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Hello, I’m the light novel author Ichiro Sakaki.

I’m the writer of this new work, “Hitsugi no Chaika.”

It’s a fantasy novel about swords and magic…I guess.

If I were to say “this particular work was completed with the help of many others,” that would imply that I write all my other books completely by myself from beginning to end, and that is simply not the case. When I write, there is no question that my usual team of lead editor, illustrator, proofreader, and designer give me assistance in various ways.

However, when it came to the actual content and planning of this story, I also shamelessly adopted many ideas and suggestions given to me by various people. That is to say, I feel like this work is probably a different breed from my other works I’ve written up till now. Though I’m probably the only one on the staff who feels that way (lol).

To begin with, take the initial meeting I had with my lead editor:

Sakaki: “So what are we going to do about this new work?”

Lead Editor-san (hereafter referred to as Editor):  “I’m thinking an orthodox fantasy with swords and magic.”

Sakaki: “I see. Then how about this?”

Editor: “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble…I need you to redo this part.”

Sakaki: “Wait, if I rewrite that, this work will lose what makes it stand out…”

Editor: “We don’t need any strange twists.”

Sakaki: “Damn…how about this, then?”

Editor: “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble…I need you to redo this part.”

Sakaki: “Wait, if I rewrite that, this work will lose what makes it stand out…”

Editor: “We don’t need any strange twists.”

Sakaki: “Damn…how about this?”

Editor: “If it wouldn’t be…” (and so on)

Sakaki: “Wait, if I rewrite that…” (and so on)

This exchange would go on for a while.

Sakaki: “Then, what should I write!?”

Editor: “Since it’s a swords-and-magic fantasy setting, there should be a protagonist with a family or a lover to protect! And then they have to go on a journey to defeat some giant evil! Right!?”

Sakaki: “Oh, I see. You just want me to write a boring, cliche-riddled story, huh?”

Editor: “Oh, is that what you think? Then fine, write whatever you want!”

Sakaki: “I’ll make the heroine’s name ‘Pacifica’! Then I can knock out ten volumes in one night!” (1)

Editor: “Like I’ll let you do that!”

Sakaki: “Then, what should I…” (and so on)

Well, it was something to that effect.

At any rate, while we were quarreling we ended up getting at least some details nailed down fairly quickly, like “the main party consists of two girls and one guy” and “they’re going to go on a journey”, and that made me think that going back to the basics was actually a pretty good thing. Conversely, however, I felt like I was unable to escape the influence of other works in the genre, and so there were quite a few times where I was confused on how to proceed. On one hand, I was aware that I had to go back to the basics, but on the other hand, I was equally aware that I had to write something new, and I was torn between them, as if both thoughts were grabbing my legs and pulling in opposite directions.

The result was that every day that I would come in with more detailed content, my lead editor would continue to deliver his rejections.

Rejections like “the heroine’s name isn’t cute enough.”

Well, on that front, due to certain unavoidable circumstances I knew that I wanted the heroine to have a Russian name, but the truth is, the majority of cute-sounding Russian names had already been taken, like “Anya” or “Kudryavka.” I guess I could have gone ahead and used them anyway, but I think that using a name like “Kudryavka” would already call up a defined image in everyone’s heads. (2)

And so, overwhelmed with worry, I ended up turning to two Russian experts, Tominaga Hiroshi and Hayami Rasenjin, and asked them what some good Russian names were.

As for the title of the book, that too was rejected countless times, and so when I went around asking all my personal acquaintances for assistance with tears in my eyes, it was my buddy Amagi Shuunsuke who suggested that I take the kanji for “coffin” and “princess” and have them read together as “hitsugi”, which I took to immediately.

Well, anyway, it’s thanks to all their warm support (it’s important how you say things, you know) that this volume was able to be completed. And it wasn’t like I slacked off or anything. Really!

Though I’ve created many settings up to this point, if you all would continue to read my stories, I would be very grateful.

This time the planning was on a completely different level than normal, to the point where even I ended up not being able to read it all. Of course I suppose some sort of comeback like “even normally you still can’t read!” is inevitable.

If you though that this book was interesting in all sorts of ways, enough that you want to continue reading, I would be overjoyed.

And also, because the illustrator NamanikuATK’s illustrations here and there were so spectacular (even the initial early ones that didn’t make it in the book), I’m of the opinion that there should be a mini artbook included with the story (lol).

Well then.

I pray that we will see each other again in the next volume.

Ichiro Sakaki, November 13, 2010

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  1. This is referring to one of Sakaki’s previous works, Scrapped Princess. In it, the main heroine’s name is Pacifica. The series ran for ten volumes.
  2. Here he is referencing Kudryavka Noumi of Little Busters! fame. When you think Kudryavka, most otaku would think of her.

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