☆ life

Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p42

To see a list of all of the posts in this series, click here. (*^-^*)

August meant more of the same. More PairPuri, more manga, but unfortunately no more bonuses. Poo. 😛

We were working nonstop on more PairPuri and on new episodes, and for whatever reason, Konomi-sensei decided that we’d make three chapters this month instead of the usual two (I always think of it as one chapter, but technically we did two chapters per month, each 16 pages long. Not any different than another mangaka’s 32-page monthly chapters, so.. Anyways, in this case we would draw PairPuri AND 48 pages of regular manga). Thank god I’d taken that little trip to Okinawa, and found time to have a little birthday party in the park! It felt like I hadn’t seen my friends in ages!


August wasn’t all routine. August 4th brought something wonderous, amazing, life-defining, and super super suuuuper sparkly. That was, of course, the release of Shin Tenipuri volume 1!!!! MY FIRST MANGA!! SORT OF. I MEAN, THE FIRST MANGA Graphic Novel THAT MY WORK IS IN! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

It was so cool to finally hold the actual manga in our hands! Like, an actual book version that we could take with us forever. I bought something like fifteen copies and sent them out to friends and family overseas. Sure, nobody could read it, but that’s why I wrote in the books– circling some of the places that I’d worked on, and noted a few stories for them in the margins. It was my book, even without being my book. Does that make sense?

Well, it was our book, anyway!

August flew by with practically no vacation, and work was going well. It was nice to have a new face in the studio, too. When September hit, Sensei announced that he was going to sing at the upcoming Tenipuri Festa, on stage.

That was met with wild approval and much laughing! I saw a lot of different sides working with Konomi-sensei while working with him– from the doting father-type, when he marveled over our little triumphs and the praise flowed endlessly, to the sensei/mentor-type, when he was encouraging, sometimes critical, but always willing to extend advice on how to improve ourselves, to the little kid in him, when he just wanted to go out and play, climb things, and run around, and of course, there was the cool-type. I’d say that Konomi-sensei was more dorky than cool. He had a lot of confidence, and he loved to get excited about things– arcade games, picnics, parks, his old manga Cool, whatever. In public, he looked cool. He hadn’t looked cool in the beginning days of being a mangaka, but he’d discovered somewhere along the line that appearances got you a lot, and that, since the public only saw bits and pieces of you, it was easy to be cool to them. Style your hair, buy trendy clothes, watch what you eat, and you were in.

I never asked him why he decided to be ‘cool,’ but I do have a theory about it. He loves attention, right? And arguably most of Tenipuri’s fans are girls, right? Even though it was marketed toward guys in the beginning, most of the fans were women. They read it for the hot guys or the yaoi possibilities. While I can’t comment on the last except to say that he’s well aware of the yaoi and embraces doujinshi completely (I mentioned this in one of the early chapters.. do you remember?), my theory is that he decided to be ‘cool’ in order to receive some of the fans’ worship. In order to be like one of his pretty-boy characters himself.

It fits, doesn’t it? Releasing a single, making public appearances, all after changing his style and losing a ton of weight? Speaking of weight, he loooooooved Coke Zero, by the way. Especially the now-discontinued “Coke zero with fiber.” He used to call it, fiber-in, which became a running joke. When I got a bottle of coke zero and tried to make it sweeter by dumping Pal-sweet (basically Splenda) into it, and it exploded all over the desk and the page of the manga that I’d been working on, when everyone sobered down enough to stop laughing at me, Sensei decided that my concoction would now be called “Coke zero sweet-in.” Yeah.

Oh, and the page? It was fine. That’s what white-out is for. 😉 I was afraid of mistakes when I first started this job, and of making the paper look messy with too much white-out, but after I realized that everyone makes mistakes, and a LOT of them, I got over it. If nothing else, I’ve learned that, and all of the sleepless nights, fretting, and insane work schedules was worth it! All that matters in manga visuals, really, was that it looked good in the final print, in the graphic novels.

In other words, we used a LOT of white-out in the studio. All of us. 🙂

What does this have to do with what was going on right now?

It all goes back to style. Tenipuri Festa was in a few days, and Sensei was going to be on stage, so he wanted to be stylish (naturally). But instead of going shopping by himself, what’s a multi-millionaire with a bunch of assistants to do? I mean, if you go shopping with them, you have someone to carry the bags!

Carry the bags we did. Sensei piled us in his car (poor Tamusho AND Koko-san had to sit in the back.. behind the back seat, without seats or seat belts, since we had too many people to fit in the seats now. We were up to seven people in the studio now). We joked about getting a ticket (it wouldn’t be the first time! Remember Hyoutei musical?), so the guys had to duck down whenever we saw a police officer. You’d never know that he was such a rule-breaker, lol.

So, when we got to the mall, Sensei gave us all 500 yen (about $5…. yeah, I know.. there’s something embarrassing about that, but hey, free money is free money, and remember that we’re getting paid to be here.. sort of) and told us to meet him back in front of this specific trendy men’s clothing boutique in two hours.

Us three girls (me, Maru-chan, and Marie) ended up getting some ice cream and sitting down, and I’m not sure where the guys went off to. It was a big mall (Lalaport in Chiba, for those that might know where that is), but I got a bit restless.. and I was more interested in what Sensei is buying than the rest, I guess, so I found myself back in the store playing fashion consultant.

“How does this jacket look?” “What do you think of these jeans?” It was actually a lot of fun!! And in the end, guess how much our vain, sometimes-loveable Sensei bought? How much fits into six huge, heavy shopping bags?

400,000 yen’s worth of clothes, that’s how much. Basically, Sensei spent about $4,000 at one store without batting an eye.

Geez, it must be nice to be rich! The funny thing was, in the end, he didn’t wear any of the stuff that he’d bought at Tenipuri Festa (what he chose was far more amusing).

ALSO, $4,000! So, why did we only get $5 to spend? Cheapskaaaate…..

We went out to eat ramen afterward, and I actually poured tea for everyone (Japanese etiquette was finally seeping through.. or, well, I don’t know. It certainly felt strange, but the boys did this sort of thing too, so I thought it might go over well), and got a ton of praise about how Japanese I was. >.>

So, yes. So far since I’d started working for Sensei, we’d been paid for golfing, photography, picnics on the beach, bowling, going to Tenimyu, and now for shopping. We even stopped right after this at the arcade.

Kaiwa-san looks on as Sensei tried to win some chocolate.

That shopping trip, though, was nothing, compared to getting paid for going to Tenipuri Festa!

What crazy hijinks happened there? Why did we have to bring suitcases? What did Sensei wear on stage that had us all laughing like crazy? What did it feel like being the only ones waving glowsticks in a sea of kankeisha (people involved in the production– usually family members)?

You’ll find all of that out tomorrow! So come back! Stay tuned! ^o^

(739 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.


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