Exclusive Interview: Fujita on Wotakoi Finale – Part 2

Continuing Our Conversation with Fujita!

The wait is over! Part 2 of Kodansha’s exclusive Fujita on Wotakoi Finale interview is now available to read below or if you would like to experience this entire interview in one video check out the Kodansha YouTube page to see a special video covering all the topics of this interview in a singular multi-media experience fans of Wotakoi are sure to love!

To read Part 1 of Kodansha’s exclusive interview with Fujita hit the link below:
Exclusive Interview: Fujita on Wotakoi Finale – Part 1

Once again we must give a big thanks to our interview translator, Sawa Matsueda Savage. And English-language series editor, Vanessa Tenazas for their help on this interview.


(Please note that since we transcribed an audio recording of an interview with Fujita-sensei, some comments come from Wotakoi’s Editor, Suzuki are mixed into the answers.)

On Hobbies – What is Fujita’s personal otaku genre?

Fujita: I like video games, and I play fun, low-key ones like Animal Crossing and Pokémon. The types of games I like are ones I can enjoy in my own time, that I’m free to play as I like by myself. 

Recently, I’ve also been into TRPGs (tabletop role-playing games). The Cthulhu TRPGs have surged in popularity in the past decade or so with more people playing them, and it became a trend to stream playthrough videos on YouTube. I happened to watch a really fun one that got me intrigued and I played it with my family, and that’s how I got into it.

I generally like creating characters and letting them act out stories, and while creating a manga out of that takes a lot of time and energy, a table talk game is less taxing and great for some casual fun. I think TRPGs are unique in that they let me create characters and play with them in ways that aren’t possible in manga.

Asides from games, I like horror-related content. Recently when I work, I’ve been playing videos in the background where YouTubers go to some haunted location or professional horror storytellers tell spooky stories. I’m very intrigued by the emotion of fear, and I find it curious and impressive that being scared can also be entertaining.

I think that the emotion of being scared and being entertained might involve a similar evoking process, just in different colors. A well-crafted story is of course scary, but also makes you go, “Huh. That’s really neat.” Everyone is capable of fear, and the same goes for enjoying something. Because I draw manga, I have a habit of dissecting the fear I feel to figure out what gave rise to that emotion. I break down the elements to arrive at a reason that makes sense to me, like “maybe it’s scary because this part of the story is told in this kind of tone.” When I listen to these stories, half of me does it in the spirit of research, hoping to translate that method somehow into my own manga, and the other half just wants to enjoy being scared as a regular member of the audience.

On Wotakoi’s Ending – What were the challenges of wrapping up a series?

Fujita: I wasn’t conflicted about finishing the series. It went as far as it would go, and I thought it was time to wrap it up. I felt the story couldn’t go on without having Narumi face her inner conflict about hiding her otaku ways, and if I kept waiting to pursue that storyline, I was worried that it wouldn’t be clear what the story was about anymore… Over the six or seven years working on the series, a gradual rift began to grow between the readership and the character I had originally intended Narumi to be. So time was running out to give closure to the story of Narumi wanting to hide being an otaku, which is what I had set out to do in the first place. Closet otaku are already becoming a minority, and once it becomes normal for most to think they have no reason to hide their otakuness, I figured it would be really difficult to present a story that would be convincing to my readers. Looking back, I just barely made it in time for the story to be relatable, so I think the timing was good.

Personal Thoughts – Did Fujita get to draw the ending they wanted? 

Fujita: In finishing the series, I put a crazy amount of thought into the last two episodes or so. I had to wrap up all the stuff about Narumi’s relationship with Hirotaka, but also figure out how to fit that into her own inner conflict, as well as how Hirotaka should get involved in Narumi’s personal struggle. I may be the one who came up with Wotakoi, but throughout the series my editor Suzuki-san helped make the adjustments it needed, so the two of us discussed what would make the most sense for Narumi and Hirotaka’s characters. We had ideas that would have been fine if it wasn’t the finale, but we definitely wanted to aim higher because it was going to be a special episode. I knew we couldn’t compromise. We ended up going with an idea that was completely different from my initial plan.

