A writer and screenwriter based in Tokyo, Yasunori Kasuga spent many years at animation studio Production I.G. before joining Anubis Entertainment where he directs the development of live productions and comics. Kasuga has also written the novelizations of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex SECTION-9 and Black Jack ni Yoroshiku dystopia311 and worked as a screenwriter for TV anime Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V. Currently, Kasuga is the brains behind our two original manga series, The Golden Age of Decadence and After School!. He kindly took time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts on the creative process and his work.
When did you begin writing?
I was 24 years old when I started writing. After graduating college, I entered open calls for screenplays and novels. My career in literature really began when I started working at Production I.G. as a scriptwriter.
What inspired you to begin writing?
I started writing for a drama club because I looked up to Japanese comedian Kōki Mitani. I like Neil Simon, Ray Cooney, Billy Wilder and situational comedy.
What influences you as a writer?
When I was in college, my professor said, “You’re more tragedy than comedy, more novel than screenplay.” So I started writing novels. If I hadn’t taken that advice, I don’t think I would have survived as a writer.
What are your favorite parts of The Golden Age of Decadence and After School!?
I like Hyunsman in The Golden Age of Decadence. Even though he can’t help but lash Baudelaire with insults, he is still similar to a loyal retainer. I like that about him.
As for After School!, I’m particular about how I invoked the memories of the early days of elementary school and drew inspiration from Stephen King’s “It” to do that. Please pay attention to the details of the lunchtime scenes and hallways in the depictions of the underground facility.
What were your sources of inspiration for The Golden Age of Decadence and After School!?
In The Golden Age of Decadence, I wanted to make something entertaining based on decadent French literature. I love French writing, so this manga is born from that. The collected works and essays by Tatsuhiko Shibusawa (a writer, critic, and translator of French literature) also inspired me.
For After School!, Polish photographer and painter Zdzisław Beksiński end of the world images became the inspiration for a lot of it.
In The Golden Age of Decadence, Baudelaire talks about writers being robbed of words. Have you ever felt like you lost your words? If you have, how did you find your words?
When I was in my twenties, I could write for hours, but now when I concentrate, I can only write for four hours. I can’t find the right words and so my productivity drops. So in that sense, I think people who are young are more filled with words.
Do you have words of encouragement for aspiring writers, artists, and mangaka?
Unfortunately, the entertainment industry is not a world where you debut after a lot of practice. Some people debut on their first try, and some people sprout after trying for many years. And even making it, you can have it taken away, too. So at that time, do you think, “Curse the world.” Or do you think, “It’s time to study, practice, or invest in myself”? I believe that is the difference between people who make their dreams come true and those who don’t.
What are your favorite anime, manga series, or books?
Anime: MOBILE FIGHTER G GUNDAM
Manga: From Hell
Novel: Là-Bas, Juliette
Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Kasuga. Do you have any final words you would like to tell the readers?
Thank you for overcoming the language barrier and reading this! There are more unexpected developments to come. Please look forward to the continuation of the story!