☆ life

Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p47

Part 47… PART 47?!?! Wow, I thought that it would take much longer to get here. But yay anyways!
To see a list of all of the posts in this series, click here. (*^-^*)

We were cruising into December already, and I’d been working for Konomi-sensei for over a year now. There had been ups and downs; I’d nearly lost my job, we’d gotten in a few arguments. There had been so many happy times too, though. Working for my idol, designing the uniforms, making so many friends, having my work published. Times that overshadowed most of the little disagreements that we had.

There was one inescapable point of contention, though. Here we were, working 24 or 25 days a month, and Sensei was not showing up to work. Again. Not only were we busier than ever, but we wasted so much time. For days on end, it was:

1) Show up at the studio and are buzzed in. No Sensei in sight; no work on his desk waiting for us.

2) Three or four days later, we still haven’t seen head nor tails of the elusive guy. There is no work to do, so we sit around and draw random tennis backgrounds (based on photos taken a year ago now). We try to keep ourselves motivated. It’s hard, though. There is no direction, no goal. Nobody buy Sensei knows what the next chapter is about, but HE IS NOT THERE. We keep ourselves busy, but it’s slow. Tedious. We talk and joke, but sooner rather than later, silence falls again. I’d be watching downloaded tv on my little laptop while drawing, Kaiwa-san would be chuckling over DVDs on his mini-player. Marie, Tamusho, Koko-san and Maru-chan firmly ensconced themselves in a world of music. If I took my headphones off, the silence was sometimes deafening.

3) Sometimes we’d wake up in the morning and find a page or two with art penciled on it sitting on the counter surrounding Sensei’s desk. There were little notes scribbled directly on the paper or on post-it notes (use this background from our file, or draw this, etc), and we’d split up the page by taking an x-acto knife and slicing along the panel lines. Everyone would get something to work on… if there was enough. When that was done, we’d tape the page back together. (I mentioned this a long time ago, but figured that I’d mention it here, too. You can never tell in the finished product, but the page itself becomes a bit flimsy.)

Even this work would eventually peter out. Sometimes, we would be in the studio for a week and never have seen Sensei at all. Then suddenly we would be sent home through email, told to come back in two days.

It gets really tedious, you know? Nobody wanted to sit around. Especially when we didn’t get paid any more for doing so. I’d promised not to complain about it again, but I started thinking that, maybe, this is where I should just call it quits.

At least I could last out the year, right? And they needed me…. I just couldn’t quit. I mean, even if it was maddening at times, this was the job of a lifetime, right… right? RIGHT? I am sure that I made the right decision now, but I was torn at the time. My mind and my heart told me two different things. Which was I to listen to?

At the end of December, JUMP Festa came again. We had finished our December chapters the day before (past deadline, after spending two days working straight through without a break and without sleep), and Sensei gave us the choice of whether we wanted to stay over in the studio and go straight to JUMP Festa in the morning (it’s held very close to the studio), or go home and go to the event site on our own in the morning. (There was no choice to just go home and miss it. I don’t suppose anyone considered that at all)

I opted to go home just because the thought of spending another night in there when I didn’t have to was oppressing. No freaking way.

Briiiiiight and early the next morning, I was on the train on my way across Tokyo to get to JUMP Festa. Again, it was packed full of people, and I’d brought along my last year’s pass just in case it might work to get… guess who.. Su-chan in!!

Ryoma!!!!! In my jersey!!

It takes upwards of an hour sometimes to get into Jump Festa. It’s free, but because of that very fact, it’s also really crowded. Imagine if Anime Expo or Comicon was free to get into. Yeah. Adults, kids, teens, cosplayers, you name it. There’s something for everyone who likes JUMP manga there. And, I mean, free. I can’t recommend it more, if you don’t mind waiting outside in the cold (since it’s held every December before Christmas)!

We didn’t want to wait, and our passes worked fine for getting us in the back entrance. I met Watanabe-san inside, who gave me a new pass to use, and Su-chan and I procured our seats in the arena. I saw Marie a ways away, but none of the other assistants until after the show.

