S o r y u d e n
The Super Dragon Brothers

Volume 1 Interview:
Yoshiki Tanaka VS
Nanase Ohkawa (CLAMP)

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The Creation of Soryuden
O = Nanase Ohkawa (CLAMP)
T = Yoshiki Tanaka

O: Mr. Tanaka, thank you for this interview today.

T: My pleasure. I have to thank you too.

O: Let us begin by asking: "When did you start thinking of writing Soryuden?"

T: Well, it all began twenty years ago. I was about sixteen or seventeen years old. Most of the elelments had been thought of by then.

O: Was that version any different from the one today?

T: They are quite different. I was thinking of writing something humerous, such as the four brothers being non-humans but pretending to be humans, and the four opponent sisters would have names like Urami, Sonemi, Netami and Higami. (^_^)

O: It really is funny. (^_^)

T: Exactly. That time I was thinking about writing a series of short and sweet stories. The content would be very flexible.

O: Was the character Matsumi on your mind at that time?

T: It was, but the name would be quite funny actually. I would not call her Matsumi, but "Naori Hiraki" rather. (^_^)

O: About the names of the four people in Soryuden, how did you come up with Hajime, Tsuzuku, Owaru and Amaru?

T: This I really don't know. But I thought it would be great if people could know the order of the brothers by just looking at their names. However, it would be boring if they were called "Ichirou", "Jirou", "Sanrou" et cetra. "Hajime" isn't a strange name at all by itself, but when I put it besides the names of the other brothers, I feel quite funny without knowing exactly why.

O: I wonder why they are four in number.

T: For stories about groups, a four-member combination happens quite often. "The Three Musketeers", "Saiyuki" and the like are examples of that. In addition, I had read about the four dragon kings from the classical Chinese literature. I became very interested in that, telling myself that it may produce many possibilities for my writings. In many stories of a group of four, the fourth member is usually the key figure, isn't it? In The Three Musketeers, it was d'Atagnant. In Saiyuki, it was Sanzou Houshi. A person that seems to be protected by others might in fact be the strongest. So I got the idea that even though he is always protected by his brothers, he can be like a volcanic eruption when he becomes very angry.

O: How about changing the subject? How tall are the four brothers? It looks like the eldest brother is quite tall.

T: 187, 188 cm, something like that. He is a tall guy.

O: With such height, he might often hit his head on the ceiling of a train or the frame of the doors at home.

T: Hajime may always hit on something. He cannot live in an apartment of the condominium.

O: How tall is Tsuzuku?

T: 180 cm, no more, no less.

O: That's tall. How about Owaru?

T: Less than 170 cm. In Owaru's case, too tall will make him to lose his character.

O: Amaru?

T: Amaru should be of the average height of other kids of the same age, probably 150 cm.

O: So, Amaru will be average, but Owaru is a little bit short.

T: The Ryudou members might as well grow a lot faster at the age of 16 or 17.

O: Speaking of which, it seems to be too young for Hajime to become a teacher at the age of 23. Why's that?

T: In short, I was calculating everything base on the youngest brother, so it turns out to be like that.

O: The age of the four brothers are quite close to each other. Did you plan for how they should call each other?

T: Yes, I did. I had been thinking a lot to make it possible for all of them to talk at the same time, yet letting the reader clearly knows who is talking. As a result, I try not to have the first-person and the second-person pronouns repeated itself. For second-person pronouns, they will be the same only when Hajime and Owaru cry out "Amaru" at the same time.

O: What a wonderful plan. (^_^)

T: Therefore, "Our older brothers (onisan) should better restrain themsevles." The speaker must be Owaru, while "bro" (nisan) is how Tszuku calls Hajime.

O: When I was reading it, not only are the names, the dialogue and action are quite distinguishable. What a genius way of writing. Since I don't have to think about which character is being referred to, I can go on smoothly.

T: Well, if you read carefully, you may find that in Volume 1, Owaru has called Tsuzuku "Tsuzuku-nisan". Just what was I thinking... (^_^)

O: Next, I would like to ask about the girlfriends of the four brothers. Hajime's would be Matsuri, but will the other brothers have girlfriends as well?

T: I haven't planned for this yet, but maybe girls will come after them.

O: Who has the greatest possibility?

T: For Owaru, even there is one he might not be able to notice it. If he was to be asked what kind of girls he likes, he might answer "a good cook will do" without achieving anything.

O: Right, though it is irrelevent, but is Hajime the one who decides how much pocket money should be given to everyone?

T: Yes.

O: Will Tsuzuku give pocket money?

T: I think if he works part-time, he might give it.

O: What kind of job?

T: If say strange jobs, I have thought of letting him to work in a Friday night club.

O: Well, that... Not sure if I should say it suits him very well or what. (^_^)

T: (^_^)

O: So, did Tsuzuku go to work in a Friday night club?

