【Interview】 Kentaro Miura Kaku Yuji Berserk Hell’s Paradise


This dialogue was brought about by Mr. Yuji Kaku’s admiration and love for Mr. Kentaro Miura, whom he says was his own original experience.
Please enjoy the dialogue between the storytellers of the fantasy world, along with the illustrations of their respective protagonists who live through the harsh world



The Beginning of Hell’s Paradise and Berserk

Miura: How old are you?

Kaku: I’m 33…years old, right? (*Looks at the face of Mr. S, the editor in charge. Later, it turns out that Mr. Kaku Yuzi’s age is 34.)

Miura: From what I was told, you used to be an editor, right?

Kaku: Yes, I did. For a short period of time….

Miura: Did you feel that you wanted to be a manga artist but decided to become an editor first?

Kaku: Yes… I liked manga very much, so it was really like a dream that a child would have, and I had drawn a little manga to begin with. But as I went to school and college, I didn’t feel like I could become a manga artist. I still wanted to be involved in manga, so I thought that being an editor would be good…

Miura: Is that right? Your drawing ability is quite high. Did you go to art school?

Kaku: No, no, not at all! No, I did not attend such a place at all.

Miura: Wow. Are your club activities and so on totally unrelated to art?

Kaku: Yes…oh! But if I had to say, the club I was in at university was a puppet theater club.

Miura: Oh my.

Kaku: I had the opportunity to design and so on puppet characters there.

Miura: I see. Then your drawing ability is a complete talent.

Kaku: No, no…! I am very interested in the elements that make up Mr. Miura’s drawing ability, or how he studied drawing.

Miura: I have been drawing pictures since I was a little kid. My mother ran a drawing class. Ever since I can remember, I would doodle and stuff in the back seat.


Miura: My parents went to Musashino Art University. My father used to draw storyboards for commercials, so I was in a good environment for drawing pictures from the time I was a little kid. That probably made me a little good at drawing. My other grades were poor, like a 3, but only in arts and crafts I got a 4 or 5 (laugh). I had no other choice, so I went for that field without hesitation.

Kaku:I love Mr. Miura’s drawings very much. Among the many elements I like in manga, for example, his drawings of action scenes are powerful and easy to look at, and I think they are great. I think manga artists tend to draw in one direction or the other, but I think that perhaps because your father used to draw storyboards for commercials, the way you draw to convey movement seems to exist as a pictorial landscape. It is cool how you make it look like a scene has been cut out….

Miura: I wasn’t particularly conscious of it myself, but from elementary school until I graduated from college, I was shown things like for presentations that my father made using the board he was working on. Now that I think back on it, it was pretty close to a manga.

Kaku:Was it similar to the frame layout of a comic book?

Miura: It was pretty close to a panel layout. It was a work that was close to a movie, but the way the panels were divided was like a comic book… When I think about it, I was a bit influenced by it.

Kaku:When I read Berserk, I thought there were a lot of pictures that looked like they were cut straight out of a movie. And they are becoming an explanation of the situation, and they look good as pictures. I admire this way of drawing. But it doesn’t end there. There are also times when it swings very much toward paintings in its expression. For example, I love Guts’s mental landscape, and I am amazed that Mr. Miura manages to do both.

Miura: Perhaps it is because I have been working as a manga artist for a long time, but elements and ideas that I have acquired or liked in a disjointed way become networked and connected in my brain. And then, I become able to perform a variety of techniques in a complex way. When I want to draw a cool picture, or a picture that looks good, for example. Or when I want to draw a manga as a mental image of a character in a story. There are various factors to choose from, and I naturally become able to smoothly produce a scene that is good here, or a scene that is good there.

Kaku:Is that a rather sensual part of your work?

Miura: At first, I consciously work hard while thinking about it, but it’s a feeling that gradually combines the techniques I find in that method.

Kaku:So it’s like the techniques gradually become the foundation of the work.

Miura: Yes. But I think this is only possible because we are able to slowly serialize our manga in monthly or bi-weekly magazines.
In weekly magazines, don’t you have to narrow down your options when you make your debut in order to ride the momentum?

Kaku: Yes, that’s right.

Miura: I don’t think it is possible to show the characteristics of a manga and tell readers in an easy-to-understand way that “this is the selling point of this person’s manga” unless there are many areas that are discarded. After that, I think you can run through as a manga artist with vigor in a situation that readers understand… In my case, I draw slowly, so I was afraid of discarding things. I kept what I thought I could use, so now I think that I have more cards in my hand. But on the other hand, there are stories that lose their impact and become useless because there are so many cards in your hand. In order to prevent this from happening, you may have already heard me say this before because I say it here and there (laugh), but for example, the most important thing I pay attention to in my action drawings is to tell a credible lie.

Kaku: Oh, I see 

Miura: A recent example that is easy to understand is Captain America. When you look at him, he has only a degree of ability not much different from an Olympic athlete. The sense of ability when you look at him is a category that humans can relate to. ・・・・I don’t think I would be able to empathize with him if I actually saw him though (laugh). I am of the generation that used to play monster games or masked rider games in the sandbox when I was a child, so I think of things as an extension of actually doing something with my body. I think that the desire for children to be heroes is something that does not change, even if times change. I have recently come to the conclusion that this feeling is universal and will remain forever. That is why I construct my manga from such dimensional points as I think I can do it or I might be able to lift this much if I build up my muscles.

Kaku: Now that you mentioned it, it really made sense to me. In my case, I try to include a little bit of realistic elements in the fiction when I draw my manga, even if it is not action. I believe that just a little bit of realism makes the scene stand out and leads to a good feeling on the viewer’s part.

