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Original article, Part 1 link: https://wpb.shueisha.co.jp/news/entertainment/2017/02/04/79445/

Part 2 link: https://wpb.shueisha.co.jp/news/entertainment/2017/02/05/79456/

 

A talk with the creators of the unconventional hot title, The Promised Neverland: “From a 300-page cold call to debut.”

February 4th & 5th, 2017

The Promised Neverland,' ('Story: Kaiu Shirai '/ 'Art': 'Posuka Demizu')', the unconventional suspense serial that began running in Weekly Shonen Jump last August, is currently creating a buzz.

Last year, it won the 2016 Mandou Kobayashi Manga Prize for Promising New Series, and it was also one of the thirteen titles nominated for the 2017 Manga Taisho.

The stage of the story is “Grace Field House,” an orphanage in the middle of a forest in the countryside. It’s a peaceful place where thirty-eight orphans, all younger than twelve, live happily together in modest circumstances under the care of their kind “mom,” the gracious Isabella. …Or so it seems. However, one day, Emma, a twelve[S2] [sic]-year-old girl who’s one of the oldest residents, stumbles onto the truth about the facility.

Joined by Norman, a reliable genius who's her age, Emma attempts to save her friends' lives by secretly engineering an escape and getting everyone out...

Reader reactions have included, “It’s a Jump manga, but it seriously doesn’t look like Jump!” and “Even though it’s a manga, it feels like I’m watching a high-quality TV series from overseas, and I’m always desperate for the next chapter!” Although it exists under the Shonen Jump label, a classic brand that drives Japan’s manga industry, it isn’t limited by the magazine’s worldview, and it has won support for its uninhibited style and unique trajectory.

On Friday, February 3rd, the second volume was released. We've taken this opportunity to hold the first-ever long, exclusive interview with both creators, as well as Suguru Sugita, who has been the series’ editor since its launch.' The three of them shared all sorts of stories with us, from backstage anecdotes regarding the beginning of this unprecedented series to the creative approaches behind its style!

***

For both of you, this series marked your Weekly Shonen Jump debut. As far as the writer, Shirai-sensei, is concerned, I hear it’s your first series as a manga creator?

Kaiu Shirai-sensei (hereafter Shirai): Yes, that’s correct.

And Demizu-sensei, the artist, has had other series in different magazines.

Posuka Demizu-sensei (hereafter Demizu): That’s right. It was at another publisher, I’m afraid; I’ve worked with Shogakkan’s Coro Coro Comic and Televi-Kun magazines.

How did you end up working together? To begin with, tell us how this series came to be.

Demizu: Well, the very beginning was a rough, unsolicited manuscript that Shirai-sensei created about three years ago.

―Huh!? So the prototype for this series existed three whole years ago?

Shirai: That’s right. It wasn’t as if I’d won a prize with it or anything, though. It really was just a rough manuscript that I brought in to show (the editor), without being asked. 

―Had you been making cold calls like that for a while, then, working to become a manga creator?

Shirai: No, it wasn’t that sort of thing either. I guess you could say it just sort of happened… In the first place, after graduating from university, I worked in a white-collar position at a corporation. In addition, it was a job that had absolutely no connection to the world of writing stories and drawing pictures.  

―And what led you to reinvent yourself as a manga creator?

Shirai: Looking back, I think I probably started wanting to leave something tangible behind. I liked my current job, and it did feel worthwhile, but I was working constantly, and it wasn’t work that left any physical traces. There’s nothing wrong with not leaving anything physical, but after I left that job, I thought I’d like to do work that would leave evidence of some sort next time.

If it didn’t work out, maybe I’d be able to resign myself to quitting…

―Then that’s why you gravitated toward the creative world?

Shirai: Yes. I hadn’t actually written a story before, but I’d always been interested in that sort of thing and had a deep admiration for it. I thought, if I was going to do this, I’d give it my very best shot. So I polished several stories that I’d managed to work up into actual manga manuscripts, submitted them to contests and things here and there, and had people look at them. But, erm, nobody bit. (laughs)  It was hopeless to the point of magnificence.

