Our Creators’ Corner this month features Wataru Nanatsuno, creator of First Love Encounter and Stay with Good Boy! In this interview, Wataru Nanatsuno-sensei talks about how they discovered BL and answers questions from fans!
Could you please introduce yourself?
I draw BL manga, my name is Wataru Nanatsuno.
When did your interest in manga begin?
I have two older sisters who used to buy shojo manga and magazines. The genres available to me heavily leaned in that direction, but I was in an environment where manga and reading manga was a very natural thing.
Which manga is your favorite or has left the biggest impression on you?
This is a hard question…! There are so many but recently, Go with the clouds, North-by-Northwest is always within arms distance from me.
Do you like games or anime? Which game, anime, etc., is your favorite?
The games I always recommend are Baccano! and Mushishi.
The game that I think I have the most hours in, is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. In the last few years, the game that I was most struck by is Detroit: Become Human. These games are all very different from my own art style but…
How did you discover BL?
My eldest daughter hid the commercial BL book that she was borrowing. I ended up finding it, though and gave it a read.
Because I didn’t really know about BL, I mistook the uke as a masculine girl.
Which BL work (anime, manga, movie, drama, etc.) is your favorite?
Oh, I have many… but I’m embarrassed so I’m keeping it a secret! I like happy endings, bittersweet endings, and gag genres.
What made you want to become a mangaka?
I loved drawing since I was young, so I was content with anything as long as I could draw. I liked drawing continuous scenes rather than standalone pieces and thought that I was geared towards manga.
What did you do to become a mangaka?
At the time, I attended a technical school because I wanted to know how I could draw without using self-taught techniques. I quit after one year because by then I had learned the basics……. I kept drawing the way I liked to draw, and then one day somebody talked to me about furthering it. I was very lucky.
As an active mangaka, what kind of hurdles do you have to face?
In terms of drawing, when I think I’ve gotten hold of a certain technique, it escapes my grasp and I always end up in tears. For stories, I always have my head in my hands so I want to learn more about it…
Is there any manga or other works that have influenced you or greatly affected you?
Ranma ½ and Kei Kusunoki sensei’s romcom titles.
What do you like most about drawing BL manga?
Of course, I love drawing hot and steamy scenes, but I also like that I can draw the exact scene that I have been wanting to draw. And in every scenario, the seme is a man, and the uke is a man. I love BL. I am happy.
Do you have any manga that you want to draw next or in the future?
Oh, I have so many. There are many things that I want to draw but I don’t have the skills to pull it off yet. I’m hoping to challenge myself step-by-step.
Are there any things you focused on in particular in First Love Encounter and Stay with Good Boy, which are being released on futekiya?
First Love Encounter was my first work for Mellow Kiss and I paid attention to make it about pure love. It has a happy ending, and I like sincere characters, so I thought hard about how to ensure Hachikaku wasn’t a jerk. Stay with Good Boy is about a beastman and I think I made it a strong point that they didn’t have human ears… I think…
Are there any scenes or characters that you want readers to pay special attention to?
In First Love Encounter, probably the girls’ school uniform and phone sex scene… Rather than the desire to draw Mine crossdressing, I really wanted to draw Mine blushing in embarrassment from crossdressing. It was a lot of fun. In Stay with Good Boy, I hope readers enjoy Yukari slowly becoming attached to Shima.
Do you have any behind-the-scenes stories about First Love Encounter and Stay with Good Boy that you can tell us about?
When I suggested the Mine character, I was told “what if his eyebrows were thinner?” and I panicked because I like thick brows. I told them this and they were fine with it so I remember feeling at ease because of it. Stay with Good Boy was one of the toughest things to work on because the editor and I always went on and on about what to include and what not to include and everything. It was such a difficult delivery…!
futekiya is a service that distributes BL manga that has been translated into English. What do you think about futekiya?
I am very thankful that my work can be read by people outside of Japan! I hope that BL culture keeps spreading.
Questions from fans
- from Crazyprukman (Philippines): If Mine and Hachikaku went to university, what department do you think they’d be in?
Mine would study Japanese literature and be in Drama Club as the playwright. Hachikaku would follow Mine and enroll in the same university and go to some random department, and regret it… probably. Mine will blossom and find his path, making Hachikaku panic a little. But he will also slowly find what he wants to do in life, a late-bloomer, if you will.
- from Simple (The United States): Where did you get your story ideas and what moment did you realize you could put those ideas into motion?
I often go into delusions in my day-to-day life. I try to transfer that using words or tools or something, and come up with a pair that I think would be cute if they existed.
I take note of the ones I like and build them up, then submit it to my editor as a suggestion for a new series.
- from Bebe (Indonesia): Hello, Sensei! First of all thank you very much for all of your hard work! I love your work! How did you get your ideas for your stories? Do ideas just come to you suddenly? And do you have any intention to make another story? I would love to read it if there is one! That’s all from me. Thanks, Sensei and good luck!
Hello, thank you. I love my “me time” and often play a game of “let’s dissect my own brain” to come up with ideas.
I also want to draw a bunch of different things for my next story!
- from shan (Canada): How do you feel knowing that your manga are getting a particularly larger foreign audience thanks to websites like futekiya?
It’s a bizarre feeling when all I do is sit in my room, in front of my PC all day, but my work reaches places all over the world. I feel so fortunate.
