Akira Hattori Interview!

Exclusive video interview with Akira Jean-Baptiste Hattori, Japanese editor of World Trigger and former editor of One Piece!
By Wsjadmin October 06, 2014

Weekly Shonen Jump had the chance to sit down with Akira Jean-Baptiste Hattori, Japanese editor of World Trigger and former editor of One Piece, for an exclusive video interview!

Also, scroll down past the video interview to check out our "Japanese Editor Picks" special feature, where the Japanese editors go in-depth about their favorite chapters. This time around Hattori talks about his favorite chapters in World Trigger!

Japanese Editor Picks

This feature originally appeared in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump website and the October 6, 2014 issue of the English-language Weekly Shonen Jump. Don't miss out on all the great manga and special features by subscribing to Weekly Shonen Jump today!

Welcome to our Japanese Editor Picks feature, where the editors get to gush about their favorite chapters and provide behind-the-scenes insight into your favorite manga! This time, we’ll hear from the Japanese editor of World Trigger, the new fan favorite sci-fi action series! Let’s get this show on the road!

Editor: Akira Jean-Baptiste Hattori
Hattori-san is 33 years old and has been with Shueisha for eight years. He is the first editor to work with Daisuke Ashihara Sensei (seven years and counting). He currently enjoys teaching his daughter to say things like, “I love you, Dad, you’re so cool!”

Favorite Chapter: Ch.11 – Yuichi Jin and Ch.14 – Miwa Squad, from World Trigger volume 2.

The Turning Point

Weekly Shonen Jump: So Bapti, this corner is supposed to be about your favorite chapter, not favorite chapters! [Editor’s Note: “Bapti” is Hattori-san’s nickname ]

Bapti: Sorry about that. [laughs ] I couldn’t cut it down to less than two.

WSJ: Understood! [laughs ] So, tell us why you chose these two chapters in particular.

Bapti: These two chapters, “Yuichi Jin” and “Miwa Squad”—represent a turning point for World Trigger .

WSJ: Tell us more!

Bapti: So here’s a behind-the-scenes tidbit—this series actually wasn’t very popular at first.

WSJ: Wow, really? That’s hard to believe...

Bapti: I know, right? I was a little sad to find out that readers didn’t respond well to World Trigger , because I’d always thought that it was awesome! So, I talked with Ashihara Sensei about what we should do going forward, and we decided to change up our plans for the series. We moved Jin’s introduction forward and got him involved in the story sooner, and that helped with the rankings a little bit. That one chapter, “Yuichi Jin,” seemed to do the trick. The two of us were a little unsure about it at first, though... Then, we decided to answer some of the mysteries we were saving for later. And with the “Miwa Squad” chapter, the popularity went off the charts!

WSJ: How did you feel when the series started to catch on with readers?

Bapti: It took a load off of my shoulders to know that everyone involved with the series would be able to keep working in the future! We finally had an idea of where we should take the series so that it would click with readers. Both Sensei and I felt that this was the turning point.

Trigger On! This battle brought word of Yuma’s existence to those deep within Border HQ.

Ashihara Sensei Is Rational

WSJ: So, the original plan was a little different than what actually happened.

Bapti: That’s right. Originally, we planned to center it on Yuma and Osamu, and gradually introduce the mysteries of the world around them. We had Trion soldiers (invaders from another world), and they were going to be the enemy. What makes a manga great differs from series to series, and we thought one of the things that would be great about World Trigger was discovering the answers to those mysteries—one by one. However, the readers didn’t respond well to this format. I was concerned whether people liked the series and even questioned my ability to do this job! It was at that point that we introduced new chapters and the answers to some of the mysteries we set up. It was a change of direction. I was psyched to find out the series went up in popularity because of it!

WSJ: How did Ashihara Sensei react?

Bapti: Ashihara Sensei always looks at things rationally, so he didn’t react the same way I did. It went kind of like this:
“Look, we’re up in popularity!!”
“I see...”
Ashihara Sensei’s the one writing the manga, but I’m the one who’s most excited about it. [laughs ] I could tell he was happy, though, from the tone of his voice.

Sharp Lines

WSJ: Do you have any favorite lines from “Miwa Squad”?

Bapti: Ashihara Sensei likes using simple words with deep meanings behind them. They’re sharp! This time even more so than Super Dog Rilienthal , his previous manga. There’s always one per chapter, and for this one, I think it was “Well, that’s an interesting lie.”

This is the first time Miwa meets a humanoid Neighbor. He can’t help but be shocked at Yuma seeing through his plan.

WSJ: Oh! Why that line?

Bapti: Up to that point, when his classmates would pick a fight or Osamu hid his true feelings, Yuma never said anything but “that’s a stupid lie.” This time, the battle begins and now the wording changes from “stupid” to “interesting.”

WSJ: Right.

Bapti: The line is in response to Miwa’s “If the two of us fight him, he’ll be taken down for sure.” There were actually two snipers lying in wait, so there were four people, not two. However, Yuma easily realized that and found it “interesting”! This boy, who was involved in life-or-death battles in another world acknowledged his enemy’s strategy, while still having the leeway to critique it! This gave us a little insight into the depths of Yuma’s personality. I think he really got to reveal his character here. 

WSJ: All that, just from one line!

Bapti: I also like “Or...so you think.” This is Yoneya’s line after he lands a surprise hit on Yuma. This magical phrase is actually a fun one to use in everyday conversation. [laughs ] Say that and you can put yourself on top of any situation!

WSJ: What a useful phrase!

Bapti: Or... so you think!

WSJ: !!!!!

Bapti: Useful, huh? [laughs ] Say, for example, your teacher calls you out. “You didn’t do your homework, did you?” “Or...so you think!” How’s that?

WSJ: But you didn’t do it! [laughs ] That’s a good way to get punished! [laughs

Bapti: It feels like you won, though! [laughs ] It’s like magic.

This is the power of an A-Rank agent! This is the first time Yuma injures himself “in this world”—and he’s not sure what’s happened!

Keep an Eye on Osamu

WSJ: What do you think are the highlights of this series?

Bapti: This is just my opinion as the editor... You have Yuma, whose power defies the common sense of this world. He keeps on messing around with the rules. How will Osamu fight without such abilities or power? I want people to keep an eye on that.

WSJ: Osamu, huh?!

Bapti: Yuma is still the character that will be the catalyst for change in World Trigger , but it will be exciting to see Osamu from here on out. He may lack physical strength, but he’s putting his life on the line at Border, so he’s not lacking in spirit. It sort of goes along with the question of what is “true power” for us humans? There are times while reading World Trigger that Osamu seems weaker than everyone. I think he’s a character that can give hope to the reader.

WSJ: Does Yuma believe in Osamu as well, given how Osamu has so much integrity?

Bapti: That’s an interesting way of looking at it. Yuma doesn’t show much fluctuation in his emotions, but it seems like he shows interest in Osamu. We all have different opinions as to what defines strength. Osamu struggles in the story as he tries to become stronger. I’d love it if fans could learn about “true power” and “human growth” through his character.

WSJ: Thank you for your time! That’s all for the interview.

Bapti: Thank you.

WSJ: Do you mind if we include your picture? Man, you’re a cool-looking guy.

Bapti: I know! [laughs ] No, that’s not it! I mean, “Or...so you think!” [laughs ]

WSJ: How did you forget after saying it so many times earlier?! [laughs ]