Creators’ Corner: Special Interview with Editor Sugii of Pink Heart Jam
Following the release of the final chapter of Pink Heart Jam by Shikke, futekiya got the rare chance to interview the manga’s editor!
At the end of April into mid-May, we asked you all to send in your questions about Pink Heart Jam. Unfortunately, we could not ask all of your questions because of the number of submissions, but Editor Sugii generously answered as many of your burning questions as possible!
tw: crazyinher (Panama): Who inspired the creation of Kanae?
There is no actual model. Kanae was created by Shikke-sensei based on the story’s conception. (Shikke-sensei mentioned a desire to draw a character with long hair.)
Fishtable (Hong Kong): Both Haiga and Kanae are super cute, so I wonder if there are any differences/changes in their current character designs from the first draft! Thank you for all the efforts you made in this beautiful story!
There are no major differences between the final designs and the rough draft that Shikke-sensei first presented to us. When I saw Kanae for the first time, I was moved and thought, “What a beautifully cool character!” Thank you for reading the story!
Ari-chan (USA): First and foremost, to you and Shikke-sensei, thank you for your hard work! What sort of direction did you give Shikke-sensei in terms of the production of the manga? Were there any particular scenes that were discussed more than others?
Thank you for reading until the end. In our first meeting, I requested, “I want to read a toshishita seme story.” Additionally, in the beginning, the story was supposed to be concluded with only five chapters. But as Shikke-sensei and I discussed more, we decided to spend more time exploring the two character’s stories and changed the original plan from five chapters to 10.
Cran_Apple (South Africa): Who’s your favorite character in the manga, and why?
Of course, I like Kanae and Haiga, the main characters. But personally, I also like Tachibana, the receptionist at the store where Kanae works. He is a professional customer service person who is always smiling and can tell if someone is a top or bottom. And he is also concerned about Kanae… He’s a very capable person so I always wonder what he does in his daily life.
sunflower (India): why the name *pink heart jam*?
We considered so many title ideas. Because the story features a lot of music, we first discussed including a word that would tie into that aspect. “Jam” means something like, “having a session with other musicians,” and we thought it would be nice to keep the image of Kanae and Haiga’s hearts’ crossing paths in such a manner, so we decided on the phrase “heart jam” first. After that, we wanted to enhance it a little while also adding an element of cuteness, so we added “pink” to the beginning and the title became “Pink Heart Jam“.
Potata (Finland): Thank you for bringing us such a lovely campus love story! As an editor, how much influence do you usually have on a story? And can you tell us about any details where your editing work can be seen in Pink Heart Jam?
Thank you for reading the story.
I don’t think I had much influence… (laughs)
Whenever we have meetings about how the story should continue, all I do is suggest ideas like “I want to see this scene” and “I think they would have this conversation in a situation like this,” then Shikke-sensei thinks about the story, and draws the storyboard. Shikke-sensei’s storyboards are very thought out so I didn’t ever request any big changes.
Shikke-sensei’s drawing on the first page was always quite beautiful, so I just tried my best to come up with taglines that won’t lose to that beauty.
Bet (Mexico): When is Kanae and Haiga’s birthday?
What inspired you to make Kanae’s style?
I don’t know their birthdays either! I wonder when it is…? From my impression, Haiga is either a spring or autumn baby, and Kanae is a winter baby.
I’m not sure what inspired Kanae’s style, but he generally doesn’t wear anything colorful. That’s why when he wore Haiga’s jacket in chapter 6, he was told that “it’s not a good look for you.”
Xenia (Greece): Will there be a manga series coming out for the fans to buy?
Unfortunately, there are no plans for that as of yet.
Candy (Indonesia): What scene was so fun to you?
This is difficult…! I have many… I love the scene in chapter 8 where a drunk Kanae goes outside with his friend Hayashida and he says, “I don’t want to (confess my feelings for him) because I want him to do it.” My heart…! I had the same reaction as Hayashida in the scene, “That was so damn cute…!”