Suzuki: Compared to when the series began, society’s ideas on otaku have changed so much, haven’t they?

A positive interpretation is that Wotakoi may have had some influence, with the suggestion that it’s okay to be more open about otaku inclinations. And now people are becoming a lot more open about it than we ever expected. 

Fujita: I first thought about retuning to the usual energy and banter at the end, but as I was working, it started getting emotionally touching. I didn’t want the kind of heartfelt ending that screams, “This is the finale!” which was why I meant to end on a busy, comical note… [laughs

Suzuki: Well, I thought it had the feel of their usual style while still having Narumi overcome her inner problem, and I felt like it ended in keeping with the series. I also thought the individual characters really got a chance to shine in the final volume’s book-only episodes in a way that makes you want to see more. I really liked the one about Ko changing the way she calls Naoya.

Fujita: Those were meant as bonus treat for the fans!

Suzuki: The book-only episodes weren’t the only treat. You didn’t hold back with the cover of the artbook, either. 

Fujita: I drew all the lovey-dovey situations I had refrained from drawing before. 

On What’s Next – What does Fujita want to do next? Are they working on anything new? 

Suzuki: We can’t really talk much about this, but we have been discussing things.

Fujita: I’m at the stage of preparing my next move.

Suzuki: I think it’s going to be something that surprises everyone in a good way, so I hope it leaves people in awe.

Words to the fans of Wotakoi

Fujita: I can’t thank you enough for supporting me from so far away, and I hope to see you again in some way or the other!

On Characters – Fujita Tells us why they love each character

Narumi Momose

Narumi was the easiest to work with because I didn’t have to worry about how to portray her. She also functioned to ease the tension in any situation. She would make everyone smile just by being there. Narumi is the heroine, but I wanted her to be a kind of hero who saved Hirotaka. At the very end though, I got to make Hirotaka the one who saves his hero Narumi, so I’m glad I managed to guide the story there.

Hirotaka Nifuji

Hirotaka is actually meant to be the heroine. So I was really careful about how I portrayed him, and many of the times my editor turned down a storyboard, it had to do with how I presented Hirotaka. We had discussions that went like, “If you make him smile here, it might make the rarity of him smiling less special.”

Taro Kabakura

I worked with Kabakura thinking it was okay if he was something of a jerk. When I came up with material for Kabakura, it would be him making a verbal attack with something rude or selfish in an argument with Hanako. I didn’t mind if he came across as awful or a jerk depending on how you looked at it, but I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t clearly in the wrong. I wanted the fights between Kabakura and Hanako to be quarrels stemming from a difference in values. I sought advice from a lot of people about how to keep that balanced in terms of whether Kabakura’s way of thinking made sense in certain scenes. Kabakura was the second easiest to work with after Narumi, so I enjoyed drawing him. His character was great for throwing curveballs.

Hanako Koyanagi 

She was a good senpai around Narumi—older, reliable, cool, and composed. But she acts like a kid around Kabakura, and I wanted to show that contrast. Some characters can be insensitive around the people they’re comfortable with, and I wanted that for the Kaba-Hana couple, where they end up looking like a husband-and-wife comedy act from the outside. I had never created a female character like Hanako, so I wasn’t sure if I would grow to like her in the beginning. One thing that can be said for both Kabakura and Hanako is that they both like to act cool.

I suppose this is my opportunity to say that I come up with the characters for Hanako’s cosplay based on what I think she might choose, so although sometimes people say that those must be my favorite characters, that’s not always the case!

Naoya Nifuji

I really didn’t know what to do with Naoya until later on in the series. He was so innocent that I felt like I was drawing a mythical creature I’d never seen before. Kind of like a unicorn that people say exists, but no one’s ever seen. I personally identify the least with Naoya’s personality traits. At the beginning, I had a really hard time using Naoya because his character ran solely on being innocent, blissfully oblivious, and pure, and that wasn’t much to work with. But by introducing Ko, I decided that I wanted him to provide Ko with emotional support, or in other words, be Ko’s source of light*. That’s how Naoya’s role as a character materialized. Without Ko, he really would have just been there for Hirotaka to tell him he sucks at video games.