Miura: I am not a sword master, nor am I an expert in swordsmanship. I draw manga that use swords, and if a non-specialist tries to draw manga that delves into knowledge, he will be seen through, and since there are many people with more specialized knowledge, I felt I could not compete as a manga artist. So I was careful not to draw a manga that depicted sword attacks and defenses. So I turned my attention to swords, although they are different.

Kaku:Oh! Yes, yes, yes.

Miura: The meaning of a big sword among monsters and the meaning of a very strong swordsman among many swordsmen are completely different.

Kaku:In the case of Gabimaru (the main character in Hell’s Paradise), I worked on the setting with a character named Sagiri, who uses a sword. I thought that if one of them could kill enemies with a sword, the other one should be able to kill enemies with his hands. Gabimaru is a ninja, but he is conscious of killing with his hands, not using kunai or shurikens. How he would distance himself from his own karma was the pattern or image I had for the manga when it was first serialized.

The 「doing it right feeling」 draws sympathy.

Kaku: The action scenes in “BERSERK” are so exciting, is it because the manga has a realistic feel like you actually feel it?

Miura: BERSERK is probably 70 to 80% fantasy. I try to include the realistic parts in the remaining 20-30% or so. Experiencing various things in society is highly recommended, isn’t it? This is especially true in Japan. On the other hand, I don’t think that is necessarily the case with manga. I think that in manga, imagination and imaginative power occupy a larger part of what is required by the “readership” than realism. However, if it is all imagination and imagery, it will become something ordinary, so I wonder how to find a balance between the two. If only make imaginary manga, need to be extremely imaginative to become a major manga, and if only pursue realistic manga, will become an extremely maniacal work. In that sense, I think it is better to think about what kind of depiction suits you as a manga artist. When I was working on the magic scene in Berserk, I thought about how I could create a sense of doing magic.

Kaku:I see what you mean.

Miura: At that time, I visited many bookstores in Kanda and searched for books about people who wrote that they were magicians. The point was not to find data, but to pick up the aesthetic sense of magic shared by people who could use magic. In the process, I learned that it is important to understand what the situation is like in the first person when a magician is performing a ritual. The visuals of Seelke and the strangeness of Guts’ sword are all aimed at the same thing. I hope that the viewer can become immersed in the character and feel a sense of doing in the first person.

Kaku:It’s like the reader is immersed in the first person, isn’t it? You want the reader to feel the joy of participating in the story, rather than just being a spectator?

Miura: Yes, the ideal of my manga is that the reader can become the character.

Kaku:That’s great. I am not able to do that part very well myself, so I have to work hard on it. I think it is the details, the parts that make the reader feel that you are doing it, or the parts that are difficult for the reader to see, that are really important. I think it is important to have other descriptions as a core part of drawing a manga in order to make it more profound and to make the reader chew on it over and over again. First and foremost, I have a desire to draw details or something that gives readers a sense of reality in my manga.

Miura: Yes, but I think you are doing your best. I haven’t seen that “Tao” or energy in a manga for a long time. As for Berserk, I’ll have to step into that area in the future.

Kaku:Has Mr. Miura consciously thought about the balance between the sense of fiction and the sense of Real in his manga?

Miura: This talk has nothing to do with manga, but when I was in junior high school, I was suddenly thrown into a high level high school entrance examination, and during the three years of junior high school, I studied so hard to catch up with the examination level in Tokyo that I finally reached the academic level of the upper middle class. In the end, I was accepted to high school, but at that time, I understood myself very well. I realized that I had this level of ability, that I had studied this hard, and that I was barely in this position. The first time I tried hard for something was when I took an entrance examination. So what I want to say is, first of all, know thyself (laugh). I have this level of ability and quality. I want you to think properly about what cards you have in your hand right now, and which method is best for making the most of those cards in a natural way, and plan your strategy accordingly.

Kaku:I understand that very well. There are things I can do and things I can’t do, and I think it is difficult for me to realize that. can never know just by thinking about it in head. It is only when present work and have it evaluated by the people around that will finally know… I guess that in the end, you have to experience it.

Miura: Perhaps, but in my time, it took quite a long time to debut as a manga artist. The entrance was narrow, and it was very difficult to break through that gate, but nowadays, I think it doesn’t take that long before noticed by others. I don’t know if professional or an amateur, but I think have the opportunity to come in contact with a lot of people’s eyes at an early stage. When I brought in my own work, I was turned away, and when I showed my work to my friends, I was told that my work was a 「copy of that work」, which made me feel embarrassed. I think that is what is happening on the Internet now (laugh).

Kaku:In my case, it has been a very long time since my debut until today, and I have been going through a trial and error process. Anyway, if you don’t release your works, you will never know what you are capable of. I debuted after I had experienced working as a working adult, and it was in a magazine called JUMP, which is aimed at boys, and I had to fight all the way to customize my adult sensibility that I had acquired in the past into a boys’ manga.

Miura: Having once been out in the world, isn’t that adult sensibility a weapon in a world full of shonen manga?

Kaku:Oh, is that right?

Miura: I think children have moments when they want to touch something real and adult-like. Something truthful. If we aim for such a part…. But it might not be good if it’s too bitter. But Hell’s Paradise is already extremely bitter (laugh).

Kaku:(laugh). I have been selfishly imagining that Mr. Miura is a shrewd person for a long time, but now that I have talked to him, it turns out that he is exactly as I thought he was.

Part 2



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