Translation Note: This is an English translation of the interview with Tanigawa Nico on weekly playboy vol1-2 2013. I’m learning English and this is a part of training. I will delete this page
on February 10that the end of April 2015.
Original URL (Japanese):
— If you say, “I am not popular”, you should not be popular among the same sex.
Interviewer: I know it’s sudden, but please listen to my story. My school days were “darkness”. In class and club, I was tend to be alone. I had a few friends, but I almost was alone. After coming to Tokyo to go to university and starting to live alone, I could not talk with anyone long time. I could not get used to the loneliness and always thought, “Someone, care for me!” For me like this, Watamote is kind of laughable, moreover, it stings my heart. I remember my school days when I read it. It’s hard to keep my sanity.
The writer (man) and the artist (woman): Thank you very much.
Interviewer: After all, is the story of Watamote based on the writer’s experience?
The writer: Better say, “I give vent to my various feelings in my heart”. I am a very envious person.
Interviewer: How were your school days?
The writer: I was lonely. In high school, I had no friend. I was always alone and it was hard. In university, I was alone, too, but I felt easy.
Interviewer: I can understand that. Most university students have much time. If you go out of university, you can find other society everywhere.
The writer: Because I did not study in elementary, middle and high school, I always studied in university. When I did not have any class, I did part time job.
Interviewer: How about the artist?
The artist: I had few female friends and no male friend. I don’t know why, girls think “A girl who is not popular among girls is worthless”. And TV sometime says “A woman who is popular among women is loved by men.” Then what should I do? I despair. (smile)
Interviewer: Tomoko, the protagonist of Watamote has no friend in her school too, right?
The writer: Yuu-chan, Tomoko’s friend of middle school, appeared on volume 1 of comics. I did not have the plan of her appearance. But our editor said, “A girl without a friend is too poor thing!” …
The artist: The writer said, “There is no need for such a salvation, like having friends.” (smile)
The writer: I don’t like manga that its protagonist is popular even though its title says “not popular”.
Interviewer: You are a thorough man.
The writer: In the end, we settled that Tomoko could make friends with Yuu-chan because they had the same hobby.
Interviewer: But the episode ends “Yuu has become a pretty girl and got a boyfriend”. So Tomoko felt the distance from her only friend and she withdrew into her shell more. I think you really are a thorough man. (smile)
— We don’t mean to injure readers’ feelings!
Interviewer: When I search readers’ reviews of Watamote, they say “Tomoko is cute!” But honestly, I don’t understand her cuteness.(smile) Of course, I think her appearance might be cute.
The artist: At first, she was not cute at all. She was tall, Sanpaku eyes (small iris), and flat chested. Our editor said, “Make her more cute.” So I made her like now. I remained shadows under eyes as her feature. I wanted to make her more ugly. I thought I could make her ugly gradually. (smile)
Interviewer: There are few manga artists who make effort to draw ugly heroine. (smile)
The artist: I draw her utterly ugly, even so, readers think her cute, I want to make Tomoko such a character.
Interviewer: You both have no mercy. The story and the art were thoroughly “hurt”. You don’t have to bring Tomoko to that hurt, I think a bit.
The writer: To the story, I often hear it said. (smile) I don’t mean to hurt Tomoko like that.
The artist: The writer cannot feel hurt by “hurt” that ordinary people can feel. (smile) Of course, we don’t mean to injure readers’ feelings. Various readers read this manga various way. So, laughing or hurt, they feel various feelings. That’s it.
Interviewer: But, I want to say to the people who think this manga is laughable, “Do not laugh at Tomoko, you normalfags!” (smile) Watamote arouses sympathetic feelings from lonely people!
The artist: We think “I understand Tomoko’s feelings a bit.” is enough. At least not “I’m not related with Tomoko at all.”
— The story completes by Tomoko alone.
Interviewer: Until now, I said Tomoko is miserable. On the other hand, I think Tomoko may be better. Because she is basically alone.
The writer: Yes.
Interviewer: If you make friends and get into the community, you should bother yourself about relationships. Normal people can do it naturally. But I don’t think Tomoko can. Tomoko will be more “hurt” than now.
The artist: No one is aware of Tomoko. So classmates don’t care for her, like “That girl is always alone”. On the other hand, nobody makes a fool of her.
Interviewer: I think that is hurt for her. (smile) But, from my objective point of view, I think that life style is not bad.
The writer: Tomoko suffers from relationships with friends, it’s interesting. By some chance, in the future…
Interviewer: Please don’t! I will be unable to read Watamote!
The writer: (bitter smile)
The artist: We have no plan of a person who suddenly approaches to Tomoko now.
The writer: When we had not decided the direction of this manga, I tried to make a new character who approaches to Tomoko. But it did not go well and I quit. Watamote is the manga that its story completes by Tomoko alone.
Interviewer: As the artist, do you want to make a new character?
The artist: Unless the writer’s ideas are exhausted, I want to make Tomoko fight alone. I think it is OK that only readers care for her.
Interviewer: In the end… Will Tomoko be happy?
The writer and the artist: (smile)
Interviewer: This is selfish though, I want such as “The life style like Tomoko is OK” end.
The writer: Yes, I don’t know what is “happiness”. At least, I don’t think it will be total bad end. Such as suicide, it never happens. (smile)
Interviewer: Happiness to lonely people!
Hey webmaster it seems your English translations has gotten better. Congratulations! Anyways, I wonder what kind of story it would have played out if Yuu-chan was never introduced. I’m quite irritated that the editor insisted on making a friend for tomoko. Just like the writer said there’s no need for one. I think Tanigawa Nico was trying to make Watamote and Tomoko as “realistic” as possible to themselves. I could only imagine how different the story would’ve turned out if the writer and artist had their way with the script. I think it would have been just as good maybe even better..I love Tomoko. The reason why I find her so appealing is her character or way of being. Her appearance is just a bonus. Overall, I’m happy how Watamote is turning out to be even though Yuu-chan was never suppose to exist or how the OVA wasn’t canon. Nevertheless, watamote is special to me on a personal level.
How can the interviewer not understand Tomoko’s cuteness? She’s a lonely outcast who needs a hug.
Funny how you can reflect on the writer and Tomoko’s character too…
That was fun to read, thank you for translating this interview! I’ll check back here often.
Thank you for the translation
Thanks for the translation, I found this pretty interesting.
By the way, why will you delete this page later? Is it for copyright reasons or something else? Just wondering.
And this is a kind of a gesture of my appreciation to anons on 4chan. After they read, this page is not necessary any more.