This No. 6 series has finally reached its fifth volume. I still remember complaining in Volume 1 how I was ashamed of myself for turning my afterwords into excuses, and saying ‘I don’t want to write them anymore!’. But after thinking it over calmly again, I realized that it wasn’t the afterwords I didn’t like; it was me―making excuses, justifying myself with this or that―that I disliked. So basically, I’d been taking my frustrations out on the afterword itself. I must confess, that’s not getting to the root of the problem at all. I’m sick of it, really.
These days I really think that people like me―who are skilled in the art of self-preservation, are cowardly, but also ambitious―shouldn’t be writing a story likeNo. 6. I may have written a bit about this somewhere else, but No. 6 to me as a work was something a little out of the ordinary. To me, the core of a work was always in humans. I wanted to write about, and know more about, none other than people. The only device I had at my hands that would let me understand people was writing. I wanted to know these girls, these boys, these men and women. I wanted to know what kind of people they were. That was the energy behind why I wanted to start writing, and it was the reason I kept writing.
But before I started writing the story of No. 6, I wished to know the world before I started getting to know the people. I hoped for a story that would help me face the world I was living in now. It was my first experience. That was why at first, I was not so much interested in the true form of Shion, or Nezumi―what they thought, what they loved, what they loathed as they lived their lives. The Holy City was the protagonist of this story, and the boys were only side characters. But it wasn’t long before those arrogant thoughts were shattered to pieces. But of course: it was impossible to render a world in which humans were neglected a place. People are always connected to the world. People are what comprise the world itself. The world is created by people, who make it bountiful, who make it corrupt, who destroy it, and bring it back to life.
Before I knew it, I was the one desperately following Shion and Nezumi, enchanted by the world they created, the changes they underwent, and their fates. And though it took long enough, it finally hit home for me that the only way to render this world was to follow them, watch them, grasp them, and pen them. It was a reckless challenge. I feel like a praying mantis brandishing its tiny claws at an enormous oncoming cart. I don’t have that resolve. I don’t have the guts to face the world, or my own self head-on. That was also what I realized while writing this story. And as soon as I realized it, it hurt to hear Nezumi’s words and feel Shion’s gaze. So now we’ve come to this: whatever shall I do? I wish I could just throw it away…. Oh dear me, now instead of excuses I’m griping. Hmm, not good. But I’ll hang in there for a little more. If I don’t pull myself up by my bootstraps now, I wouldn’t know what I’d written this far for; so on and so forth, blah blah.
Thank you for supporting me and putting up patiently with my reckless challenges and weak-willed excuses: Mr. Harada Hiroshi from the Bunko Publishing Department; Mr. Yamashiro Hideyuki from the Children’s Publishing Department. And my heartfelt thanks to you, reader, who has taken the time to read this work.