*The kanji character for “Ko” means “light” in Japanese.

Ko Sakuragi

When I proposed Ko’s character design, I almost had to redo it at first because she “looked too much like a boy.” But I pushed it through with the promise that she would get cuter as the series progressed. I thought she was cute, and I didn’t want to change her to fit in better with society’s idea of cuteness. Juxtaposed with Naoya, I was particular about not making them look like they would work together, so I couldn’t agree to make pre-transformation Ko look cuter. I wanted Ko to be an otaku with no love for herself who gets pulled up by Naoya. Naoya is a radiant “Light type” to a ridiculous degree, so although I felt bad for Ko, I figured she needed to start from a ridiculously low place. But people with low self-esteem like her tend to be really kind. They get hurt easily, so they’re careful about not hurting people, and they’re very observant of others. So I think of all these characters, Ko is the kindest of all.


This concludes Kodansha’s exclusive interview with Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku series creator Fujita, detailing their thoughts and feelings around the manga, adaptation, it’s finale and more.

Fans who still need to get their copy of the final volume can find where to buy their copy on kodansha.us. And remember that there are still exclusive variant editions of the final volume at Barnes and Noble!


Wotakoi fans can also experience Parts 1 and 2 of this special interview in a uniquely crafted video full of art from the series, as well as a process sketch segment of the exclusive AX 2022 art by Fujita

Binge Worthy Blowout Continues With More Series on Sale!

Stating Volumes for Select Series as Low as $1.99 Each!
Select Additional Volumes Up To 50% Off

We’re continuing our month-long celebration of completed series by giving manga fans the opportunity to binge bite-sized and long-running series at a deep discount during the Binge Worthy Blowout! See below to discover what new series are part of this massive sale!

Right now short and sweet series like the hilariously romantic Practice Makes Perfect, and Heroine for Hire have volume 1s at $1.99. Mid-length series series like the action-packed Battle Angel Alita, and Mardock Scramble see volumes 1 & 2 priced at $1.99. And long-running series like the EPIC All-Rounder Meguru, and Knights of Sidonia see volumes 1, 2 & 3 priced at $1.99. On top of that take up to 50% off select additional volumes from each series!

Take advantage of this great deal letting you digitally binge manga to your heart’s content during the Binge Worthy Blowout digital sale! To see all the discounts being offered right now, visit one of our participating digital vendors: BookwalkerAmazon KindleGoogle PlayKoboNookizneoMyAnimeList and more! 

Sale Ends Monday, September 26th! 

Curious about this sale but don’t know where to start? Try the FREE 1st chapter of the featured bad teacher comedy, GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka!


Still looking for more recommendations? See below for recommendations on short, mid-length, and longer Kodansha manga series to binge on!

Series with Vol. 1s priced at $1.99: Discover Short & Sweet Series


Series with Volumes 1 & 2 priced at $1.99: Discover Series With More Vols. to Love


Series with Volumes 1, 2 & 3 priced at $1.99: Discover Long-Running Series

Dive Deep into Finished Series with the Binge Worthy Blowout!

Stating Volumes for Select Series as Low as $1.99 Each!
Select Additional Volumes Up To 50% Off

This week we’re kicking off a sale celebrating completed series perfect for binging during the Binge Worthy Blowout digital sale! During this sale we’re making it easy to dive deep with all first volumes priced at $2.99 – but that’s not all! The longer the series the more you save!

Right now short and sweet series like Ayanashi, and Can I Kiss You Every Day have volume 1s at $1.99. Longer series like Golosseum and Basilisk see volumes 1 & 2 priced at $1.99. And long-running series like Ajin: Demi-Human, and Boarding School Juliet see volumes 1, 2 & 3 priced at $1.99. On top of that take up to 50% off select additional volumes from each series!

Take advantage of this great deal letting you digitally binge manga to your heart’s content during the Binge Worthy Blowout digital sale! To see all the discounts being offered right now, visit one of our participating digital vendors: Bookwalker, Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, izneo, MyAnimeList and more! 

Sale Ends Monday, September 12th! 

Curious about this sale but don’t know where to start? Try the FREE 1st chapter of the featured awkward office rom-com, Sweat and Soap!


