After more than 15 years at the head of the French manga Dreamland, Reno Lemaire is starting (almost) from scratch by publishing a remaster of his phenomenal series. Meet.
If you’re under 30, you may have missed out on Dreamland. For 16 years, the series signed Reno Lemaire has been a hit at Pika Édition. It is preparing to deliver its twenty-first volume in a few weeks, and has even formalized the broadcast of an animated series produced by La Chouette and ADN. Not content with being the longest French manga on the market, the series has also just offered an unexpected return to its roots, with the publication of a first completely new remaster volume. Meeting with the author, between a recipe for success and good advice for breaking into the very closed world of manfra.
Your manga has become a staple of the genre, why did you imagine a remaster when the series is still in progress?
Reno Lemaire: It’s linked to two events: I arrived at volume 19 which marks the end of an arc, and since I was very young I dream of publishing an artbook. At each end of the volume of dream land, it tickles me, but I couldn’t leave the readers in suspense for a whole year. With volume 19 and this end of the cycle, I thought it was now or never. So I made this artbook, and for the first time in 15 years I had to re-read my series. It was the first time I put myself in reader mode. I saw the qualities of the manga, it allowed me to better understand why people like it, but I also saw all the flaws. Volume 1, it stung my eyes, now the bad stuff, I see them.
What’s new in this volume 1 remaster compared to the original version?
LR: I redid everything, there is not 1% of the old volume. I redesigned everything, rewrote everything. Obviously, the old readers must be able to connect the wagons. There are seven chapters in volume 1 of 2006, it’s the same in the remaster. I didn’t want there to be two distinct editions, the objective for me was rather to imagine a reprint on the first two or three volumes, then it will be mainly small minor adjustments. Basically, I didn’t even want to communicate on it, I had simply told Pika to let me know when we would run out of certain volumes to send the new PDFs to the publisher. In the end, they were the ones who convinced me to go all out. We thought about it for a long time, and we finally settled on the idea of a remaster, because that’s it after all: the same thing, but better.
In your opinion, what has made Dreamland successful for more than ten years?
LR: I understand that Dreamland is defined as a shonen, because you have to fit into boxes. But since its debut, I find that the manga has gone through a lot of genres. For example, volume 8 is prohibited for children under 15, because I have trouble with the fact that in the shonens, the characters are not gendered. They are teenagers, the boys are aware that they have a girl next door, I didn’t want to totally embrace the shonen culture because it’s much more than that. I always said that I would be able to define Dreamland when the series is over. For me it’s an adventure before being a shonen. We are in 2022, everything has already been said, the decor is a pretext. The important thing is to create endearing characters, and that the story is coherent as a whole.
Dreamland will soon be adapted into an anime, why did you call on a French studio (La Chouette) rather than Japanese?
LR: I had already had a few offers, including Japanese, but I really wanted to work with French people. My story is about Terrence, a resident of Montpellier. I know that I would have spent too much time explaining certain aspects of manga that seem natural to us in France. If only the sexualization of the characters, their romantic relationships… I needed my interlocutors to understand that, and that’s also what makes the exoticism of dream land, is that he is very French.
You have to understand that creating an anime is another industry. There’s a lot of money at stake, there are a lot of stakeholders, it’s no longer an author and his publisher. With Sylvain (Dos Santos, editor’s note, the boss of La Chouette Compagnie), there was this feeling right away, and for me it’s very important. I liked their approach of wanting to make an adaptation. Respect is also that: they understood the characters and they adapt them according to the needs of the medium. I didn’t want to be in a river adaptation chapter by chapter, panel by panel. This adaptation also makes me rediscover the series through the eyes of screenwriters Jean-Luc Cano and Antoine Morel. People who knew the show will probably be a little confused, because a lot of scenes change, but if you take the season from beginning to end, I think they’ll like it. Me in any case I am involved from the beginning to the end, and I find that good.
What do SVOD platforms bring to the adaptation of his manga compared to a classic broadcast?
LR: dreamland would not have had all the financial green lights four years ago. Today, we are in an era where you can adapt everything, SVOD platforms better target their audience, it is less difficult to obtain certain financing. ADN’s desire was clearly to reach young adults, not necessarily just teenagers. For me the end of dreamland it’s written, I don’t talk about it much, but I know where I’m going, regardless of the economic situation. Even if one day I’m at the top of sales, I’m not going to continue just to make things last.
Regarding the anime, three seasons are planned, they should cover until volume 19. If these three seasons are a hit, the sequel should focus on other characters who appear in the manga, and who have been neglected in the series. ‘animation. The first remastered volume of dreamland is available since October 12.
Discover dreamland T1 Remaster