Written by: Kanemaki Tomoco
Original Plan: Nomura Tetsuya and Nojima Kazushige
Illustration: Amano Shiro
Copyrighted by Disney, Square Enix and Touchstone Pictures. No profits are gained from these unofficial fan translations.
For the 14th book, the first afterword! I’m Tomoko Kanemaki. Thank you very much for reading ‘Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days’. To both those who have always read my books, and to those who haven’t, I truly thank you.
The 14th book… yes, this is already the 14th volume in the Kingdom Hearts Novel Series. And, 14 is also the number that Xion was charged with. Moreover, just as this is the first afterword in the KH Novel Series, ‘Days’ was the first game title I had helped write a scenario for. I think it was about two years ago that we worked on that scenario, re-writing it over and over. Those days have already become a fond memory.
I remember happily the days when all the new staff at Square Enix’s Shinjuku office had very long conferences with Tetsuya Nomura. That time, he usually came once or twice a week. Most of the discussion was during meetings amongst Yukari Ishii of the scenario team, and the reliable supervisor, Daisuke Watanabe, and myself. Well, we really did talk about many different things. Mr. Nomura looked at the discussions the three of us had, and produced. Mr. Nomura added his hand and created more things, and that’s the shape that production took as it went along. I had been involved in game development before that, however, these jobs were all on visual novel type games, and this was the first RPG I’d helped produce. I’d usually worked alone over everything else, and so working in a team in itself was also something I was able to enjoy.
Out of the things we discussed in relation to the premise, the number one impressive thing was the premise related to Xion.
I was the one who put forward the premise of Xion, and very much of what I discussed and decided was adopted. This includes her name, which I thought about deeply. It’s already touched upon in the Ultimania, but Xion’s name corresponds to Naminé (波音, ‘the sound of waves’) as Shion (潮音, ‘the sound of the tide’), as well as being an anagram of X and ‘the Number that Never Was’, the imaginary number No. i. Then there’s one more thing. The flower Aster tataricus [‘shion’ in Japanese] means ‘I won’t forget you’ [in Japanese floriography].
Furthermore, Xion’s hair colour was also a request of mine. It came from my private desire, “I want to see Mr. Nomura make a girl with black hair!”. It was nothing other than a perk of the job. I am treasuring a rough sketch of Xion that (probably) hasn’t been shown to the public.
Moreover, the base of the Replica premise of mine was also adopted. It was an idea that came from a thought I’d had when I was writing Riku’s volume of the Chain of Memories novels, that the Replica’s weren’t actually counted. Beings whose existence has been created, that are supposed to exist even less than the beings that aren’t supposed to exist. The premise is one that cannot but end sadly no matter how you handle it, but I think it’s so if the Replicas are feeling happiness in their hearts at the end, even after all that.
Still, just as the game itself is a long series, the novels have also become a long series. Volume 1 came out about six years ago, you see. The first volume, for which I was groping in the dark in every conceivable meaning, holds incredibly fond memories. And them, in those six years, so many things have happened. A child entering elementary school at that time would be a middle school student this spring! Wahh. I have so many feelings of gratitude towards everyone who has supported me for those six years, and to all the staff.
I don’t usually have the opportunity to say this properly, so here are some more concrete words of thanks.
First, to director Tetsuya Nomura. The signed Sora figure I received on a birthday sometime ago has been treasured in front of my desk the whole time. I’m your fan. We haven’t met recently, but I really enjoyed idling and talking with you backstage at the game show. I’d like the two of us to talk backstage again sometime. And, I thank you in advance for taking care of me from now on, too!
To illustrator Shiro Amano. While we’re always promising to go do things together, one of us is always cancelling at the last minute because of work… we’re terrible, aren’t we? That time we drank ourselves stupid at my house was funny, wasn’t it! Someday let’s drink to a level where we don’t fall down!
To scenario writer Kazushige Nojima. If I think calmly, you’re a storyteller I admire so much. In KH2, that line of the King’s, ‘We’re safe and sound—and free to choose! So there’s no reason we shouldn’t choose to help our friends,’ is a line I really, really love, and I want to become the kind of person who can write lines like that. Though there’s no real reason we should have, the two of us haven’t properly drunk together face to face. After I have finished this afterword, I’ll email you an invite to come out drinking with me.
To the same man who supervised the scenario as well as the CoM novels, Daisuke Watanabe. Right from the beginning, if you and I hadn’t been friends, Watanabe, I don’t think I would have been let to write for this series. Even so, you and I have become old friends, Watanabe. I remember fondly the time when you’d come drinking with me every night. And, congratulations on your marriage! The wedding is almost exactly one month after this novel goes on sale, isn’t it! I can’t wait for the wedding.
To the woman who wrote the scenario with me, planner Yukari Ishida. I regret that in the end we had say ‘let’s finish this’, and couldn’t realise what we wanted to. I miss you Yukarin, I miss you. Let’s relax and eat something tasty, and have that girl talk we couldn’t really do while we were flapping around working. Don’t work yourself too hard, you hear me!
To Square Enix’s original planner, Minori Miura. My first impression of Kingdom Hearts was a game from the development team you were in. For something like this to have happened, life truly is strange. You were the one who introduced Watanabe to me, Minorin, and that’s why I am where I am today. Good luck with your new life!
To designer Kouichi Watanabe. About thirteen years have passed since we met. I definitely didn’t think we’d come to meet again in a place like this. Thank you so much for your designs, which are always lovely.
To the editor in chief Takeshi Aoshima. Not many people get to make 14 books together… If it weren’t for you, Mr Aoshima, I absolutely positively wouldn’t have been able to continue writing. I’m sorry for being such a nuisance all the time. Thank you so much. Within my working life, you’re in the top three I’m indebted to. And, I truly thank you in advance for taking care of me from now on, too.
I still have heartfelt words of thanks from many other staff members. I truly truly thank everyone not just to those in book making, but everyone involved in ‘Kingdom Hearts’, the wonderful game, and its world. I kind of feel that Mr. Walt Disney is included in that ‘everyone’… No, I definitely want to include him! Thank you for King Mickey! I love him! And lastly, to all my readers. Thank you so, so much. Without the support of your love, I couldn’t have made it this far. This afterword might seem as if the series is ending, but, I’m still going to write! Terra! Ven! Aqua! Connected hearts are my strength. I’m selfishly saying that I’m connected to you all. Those who want to connect even more, if you search for me on Twitter, I’m sure we can make real bonds!
So, let’s meet again in Kingdom Hearts Novels: Birth by Sleep!
-On a cool, rainy spring day