One of the most popular guests at AnimeFest was Arina Tanemura, the shoujo mangaka of fan favorite series Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne and Full Moon wo Sagashite. Her Saturday panel was originally intended to have a raffle to give out prizes, but there were more panel attendees than there were tickets, so plans were changed to have a trivia contest instead.
Ms. Tanemura was as bubbly and energetic as one might expect from her bright, flowery artwork. She had no prepared statements to make, so she opened up the panel to Q and A, and a long line soon assembled to ask her about the details of her works. Editor for Ms. Tanemura’s works at Viz, Nancy Thistlethwaite, was in attendance to help her translator provide answers.
Fan questions and her answers are reproduced below:
Q What is your favorite and least favorite of all of your works? What was most difficult series to work on?
A Hmm… They’re all of my favorites! And as for the hardest, hmm… they were all equally hard.
Q Do you feel bad about how Takuto is treated in Full Moon wo Sagashite?
A Even though he may get treated badly in the series, all of the fans love Takuto! Eichi is ironically under-loved, though he is treated better in the manga.
Q Is there a reason Takuto cut his hair?
A It was easier to show that he transformed from a shinigami to a human by changing his hairstyle.
Q What was your inspiration for Asagiri in Sakura Hime?
A I was inspired by the story of the yuki-onna, a sad and beautiful story about transience. It’s also kind of scary. The theme stuck with me an was an inspiration for that character.
Q Are you interested in doing manga types other than shoujo?
A I would be interested in doing shounen manga and 4-koma.
Q Where do you get your inspiration for clothing for your characters?
A I base them off clothing I already own!
Q How do you feel about the changes that occurred with the character Eichi in the anime version of Full Moon wo Sagashite?
A I would prefer that the anime follows my story, but when the anime catches up with the manga, there’s very little you can do. Both anime and manga have their own strengths.
Q What is your favorite part of Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross, and will it ever be an anime?
A Since it ended, it may not be an anime. But my favorite part is when Haine’s house burned down, because it was so dramatic.
Q Have you enjoyed any recent anime or manga?
A I enjoyed K-On!, and too much shoujo manga to even remember!
Q Why did Eichi-kun have to die?
A Aww, because that’s the story of Full Moon wo Sagashite. If he doesn’t, then the story can’t really start!
Q In serialized stories, do you plan them all out ahead of time or write as they go along?
A Before I start a series I’ve decided the beginning and the end and the major story turning points. But between that, it’s how it comes to me. If a character is destined for death they will die, but I may end up changing who falls in love with who depending on the flow of the story.
Q Do you enjoy having works made into anime?
A it makes me happy, but also a little sad that it’s not completely my work anymore.
Q How did you get started in manga?
A When I was young I drew pictures. My cousin asked me “What’s the story behind the pictures?” So from the idea to tell a story with pictures I decided to be a manga artist.
Q Why wasn’t Time Stranger Kyouko longer?
A My editor wasn’t a fan of it, and the main character was so different from my previous leads, so people weren’t used to her nature. The time just wasn’t right for Kyouko.
Q All of your stories involve magic, but not Gentlemen’s Alliance. Why is that?
A I wanted to try something different besides fantasy. But my editors ended up saying Gentlemen’s Alliance was like a fantasy anyway, since it could never happen!
Q Do you ever regret making your clothing designs so elaborate?
A (Laughs) Maybe. When drawing Full Moon my hands would constantly be hurting from having to draw such detail!
Q What was your inspiration for Full Moon wo Sagashite?
As I mentioned earlier, Kyouko in Time Stranger wasn’t accepted, because she was maybe too headstrong. So I decided to go with a very shy girl instead. When thinking about why Mitsuki was so shy, I thought maybe she was sick. And that is where the idea started from.
Q What is your favorite part of Texas?
A The food is so delicious!
Q Which one of your characters would you cosplay as?
A My characters? Hmm… Sakura-hime, and wear the 12 layer outfit that she wears!
Q Why was Mistress Fortune a 1 volume publication?
A Because it’s actually easier to sell to overseas publishers than the longer series!
Q Do you have plans for future series?
A It’s a secret for now!
Q Is there any hope for Shiraishi to win ION’s love?
A Even if he tried his whole life, it would be hard for him.
Q How do you work on improving your art?
A I don’t have a lot of time to practice, so I have to work on improving while I illustrate each piece.
Q How did it feel to hear the Full Moon voice cast for the first time?
A Sometimes, at first, it was not how I imagined. But after some time, it’s almost like I think “only that person could have played this character!”
Q Is it hard to get into the manga industry?
A As long as you can draw, it’s not too hard to come out and debut as an artist. However, the difficulty is really in staying there with a popular series.
Q What character in your work was the hardest to write?
A Mitsuki-chan, because her shyness was hard for me to understand!
Q Would you write a continuation of a previous series?
A I’m not one to reflect on past work, so when I finish a series, I intend it to be completely finished as a story. But it’s always possible
Q. How would you compare the relationships between Mitsuki and Takuto and Eichi-kun?
A They’re different kinds of love. Eichi-kun is more similar to Mitsuki, while Takuto has a different approach.
Q. Do you have influences from other mangaka?
A. Ribon magazine! I get inspired by a lot of artists there. If I had to name particular artists, 3 are Watase Yuu, Tanikawa Fumiko, and Kusunoki Kei.
As the panel was coming to an end, she offered to draw one character from one of her series. The first vote was for the series, and Full Moon wo Sagashite won by a landslide. Second was the specific character, and the vote for Takuto was similarly massive.
She drew a picture of Takuto sticking his tongue out with a pen on a large drawing pad, and signed it to give away as part of the trivia contest. Aside from the special AnimeFest drawing, signed manga and DVDs of her series were also given away as prizes to those who were able to answer trivia questions about her series.