Hello, hello! You were expecting Marion or Jecka but instead you get me--
Yeah it's Sakaki, and I'm finally posting in my own blog again. Of course if you really miss me you can check out the twitter where I'm probably doing way too much. Today I have an interview that ran in WSS issue #44 with an interview between three sunday giants (who also have anime all premiering this fall) Rumiko Takahashi, Kagiji Kumanomata and Kenjiro Hata! The interview was spread across WSS and Super, so in the interest of keeping things concise I'm posting the WSS side here. The Super one will be up soon! The disclaimers apply: Not a professional TL, might be mistakes, feel free to comment, y'know. Now that this is out of the way, enjoy!
A congratulatory special discussion between Sunday authors with TV Anime!!! (Rumiko Takahshi/Kenjiro Hata/Kagiji Kumanomata)
Bringing you a passioniate free conversation between three Sunday manga artists who's works will have TV anime this fall! Pick up Sunday Super issue 11 to see the continuation!!
(Mid August in Tokyo the three manga artists gather for a exciting evening discussion.)
Rumiko Takahashi (To be known as R): In regards to “Yashahime” I designed the three main characters, checked over scripts....that sort of thing. Kumanomata, how was it for you?
Kagji Kumanomata (To be known as K): For me it was more of a “If you could have this atmosphere it'd be great” oh, and receiving the recordings from the voice actor auditions.
Kenjiro Hata (To be known as H): Did you get what you wanted?
K: Well...they got some really good people. I'm not too familiar with anime, so I was really surprised that they got voice actors that I know...
H: Ms. Takhashi do you watch anime? Like movies and so on?
R: I do watch anime. In regard to movies, I saw “Jurassic Park.” but I've been super busy so it's been a while since I've watched any.
H: Whoa, that's back from 1993, right?
R: You know your stuff (laughs) Around 2000 or a movie theater opened in my neighborhood within walking distance...so you'd think I'd have seen more but I haven't. Even with anime it's mostly old stuff, like “Future boy Conan” reruns that are currently airing..
(TN- Future Boy Conan is an anime series that aired on NHK in October 1978. It was directed by famed animator Hayao Miyazaki.)
H: I'm not sure if I should ask this, but if it wouldn't bother you then.....what was Mamoru Oshii like?
(Editor note: Mamoru Oshii directed the Urusei Yatsura movie “Beautiful Dreamer.”)
R: There are rumors that we didn't get along, right? (Laughs) Though that's not true. Though society finds that way more interesting so I don't correct them. When the DVD and Blu Rays came out I'd be asked by others “You okay with this?” And I always respond with “What's wrong with it?”
H: I see! (Laughs) Did you have a chance to read the plot for “Beautiful Dreamer” beforehand?
R: Probably. I've forgotten a lot of stuff. The director is a little older than me I think, so there really wasn't a whole lot for us to talk about...I think I went to where they were doing the filming to say hello maybe? Something like that.
H: Man, that's pretty awesome though. It's a piece of anime history. All us anime freaks know about it!
“The search for our major roots!!”
R: Though that's enough about me. I really like the recent chapters of “Fly me to the Moon” about the spicy ramen. It's simple, but still deep. I have a good time reading the series.
H: Thank you!
R: Mr. Hata, I get the idea that you like drawing Superman because Hayate was like that too. Am I right about that?
H: I'd like to think that I draw manga from within myself that's straightforward without lies, and they just end up like that. (laughs). Most of the time I just draw what imagine, a “I really want it like this” kind of feeling. The teacher of my heart is a single man –V Gundam's director Mr. (Yoshiyuki) Tomino. He's said that his depiction of the main character; Uso Ewin is “The ideal of a young boy that I wanted to illustrate” when he conceptualized his character. I read that in a magazine once, and thought to myself “That's what I want to do too” (laughs)
R: When did you become Kouji Kumeta's assistant?
H: 1998. It was around that time that Inuyasha had been serialized for two years I think.
Editor: Kumanomata, what made you decide to become a pro manga artist?
K: Ahh...I don't really think that story is all that interesting...You know stuff like fan fiction and fan art, yeah? I used to do that a lot with my friends. Though with that you'd get really into the character one week, and then the next it'd be like “The truth is, that character is actually this!!” Which would totally throw one for a loop. (Laughs) So I got tired of that and decided to draw my own stuff.
R: So then you went to College and met Chiba Tetsuya?
K: That's right. For about half a week or so Mr. Chiba did lectures and also some grass-lot baseball. I didn't play baseball though.
H: That's amazing!! And Ms. Rumiko, you drew Urusei Yatsura around the time you were in College right?
R: That's right. It was around my third or fourth year. Though at the time it was an irregular serialization, I was pretty dedicated to drawing it. Then I graduated and it became a weekly serialization, and other characters like Shutaro Mendou showed up.
“Analyzing the works” and their “troubles”..!
H: This is quasi connected to talking about our time as newbies, but even now when I draw manga I often wonder things like “Am I conveying myself well?” or “This art isn't quite up to what I was hoping it'd be” What should I do about that?
R: I see. Ultimately in saying “I want to convey this” it's more of a thing of finding a means of being as clear as possible, right?
H: It's surprisingly (laughs) ...to be influenced by the reader questionnaire when you think “This! This is what I wanted!!” but then the readers don't like it.
R: I think what's most important to me is enjoying what it is I'm drawing. In that way even if I look back at it, if I remember that then that's what matters.
H: I see!! That's a good way of thinking.
R: Though even I have my moments of “But I had so much fun drawing this?” too. (Laughs) Though when it comes to the questionnaire results, after five or six years you forget about them, right?
