This is the translation of an interview that was done - or at least that's what I think - ofr the exhibition about our favorite quartet during Angeoulême 35th festival! It was included in a recent promotional DVD from a French Editor.
You can download the video at chibiyuuto 's livejournal!
Please remember that this is Japanese translated into French, then once more translated into English, and that I'm not that good a translator... So if you have any suggestion to correct my mistakes, you are totally welcome!
Hello CLAMP. Could you introduce yourselves ? What is the job of each of you?
O: Ohkawa Ageha from CLAMP, I am in charge of the scenarios and the script.
M: Mokona from CLAMP, I supervise the drawings.
I : Igarashi Satsuki from CLAMP, I take care of the sketches, the design of the books and the essays.
N: Nekoi Tsubaki from CLAMP, I handle the illustrations among other things.
Could you tell us how you met and how you decided to work together?
O: These three were in the same high school. They got on well with one of my friends who brought us together.
Why did you choose to name yourselves CLAMP?
O: It was not us who chose to name ourselves CLAMP, it was a friend who prompted it. He was often together with us in activity clubs or when we were doing doujinshi. I don’t think that this name is such important.
What is the meaning of CLAMP?
O: What is it already?
I(?): A mountain of potatoes?
O: He told us that, but in the dictionary…
I: The literal meaning is “stud”. A mountain of potatoes is the figurative sense.
O: But you can’t find the definition in every dictionary.
The very attractive drawing style of your manga can sometimes hide a dark, venomous story. How do explain that?
O: Good question! When we develop a scenario, we never know beforehand if the story will be serious or somber.
How did the idea of doing a cross-over between Tsubasa and Holic came to you mind?
O: We wanted to create two stories with the same characters so that the two series would converge. The initial idea was to imagine cross-overs between the actions. We then imagined two plots in different worlds. It was like writing two parallel story lines.
In Clover, like often in your stories, you often go back to the theme of imprisonment. Is it a theme that you feel strongly about or is it just a scenaristic trick?
O: It’s true that an escape is always easy to develop, and as our characters are rather individualistic and want to escape from a group or constraints, it might be one of our favorite themes. But it’s true it is quite rare among Japanese writers.
CLAMP’s creativity and productivity is impressive, you manage to run several series at the same time. What is you secret?
O : We sacrifice our private life!
M: It is true. We never go on vacation.
O: if you give up on your private life, you can do the same.
How do you reconcile your private life and your professional life?
O: I think that if you tried to live like us, you wouldn’t succeed in doing that. Since our debuts, we have never taken a week of vacation. A day off per month, and we’re happy enough; when everything goes well, we manage to take two days off. If you can keep up this pace for 18 years, you will succeed in publishing as many books as we do.
M: I have heard that in some countries, people have three months of vacation.
O: What a dream!
Could you tell us what are your sources of inspiration to create your manga?
O: The deadline! As soon as we know when it is, we do our best to create a story. It is like the deadline of some homework or some essay.
M: We always do it in a rush.
O : We should be better organized. But when we begin a project, it is always hard for us to forget about our previous work. In fact, we rarely find our inspiration in our daily life.
M : When I have an idea for a character’s design, I sometimes do a quick sketch. Or, but that is rare, when I come across someone with an interesting hair cut, I take notes.
O : It happens concerning the designs but as for the scenarios… it can happen but is even more exceptional. For example, in the case of Clover, I was inspired by one my dreams. I transcribed it almost entirely while adding a few alterations.
M: I think that was also the case of RG VEDA, in the beginning.
Thank you very much. We hope to see you someday in France!
CLAMP : Thank you, we hope so too! Thank you very much!
I hope you enjoyed the interview!
Please tell me if you intend to use it in a fansub ^^
Oh, and if anyone needs information about Japan Expo and an eventual stay in Paris, I'd be happy to provide it to you!
I live in Paris and my mother is in the travel business, so I might be able to give you some advices on where to go and when to book!
Now maybe I'll go read a new mind-nubbing chapter of TRC. Let's hope we'll have some explanations about what the hell is going on!