I thought “Well, I’ve obviously got no talent, then!”, and I very nearly gave up. Still, it would have been frustrating to just let it end like that, so I drew up one more rough manuscript, thinking I’d make it my last attempt, and that’s the one that became the basis for The Promised Neverland. It ended up being pretty long, though. While I was drawing it, it got to be over three hundred pages…

Over three hundred pages, out of nowhere!?

Shirai: Of course lots of things were completely different from the way they are in the current story, but to put it in terms of what it is now, it began with the protagonists discovering the secret of their orphanage and went up to the point where they escaped from it. Since that was the case, due to the nature of the project, I really couldn’t get it to fit inside the page limits for a one-shot. 

―That really is too big to bring in on a cold call, isn’t it… 

Shirai: Right. Not only that, but that was how big it was in its rough form, so I really didn’t know what to do with it. It was hard to pare it down, though, and when I showed it to a friend, the friend said, “This is great. Go for it: Take it to somebody and say you want it to be a series.” So I thought, “All right, I’ll just do it that way and take the storyboard in as an original story proposal.”

In any case, if nothing else, I wanted to ask a professional editor if it had any merit as a manga. If it didn’t work out, I thought I might be able to come to terms with the fact that I had no talent and resign myself to quitting. I ended up bringing it to the editorial department at Weekly Shonen Jump, and the editor who looked at it was the one who’s my editor now, Sugita-san.

[Image 1]

―And that explains why there were three years between then and now.

Shirai: Right.

―What did you actually think when someone brought you an unsolicited story that was over three hundred pages long, Sugita-san? I doubt many new manga creators go that far…

Sugita: I got a phone call from someone who wanted to bring in a manuscript, and of course I set time aside, but I never even dreamed there would be that much material, so I’d scheduled a preliminary meeting for another matter about an hour after that. Then I met Shirai-san for the first time, and three hundred pages landed right in front of me. (laughs) It was about fifteen chapters’ worth. That was a shock.

I figured I’d start reading from the top, and if it was boring, I’d stop partway through and talk with the author about what I’d read up till then. …But it was fascinating, and I actually ended up reading the whole thing, all the way to the end. At that point, finally, I thought, “I’ve got somebody incredible here.”

At the time, though, Shirai-san hadn’t won any prizes and had no history of publication in other magazines, so in order to take it from that point to the series debut, I had to lay quite a lot of groundwork, including talking the editorial department around. Still, it definitely was good, and I really wanted to get this talent out into the world somehow.

It would be best to bring in a professional artist…

So the decision to put someone else in charge of the art was initially made at that stage?

Shirai:  That’s right. That had always been my intention, and after I talked it over with Sugita-san, we decided to think along those lines.

Sugita:  In terms of the substance of this story, although it’s a fantasy, it has horror and suspense elements as well. We felt that, unless we had someone who could draw pictures of various types in an integrated way, we wouldn’t be able to bring out 100% of the story’s true goodness. Shirai-san’s art skills were still developing, and so I thought that adding a professional artist who could do that sort of thing to the team was sure to improve the project. After all, Shirai-san’s real strength lies in storytelling.

One other big concern was the fact that creating an elaborate story like this at the pace required by a weekly magazine was bound to be a job and a half. In order to maintain its quality, we decided it would be best to split up the writing and the art.

Shirai:  Then, after we’d approached various artists, we finally met someone who made us think, “This is the one!” That was Demizu-sensei.

And now, finally, Demizu-sensei comes into it! 

Demizu:  Yes, at that point, finally. (laughs) Since that’s the case, in terms of the three years or so that Shirai-sensei and Sugita-san spent on preparation, I made my entrance fairly late. Specifically, I joined the team after the beginning of 2016.

―But this series isn’t the first time the two of you have worked together, is it.

Shirai:  Correct. The first time was a one-shot story called Poppi’s Wish that ran in Jump+.

[Image 2]

That one was released about six months before The Promised Neverland serial started, wasn’t it. In February 2016.