Still looking for more recommendations? See below for recommendations on short, mid-length, and longer Kodansha manga series to binge on!

Series with Vol. 1s priced at $1.99: Discover Short & Sweet Series


Series with Volumes 1 & 2 priced at $1.99: Discover Series With More Vols. to Love


Series with Volumes 1, 2 & 3 priced at $1.99: Discover Long-Running Series

September 2022 New Digital Licensing Announcements

Kodansha USA Publishing announced today their latest offering for all-new debuting digital manga series starting September 2022.

Coming in hot are the reincarnation fantasy harem rom-com, The God-Tier Guardian and the Love of Six Princesses; as well as the Edo era, only-the-strong-survive, martial arts battle manga, Gamaran!

All of September’s debuting digital manga series will be available upon release across all our participating digital vendors, including BookwalkerKindle, Apple Books, Google PlayNookKoboizneoMyAnimeList and more!

For more information on these as well as any other Kodansha USA manga, visit kodansha.us.


SEPTEMBER 2022 DIGITAL DEBUTS

The God-Tier Guardian and the Love of Six Princesses 
Art By Hisashi Kakoyama, Story By Touwa Akatsuki,
Original Character Designs By Tetsubuta

Release Date: September 6, 2022

In order to stay by the side of his liege, Arsmeria, the devoted knight Vance chose to reincarnate with her a thousand years into the future. In his new life he’s known as Lloyd, the foster son of Countess Myuria and the wielder of colorless magic. But Lloyd has kept his memories of his past life and of his quest, and when he finds that Arsmeria’s reincarnated soul has been divided into six parts and spread amongst many, he realizes he’s got his work cut out for him!

Rated: 13+

Read Chapter 1 Now


Gamaran
By Yosuke Nakamaru 

Release Date: September 20, 2022

Unabara Domain—home to nightmarishly strong students and masters of martial arts of all kinds. The lord of the Unabara has decided that whichever of his sons discovers the strongest martial arts style will be his heir, but when 28th son Naoyoshi Washizu decides on Ogama-style practitioner Gama Kurogane, son of notorious father and scion of a “weak” style, to represent him, the odds seem bleak. But between Naoyoshi’s determination and Gama’s hard-earned strength, they may yet come out on top!

Rated: 16+

Read Chapter 1 Now


I’m Standing on a Million Lives Vol. 1 Now 99¢

Get vol. 1 for 99¢ and take up to 50% off subsequent volumes!

Throwback Thursday is back making it easy to jump directly into the brutal anime-inspiring isekai fantasy, I’m Standing in a Million Lives, by By Naoki Yamakawa and Akinari Nao! From now until August 31st, you can start this action-packed dark fantasy only 99¢ for volume 1 and up to 50% off select additional volumes!

Learn about I’m Standing on a Million Lives: Ninth grader Yusuke Yotsuya is practical, friendless, and not active in any clubs. Then one day, he and two female classmates are suddenly sent to another world where they must work together to battle for their lives. Yotsuya is a lone wolf and has always lived his life according to his wants, but how will that work out now that he’s supposed to be a hero?! Get ready for a one-of-a-kind fantasy story that will challenge everything you thought you knew about fantasy!

To save big during the I’m Standing on a Million Lives Throwback Thursday spotlight sale just visit one of our participating digital vendors: Bookwalker, Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Nook, izneo, MyAnimeList and more!

Curious but want to see more? Check out the FREE 1st chapter preview below!

End of Summer Line-Wide Sale

More than 3000 Volumes of Kodansha Digital Manga Now on Deep Discount
99¢ for Vol. 1s & Up To 50% Off Select Additional Vols.

We’re making it easer than ever to build up your digital manga library with the End of Summer Line-Wide digital sale! In this this special extended sale, over 3000 volumes of Kodansha digital manga are on deep discount with vol. 1s of select series available for 99¢, and up to 50% off additional volumes! Now’s the perfect time to sample tons of fan-favorite series, across all genres, like Tokyo Mew Mew, Sweat and Soap, Boys Run the Riot, Rent-A-Girlfriend, EDENS ZERO and so many more for only 99$ or each volume 1!