- from Voyager (The United States): The phone sex scene in First Love Encounter is one of the sexiest scenes I’ve ever read in a BL story. How do you decide what kind of sexy scenes to include in your stories? Do you go by what would turn you on or do you go by standard tropes?
Generally, I choose scenes that I want to draw. The situations I like drawing are great no matter how many times I draw it even if they are common tropes.
- from Roxy (Malaysia): Your works are one of my favourites in futekiya!! First Love Encounter is a very sweet and cute read (almost like a shojo manga, very refreshing and fun!) Hachikaku is very handsome. I love his droopy eyes!! The fact that he can’t handle horror movies is so adorable…is there a particular reason for that? Is he afraid of blood or gory stuff?
I liked the scene where they were talking to their club members through the window, while actually doing naughty things. How did you come up with that scene?
Stay with Good Boy is a great read, too! I love Yukari and Shima!! I really hope there will be a sequel, I wanna read more about them!!! I’m curious to know more about Yukari’s nightmares and the scar on his ear. Was he traumatised by his uncle? And was it love at first sight for Yukari?
Also, do you enjoy drawing slice-of-life or fantasy more?
Thank you for your hard work! I am looking forward to your future work!!
Thank you for all your questions! Droopy eyes have a certain sex appeal to me that I love, so there is a high chance that the semes I draw will end up having droopy eyes… (laughs)
Hachikaku hasn’t been exposed to that many movies yet, so he hasn’t had a chance to build up his tolerance for horror. Rather than blood and gore, he’s the type to be scared of ghosts and the supernatural. Either way, movies that incite fear are in bad taste.
I came up with the window scene because I like the riskiness of the situation and the “oh no they might get caught!” feeling~ I also thought about a situation where Hachikaku’s little sister is right outside of his room. (But I felt bad for her and for Mine)
As for Yukari’s nightmares, he has been working hard for his mother, who loves beasts, so he feels guilty about the fact that he can only help them through the sex industry. He has this dream every time one of the beasts is taken in by another master.
As you can imagine, Yukari’s ear injury was caused by a burn from his uncle because he was too attached to one of the beasts. I liked the fact that he was naive and carefree, so it was almost like an unconscious love at first sight. I think it was also because he was an outsider, different from those in the store that he felt guilty about.
I really feel that my skills are lacking with fantasy, so I definitely prefer slice-of-life! (laughs) I want to keep improving though…!
- from Crystal (Malaysia): How do you create or decide character names and names for your works?
Do you create the characters first then decide the name or vice versa?
Normally when drawing manga, do you start knowing the ending or do you come up with it as the story progresses?
I always think that I want my characters to exist in real life, so I choose names that aren’t too difficult and are believable. Stay with Good Boy is more fantastical so I chose their names based on memorability and sound.
I create the characters first. Actually, I usually don’t decide names until I absolutely have to, which just makes things harder for me.
For me, if the number of chapters is set, I decide the overall flow of each chapter first. I adjust as I go along, and sometimes I’ve adjusted too much that I have to change the ending.
- from Laura (The United States): I really enjoyed reading your work!! Since First Love Encounter deals with movie genre preferences, what kind of movie do you like? Do you have any recommendations?
I like horror and disaster movies. About 80% of the time, my works are created while watching horror movies. I like western movies but it’s hard to recommend them to someone who lives there (laughs) Besides horror movies, though, I like Big (1988), Snatch (2000), The Truman Show (1998), as for Japanese movies, I like Our Little Sister (2015), The Long Excuse (2016), The Chef of South Polar (2009).
Movies that pull at my BL heartstrings are The Hobbit series (2012, 2013, 2014), It (2017), and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). And obviously, Brokeback Mountain (2005).
And finally, do you have a message for futekiya readers?
Thank you for finding and picking up my work. I hope I can keep creating stories that make somebody somewhere even a little bit happier and I hope you can keep supporting me in that!
Thank you very much!
Thank you very much, Sensei!
Mine thought his high school life would be just like a movie. He would fall in love, confess, and have a girlfriend. But, that’s not how Mine’s high school love story goes. Instead, Mine meets Hachikaku, a fellow student suffering from erectile dysfunction. Through a series of movie-esque jumps, Mine rouses Hachikaku’s slumbering junior.
In a world where humans and human-like beasts coexist, Yukari comes across an unconscious Shima in the streets. When Shima wakes, he finds himself in a warm bath, being washed by his savior, Yukari. Shima, prejudiced against humans, starts thinking maybe not all humans are bad until he sees Yukari’s scar, the same scar of one of the humans that took Yuki away. Shima, desperate to find Yuki, barges into the underground shop Yukari owns that offers special services from beast to humans. Lo and behold, Yuki is there but is not wanting to go home as Shima imagined. Will Shima be able to return to his village empty-handed? Or will he have to stay in the shop and… work there?
About futekiya: BL manga subscription
In 2018, futekiya began as a Boys’ Love manga news and culture website operated by FANTASISTA, INC., a CG/VR production studio based in Tokyo, Japan. futekiya transformed into a budding global distributor of officially licensed BL manga in 2019.
futekiya launched as an online subscription service for officially licensed BL manga on July 8, 2019. Determined to connect fans around the world with English-translated BL legally and conveniently, futekiya empowers readers to support creators and the manga industry.
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