Q: Where did Kenren get the skull on his chest? Is it an affectation? Or is there some sort of meaning behind it? (Saitama Prefecture, YA-san, many others) A: (image) Tenpou: I bought this when I visited the Lower World this last time. I thought it would suit you. Isn’t it cute?

  • jingle*

Kenren: Y… Yeah, thanks. (caring General) Subordinate 1: Oh! Th… That looks good, Taisho!! No, seriously!! Subordinate 2: What d’ya call it…… Um… It’s funky cool!!! Subordinate 3: Yeah, yeah!! Kenren: …… (General being cared for)

Q: Why does Kenren wear his military uniform over his bare chest? (Tottori Prefecture, Konchan-san) A: That military uniform is extremely hot in the eternal Spring of Heaven… I assume. Tenpou never wears the uniform unless he’s on a mission in the Lower World, and underneath he always wears a Rakuda shirt (…). Coincidentally, the 1st platoon’s military uniform was Tenpou’s original design, so the style varies greatly from that of the other platoons’.

Q: What does the ‘moon’ look like from Heaven? (Gunma Prefecture, MA-san) A: Neither the moon nor the sun can be seen from Heaven.

Q: It seems like Konzen wouldn’t be a good cook, but how’s his sense of taste? (Saitama Prefecture, NN-san) A: He’s picky about flavor because he’s always eaten only good foods, but his meals are unbalanced. He doesn’t eat much, and he only eats what he likes. It’s because he’s a young master… He doesn’t cook for himself. Since Goku is still growing and noisy about “I’m hungry, I’m hungry!”, Konzen had no choice but to learn to make things like snacks. But you can’t really call instant ramen ‘cooking’…

IMAGE: I loved all the characters!! I especially love Konzen’s Papa role ♥ ♥ (Shiga Prefecture, Naoya Mizuki-san)

Q: Please tell me everyone’s blood types! (Shizuoka Prefecture, KS-san) A: Like their birthdays, their blood types aren’t really decided. What type are they…? According to my personal image, Tenpou would be AB or B, Kenren would be A or O, Konzen would be … A, maybe…

Q: There weren’t any meal scenes in “Saiyuki Gaiden” (although there was an episode); what did they normally eat…? (Osaka City, Tsukishiro Makoto-san) A: There aren’t any ‘shops’ in Heaven, so there are no eateries. There are restaurants, and normally Kenren and Tenpou eat there (well, for these guys, eating in the Lower World when they’re out on missions is one of the things they look forward to). Those with high rank (Konzen and them) have meals brought to their rooms at specified times.

Q: Why does Li Touten have dredded hair? (Nagano Prefecture, MM-san) A: He’s a man who obstinately continues to honor his family’s traditions above all… that’s that it means. Simply put, “I just felt like it” (laughs).

IMAGE: Goku (Mie Prefecture, Sakurano Yoh-san)

IMAGE: I loved the connection with Ten-chan! Thank you for all your hard work ♥ (Tokyo City, MA-san)

Q: Which character do you think most resembles you? (Tochigi Prefecture, NS-san) A: There aren’t that many characters, so this is difficult… If you add Kenren and Tenpou together, then subtract all their cool aspects? (Then the only things left are the no good aspects of people!)

Q: Please explain the organization of the military. (Shizuoka Prefecture, Fuzuki Kouki-san, many others) A: Including activity content, in-depth explanation is tedious…… Generally speaking, the military is divided into the Western Army and the Eastern Army, and only the lowest-ranking ‘platoons’ go out to actual battle. Tenpou is ‘Field Marshal of the Western Army,’ and his true rank is just below that of Goujun.

Q: What kind of cigarettes does Kanzeon Bosatsu smoke? I’m curious! (Fukuoka Prefecture, YE-san) A: There’s no specific brand (like Tenpou and the others, se picks Lower World items randomly). It seems Kannon only smokes cigarettes once in a very long while, but that ‘while’ ended up concentrated in the last bit of the story (pained smile).

Q: ‘Goku’ was the name given by Konzen, but where did ‘Son’ come from? (Tokyo City, SE-san) A: ‘Son’ isn’t something Konzen gave him; it’s the middle name Goku received as merit, one of the characters given in order. This applies to the ‘Go 悟’ in the original “Hsi Yu Ki,” and in the original it’s written that Goku and Gojyo were both randomly given the ‘Go’ character. Gaiden’s Goku doesn’t know that he was given ‘Son’. Sanzo hears about this in the Burial arc… Well, how can I put it, it’s whole-heartedly consistent! (laughs)

Q: How can I become good at color illustrations like Sensei? Are they any tips? (Shizuoka Prefecture, Kakehigo-san) A: If there are any tips, I’d like to know… (pained smile). I realize that I have no color sense, so rather than focus on the cohesiveness of the illustration, I try my best to create an ‘atmosphere’ or ‘sense of life’ through shading with color… I’ll try my best, so you do your best too (<- passing off the work?)

