This post feels a little late, but better late than never and I need a new topic for each day of this month! While watching Nozaki-kun, I remember being struck by his extraordinary reliance upon his friends for ideas in his manga. He’s hardly the only author to use real life persons in their fiction, but most characters take on a life of their own after a while. For example, in the novel I submitted to the Christian Novel Contest (which has entered the next round. Banzai!), I based one character on Robert E. Lee and another on Stonewall Jackson. (Perhaps, an imperfect example since neither are known to me personally but only though history, but let’s go with it.) While I thought of these two characters like the historical figures for a while, they eventually took on lives of their own. They were no longer facsimiles of Lee and Jackson, but Gladwin and Roger. I did not slavishly resort to reading biographies of the historical figures and looking up quotes of theirs whenever I had difficulty trying to write about them. Eventually, I thought of them just as Gladwin and Roger, and I could write about them without reference to their antecedents. The historical figures were a crutch I rested on until I properly owned the characters so to speak.
Nozaki-kun never seems to exactly own his characters. And so, he relies on the actual doings of his friends and testing their reactions to various stimuli or, to put it less vaguely, his trolling in order to figure out how his characters would act. For example, he asks Waka for a detailed report of his date with Seo and makes an accurate record of what his male friends do when they sleep over his house–though, he does translate their deeds to things women would be more likely to do, since his female characters are the ones sleeping over in his manga. This made for an absolutely hilarious anime, but it seems rather unrealistic for how fiction authors usually operate. One wonders if Nozaki will continue writing comics as he gets older or join a Japanese news agency. What do my dear readers think? Especially those who have tried their hand at fiction?