Interview: Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World Light Novel Author

In a recent interview conducted by Mipon, Kei Sazane, the light novel author of Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World (Kimi to Boku no Saigo no Senjō, Aruiwa Sekai ga Hajimaru Seisen or KimiSen), shared details on his involvement in the anime adaptation and more. 

Could you explain what makes the series special? How do you make it stand out from other magical fantasy stories?

Sazane: Within the magical fantasy genre, KimiSen is what I would call a “Magic Battle” story.

When I started writing KimiSen, I really wanted to put more emphasis on interpersonal and romance story elements, not to the extent of a conventional love story, but so that there was equal focus on action and romance. 

Honestly, I’d describe the relationship between Iska and Alice as “affection,” rather than passionate “love.” They’re fighting against each other, but I also wanted them there to be an emotional side to the story as well. 

The anime performed well during the fall 2020 anime season. In your opinion, what is the reason for its success? Are there any particularly interesting scenes or aspects of the story that helped it become popular?

I really enjoyed the anime myself, and there are certain scenes in each episode that I particularly like. As for KimiSen in general, I think the expressiveness of the characters really makes it special.

You’ve got illustrations in the light novel, and of course, lots of panels in the manga, but I think the anime is wonderful because you can see everyone’s facial expressions and body language change in real-time.

For example, in episode 2 or episode 7, when Alice gets embarrassed, you can see the transition as her face gradually becomes redder and redder. Or in episode 6, when Mismis finds out she now has an astral crest.

She’s distraught and sobbing until Iska manages to comfort her and get her to smile. The anime staff did a great job creating that fluid transition from crying to comfort. 

Both (of the anime directors) got really into the light novel and knew it really well, so they had a good idea of what kind of face each character would be making during a given scene. They read the light novel very closely and thanks to that, they did a fantastic job interpreting the story and adapting it into an anime. 

If one of the directors wanted to make some changes to the story for the anime adaptation, would they discuss it with you first?

From the beginning, we wanted the anime to be as faithful to the light novel as possible. I was even there during the entire scriptwriting process. 

Of course, there are some lines and very specific details that we had to cut out, but aside from the chronological order of some parts, we stayed true to the source material. The only major exception was the climax fight in episode 12.

Since it was the final episode, we wanted to make it feel more like a proper climax, so I made the suggestion of creating an anime-original “last boss” that wasn’t from the source material. The staff allowed me to write the script for that part, and they adapted it for me. 

For the anime adaptation, how deeply are you involved with that?

This is the first time one of my works has been adapted into anime, so I was fairly hands-off and left most of it up to the directors, series designer, actors, and the other staff.

But like I mentioned earlier, the directors had carefully read the source material and frequently asked me for feedback. “Sazane-sensei, what do you think about this?” or “Would it be okay if we tried that?” and so on.

I mainly answered questions about characters and settings, or how we could cut or rearrange scenes in order to stay within the episode time constraints. 

I was also present for the voice recording process. The director of audiography and Oonuma-san are in charge of things, but I advise the actors as well. For example, I helped shape the attitudes and feelings of affection between Iska and Alice over the course of the 12 episodes.

Like in episode 1, they’re both enemies, but they begin to open up little by little from episode 2, so I asked the voice actors to speak their lines in a way that reflects that.

Special thanks to Mipon for the conducting the full interview, which is now available. Part 2 will be published at a later date. 

©2020 Kei Sazane. Ao Nekonabe/KADOKAWA/Kimisen Project

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