IMAGE: Always together Saiyuki Gaiden (Fukuoka Prefecture, MN-san)

IMAGE: Saiyuki Gaiden I love Goku’s smile (Saitama Prefecture, Asano-san)

Q: I’d like to know about Kenren and Tenpou’s family structure and past (infancy and childhood). (Niigata Prefecture, Mako-san, many others) A: You might eventually hear it from their own mouths, so I’ll dodge this one for now. (Ah, I just told the 5 siblings story, didn’t I…)

Q: Does Tenpou Gensui have any piercings? I get the feeling he had some at the beginning, but it didn’t look like he had any at the end… (Tokyo City, absyo-san) A: Since he’s a man who’s likely to try anything odd at least once…… He probably lost the piercings somewhere and when he was too lazy to replace them, the holes probably closed up. He might reopen them though, if he feels like it.

Q: What is your favorite scene (the scene you thought you drew satisfactorily) in Gaiden? (N-san) A: Leaving aside whether or not I’m satisfied, I put a lot of strong feeling into drawing all of volume 4… Especially the endings of the four. Also, the part where Kannon embraces Goku. As I drew it I sympathized with Goku, and I wanted hir to hold him. Also, personally, I liked Konzen on the spiral staircase. Until that point I hadn’t really been able to sympathize with Konzen (because he wasn’t a character you were supposed to sympathize with…), but there, for the first time, I was able to put my all into drawing Konzen. I usually had fun drawing the exchanges between Tenpou and Kenren (laughs). ‘I love “Saiyuki Gaiden” from the start!’… I try to say shamelessly.

Q: What kind of tricks did Kannon play on Konzen in the past? (Saitama Prefecture, Minadzuki Yuume-san, many others) A: (image) Konzen: ……… Arrow: full makeup Round thing: mirror

Q: Are there any married couples in “Saiyuki Gaiden”? (Is there even a marriage system…?) (Tokyo City, Mizuni-san) A: Li Touten has a wife. He also has a lover (Nataku’s attendant) though. There is a marriage system, but only those of high rank can have children, and that too is something like an application system. I think Goujun has something like a wife in name only, as well. Konzen seems like he would be the type to run when all the people around him suggest he get married. Kenren is how he is; it would be impossible from the start for Tenpou to get married (laughs); and Kannon’s a hermaphrodite…… yeah…

Q: What is Kenren’s room like? (Saitama Prefecture, TH-san) A: He has his own room in the 1st platoon’s dormitory (the other troop members share rooms). Unlike the Gensui’s vast and spacious (?) rooms, Kenren’s is a simple one-room place (laughs). It doesn’t have a bathroom, so he uses the public baths. He can’t make fun of Tenpou, because his room too, is overflowing with things brought back from the Lower World (audio gadgets and the like). It’s a manly, disorderly room, but since Kenren is by nature a diligent man, his things aren’t exactly scattered all over. Also, he doesn’t have a bed, and sleeps on a sofa.

IMAGE: Goku (Kanagawa Prefecture, MK-san)

Q: To Konzen. I use a stamp numerous times a day at work, but I can’t seem to do it well. What can I do to get the angle and impression perfect, like you do? (Toyama Prefecture, IM-san) A: Konzen: “First, the choice of seal mat is important. If you forcefully press a stamp atop a soft surface, the paper will unevenly wrinkle and that is not beautiful. You should choose a material that isn’t too soft. Then, when pressing the seal to the ink pad, do so with a gentle tap. If you press too hard, the excess ink will run over the paper and it won’t be beautiful; ink may also get onto the blank parts of the seal. Lastly, the secret to stamping is to slowly change the seal’s center of gravity on the paper. One technique I often hear is to “apply pressure as though writing the character の [no]”. It depends on the size of the stamp as well, but these three points are the basis.” … he says.

Q: While serializing Saiyuki Gaiden, what was the most painful scene for Minekura Sensei? Also, if there was a fun scene, please tell us that too. (Runaway-san) A: It was really painful from the time Gaiden earnestly went out up to volume 2. That’s because amid the overcrowded scheduling, I ended up starting serialization without thinking things through carefully. I fumbled along, wondering if I would be able to draw it through until the end. But right around the time Seiten Taisei made his appearance, and just when I thought, “Ah, I can do this,” this time, due to adult circumstances, drawing of “Saiyuki Gaiden” was suspended for 3 years. That was the most painful time (laughs). But I told myself, “This is nothing compared to Goku’s 500 years.” I always end up becoming very close to the characters I draw, so when they’re pained or having fun, that rebounds back to me. Although, the three’s ‘end times’ weren’t actually all that painful to draw, emotionally. I was moved by them, so conversely it wasn’t difficult. I did burn up though… And for the last story, Sanzo came in the end. Yes.

IMAGE: Saiyuki Gaiden Memoirs Hot. Fan: I’m wearing a tie though? (Saitama Prefecture, Wakayama Mayuko-san)

Q: What is the thing/person Sensei most wants to recommend to others right now? (Shizuoka Prefecture, Mitsuki-san) A: “Saiyuki Gaiden” volume 4, coming out 7/25!!! (laughs) No, seriously. Also, the new serial “Saiyuki Ibun” in the next WARD, and the new main Saiyuki series, and… (that’s enough.)

Q: What are the Bosatsu’s hobbies, in the end? (Kanagawa Prefecture, NM-san) A: I get asked this once in a while, but I’d be grateful if you would let it go as a story (sweatdrop).

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