Demizu: That’s right. The serial I was working on at another magazine had just ended, and they approached me immediately afterwards. The upshot was “Yes, absolutely, let’s do this.”

Meaning Shirai-sensei was the one who made the initial approach?

Shirai:  Yes. I’d seen Demizu-sensei’s illustrations before, and I thought they were terrific. I couldn’t approach her while she was working for someone else, though, so I aimed for the instant when it looked as though that might be over. (laughs) I went into it prepared to be shot down, but she accepted the offer readily. 

Demizu:  To begin with, Shirai-sensei contacted me through Sugita-san. Then I read the story for the first time, and how should I put it… Personally, it went straight to my heart, and I thought, “This is really, shockingly good!” I told them “I absolutely want to do this!” right away, and we went from there.

Then it was love at first sight for both of you.

Shirai:  Yes, although at first, it was a burning unrequited love on my end. I really was basically just a fan. (laughs) I’d been head over heels for her art before we ever met, and frankly, I thought, “I don’t care if it’s just for a one-shot, I want to work with Demizu-sensei at least once, no matter what!”

What was it about the art that you fell for, specifically?

Shirai:  If I start giving you the list, you’ll never get me to stop, you know. (laughs) First, her characters are really lively. She has a fantastic talent for depicting expressions, too, and she can draw absolutely any pantomime. She’s also capable of creating a comprehensive look for the world. Most of all, her drawings of kids are cute: The mob characters go way beyond mob level!

Even if we stray from Jump’s standard formula all over the place!


[Image 3]

You weren’t kidding about not stopping, were you. (laughs) 

Shirai:  There’s lots more where that came from! (laughs) And so, when she agreed to do the art for Poppi’s Wish, I was thrilled. The thing is, when I initially wrote that one-shot, I felt that if we found someone who could depict its world properly, we could definitely let them handle The Promised Neverland. …Setting aside the question of whether they’d agree to do the series or not.

Then, when I saw the manuscript Demizu-sensei actually drew, it was even more fantastic than I’d imagined it would be. I told her I’d love to have her handle the series as well, if possible.

Demizu:  I’m really honored. Nothing could make me happier than hearing those words from a writer who has as much talent as you do.

So that’s how you came to be in charge of the art for The Promised Neverland.

Demizu:  Right. First, though, I read the story for Chapters 1 through 3 of the series, and they gave me another shock. My first thought when I read them was, “Huh? This isn’t like Jump at all!!” (laughs) In a way, that was true of Poppi’s Wish as well, but this story was much farther removed from Jump’s general tone. 

Shirai:  That’s, uh, well… It isn’t just Demizu-sensei. Most of the writers I’d shown it to earlier had told me the same thing. (laughs)

True, it does stray from the standard shonen manga formula in many places. To begin with, it’s unusual to have a girl as the protagonist. Was there any particular intent behind that?

Shirai:  No, that was just how it had been back in that initial three hundred-page manuscript. When I came up with the story, I wasn’t trying to tailor it to Jump. Then, when I made the cold call, I didn’t really tinker with it; I just took it in as it was. I thought, “If they call me out on it, I’ll change that part,” but that was about it. In the end, Sugita-san didn’t say anything particularly negative about it, so we kept it as it was. 

Sugita:  I did technically call Shirai-san out on it! In fact, I seem to remember resisting it pretty stubbornly. (laughs) It’s just that it was plenty interesting as it was, and I felt as though, if we destroyed that exquisite balance by being overly conscious of a preexisting formula, we might actually end up killing the story.

In any case, the story as a whole had always deviated from Jump’s standard formula right and left, and we’d made it that way on purpose. I thought it would probably be okay. More importantly, we were doing things that weren’t in other series, and it was already this fascinating, so I thought we might as well make it a story that would stand out from the pack as much as possible.

