought, in that case, let’s not have the pen name appear. I’ll just have Nitadori and the other characters call the protagonist ‘sensei’, so in the writing process, this wouldn’t cause any problem.
And then, regarding the real name–in the end, it didn’t appear either.
Why, you ask? That’s because, based on my final judgement, I felt that ‘I could write a story even if the protagonist doesn’t have a name’, just like the absence of a pen name. However, I did have actual thoughts on coming up with a name.
I did try to think…but I couldn’t.
I decided not to have a protagonist name, so I couldn’t begin writing. I was really troubled by this for a long time, and I came up with a brilliant way to handle this,
“So what if I can’t come up with a name! I’ll write a novel with an anonymous protagonist! I’ll show you!”
And so, I began writing this work that is without ‘a named protagonist’.
I did try this method in a third person perspective, but this is the first time I’m using this in a first person perspective from the protagonist, and it was an adventure.
As expected, the editor-in-charge was initially opposed to me having a protagonist without a name. I was overruled, but this usually obedient me just wouldn’t let this one point slide.
From here on, I hope that when you introduce and explain this work–please put the protagonist name as ‘me’, or just call him the ‘protagonist’. On a side note, I always call him the protagonist.
●The town’s Limited Express train that forms the setting on this story.
Once I decided to have this work written as a ‘train-themed story’, I began to think of towns, cities and the Limited Express that could be used for the story setting. The places I immediately thought of were the Annaka-Haruna Station and the Nagano Shinkansen.”
However, I doubt any reader would know unless they are a local or a train enthusiast.
Let me explain…the Nagano Shinkansen starts off from Tokyo, and runs down the same track as the Joetsu Shinkansen, moving north to the Kanto flatlands. It’ll then turn west at the Takasaki Station in Gunma, towards the Nagano Prefecture. Once it enters the Nagano Prefecture, it’ll reach the renowned resort in Karuizawa. Annaka-Haruna is the station right before it.
It’s a Shinkansen station…but the number of passengers per day was really less than 300, and there was basically no shopping facilities, so it does leave a deep impression. Right in front of the station is an empty land and parking lots, and further down are resorts and residences that were divided neatly and spread all around.
The Shinkansen only arrives once per hour, and there was no other train that would stop at this station, so this station was a ‘secret realm station’ that was not easily reached.
I knew of this station beforehand, and when conceptualizing, I really wanted to use it as the story setting. The protagonists would read the Shinkansen to Tokyo, and converse inside.
I had this idea for more than 3 years, but when I actually began to write, I found something really ridiculous, and that is–
“If I take the Shinkasen, I can make it to the 10am After Record on the day itself!”
That was the fact I realized. I could reach Tokyo within an hour and so…in that case, the basis of the story won’t be formed, right!?
So, left with no choice, I abandoned the idea of Annaka-Haruna station, which I actually drove down to get material…
So I again checked the time schedules and transfers, and after some hard work, I found a potential place, the current train station and train in this work.
Anyone familiar with trains might have realized it. I deliberately chose not to write any specific terms, but I’m going to announce that the setting in this story is the town of Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture.
The protagonists rode the Limited Express ride ‘Super Azusa 28’ operated by the JR East Japan Company, from Matsumoto station to Shinjuku.
I arranged for myself to spend a round trip riding this train for material gathering. I was busy with writing, so I could only spend one day gathering material.
First, I rode on the Super Azusa from Shinjuku to Matsumoto in the day, obtained some materials in the station and around there, spent about 2 hours or so, and returned to Tokyo. It was a tough trip. I spent more than 5 hours on the train.
But thanks to that, I managed to observe the layout of Matsumoto station (especially the location of the platform staircase), whether the nearby convenience stores sold ‘sea salt flavor’ potato chips, whether the local gift shop had horse sashimi chips, and all kinds of this.
This is an afterword where I can reveal the plot, so I can tell everyone that there’s a huge ‘lie’ in this work, regarding this train.
I feel that anyone who rode on this train would realize–the Limited Express Super Azusa 28 isn’t that empty!
When I went to have a seat, there were already a lot of people at Matsumoto station waiting for a ride, and the free seating was immediately filled up. After the 3rd station, I could no longer find any empty seats. Seated right beside me was a working class adult who probably weighed more than 100kg. It was squeezy.
As for whether the number of passengers decreased once I entered Tokyo, the fact is that it wasn’t. This time, it was the commuters who boarded it for a short trip.
Furthermore, before reaching Shinjuku, the ones preparing to get off would be queuing at the exit or the aisles, so I think the situations in the story is hard to establish.
Once I was done gathering material, I began to think of potential places in my mind, but I couldn’t think of any matching lines that would fit the timeframe. Thus, I had a discussion with my editor-n-charge, before we finally decided on using the idea of ‘riding the Super Azusa 28 from Matsumoto station’. Though I knew it wasn’t true, I still lied to have the plot match the concept.
If anyone intends to have a ‘Pilgrimage’, please be careful that the train is really crowded. Maybe someone else will hear you if you start talking about something serious on the train.
This is the one point where I’ll like to seriously remind everyone, please do not imitate what the heroine did this time.
Please do not have any ideas thinking of trying out ‘being choked on the collarbone until you pass out’ after reading this book.
Leaving aside those martial artists like judo practitioners who have ‘choke holds’–it’s really dangerous to deliberately have some experience a ‘fainting game’ where they pass out!
Humans won’t die immediately (technically) even when the blood stops flowing…but when you pass out, there is a chance of you hitting your head, or not waking up ever again! Such games will easily lead to death (or I’ll say, this isn’t a ‘game’ anymore).
–I really wanted to write this down in the main text as knowledge for the protagonist. However, it didn’t mesh with the story flow no matter what, so I deleted it.
You really can’t do such a thing. Curiosity is the source of knowledge and experience, but it is fine to not do a lot of things. Of course, I never experienced that.
This novel I wrote is a fiction.
And so, this normal, spoiler-filled afterword ends.
After flipping the pages, you may find some ordinary, spoiler-free afterword, so please continue to have a look.
March 2014. Keiichi Sigsawa.