- Interview Tatsuki Fujimoto 「Fire Punch」
- Tatsuki Fujimoto 「FirePunch Synopsis」
- Fire Punch Characters
- 「Tatsuki Fujimoto」 Strategically Drawing Manga that Sells
- How the manga Fire Punch was born
- 「Tatsuki Fujimoto」 Fire Punch is a grotesque depiction that makes sense.
- 「Tatsuki Fujimoto」 I would like to paint a work that changes the genre of the story.
- 「Tatsuki Fujimoto」 When I was in middle school, I had a series of seven manga in my head.
- Tatsuki Fujimoto ‘s admired manga artist
- Last Interview Tatsuki Fujimoto
Interview Tatsuki Fujimoto 「Fire Punch」
「Fire Punch」 by Tatsuki Fujimoto, serialized in 「Shonen Jump+」, is a dark fantasy set in a world where people with abilities known as 「Blessed Ones」 exist. Because of its grotesque depiction and gruesome storyline, this work became a hot topic on the Web soon after its serialization began.Comic Natalie interviewed Fujimoto on the occasion of the release of the first volume. We also caught up with Fujimoto to learn about the story behind the work, which was inspired by 「Anpanman」 and the true meaning of his words, 「I draw manga strategically」 which he spilled during the interview.
Tatsuki Fujimoto 「FirePunch Synopsis」
The 「Blessed」 who are born with unique abilities, can generate flames and produce iron from nothing. The world they live in is covered with snow and plagued by starvation due to the appearance of 「Blessed Ones」 called 「Ice Witches」.
Agni and Luna are brother and sister who live in a village full of old people. Using their 「Blessed One」 ability to regenerate their own bodies, they live by sharing their bodies with the villagers as food.
One day, Doma, a soldier of the royal army, visits the village and, abhorring its inhabitants who eat 「human flesh,」 burns down the entire village and all its 「inhabitants」 using his blessing ability. Agni, who only survives through his blessed ability to regenerate, vows to take revenge on Doma.
Fire Punch Characters
Agni is a 「Blessed One」 with the ability to regenerate. After Doma burns the inhabitants of his village to the ground, he vows to take revenge on him.
A soldier of the kingdom of Behemdorc, which is trying to defeat the Ice Witch, he is a blesser who uses a flame that does not extinguish until the object is burned to death.
A child saved by Agni on the way to the kingdom 「Behemdruk」. He calls Agni 「God」 and adores him.
「Tatsuki Fujimoto」 Strategically Drawing Manga that Sells
Congratulations on the release of the first volume of Fire Punch! Fire Punch” has been a hot topic on the Web since its serialization began, and even now, when the latest episode is released, it sometimes trends on Twitter. Did you expect the response so far?
To be honest, it was something I had not thought about at all. This manga was originally a work that I submitted to the 「JUMP SQUARE」 serialization meeting and was told no, and even after it was decided to be serialized on 「JUMP+」, I kept talking with the person in charge about how I could get people to read it. That’s why I’m grateful that people are talking about it so much.
─ Did you feel any pressure from the response from readers?
I didn’t feel any pressure. But I am always worried about my drawing ability, wondering if it is OK to draw like this. I think that since my manga has become a hot topic, I have more opportunities to be seen, so I feel that I have to draw well so that everyone will like my drawings. I feel that it would be a waste if more people become disenchanted with my manga and leave it because of my drawings.
How the manga Fire Punch was born
What was the inspiration for the 「Fire Punch」?
I got the idea from the 「Anpanman」 . It may sound arrogant for a newcomer like me to say such a thing (laugh), but I wanted to draw manga that would sell. However, when I draw freely, I tend to create stories from my senses, so I tried to draw strategically and studied various works, and among them, I thought that 「Doraemon」, 「Sazae-san」, and 「Anpanman」 are the anime works that are still loved by fans for a long time. Among them, 「Anpanman」 was said to be bizarre overseas.
─ What, for example, is bizarre about it?