T: I think not! [KatKo: But Tsuzuku does work in a job among a lot of obasan (elder women) in later volumes and has a nickname called "Morphus" (an ancient Roman deity that appears in human form in dreams.) Those obasan call him "Amour" (love) as well... -_-;;]

O: It's hard to imagine Tsuzuku working part-time. He doesn't look like one working in a fastfood shop. (^_^)

T: "Would you want some fries to go with that?" You just can't say no if it were to be said by Tsuzuku.

O: If there is such a cashier, it would be terrible to order hamburgers from him. (^_^) Having said that, how about Owaru? If he were to deliver the newspapaer, he must finish it in no time. It sounds nice. He can work in a few persons' stead. (^_^)

T: But if he were to deliver the milk, then he will goes: "Oh-oh, I have finished them all on the way!" It will be so embarrassing.

O: Amaru is still young, he cannot work right now. Then, do Amaru and Owaru recieve pocket money every month?

T: I think it must be. Chances are Owaru borrowing from Amaru!

O: There are some younger brothers who fare better than their elders. Then, is Amaru doing better than Owaru?

T: Which is closer to the truth? To ask for an interest (as in a loan)? Or look down upon him? (^_^)

O: Having said so, I don't recall reading about the parents of the four brothers.

T: Right, they have not appeared yet. It might be in the "extra" volume. Though it shall not be like the old days, but a generation will be better than the third generation, but the second generation will not be that well-known. I don't think this is too serious a subject. (^_^)

O: Their mother has not been mentioned yet. What kind of a person is she?

T: Hmm... What kind...? Hajime will think of her as "Mother must be nice and gentle". Though it might not be unrealistic, but who knows?

O: Because their parents are absent, it must be for the elder brothers to take care of the younger ones.

T: It is arranged according to their age. However, it would be dangerous to let Owaru take care of Amaru alone. Therefore, Tsuzuku must continue to look after them.

O: There are scenes where Hajime talks to Tsuzuku and Owaru to Amaru, but it seems like Tsuzuku never talks to Amaru, showing any signs of a good relationship.

T: Yes, that's because I haven't planned for their conversation.

O: Would Tsuzuku and Owaru sit in silence if they were left alone?

T: Perhaps they would never say a word to each other.

O: Oh, really. (^_^)

T: Each of them will wait for the other to speak first! (^_^) Miss Ohkawa, which of the four brothers do you like most?

O: Hajime. In the case of Tsuzuku, it would be tragic to have a lover who is prettier than myself. (^_^) Owaru is too energetic for me. (^_^) I looks more like a kid comparing to Amaru, then that will end up having him taking care of me. (^_^) Now that I think of it, Hajime is the most trustworthy. Even I am broke, he will still work and earn a living for me. Since I can trust him, I like him very much. (^_^)

T: I'm like seeing the parent birds catching worms for their young. (^_^)

O: Every CLAMP member is Hajime's fans. Hajime seems to be very gentle to women. He would not think of relying on women, but he might want to depend on Matsuri. (^_^)

T: For me, the four brothers work as a team, so I won't prefer any particular individual. Yet, I won't worry myself too much about other things since my first concern is whether there will be people reading it.

O: I have read the first edition of the first volume. It had not been labeled "Volume One" at that time.

T: Yes, yes. The editor told me back then: "We would like to publish Soryuden as a series, so let us print 'Volume One' on it." However, I thought it could not sell, so I replied aloud: "Add 'Volume One' where there is a reprint, but I doubt that would ever happen! So don't bother." This is why it didn't have "Volume One".

O: But it seems your speculation failed. (^_^)

T: True. Half a month after the publication, they said: "We have to reprint, so we have to add 'Volume One' now!" I was so surprised, and kept asking: "Really?"

O: The speed you write for Soryuden, is it one volume per year?

T: Three volumes for every two years, that will be good.

O: How many pieces of papaper can you write per day?

T: Right now, I have to do a lot of research, so I can't speed up. Yet, there has been a miracle once, writing thirty pages of Soryuden in a single day.

O: You must be in good mood then, wasn't it?

T: I remember that was at Volume 3. I already got everything in my head, so it was like putting everything down on paper. When I finished, I felt as if "it could only happen once in a life time." (^_^)

O: How many volumes will Soryuden have? I heard of rumours saying that there will be only four more.

T: It was supposed to end at Volume 10, and then add another two extra volumes. But right now it does look like it is going to end. Perhaps it will become 12 volumes. And whether there be extra or not, it all depends on whether the author still have the strength to do it.

O: As a reader, I always want the story never ends, but also want to know the end at the same time. What a fan I am. (^_^) As one of your readers, I am always looking forward to it. Thank you so much for today.

T: It's a pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much.


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