☆ life

Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p19

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

So, where were we?

Oh, yes, Sensei had just told me that they were going to show my designs on the stage screens at JUMP Festa.

None of us had known that he was going to be on stage to begin with!

Let me tell you a little bit about JUMP Festa, for anyone who doesn’t know what it is.

JUMP Festa is a huge event put on every December at Makuhari Messe, which is a huge convention center out to the East of Tokyo. Just a little bit past Tokyo Disneyland, actually.

(Here is their english website: click here.)

You can click here for JUMP Festa’s website: jumpfesta.com
It’s all in Japanese, though.

In any case, there are quite a few manga magazines in Japan with the name JUMP in them. The most popular, and the one that’s most famous worldwide is Shonen JUMP. It is a weekly mangazine, aimed at boys, with a circulation in the millions. Jump SQ, which is a monthly magazine aimed mainly at slightly older boys, is the mangazine that we was going to publish The New Prince of Tennis. There are other mangazines, like the seasonal Akamaru JUMP, Business JUMP, V JUMP, and Young JUMP.

(Someone’s collection of JUMP magazines. They are about as thick as a phone book and printed on colored newsprint.)

All of these magazines, which rake in huuuuuuuuge amounts of money from sales all over Japan, are owned by Shueisha. So, every year to celebrate the fans, Shueisha holds the giant festival, JUMP Festa. It is free for everyone to enter, and patrons can cosplay, play games, watch stage performances, voice actor performances, see previews of upcoming games, see actual pages of manga up close, and all sorts of things. You can see why it’s really, really popular. It’s held for two days, and every time that I’ve went, it was so packed that at times it was hard to move.

To get into popular things, like stage shows or big announcements, fans usually have to win a ticket through a lottery system (something like sending in postcards from the magazines), or line up really early. It turned out that since Tenipuri was going to be starting up again so soon, one of the main stage shows was a big Tenipuri extravaganza.

It turns out that Konomi-sensei had been invited to be on one of the stages at this big event in a big stage show to announce things about the new manga. Prince of Tennis, after all, had been one of the highest-earning manga for Shueisha for years, and was actually still raking in the cash. The tv anime series was over, but the series was being continued in DVD volumes, and there was still a radio show ran by some of the voice actors. They were still producing CDs with the voice actors on them, the manga was still selling well, and of course, there was merchandise for the series, and the musical. The musical, in particular, was earning big bucks. It’s no wonder that Sensei had told me, way back, that he wanted to continue the manga so that the musical would have more material.

So, it seemed that there would be a big stage show at JUMP dealing with this. Plus… they would show my designs! I was ecstatic!! I was over the moon! Seriously… could this really be real?

It might be something small to a lot of people, but to me, who still didn’t have any experience, it was something akin to a miracle.

Could life just be over, now?

You know people want to die when they’re the most happy? That was it for me. Right, right now. That very moment, I could have died happily.

But it wasn’t a dream. We all went out to dinner to celebrate the achievement, and were bidden off to an early bed.

The next morning, we all shuffled sleepily into the studio and stared blearily at our desks. Yesterday had been great (especially for me), but it seemed like it would be back to the grind for our fourth day in the studio. Just as I was staring at the delivery menu for the nearby bento (boxed lunches, more or less) place, Sensei walked into the room with a shiny new laptop and… a leather jacket.

“Ohayou gozaimasu,” we chimed sleepily. (It seemed that we never got enough sleep in the studio) I couldn’t help eyeing the leather Jacket, though. He wasn’t wearing it, just set it down on the desk.

“Ohayousan,” Sensei replied, and he sat the laptop on the counter. We got back to work, but after a few minutes, he said, “Does anyone know how to get the internet to work on this?”

I wanted to help so badly!! I love tech stuff! But Tamusho beat me to it. “I can probably do it,” he said, and shuffled up to Sensei’s desk. Oh well. I wasn’t really good enough at Japanese to be able to explain it, I reasoned. Especially technical Japanese. I was getting a lot better after spending all of this time around Japanese speakers, but I still wasn’t perfect, by any means.

“You have to plug it in directly, since you don’t have wireless,” I heard Tamusho say quietly.

“Well, I just bought it this morning,” he replied. Literally, walked into the store and bought the one that seemed best. It must be nice to have so much money, lol. (He is very generous, though!)

We ordered breakfast and continued working silently on our projects, and Sensei went off searching for images. He was searching for pictures of New York. Why New York, though?? I had no idea, until later that day when sensei called out suddenly,

“Jamie, what kind of juice do you think Ryoma would drink in America?”

Huh? I was a bit surprised by the question, so I slunk off to the question, so I slunk on over to Sensei’s desk, perplexed. “Why are you asking?” I said. Ecstatic as I always was in Sensei’s close presence.

What I saw was the original pencils for this:

He turned it around for me. At the time, there were no backgrounds at all, and Ryoma was holding a blank can. I could barely hold it together…. it was my first time seeing a real manga page! In the flesh!! I’d seen Sensei’s illustrations before, but never a page with panels and all, on real manga paper.

Now I understood, too. He’d been asking to decide what Ryoma would be drinking. Ryoma was a really spunky character, originally from America in the first place. He was also an 11 year old boy. I don’t know about boys in America these days, but it seemed to me like most boys would rather be caught dead than buying canned juice from the vending machine. Way, waaaaayyy too healthy.

“Some kind of cola would be more like him,” I said. Then, after a few minutes, it hit me: Root beer! Why not?

I told him.

“Oh, I don’t think that Ryoma would drink beer. He’s only 11,” Sensei said.

I couldn’t help smiling. I wanted to laugh, though. Root beer isn’t available in Japan, though they do drink a lot of soda. “It’s a kind of soda. There’s no alcohol, and kids drink it all the time. It’s kind of peppery, so I think that it would fit Ryoma really well!” I was really excited, probably too much so, because I was able to contribute again. Not only that, but it would have a really authentic feel!

I looked up some images on my cell phone of root beer cans, and showed him one of A&W Root beer.

He looked at it for a moment. “That’s not bad,” he said. “How do you spell it?”

I spelled ROOT BEER for him, and he looked it up in Google Images on his laptop. “Is this one popular, too?”

I looked. It was a can of Dad’s Root Beer. I nodded.

“Then, this is it,” he said. I WAS SO EXCITED!! We went back to work at our traces and practice pictures, while Sensei went back to searching for images of New York. Things were starting to come together.

“Jamie,” he finally called me again, after a while. I looked up.

“How you you spell New York in english?” he asked.

Lol. I love being useful. 🙂 And then, an idea occured to me. I had a friend in New York. A friend who loved Tenipuri, and also loved taking pictures.

To make a long story short, during that day I got in touch with her. She was jumpy and happy to take pictures for us. I told Sensei about it, and he jumped at the chance.

“Do you think that you can get them and print them out for me by next week?” He said.

Sensei sent us home in the evening that day, me with instructions to get the photos, and the rest of us just to practice. We went home, tired but (at least in my case), satisfied.

But with JUMP Festa only a few weeks away, there was still a lot of work to be done!

You knew it was coming: To be Continued tomorrow!
Tomorrow: What did we need to do before JUMP Festa that was so important?
Friday: Why didn’t we need the passes, and what happened at JUMP Festa? You’ll find out!!
The next time: Some of us got mad. Not just mad, but really, really angry.

Leave me lots of comments! I’m enjoying reading them all, you guys! (*^o^*)/

(894 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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