Candy Candy Novel Final Story (Shosetsu 
小説キャンディ・キャンディ Final Story)

Candy Candy Novel Final Story (November 1, 2010)
© Keiko Nagita 

Volume 1

Volume 2

On November 1, 2010, Keiko Nagita revised her original novel and reissued it through a new publisher, Shodensha (株式会社祥伝社). According to her afterword, her decision to release this updated version arose out of her strong desire to tell her own "final story" about Candy, free and separate from the images of the manga. A year before the debut of the Final Story, Nagita responded to a fan questionnaire inquiring about her plans and motives for revising the original novel. When asked why she changed her mind about re-writing Candy's story, since she had claimed in the past that it was too painful, she replied:

My state of mind---? Probably it is because I am no more attached to the manga art. Because the manga arts have vanished from my mind, it never cast a dark shadow on my imagination even if I try to visualize Candice and her life. Now I can call on my world of the imagination without fear. I hoped that the trouble was all settled. But I gave up all hope. My greatest interest in the present is 'how to grow my world of the imagination. The petition surprised me, and touched my heart. Candy has so many devoted friends. I took their messages seriously. And I will look for the best way for the story constructively." (October, 2009, translated by Itomaru)

This and other answers to some fan questions about the novel can be viewed at the Candy & Terry Forum.

As she worked on her revision, Nagita would give updates on her progress at Sakura's BBS, a Japanese fan bulletin board where fans could communicate with her.

"I might have made you expect too much, but Candy around 40 will appear for just a moment. Anyway, I'm sorry the old novel is rough... I feel disappointed about that. I'm rewriting the entire story. The content is the same as the old one. I'm dead tired, but finally it seems I found the exit. Please wait a little while longer."
(January 8, 2010, translated by Tarzan Freckles)

"About the novel version Candy... I know it's so late to let you know about this. (It was scheduled to be published this May), but finally I had the first draft checked. It's already beautifully-bound, but It was much harder work than I thought to rewrite the whole content. Maybe the reason why I stopped working on it sometimes is because I had often recalled some painful memories. Despite that, the more I rewrite, the more I could leave the manga and past memories, then got the new world. But I also felt that manga readers might not like the new world. Anyway, now, all the painful memories have evaporated. Finally, I got really refreshed. It will be divided into 2 volumes. I took the style that Candy in her 30's recalls her memory and could face anew each character. That was a blissful time. I'll let you know again after the date of issue will be decided."
(July 29, 2010, translated by Tarzan Freckles)

"About CandyCandy final story--
I've finished checking the galley of the postface today. Now, I ended my role in this project. I wanted to tell all of you about the release date as soon as we decided it... I'm sorry.... A certain issue depressed me so much, so I couldn't post here for a while. (I put the detail of this issue on my homepage: I felt like Candy and other characters were stained and then I felt terrible. However, when I looked at the cover and belly band, I'm satisfied that I hung on to the end. It will be published on Oct. 28. The price is 1,680 yen (about 21 USD) each. It has 2 volumes. It's expensive, isn't it? When I was offered first, it was planned as a <paperback>, so I thought I <could give readers the novel at the inexpensive price>. That's why I decided. It was getting more lavish before I knew it. But If Hat-chan looks at the front page filled with roses, I wondered if she would want to draw it and what Rose-san will say about it... While imagining such things, I got more excited. As Shoko-ooobasama imagines, this work was really hard... But I'm happy everyone is glad... As I say repeatedly, this novel <isn't the sequel>. It's the novel I rewrote thoroughly. Despite that, the new novel has 300 pages more than the old one, and Candy in her 30's looks back at her memories. Therefore, the editor says kindly it's the newly-written novel... But the content is the same as old one. So, please don't expect too much. It really took much time. My heart seems to be still flying. But I could really say good-bye to this matter. This is the real final to me. I want to take a deep breath after this novel will be published. What a long journey this was!... I'm recalling those who kindly keep on supporting me since this matter happened. Thank you. I'll be pretty nervous until the release date. May this novel give you all joy..."