Shirai:  I was grateful to him for allowing it. I did want to experiment, though, to see if we’d really be able to get along properly by doing things that way. To that end… Before the series began in the main magazine, they’d let me write two one-shots for Jump+, and when I did, I made sure both of them deviated from the classic Jump formula as well, so that I could see how readers would react. The characters are shallow, but I used the look of their worlds and scenario gimmicks to show things, which really isn’t how it’s done in Jump. (laughs)

So Poppi’s Wish was part of that effort, then. It was all foundation work for the serial that was about to start in the main magazine.

Shirai:  That’s right. And we did get a response, to some extent, so we decided to stick with our current strategy. Finally, we took the plunge and headed into the series.

 **

The series began in August 2016. As we discussed earlier, it doesn’t fit the magazine’s standard formula, and the fact that an unconventional series was running in Jump immediately caused a stir. Its setting, which resembles Europe or America, is also unique, and intentionally removing Japan’s landscapes and places that would be easy for readers to identify with seems like an unusual move as well.

Shirai:  The thing is, with a story as odd as this one, I thought that setting it in a Japanese landscape might actually make it feel as though something was off. Having familiar scenery in the background would make it more obvious that the story was fiction, and it seemed like it might just emphasize the aura of gloom.

Partly because of that atmosphere, people tend to describe it as feeling like a TV show from overseas. Are there any works that have influenced you as a creator?

Shirai:  Oh, yes, lots of them. Even if I limit myself to what’s influenced me as a manga creator, there are quite a lot of manga artists who have. In terms of panel divisions, I’d say Naoki Urasawa-sensei[S8] , although he isn’t a Jump creator. My storyboards tend to be split up rather finely, and there are lots of panels, but relatively important panels are drawn to appear larger: That method is straight from Urasawa-sensei.

For imaginary lines and the logic behind directing the reader’s gaze, I took a page from Takeshi Obata[S9] -sensei’s techniques. I also loved Neuro: Supernatural Detective, so I’ve been deeply influenced by Yusei Matsui-sensei[S10] , and I learned how to depict suspense from JoJo’s[S11]  Hirohiko Araki-sensei. I’ve picked things up bit by bit, from all sorts of creators.

It feels as though there are other major influences besides manga here. What about films or TV?

Shirai:  Yes, I do watch movies frequently, too. I like all different kinds, but if I was to name one, there’s a suspense movie starring Elijah Wood and Macaulay Culkin, The Good Son. I absolutely love that one.

So it is suspense, then. I knew it. 

Shirai:  That’s right. Macaulay Culkin is a good boy in front of others, practically angelic, but he’s pitch-black underneath, and only Elijah Wood knows what he’s really like. In The Promised Neverland, Mom is just like that. I like two-faced characters like those, and situations that keep you on the edge of your seat.

Krone’s off-the-wall facial contortions!


There are clear glimpses of the roots of the story in that anecdote. (laughs) Also, the way who’s telling the truth and who’s a traitor switches with dizzying speed feels similar to one of the finest examples of those overseas TV shows, the 24 series…

Shirai:  As you suspect, I talked it over with Sugita-san in the beginning and intentionally worked to achieve that. After all, even in Jump, other series use ferocious battles to create ever-flashier highlight scenes, while we had to use psychological warfare that went above and beyond that to create intense “hooks.” There was no other option.   

It really is about psychological warfare, not battles, isn’t it. I think the placement of the demons is symbolic there. In the first chapter, they were grotesque and terrifying, but then they don’t show up for a while after that. That certainly doesn’t mean everything is peaceful, though: We don’t know what the humans are thinking, and they’re scarier than the demons…

Shirai:  That’s precisely where Demizu-sensei’s talents become extremely important. We always have to be careful to keep things from looking lackluster. It’s odd for me to say this when I draft the storyboards myself, but in this series, I think there’s a very delicate, tricky balance and timing about what sort of picture to show where in order to catch and hold the readers’ sympathies. The interest generated when a smiling character abruptly shifts to looking terrifying in the middle of a tranquil sequence is also important. 

The faces Sister Krone makes are incredible, aren’t they?

Shirai:  I always look forward to seeing what she comes up with, too. She’s smart, but when she isn’t, it’s really endearing, and I love her! (laughs)

Demizu:  I like Krone, too; she’s fun to draw.