Besides that, I liked the graduation live concert scene! My heart tightened when I saw the two of them overflow with emotions and cry. I also felt nostalgic and remembered the feeling when my lively and joyful college life came to an end.
Anna Umi (USA): I feel as though the last chapter was complete but very brief. Will there be any bonus chapters to give a little insight as to how our couple is doing after they’ve moved in with each other?
The complete edition includes an extra about them living together so please do check it out!
Mae (Australia): Will you do any extra chapters? I would love to see some more of them as a couple! This is one of my favorite manga. The characters and artwork are beautiful, they communicate so well and are still so passionate. Thank you so much!
Thank you for taking the time to read about their relationship! I mentioned it in the question before, but the complete edition will include extras so I hope you check it out.
Sonny (France): Will there be another volume?
I also would like to read a sequel, but unfortunately, there is no plan for that at the moment.
Marshy (USA): as the story progressed how did your beginning thoughts differ from the end?
I think my impression of Haiga has changed the most since the beginning. He questioned his sexuality and met Haiga which not only allowed him to learn more about his sexuality, but he also grew to understand how to love someone.
mai.collects (USA): how was it working with Shikke-sensei? 🙂
Shikke-sensei is really on top of schedule, so I thought, “I have to be on top of things, too…!” We had many phone meetings, but it was very fun to just talk, so our calls would sometimes end up being long and filled with chitchat.
Polina (Ukraine): how did you meet Shikke-sensei?
There was an original BL-centered doujinshi event where I participated as a member of the editorial department. Shikke-sensei brought in a submission to our booth and I happened to be the one there at the time, so that was how we met. It was love at first sight for me when I saw the submitted work so I asked on the spot if Shikke-sensei could write for us.
Habu (USA): Were there any scenes that you really enjoyed but had to cut from the final draft? What was the biggest challenge while editing Pink Heart Jam?
There weren’t many scenes that were cut. On top of that, we extended the original plan from 5 chapters to 10, so we really had the chance to carefully depict Haiga and Kanae’s relationship. This isn’t technically a “cut,” but the story ended with a scene of the two living together 2 years after graduation. I’d like to read about those blank 2 years.
The biggest challenge was perhaps the fact that it was a 10-chapter story, which is longer than usual. I had only ever been in charge of works that spanned about 5 or 6 chapters up until then, so this was a first. But because of its length, I think we were able to deliver a very rich and densely packed story.
Pesky little mouse (United Kingdom): How long does the whole process take?
I think it took about a month and a half from having Shikke-sensei think of the plot to being handed a completed manuscript. It was released in a bi-monthly magazine, so Shikke-sensei worked throughout that span of time.
Bunny (Malaysia): Do you have any reminders to give to international readers about the way of consuming your content?
“Please don’t read scanlations!” is the most important. Piracy only has negative effects on creators and publishers. I am nothing but grateful for fans who read on futekiya!
Laura (USA): Thank you so much for all your hard work in editing Pink Heart Jam! Do you have any amusing anecdotes you can share about editing Pink Heart Jam?
Shikke-sensei and I talked a lot about our delusions about Maki, Kanae’s senior at work. Maki is also an intriguing character, so we would fantasize about things like, “if Maki were the main character in his own story, what kind of partner would be a good fit?” and so on. I would like to read that one day, too!
Tera (USA): What are some of the greatest challenges you face in doing a simulpub?
Because it requires translating, it was difficult to make sure that everything went according to schedule. But Shikke-sensei is very punctual with scheduling, so we were able to continue doing a simulpub without falling behind schedule.
Haesoo (USA): Do you have any plans for making a new story?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any plans as of yet, but I will do my best for a new story! I would be happy if you could continue supporting Shikke-sensei.
Did reading this interview bring back your Pink Heart Jam feels? Relive the memories by rereading Pink Heart Jam here (chapter by chapter). You can read the volume edition here — volume 2 will be released next month (November 2022), and will feature the bonus chapter that Editor Sugii mentioned!
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