Take advantage of this MASSIVE End of Summer Line-Wide digital sale, with tons of manga specially priced at 99¢ for vol. 1s and up to 50% off select additional volumes! To see where you can save, visit one of our participating digital vendors: Bookwalker, Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, izneo, MyAnimeList and more! 

Sale Ends Monday, August 22nd! 

Curious about this sale but don’t know where to start? Take a look below for some recommendations across a number of genres and read FREE chapter 1 previews for each series linked!


Ghastly Thrills & Epic Chills: Discover Horror / Thriller Series

Always Exciting, Always Action-packed: Discover Action / Adventure Series

Furry Friend Adventures: Discover Pet-Themed Series

The Beauty Found in Everyday Life: Discover Slice-of-Life Series

FAIRY TAIL Vol. 1 Now 99¢ & Up To 50% Off Other Vols.

Get vol. 1 for 99¢ and take up to 50% off subsequent volumes!

As part of the Throwback Thursday digital manga sale you can now get the first volume of the shonen action fantasy epic by Hiro Mashima, FAIRY TAIL, specially priced at 99¢, and also take up to 50% off select volumes after that! Sale starts now and ends Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

Learn about Fairy Tail: Cute girl wizard Lucy wants to join the Fairy Tail, a club for the most powerful wizards. But instead her ambitions land her in the clutches of a gang of unsavory pirates led by a devious magician. Her only hope is Natsu, a strange boy she happens to meet on her travels. Natsu’s not your typical hero—he gets motion sickness, eats like a pig, and his best friend is a talking cat. With friends like this, is Lucy better off with her enemies?

To save big during the Fairy Tail Throwback Thursday spotlight sale just visit one of our participating digital vendors: Bookwalker, Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Nook, Kobo, izneo, MyAnimeList and more!

Curious but want to see more? Check out the FREE 1st chapter preview below!

When Will Ayumu Make His Move? & More 50% Off!

Save on Rom-Coms Like When Will Ayumu Make His Move?, That Blue Summer, Lovesick Ellie & more during this special summer digital sale

We’ve reached the last sale of the the Kodansha Manga Matsuri summer celebration event. This time we’re putting a huge spotlights on the love born from those hot summer nights with the Manga Matsuri: Summer Fling digital sale! Fans can save up to 50% off such favorite rom-coms as the anime-inspiring will-they-wont-they shogi showdown, When Will Ayumu Make His Move? (Now streaming on HIDIVE); as well as the social media-driven love saga, Lovesick Ellie; the time-traveling unrequited love drama, Those Summer Days; and even the incredibly wild isekai motherhood manga series, I Guess I Became the Mother of the Great Demon King’s 10 Children in Another World!

Take advantage of the hilariously touching Manga Matsuri: Summer Fling digital sale, giving you series celebrating summer love up to 50% off! To see where you can save, visit one of our participating digital vendors: Bookwalker, Kindle, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, izneo and MyAnimeList

Sale ends Monday, August 1st! 

Curious about this sale but want to see more? Read the first chapter of When Will Ayumu Make His Move?, FREE or click on any of the titles shown below to read a first chapter preview!


August 2022 & Spring 2023 Licensing Announcements

Kodansha USA Publishing announced today at Comic-Con International 2022 in San Diego their latest offering for digital manga series debuting this August, as well as special drop-in print manga licenses arriving Spring 2023.

Additional Spring 2023 print releases announced today include the Shaman King sequel – by the original series creator, Hiroyuki Takei – SHAMAN KING: FLOWERS; a cute near future close encounter adventure, Break of Dawn; as well as the manga adaptation of the isekai comedy light novel, also coming from Kodansha & announced at Anime Expo ’22, Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement!.

In the realm of digital debuts, August 2022 sees the launch of the yearning star-crossed romance Our Love Doesn’t Need a Happy Ending and the queer love triangle saga She, Her Camera, and Her Seasons.

The special drop-in print titles announced will be available Spring 2023 at local and online book vendors like Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Amazon, and more!