I’m also a big fan of the way Isabella’s trim neatness and her maliciousness slip in and out of view from panel to panel. 

Demizu:  As far as I’m concerned, Mom is just as much of a blast to draw as Krone.

What is it about her, exactly? 

Demizu:  Mom’s the only one who absolutely never loses control, you see. Of the characters currently in the story, I think she’s the only one who really should be drawn to be beautiful. That means I can never let my mind wander when I’m drawing her. I feel as if I have to straighten up and look sharp!

Shirai:  In the first place, simply because of what they’re like, both Krone and Mom must be difficult to draw. Even when it comes to that subtle rendering, though, Demizu-sensei has such a good handle on it that if I tell her one thing, she understands ten, and so… Every time I make a request, I’m able to feel all excited about it.

Demizu:  As you’d figure, though, I’m nervous every time: “Is this expression really the right one? I haven’t wandered away from what Shirai-sensei intended, have I?”

Shirai:  There are no problems whatsoever! I mean it. The only thing I have to say every week is “Thank you very much”! (laughs)

Demizu:  No, no. I think it’s because you draft your storyboards quite thoroughly, so I manage to get by without misinterpreting much.

[Image 4]

Demizu-sensei is the first one fooled?


Sugita:  From an editing standpoint, when the writer and artist are different, that’s exactly where I need to take the most care in general. For example, even when it comes to the expression on a single character, there’s inevitably a gap between what the writer visualized when they wrote a certain line and the expression the artist envisions from that line.

On projects where the story and the art are created separately, adjusting those subtle differences until they’re the best they can be turns into the biggest issue. If you don’t do that, the writer’s intention and the readers’ impressions may fall out of step, and it can become impossible to effectively move the story and the drama forward. Due to those concerns, before beginning the series, we needed to use the one-shot Poppi’s Wish to gauge their compatibility.

Creators who’ve worked together for many years learn to tell what the other is thinking. However, from their very first job together, these two had almost none of those missed connections. It was a miraculous pairing, and it startles me as well. To put it another way, it took a lot of the pressure off me as an editor. (laughs) After all, when views don’t mesh, adjusting them is one of our biggest duties.

Shirai:  Either way, it’s very clear to me that Demizu-sensei reads my roughs thoroughly, then considers all sorts of different possibilities. Depending on the situation, rather than being just what I imagined, the expressions she chooses from among the alternatives often surpass what I had in mind. That’s why, whenever I give her a rough script, I always really look forward to seeing what sort of manuscript she draws from it. I think, “Aha, so she did this here!” Give-and-take like that makes me truly happy.

―Can you name a specific scene? 

Shirai:  Take the end of Chapter 9, when Norman smiles. That was exactly what I’m talking about. Demizu:  Oh, yes, right. The faint one. (laughs)

[Image 5]

Shirai:  In the original script, he didn’t really smile here, and he wasn’t smiling in Demizu-sensei’s drafts. But when I looked at the final manuscript, he had this indescribable smile. At first, due to reasons that had to do with foreshadowing, I thought “Wait, what?”, but as I looked at it, I realized the expression really was best this way. It made me feel that that was how it should be. And at that point, we simply had use it. (laughs)

―That may be the best part of stories that have a separate writer and artist.

Shirai:  Yes, when it’s finished, it frequently ends up being far better than I could ever have anticipated on my own. Demizu-sensei really does draw it that way quite often, and I truly appreciate it. 

Demizu:  Just as Shirai-sensei looks forward to seeing how my manuscripts turn out, from my perspective, I look forward to getting the storyboards every week. Part of it is the simple fact that, as a fan, I get to read the next bit of the story before anybody else, but there’s more to it than that. (laughs)

First I give the roughs a quick read-through, searching for the highlight of that chapter. I look forward to that part of the work every time. And then, the amazing thing about Shirai-sensei is that, every once in a while, I’ll get a request to draw a certain scene without being told anything about future developments. That’s always kinda fun, you know. I think, “This is it, here we go!” (laughs)

Shirai:  Well, when people do know, sometimes it shows, even though they don’t mean for it to. “Oh, this person is saying such kind things here, but you know they’re just going to sell them out later…” That sort of thing. So, by not telling her, I also end up looking forward to seeing what sort of picture she’ll come up with. 

