The Wrap-Up

So after Hyoukyo Mirror was done, I had planned to make a series of three little special articles here – a sort of post mortem or wrap-up? Unfortunately, that's been two years ago and I can't remember a whole lot of the things I wanted to talk about. … But if I postpone doing this any longer, I'll forget EVERYTHING, so here goes nothing.

Let's see... the main thought behind Hyoukyo Mirror was very simple: “I want to make a spooky Halloween Special for Prismanga!” The storyline occurred to me like most of them do – while I was pacing around on the balcony, thinking about all sorts of things. I'm not good at keeping things simple, but I had to try since it was only supposed to be a little side project and I had no clue how long it would even take to make a oneshot like this, especially since I had zero prior experience with drawing manga. I thought that a story about one of the “Seven Mysteries” of Soumei High would fit the bill, and at the same time, I could introduce some other interesting and ominous things as well. (But I'll get to those in a minute.)

Originally Taku was going to be the main character, but as planning went on, he became the deuteragonist instead. Taku is pretty hard to shake up and takes most things in stride, not showing how he feels on the outside that easily. So I thought that he needed a companion - someone who would react more strongly to the weirdness going on and actually get spooked from time to time. Plus, I figured that it would be nice to have two main characters who could talk to each other and discuss things. Thus, Kei was introduced.

All the obstacles they encountered on their way had a specific purpose, no matter how random they seemed. Let's take a look!

  • Souma, the sickly senpai, wasn't only there to serve as a cheap jumpscare for poor Kei, but to introduce him to the reader as well. He is... quite important.
  • Shoutarou and his android abomination show two things: Technology is quite advanced and androids are normal, even if they usually aren't supposed to be creepy. Most of them run with an advanced AI nowadays and can be hard to distinguish from humans. Therefore, there are plenty of students who don't like the way Shoutarou, who only views androids as machines to tinker with, treats them.
  • The escaped mechanical pet snake is another way to combine “spooking Kei” with “showing that this kind of technology is completely normal here.”
  • Meanwhile, “the place where Kishida-senpai got in a fight and blew up the wall” is supposed to make you wonder: How the heck did that guy manage to explode the freaking wall? It alludes to the fact that there are plenty of people who have special powers in this world – that it's in fact another normal part of life and most people don't make a big deal of it. To be exact, both Kei and Taku also possess their very own special ability... they just wouldn't have had any reason to use them.
  • The message to “Mayumi” on the wall is a bit of foreshadowing to a different manga project and supposed to illustrate how very creepily-obsessed Sagara is with that girl. Funfact: If you've been following my stuff for a while, you might have seen Mayumi already, but you wouldn't have known that it's her.
  • Shiori always being fixated on boys is brought up again (I think the first time was during the Valentine's Special 2016?) and even if it's mostly been played as a joke until now, I hope it isn't seen as solely that. Or, even worse, people view her as... uh... “flighty”, if you know what I mean. She has a reason for being like this; one that goes beyond “being a high school girl who wants to enjoy her youth” or something.
  • Then, the mirror. I'll leave what that Mirror Taku means up to your own imagination, but we won't have seen him for the last time. In fact, the very existence of the mirror and of a lookalike is already hinting at something pretty big, don't you think? Taku even mentions having heard stories about similar mirrors before...

As you can see, there's quite a bit going on and even though I think that the drawings look pretty awful by now, I'm glad that I decided to do this little story. In a sense, Hyoukyo Mirror is the first project of mine I actually managed to finish, so it holds a special place in my heart. (It also showed me that “screentoning is really boring to me” and “backgrounds and perspective are seriously hard to get right”, haha.)

Lastly, here's a little comparison of page 5 with and without background and effects. For some reason I've kept this file around all this time, so I might as well show it... ;;;

Alright then! I think that's all I wanted to say? Maybe? Probably? (I don't know anymore.) There's a 99% chance that this little wrap-up is the last thing I'll ever do on this page, so yeah. If you made it this far, thank you for reading!! (And if you haven't done so already, please check out the more-or-less continuation of this story; Hyoukyo Traitor. It doesn't have a cursed mirror, but a cursed traitor. If the title is anything to go by.)

~ Natsu