And August 2022 digital debuts will be available upon release across all our participating digital vendors, including BookwalkerKindle, Apple Books, Google PlayNookKoboizneoMyAnimeList and more!

See the full list of all-new licenses announced for print and digital below or on Kodansha.us.


AUGUST 2023 PRINT LICENSES:

SHAMAN KING: FLOWERS 
By Hiroyuki Takei

The ghosts, spirits, zombies, and gods return in this brand-new sequel to the classic shonen adventure manga SHAMAN KING! Hana Asakura finds that being the son of Yoh & Anna Asakura isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and his boredom has him itching for any kind of excitement. But when a fight comes straight to his doorstep, it’s from a place he least expects—his own family? The battle for Asakura supremacy begins!

Rated: 13+


Break of Dawn 
By Tetsuya Imai

It’s the year 2038, but more importantly, it’s summer. A little boy named Yuma is obsessed with the impending return of the Arville Comet. Then, one day, he sneaks onto the roof of an apartment building and finds something even more amazing—something not from this world. Now Yuma and his friends, and his hovering autopet Nanako, must work together to uncover a secret that’s slumbered in the Earth for years, as dawn breaks over a new era for him and for humanity… Entire story in a single volume.

Inspired an anime film coming soon from the acclaimed screenwriter Dai Sato (Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex)!

Rated: 13+


Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement (Manga)
By Keisuke Motoe
Original story by FUNA
Character Designs By Tozai

After growing up an orphan, Mitsuha has a healthy respect for money and a desire to live well—at least, until she dies after being pushed off a cliff. Waking up in a strange fantasy world, Mitsuha narrowly survives an encounter with a pack of wolves, then realizes she has the power to move between this world and the real one. A lesser person might embark on heroic adventures—Mitsuha instead immediately recognizes the lucrative possibilities of her new situation, and heads out to buy an arsenal of modern weapons. Her goal: to acquire 80,000 gold, and the life of leisure she’s always dreamed of! The manga companion to the popular light novel series, also coming soon from Kodansha!

Rated: 16+


AUGUST 2022 DIGITAL DEBUTS

Our Love Doesn’t Need a Happy Ending 
By Fuyumi Yajima

Release Date: August 2, 2022

Daiki Tomita likes movies, but the real reason he’s still kept up with his university’s film club members after they all graduated is his unrequited love for fellow member Koharu Kobayakawa. He’s been hesitant to risk their friendship by asking her out, but when Koharu breaks the news that she doesn’t have long to live, Tomita must decide whether or not he’s willing to let her go without ever telling her how he truly feels…

Rated: 16+

Read Chapter 1 Now


She, Her Camera, and Her Seasons
By Tsukiko

Release Date: August 16, 2022

Akari is a third-year student who has spent her high school career sticking to the straight and narrow…but her attention is caught by Yuki Sendo, the short-haired, standoffish girl in her class who seems to buck the trend. Akari can’t seem to stop seeking Yuki out, and her feelings rapidly develop into something more than girlish friendship. But Yuki seems to have eyes only for her childhood friend, Rintaro Kagawa…who himself seems to have feelings for Akari. It’s a mess…and one that threatens to grow even messier as Akari navigates between what she wants and what’s expected of her…

Rated: 16+

Read Chapter 1 Now


Knight of the Ice & More Sports Manga 50% Off!

Save on Sports Manga like Knight of the Ice, Grand Blue Dreaming, Fairy Girls & More!

The Kodansha Manga Matsuri summer celebration continues with our spotlight on sports and game-themed digital manga where fans can save up to 50% off such fan favorite series as the competitive ice-skating rom-com, Knight of the Ice; the social media game-of-death series, Real Account; the bro-tastic seaside serious comedy, Grand Blue Dreaming, and many more!

Take advantage of the amazing Manga Matsuri: Sports Fest digital sale giving you titles that celebrate the sporty summery season with volumes of select series up to 50% off! To see where you can save, visit one of our participating digital vendors: Bookwalker, Kindle, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, izneo and MyAnimeList

Sale ends Monday, July 25th! 

Curious about this sale but want to see more? Read the first chapter of Knight of the Ice, FREE or click on any of the titles shown below to read a first chapter preview!