I’d like to believe that the understanding of ‘differences’—in other words, the understanding of diversity—is becoming more widespread every year. However, social anxiety still remains mostly treated as a lack of communication skills, and not as a matter of individuality.
Well, it’s true that social anxiety remains a problem for many, and for society, there are many practical issues if you don’t have the communicative ability, so maybe it can’t be helped—even an author, probably a job that requires the least communicative ability in this world, needs to be able to write “Thank you for your help” at the beginning of an email.
So it’s true that with a certain level of communicative ability, life will be rather convenient to some extent, even if one is shy—but it’s only a matter of skill, technical growth, improvement, and proficiency. In a way, it’s the same as “being able to write difficult kanji” or “being able to use a computer”, and can’t be regarded as human growth by itself.
So what is ‘growth’?
In fiction, growing up means getting better at fighting and making friends, but this is a deformed form of entertainment. Of course, there are people who get a sense of satisfaction from this; taking this work as an example, Yume is one of them. Mizuto on the other hand doesn’t, and this is the biggest problem in this volume.
Ideals—as expressed in the story, are things that lie beyond ‘growth’—the image of oneself to be eventually attained—and when there’s a discrepancy between you and that image, even if it seems fine at first, there will always be friction arising somewhere. After all, it means that there is a discrepancy in what’s good and what’s bad, even ethically.
My job in this volume was to give Mizuto the courage and greed to overcome the differences. It’s necessary to make him recognize himself, rather than simply destroying and changing his rigid self-consciousness.
It doesn’t mean that he’ll become stronger or have more friends. It’s just that he’ll accept himself for who he is—and not deny what he had been, but to accept it—well, you get the idea, but it’s hard to express ‘the feeling of wanting to make someone yours’ unless you think you’re good at it to begin with.
That’s why I had a very hard time this time, too. But now that we’ve gotten over the hump, I’d like to move on to the next volume. You’re asking me if it wasn’t a two-sided love story until now? They really hated each other in the first volume. Didn’t you know that?
I’d like to thank the illustrator TakayaKi-sensei, the manga artist Kusakabe Rei-sensei, the people at Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko, and everyone who worked on this book. I’ve been cutting it close to the deadline recently, and it’s something I really want to fix.
This is Kyousuke Kamishiro’s ‘My Stepsister is my Ex-Girlfriend volume 6 – The six things I couldn’t say back then’. I haven’t decided on the remaining members of the student council!