The part where he tears off his own face and 「shares」 it with his children to eat seems to be an 「idea」 that is not so common overseas. When I heard this story, I found it interesting and decided to create a story around 「Anpanman」. From there, the setting of a village suffering from starvation where the main character 「shares his meat」 with the villagers was born. Also, since Anpanman’s special move is the 「unpunch」, I came up with the word 「fire punch」. And since it is called 「Fire Punch」, I thought the flames would stand out better if the manga was set in a cold world.
Anpanman One of the national characters that enjoys great popularity among children in Japan
I see that the word 「Fire Punch」 is also used directly in the title of the manga. When I saw only the title in the first preview, I thought it was a heroic story.
It gives a slightly different impression than the content , doesn’t it? However, 「Fire Punch」 will be an important word in the future story, so my editor and I agreed that the title should be 「Fire Punch」 without much disagreement. By the way, I thought of the main character’s name Agni from the first letter 「A」 of Anpanman, Doma from 「D」 of Doraemon, and San from 「S」 of Sazae-san (laugh).
「Tatsuki Fujimoto」 Fire Punch is a grotesque depiction that makes sense.
─ You mentioned earlier that you 「draw manga strategically,」 but what exactly do you have in mind?
I am concerned that if readers find out about the parts of my manga that are strategically drawn, readers may not be able to genuinely enjoy my work because of that… (laugh) , but I guess it is, for example, when I include a gag-like description in a serious conversation.
What is your intention in doing this?
「Fire Punch」 is a revenge story, but if I kept depicting the Main character’s desire for revenge, the work itself would become very dark. I thought it would be possible to have a pause in the story, so I interspersed comedic elements into serious scenes.
It is true that there are also many brutal scenes in 「Fire Punch,」 such as realistic depictions of burned corpses and cannibalistic scenes. Is there a line in your mind that says, 「It’s okay to draw this level of brutality」?
I’ve been allowed to do that part quite freely. I had submitted one storyboard work for serialization to 「Square Jump」 prior to the serialization of 「Fire Punch」. At that time, I had set a limit within myself so that the manga would not be grotesque, and drew it.
What were your restrictions?
It means that I would draw with less grotesque descriptions and so on in check. In the end, the storyboard was rejected, but at that time I realized that I would not be able to create an interesting work unless I brought out everything I had. My current manga assistants are all older than I am, and when I talk with them, their knowledge of manga and movies is amazing.
I don’t have many drawers of knowledge when it comes to drawing in general. I thought that if I further limited that knowledge, I would end up with a story with a narrow vision. As for the 「Fire Punch,」 I am grateful that I was allowed to draw the descriptions that popped out of my head as they are in the manga.
Do you consider grotesque depictions to be an important element in the creation of your work?
Yes, I do. But I don’t think that grotesque depictions are just a matter of being grotesque. I don’t just want to depict grotesques, but I consciously express them in the structure of my manga. I think that if I want to depict something beautiful or gentle, I have to depict the cruel part. That way, when the reader comes into contact with the tender parts, they are emphasized. 「Fire Punch」 depicts a dirty world in the first volume, but that is a foreshadowing of future developments.
As Luna burns and decays, she leaves Agni with the words, “Live…
「Tatsuki Fujimoto」 I would like to paint a work that changes the genre of the story.
Does 「foreshadowing」 mean that there will be a different development in the future from the image readers had of 「Fire Punch」 in the first volume?
Yes, it is. As far as I can say now, in the last episode of volume 1, episode 8, there is a character who tries to make a movie using Agni as traction for volume 2 (*This interview was recorded before the release of episode 8).
What, a movie?
I want to create manga in which the genre changes in the process of story development, or in which the story goes in a completely different direction from what the reader had previously expected. For movies, it would be 「Gone Girl,」 and for anime, 「Puella Magi Madoka Magica,」 「School-Live!」 and 「High School Fleet」 are examples. I don’t know if they are successful or not, but all of these works have been talked about. I think such attempts are necessary to create a buzz, and I plan to change the genre of the 「Fire Punch」 three or four times in the future.