(October 14, 2010, translated by Tarzan Freckles)

Contents of the Candy Candy Novel Final Story

Candy is now a woman in her 30's, presumably married and living in a home near the Avon River at a time when WWII is imminent. The author inserts passages of Candy's retrospections revealing her current reflections and narrating past events, while dropping ambiguous hints as to the identity of Candy's future husband, a man referred obscurely as "that person", or what is commonly known in the fan community as "anohito" (あのひと). The identity of "anohito" has become a source of endless controversy and debate between Terry fans and Albert fans, with each camp claiming their preferred hero as Candy's enigmatic husband. The ambiguous clues that Nagita purposely left behind were like breadcrumbs in a maze leading to your preferred choice. The author whimsically explained why she took this path in the afterword of the novel: She didn't want to deprive the Candy fans of their dreams, preferring instead to keep it a mystery and leaving the answer to their imagination. While intending to please all fans, this decision provoked mixed and confused reactions among worldwide Candy fans hoping to find some closure and a true ending to Candy's story.

Along with the introduction of "anohito" in the Final Story, Nagita made changes to the epistolary portion of the 2nd volume by adding and removing certain letters between Candy and her family and friends.  With the exception of Susanna and Albert's letters, the bulk of the 3rd volume of the original 1979 novel is a compilation of letters that were sent only by Candy. In the Final Story, Candy also received letters from her family and friends, some of which have been replaced with letters she had sent in the original novel. In one example, Candy wrote a letter to her friend and fellow stowaway, Cookie, in the original novel. In the Final Story, this letter has been replaced with a letter from Cookie to Candy. One notable and significant difference is the addition of a new letter sent from Terry to Candy after an unexpected and shocking event (spoiler ahead) -- Susanna Marlowe's death! As the first spoiler to hit the fandom, this news was a beacon of hope for Terry fans who believed the Broadway actor was forever doomed to live with the pitiful actress who saved his life. In a surprising act of mercy, Nagita had freed Terry from his dutiful bond to Susanna, thus allowing him to pursue Candy again. Meanwhile, Albert fans sought refuge in Candy and Albert's letters, which they believe reveal more romantic overtures between them. These and other minor and significant differences between the Final Story and the original novel are discussed in further detail at the Candy & Terry Forum.

Nagita clearly made important revisions that could guide the reader towards one conclusion or another. Despite the frenzied interest in "anohito",  she stated that revealing his true identity would require a new story, a sequel she claimed she would never write. Rather than focusing on "anohito", she preferred to convey that after enduring many hardships, Candy was now living happily with her "most beloved person".

In a rare, public interaction with her international fans, Nagita kindly responded to few questions from the members of the Candy & Terry Forum regarding her novel, the Final Story.

Question 1: Now that you have finished the novel, are you planning to write a sequel with or without Candy?

Nagita: This is the FINAL STORY ... I would say good-bye to all of the characters in the story as I wrote this. I definitely will never write any sequels to it. However, I regard this FINAL STORY as a brand-new start line. I'm thinking I would write some spin-off stories based on this world of Candy Candy, which was much closer to us, like you can feel lasting field, sky, wind, flowers and houses forever in the story, when I finished to write this time. (This is just my wish untill this will be realized.) As a certain poet said, "a landscape is time". To tell the truth, I was going to write the story about the new characters on the same field with Candy Candy in the new era, instead of FINAL STORY, at first.

Question 2: Would you consider working with another mangaka or animation company to bring a new version of Candy to the screen?

Nagita:  I have completely no will to do that right now. However, nobody knows whether I would change my mind or not, as I wrote the FINAL STORY that I didn't expect to decide to write before. I think it depends on good offer which would be brought by an agent who would be trust enough. I don't know what lies around the bend in a straight road. C'est la vie. It has a facsination of its own!

Question 3: Have your feelings changed about Candy's story since the first time you wrote it?

Nagita:  Nothing has been changed. My world of Candy Candy lies there all the time.

Question 4: Why did you decide to write an ambiguous ending in the revised novel? Will we know someday who "Anohito" is?

Nagita:  There are many reasons why I leave the ending of the story vague. One of them was I didn't write a detail story between Candy and her "sweet heart". If I would write it, it would be not a revised story, but a sequel story. I have an ownership legally, so I can write the sequel freely. But the original point is the manga, no matter what anyone says. I wrote this story for the manga. (If I had written it as the novel from the beginning, I would have written the sequel.) If this had been not evaluated as the manga, it would have been never exist now. In that sense, the <ambiguous> result is my best <sequel>. I wanted to talk that Candice <went through various hardships, (I got it!), after that, she calmly and happily spends her life with <her most beloved person> rather than who Anohito is.

Question 5: Would you consider accepting a personal interview about your work on the revised novel?

Nagita:  I don’t think I can answer all the questions, but it’s possible. ***

(December 1, 2010, translated by Sakura and Tarzan Freckles)

*** Nagita later clarified that she would answer simple fan questions in the BBS. Any formal interview would need to go through her book publisher, Shodensha.