Fantasia Books Editorial Department
… This… this book is so damn absurd!
That was my first impression when I encountered this novel. I guess it’s a trend nowadays to have an idiot protagonist who dies but is then revived.
Approximately one year ago. I had just transferred to the Fujimi bookstore, and was on the edge of my seat waiting for the results of the 20th Fantasia Competition. The prize has a twenty year history, and I wondered what kind of wonderful work would be added to the roster this year!
The works that had passed three rounds of screenings had been listed and pasted to the wall of the editorial department.
Among those works, one that stood out to me immediately like a sore thumb was “Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?” (Another work also had a title that had a weird aura emanating from it, and eventually became the runner-up in the competition. For all of you who want to submit work in the future, keep in mind that the title is an important thing!)
Nervously, I looked at that title… well, this was the first time I had read this word “Zombie,” so I immediately went “what the hell is this?” with wrinkles forming across my brow. So I read it, occasionally bursting out into laughter, and finally was filled with the impression that I gave at the beginning of this commentary. What the hell was this? People who actually liked zombies would just get angry at this, wouldn’t they?
I can just picture the young, reckless author going “Let’s get this work added into the relatively orthodox (just this editor’s opinion) line of Fantasia Light Novels!” and excitedly sending the work into us… What the hell, that’s insane!! Although that was what I was thinking, considering I’m the type of person who can’t bring myself to hate strange things and have a liking for the bizarre, I already had decided in my heart to endorse this work. The other editors with better sense can endorse the more orthodox works, so this is fine, right?
This is just a pet theory of mine, but there are two types of books where “absurdity” is a selling point. There’s the type where the author is incredibly bright and deliberately writes an “absurd” story. Then, there are the completely airheaded authors who end up writing an airheaded “absurd” story. No matter how I look at it, this work is in the latter category (my apologies). I’m probably more like the people in the second category anyways, so I can sympathize.
By the way, just like when it comes to big or tiny breasts, the question of which is superior doesn’t actually exist. No matter what, it’s just an absurd story. Yes, absurd stories don’t have a hierarchy! Either one is fine as long as it’s interesting.
As all this was happening, “Have you read ‘Zombie’?” became an active topic of discussion in our editorial department, and at a later selection meeting in our department there were both approving and dissenting opinions. I wondered what would happen to it, but in the end, the minority of us who liked unconventional things enthusiastically endorsed it, with a “there are a lot of problems with this, but above all, all the characters were enjoyably depicted!” and it managed to hang on until the last round, even getting an honorable mention! To think it could actually get a prize… Luck is just as important as everything else, isn’t it?
Looking back on that selection meeting, there wasn’t a very positive impression when it came to this work that was a bit lacking in both organization and writing style. However, a certain sensei smiled and said “I really like this. If it was published, we can make the title something like ‘No, it’s Kefir,’ (1) except something like ‘Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? No, it’s a mahou shoujo,’ or something…” His opinion really worked its way into my heart… or you could say my eyes had been opened.
At that time, I became certain. If thinking a work was interesting meant believing that the readers would definitely have fun reading it, editors (the supporting side) can’t just shirk away. Instead, we should think more freely, and through that we can bring even more interesting works to the world.
For that reason, after the selection meeting, I asked our editorial department chief to assign me to this project. Ahh, and I’m really glad that I got the job.
The author Kimura Shinichi and the bishoujo unit illustrators Kobuichi-sensei and Muririn-sensei did a wonderful job with the serialization of this series.
Leaving the refreshing nature of the work I had felt during the competition intact, by revising and attaching some truly charming visuals, they managed to double the enjoyability and flow of the work, don’t you think? I have much confidence in the author’s carefree writing style and the wonderful matching illustrations.
I think that light novels are the products of teamwork. Please enjoy this product of the collaboration of three young, vigorous individuals.
They are aiming to bring more great works to their readers right now, so I hope that all the readers will give their support to Kimura Shinichi and Team Zombie! I am also waiting with all my heart to hear encouraging news from them.
(1) Some meme that might have originated from a commercial and might have been popularized by a Touhou song or something. I’m not too sure.