If you’re going to fool the readers, start with the creator?

Demizu:  That’s exactly it. (laughs) At times like that, I always think and vacillate a lot, but at the same time, it’s fun; it feels like a terrifically worthwhile challenge. Drawing while I imagine the future of the story and Shirai-sensei’s reasons for deciding to do things this way puts me in a position that’s halfway between reader and creator, and it’s fascinating.

Shirai:  I’m truly grateful that she racks her brains that thoroughly over each of my storyboards, and as a writer, I have a deep respect for it. Oh, and one time, what I thought was really incredible was that, working from one of my rough manuscripts, Demizu-sensei named all the mob characters and even came up with background information for them.[S12] 

What we want to show is “Friendship, Effort, Victory”


Wait, you don’t mean…all the kids at the orphanage? 

Demizu:  Mob characters are fun. (laughs) Besides, to the protagonists – Emma, Norman and company – all the kids at that orphanage are precious companions. As I was drawing each of them and imagining this and that, it just sort of snowballed on me… I didn’t know how much I was allowed to make up about them on my own, but since I had come up with all of that, I thought I might as well send it to Shirai-sensei. And then it all ended up getting used in the story. (laughs)

Shirai:  To begin with, all I’d come up with for the children besides the main characters was how many there were in all, and how many of those were in each age group. But she said things like “This kid is probably this sort of person, right?” and thought up all the things I hadn’t, in detail.

I thought, “There was a massive amount of work to do already, and she still came up with all of this, in what spare moments she managed to find?” It’s profoundly moving to have someone read my storyboards that thoroughly. At any rate, I ask her for lots of things regarding the background information for this series, precisely because she’s Demizu-sensei. For example, I had her come up with several different floor plans for the House, and working from those, we thought up and settled on future story developments together.

Demizu:  I like coming up with scenario information. It’s just like with those mob characters: Once I start thinking about it, I can’t stop, and I always end up going, “Fine, let’s just use all of it.” (laughs)

[Image 6]

Shirai:  So, Demizu-sensei’s presence keeps making the setting for this story more and more detailed. I thought I made things pretty elaborate to begin with, but she’s more impressive than I am. Once things are like that, as a creator, I can’t slack off. (laughs)

Demizu:  But what makes me happy is that Shirai-sensei gives serious thought to my suggestions and responds to them. I mean, I’ve thought up a ton of tentative proposals for background info and sent them in, and they’ve all come back to me with comments added. When I look at them, I can tell Shirai-sensei really considered them carefully. It’s a very satisfying game of catch.

This really is an ideal relationship, isn’t it. You’d never think you’d been a team for less than a year.

Shirai:  I agree. From the bottom of my heart, I think I’ve had the good fortune to run into a truly excellent creator!

Demizu:  No, no, that’s mutual. (laughs)

All right, we’re getting down to the last question. The series is referred to as “unconventional” quite often; what exactly is it that you want to communicate to readers through this story?

Shirai: It’s extremely simple: Jump often gives the words “Friendship, Effort, Victory” as its slogan, and that’s what we want to do here. We’re ignoring Jump’s standard formula right and left as we create the series, so people may think we’re against it, but even if our protagonist is a girl, and even if there aren’t any battles, in the end, all we want to do is come up with a story that connects to “Friendship, Effort, Victory” with a heart full of hope, from a slightly different angle. (laughs)

The thoughts behind the word “Promised”


I assume you can’t discuss future developments in much detail, but… For example, have you already settled on a story and background for the world Emma and company will escape into, to some extent?

Shirai:  Yes, that’s already been determined. It’s implied in the title, “The Promised Neverland.”

Whoa, is it okay to say that much? 

