Entertainment news portal Mantan Web recently conducted an interview with an editor at Esuma Bunko which is the publisher of the novel and some details about the new volume were discussed, which could be related to what we can expect in the anime's second season. Check out the translated interview below.
The translation is from the interview posted in the Light Novel Shitsumonjou column as posted on Feb. 14th, 2014, Japan standard time. The images are taken from the novel's official site unless otherwise noted. (Note: The author is described as male assuming from the name given, but no information about the author was found specifically regards to gender outside of the interview.)
Image via Mantan Web
The cover of the first volume feature Haruka, Rin, Nagisa and Makoto in Iwatobi Swimming Club jacket when they were in elementary school, above. Written by Koji Oji, Illustration by Futoshi Nishiya.
---What attracts readers to this novel?
Cool and edgy characters, an intricate storyline and the dialogue between the boys that Ooji creates. Ooji himself is surprisingly not aware, but the interaction between Haruka and Makoto shocked many readers in this title. His characters hold the innocence of a child and a mature mentality together and that gives depth to the characters. His technique of effectively using both the dreamy feel of being underwater and the articulate swimming descriptions in the swimming scenes makes the novel very interesting.
--- How did the novel came about?
The novel High☆Speed! was sent to enter the 2nd Annual Kyoto Animation Award in the novel category. It received an Honorable Mention awardand that’s how the project started for publishing. Even when the novel was being evaluated, many staff members were attracted to the interaction between the boys and their mature-for-their-age attitude and it received lots of support [from KyoAni].
--- Who are the author and the illustrator? How are they?
The author, Koji Ooji has a definite sense of what he wants to write with a very strong determination. He always tries to include new challenges by integrating his unique setting as experimental aspects in his work. He pays very close attention not to specify too many details about his characters in his writing intentionally, because he prefers his readers to fill in the blanks to fantasize about the character in their minds freely, and he is very serious about it.
The illustrator, Futoshi Nishiya, loves his characters deeply. Since the characters in High☆Speed! act very mature for their ages it was a challenge to balance that with their actual age, but Nishiya was able to capture the perfect balance, because he understands each of them very well. Even I get nervous when I see the illustrations of the characters from the novel because of how sexy they look without even trying. Nishiya is capable of illustrating that feel with ease.
--- There are many unique characters in the novel, but who is the most popular?
It may be because of the anime, but the fans love Makoto. The young Rin who grew up to be very different in high school in the anime was also well-received. However, a lot of fans insist that it’s best when all 4 of them are together, so I think all of the boys are equally popular. Wait, it may have been all about Makoto Tachibana from the beginning (Laughs). I personally think the position of Makoto is most effective and attractive as a character from the point of view of both an editor and a fan.
--- Please tell me what gets you excited to work on this title and what are the challenges.
When I receive the writing in progress and the illustration is what gets me most excited. The characters start to move in them and that makes me strongly feel the title is moving forward and my heart starts to race thinking about it. The challenge is to find the right spot to merge what Ooji wants to write as a writer and my request as an editor in the meeting to discuss the story's plot. They crash sometimes, but I strive to search for the best direction as an editor, because I would like the writer to be able to express his vision in the end.
--- What will happen in the new volume?
In the second volume, the story moves to middle school. Haruka and Makoto meet new friends and encounter new struggles. Nagisa is still in grade school, so his relationship with the middle schoolers will slightly change as well. It also touches how Rin is doing while studying abroad. It tells the story of how the boys face themselves as they grow up, continuing the story of their youth and swimming.
--- Any last word for the readers?
We received a lot of feedback and comments from the readers since the release of the first volume and feel that is very fortunate as a title. We appreciate your support very much. We hope you look forward to the second volume as well when the release is available. There will be new characters in the new volume and most of them are boys, of course. They are all very unique in their own way, so please get yourselves ready!
Source: Mantan Web