R: Besides Mr. Hata I can see that you're quite the studious one when you write commentary for the newbie manga awards.
H: Whaaat?! Nonono, but thank you!! (Blush)
R: When I'm on the selection committee The editor often remarks “What is Mr. Hata saying.”
H: I haven't actually won an award for manga though. For me I try to be objective and rather than yammer on about a bunch of things and risk repelling newbies, I instead write like I'm the one trying to be selected.
R: And you're really convincing...even when you're on the selection committee you understand how to value the important things, right? “Ah I see what kind of story you're trying to write.” And you do it so easily...
H: That's true, for example I'll read through a work once and focus on the design and artwork, then again focusing on the backgrounds. It's because I go through a work several times that I'm better able to understand what the artist was going for, and reply in a way that convinces the contributor of the merits in their work one at a time. Though to think that you've been reading my reviews too...it sends shivers down my spine. (laughs)
“Art is like...this and that.”
R: Mr. Hata what did you do until you started “Hayate?” When did you come up with it? When you withdrew from Mr. Kumeta's place?
H: It was when I had my first serial in the extra magazine (Sunday Super) and it ended that I quit working for Mr. Kumeta. It was a year afterward that I began Hayate.
R: Was it at that time that Mr. Kumeta was using all digital art in his work?
H: I'm not so sure about that....but I do remember my first time doing digital art that I used a mouse to draw.
H: That was actually quite normal back then! Well, mostly because there were no other tools one could use. (laughs) There also wasn't a scanner so I used food wrapping paper to draw on, and then stuck that to the monitor...for the dots you'd have to leave each one by one.
K: Y—You had to do that much...?
“A question from the editorial staff: When drawing manga do you start with the characters? Or the world-building?”
R: World-building I suppose.
H: Same. I might have drafts for the characters in mind but usually nothing set in stone...
R: Though there's an interesting appeal to sort of swimming around and figuring things out as you go too. (laughs) It's like taking a first step and moving forward when a serialization begins. I get the idea that creating character designs for “Sleepy Princess” takes a considerable amount of work...does it?
K: The world of Sleepy Princess is basically an RPG so I take cues from that when designing clothes and whatnot. After that to keep the series from just being a straight-man/comic relief formula, I try to make it so each character has a cute impression. Finally it's just normal character design, but I have to take care in introducing them or the serialization will run into trouble...
H: I did that while drawing “Hayate”
R: It's the same for me during “Maison Ikkoku”.
H: Huh? You mean like a character list?
R: I even made a layout of the apartment. (Laughs)
K: Ooh, so like you even went as far as saying “A hole would be good here” in the Maison?
R: That's right.
H: Whoa!! (excited)
“Question from the editor: “What is cute?”
H: For me “cute” is rooted in the works that make up the Rumik world, but what about you Ms. Rumiko?
R: I suppose for me it goes back to the shounen manga I read as a child, and it was those various “cute” things that got imprinted on me....I liked how Osamu Tezuka drew animals with a sense of sexiness. Like the rabbit in Wonder 3 Bokko –there were times where she was more sexy then than in her human form ...”Cute” sure is difficult to discuss, (laugh).
K: It sure is..For me, it goes without saying that I love bears, and I'm especially obsessed over the devil bears (in Sleepy Princess)...
R: All of the demons reactions are adorable, really. The princess taking the story in completely unexpected direction is great. It's a peaceful world, and that's really important.
K: Especially now with the edgy atmosphere I'd like to think of it as being able to go back to how things were before.
R: Do you like comedies?
K: I do. I enjoy reading positive works about gentle worlds.
“Question from the editor: Your sleepy circumstances!!”
K: More than sleeping, I'm more particular about my chairs. I don't want to mess up my lower back, and we do a lot of sitting.
R: Yeah, you're right about the importance of chairs.
H: I too like going to big furniture stores and testing out chairs to see if my lower back agrees with them!
R: A long time ago I thought I had got a great deal on a leather covered chair. I thought by now it would have been in a state of disrepair and I'd have to buy a new one, but even now it's still going strong. I think this chair and I will be together a whole lifetime. How much sleep do the two of you get each night?
K: Due to the anime related stuff my work has increased and I'm getting less sleep as a result...
R: But it's good to be busy. (laughs)
K: I know there might be more we can discuss in regard to this theme, and I'm sorry to derail, but I'd love to hear about “MAO.”
K: To pinpoint what I wanted to say –it was in volume 4 during Hyakka's death scene. Even though I didn't know at the time that he'd come back to life, I just had a feeling he would since the panel wasn't very big and if it were supposed to be conveyed that he'd really died then all we'd need is to see his eyes closed. I was thinking this but his eyes were wide open! I really like the panel where he had lost the light in his eyes. I'm not sure why but I've been thinking about that a lot.
R: Conversely if his eyes were closed then it really would have looked as if he was dead for real.
K: I see. That's what you were going for!
H: Have you already planned out MAO's entire story?
R: Not really. I'm figuring things out as I draw it. It feels like not all of the characters are on stage. Not only that but their various stances and ambitions aren't at all clear. I can't quite say that I see it myself yet.
H: Maybe you're looking at it as a reader to create a polished work?
R: It's more like being lucky, probably. (laughs) ...I had decided on the trigger for the story is the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, but from there it feels like I've been mostly adlibbing things. How will things turn out? I wanna know too, (laughs) Finding photos for resources is also a big problem...that's probably the thing I'm doing the mos research on for this serialization. (Laughs)
K: I look forward to seeing more!
The passionate talk is also in Sunday Super issue 11 which is out now!! Don't miss it!