In a way, even though my sketch wasn’t going to be shown on the screen like last year, this was actually better. It was more exciting being in the middle of the crowd, where all of the fangirls were going crazy. It was more fun, too, listening to what they were saying about the series, their favorite characters, and seiyuu that they loved. Su-chan cheered for her seiyuu and we had a great time. She obviously didn’t stay to say hello to Sensei, but after joining the other assistants for a moment backstage to gush appropriately over Sensei’s performance and talk show, I retired with Maru-chan and Su-chan to enjoy the rest of the events.

Maru-chan and I took pictures next to Tenipuri standups.

Su-chan and I had a good laugh at the display of original manga pages. There were pages that Su-chan had worked on before she was fired, which had apparently been “not good enough,” but were good enough to display.

Okay… :/

Then, while we were walking around, some girls spotted us walking and started pointing and squealing! I wasn’t sure why until they came up and asked if we worked on Tenipuri, because they recognized me from JumpBang on tv! Wow! It had been months since it had aired, and they still remembered what I looked like! I had darker hair, too. (Su-chan and Maru-chan weren’t working there at the time, so they weren’t in the video.)

It was sort of cute, though. 😀

These girls, however, had no idea. I was hoping to see ShinTeni cosplayers, but I didn’t see any yet. They’re all over now!

After that, Su-chan and I went to the nearby Ikea on the way home, and I talked to her about how I was feeling, and whether it was finally time to let it all go or not. Had I gotten all out of the studio that I needed, or did I still need to stay and brave the storm?

You can read all about my decision and what happened in the next post! It’s almost over, I can’t believe it!! But you might be surprised at what happened at the very end!

See you tomorrow!!! I love you all for sticking with me, whether you’ve just joined up and read it all in one fell swoop, or you’ve been with me the whole time (or somewhere in between)!


(702 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.


  • Amanda T.

    Wow so we’re nearing the end already? So sad 🙁 I’m going to miss waiting for these posts. Really enjoyed the whole story, it’s really insightful too. Even though it feels like a dream it feels real too, if that makes any sense haha. I’m interested to know how you make your decision at the end. And of course with that teaser I’m curious whether it will end in a big bang? or not? :))

    Btw I tried to comment in one of your previous post but apparently the comment wont send? is that a bug?

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Yep, we’re almost there! ;__;And your comment makes total sense. That’s how it felt to me– like I was literally living in a dream. Only, the dream wasn’t exactly what I had expected it to be!

      Ahh, was that you! I got a notification that I don’t have YouTube commenting configured correctly (news to me!). I’m going to fix it today. 🙂

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      That’s a great idea! I will do that! I also am thinking of continuing with manga tutorials, and there are some other things that I’d like to write about Japan as well. 🙂 (Also, I think maybe I should take a trip and post pictures, too!)

  • Victoria

    I’m gonna miss reading these posts everyday :'( but I can’t to see what else you’ll start posting after these are over!
    (Btw I tried to email you…..twice and I don’t think the email went through either time)

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      I’m wondering myself too, what I should post. Any suggestions? Maybe I can write about my past life? When I go to Hawaii, I want to blog about my daily life there and everything involved in moving. 😀

  • GnS

    You know I can’t help but thing something romantic happen when you keep hinting “you might be surprised at what happen at the very end!”
    And yesterday you mentioned how you initially intend to see Konomi-sensei when you became a mangaka, but apparently something happen and that ‘plan’ sort of fail.

    Hmm… Wait.. Hmm, I shall stop here to not give any ideas 😛

  • Nesli

    i live in a different timezone and every morning i’m enjoying your writing along with a hot coffee – i am going to miss that!! Thank you so much!

      • Nesli

        whatever you decide on – i’ll enjoy it for sure! What makes your blog so special is, for example, your honesty and unpretentiousness – you seem real and that’s just enough. Hope that doesn’t come off as creepy or whatever, ’cause we don’t know each other.. 😀 Just want to say that I enjoyed every single post i read so far and i really like the pictures you take 🙂

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