Shirai:  Yes, it’s fine. For that reason, I’ve intentionally avoided using the word “promise” in places and lines that have no connection to that up until now, even when I wanted to, and I’ll keep doing so until the reveal.

That seems deeply significant. 

Shirai:  As a matter of fact, in the beginning, I was planning to make the title of the manga just “Neverland.” We decided it needed a little more than that, though, and so it became “The Promised Neverland.” I have developments in mind that will solidly link that added “Promised” to the heart of the story, so… Please continue to look forward to it!

That really is something to look forward to. 

Shirai:  If Emma and the rest manage to escape, I’m planning to reveal the meaning of “The Promised Neverland,” so I’ll do my best to keep the series from getting cancelled before then! (laughs)   

Then, Demizu-sensei, are you currently working on designs that will be used in the developments after the escape?

Demizu:  Yes. I have to come up with a lot, so it’s scary, but on the other hand, I’m having quite a lot of fun thinking about this and that and what I should do on my own as well!

Incidentally, they’ve already scheduled releases up to Volume 3 of the comics…

Shirai:  That’s right. Volumes 1 and 2 have been released, and Volume 3 is scheduled to come out in April. I’d like to conclude the Escape arc at some point between Volumes 3 and 4 or thereabouts and move on to the next phase. We haven’t scheduled anything yet; it’s just what I’m thinking now, in a vague way.

And the story after that… I already asked about that, didn’t I. I really am looking forward to this even more now. 

Shirai:  As far as I’m concerned, I think the unique skills which were the reason we asked Demizu-sensei to be in charge of the art will be put to their best use, in the truest sense of the word, in those future developments. We’re bound to be treated to a world that’s thoroughly and unmistakably Demizu-sensei, and I’m looking forward to it as a fan as well! (laughs)

Demizu:  Yes, I’ll do my best. (laughs) Even working from the limited amount that I’ve been told, it sounds like it’s going to be a pretty interesting story, so I’ll buckle down and make sure the interesting elements come through clearly!

Shirai:  And of course I’ll do my best as well. Nothing could make me happier than having everyone read this, enjoy it, and talk about it. Thank you so much for looking forward to it, and please continue to support us!

Thank you both for taking time out of your busy schedules to talk with us today.

Kaiu Shirai

Author. Debuted as a writer in 2015 with the one-shot The Whereabouts of Ashley Goeth[S13]  in Shonen Jump+. In 2016, teamed up with artist Demizu-sensei for the first time on the Shonen Jump+ one-shot Poppi’s Wish. Both stories were very well-received, and the pair’s series The Promised Neverland has been running in Weekly Shonen Jump since August of the same year.  

Posuka Demizu

Artist. Active as a popular illustrator on the artist networking SNS “pixiv.” Also active as a manga creator on Coro Coro Comic’s I’m the Demon King!! Oreca Battle series, among others. In 2016, she made her Jump debut with the one-shot Poppi’s Wish in Shonen Jump+, and has been drawing The Promised Neverland series in Weekly Shonen Jump since August of that year.


(Interview & text/ Takahiro Yamashita ©Kaiu Shirai and Posuka DemizuShueisha)


 [S1]Since this article was released in two parts over the two days after Vol. 2 hit stores in Japan, there are no spoilers past Chap. 9. (Unless you consider the assumption that they eventually do escape a spoiler.) For the record, in the magazine, the series was on Chap. 24.

 [S2]This is what the original article says, and since I’m just translating, I’ve kept it.

 [S4]@_@ *Translator dies*

 [S8]Creator of “20th Century Boys” and “Monster.”

 [S9]The artist (although not the writer) of “Hikaru no Go”, “Death Note” and “Bakuman.”

 [S10]Probably better known for “Assassination Classroom.”

 [S11]“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”

 [S12]This means that everything in the character chart on Page 46 of Vol. 2 (except the ages and ID numbers) came from Demizu-sensei.

 [S13]Story also available in Jump+ for free. Find it here: https://shonenjumpplus.com/episode/10833497643049549911 (The “Goeth” name spelling is given in the story in romaji (Page 39, Panel 2), so it’s legit.)

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