Was it a strategic idea to create that kind of development at the end of the first volume of Fire Punch?
Yes, If there is a shocking development at the end of a book, readers will want to buy the next volume, so I had been talking with the editor about bringing that kind of development to the end of the first volume for a long time even if the development of the story was a bit forced.
Do you have any other ideas on how to create a buzz?
It is different from creating my own topics, but I think it is interesting to change the character’s inner life, as in the 「Mobile Suit Gundam」 series by 「Yoshiyuki Tomino,」 where a character who thought he was good turns evil after being exposed to something. I would like to continue to make such attempts in my manga. Fans of anime and manga often say, I don’t want this character to act this way, and I think that means they are afraid of change. I am worried about this because I know that there are people who are really into such changes and there are also people who absolutely cannot accept them, but in 「Fire Punch」 I want to do everything I think is interesting, so I will keep changing the characters.
「Tatsuki Fujimoto」 When I was in middle school, I had a series of seven manga in my head.
─ Mr. Fujimoto had published four short story manga in magazines before the serialization of 「Fire Punch,」 but did you draw your manga strategically with the readers in mind even back then?
No, in the early days after my debut, I would make storyboards of whatever came to my mind without thinking, and send them to the editor in charge, and in the period of many, I would send one storyboard every day. I think it must have been hard for the person in charge to read all those shitty storyboards (laugh). Only about one out of every 10 storyboards was interesting, and the editor in charge would say to me halfway through, 「Let’s think a little more about it and try drawing it」.
It’s amazing that you make one storyboard every day!
When I was in middle school, I created a magazine in my head and had about 7 homebrew manga serialized there. There was 「The Breath of the Stars,」 「Microbe Biographies,」 「Fire Sword,」 and I think what else ……. So I like to think of stories. There was one time when that serial in my head came to the end and I was so moved by it that I almost cried myself to tears. I was in class at the time, but I managed to hold it in because I knew that if I cried, people would think I was a weak man and those around me would bully me.
(laugh). Did you successfully complete all seven serials?
As for serialization, I discontinued manga that were not interesting and ended them in the middle of the series, so they were replaced one after the other. Even now, there are a number of works that I wish I could publish while I am still alive. That’s why I was so happy when it was first serialized in「 JUMP+」. Originally, I had been reading 「JUMP SQUARE」 since the days of 「monthly Shonen Jump」, and I had wanted to serialize it in Square, but one of the drawbacks of monthly magazines, in my opinion, is that the story only progresses once a month.
How did you feel about drawing the volume of a comic book at the pace of a weekly serialization?
It was fun at the time, but it was really hard work. …… It’s amazing how long manga artists have been drawing in weekly series. I wonder if the great people at the publishers give a device to extend a week to 10 days or so only to the manga artists they care about. I’m a newcomer, so I don’t get it. It’s not fair (laugh).
─ (laugh). Do you sometimes project yourself onto the characters?
I don’t think so. I draw my manga in a calculated way, and I am afraid that the characters will move on their own. At the moment, each character moves in the manga as I have planned.
─ Since the short manga 「Nayuta of Prophecy」 is a work about a brother and a sister, and Luna appeared in 「Fire Punch」 as a sister who is in love with Agni, I had the impression that Mr. Fujimoto likes sister characters.
That is not the case (laugh). In creating a story, if there is a relationship between an elder brother and a younger sister, which anyone can understand, it saves the need to introduce characters to each other in the story. In order to fill in what I want to depict in a short manga, I think that if I have to cut down, it would be in the explanation of the relationship, so I drew a manga about a brother and sister.
Tatsuki Fujimoto ‘s admired manga artist
Are there any manga artists who have influenced you in terms of their drawings? You said earlier, 「Is it okay to draw like this?」 and it seemed to me that you were troubled by it.
I like the drawings of Mr. Hiroaki Samura , so I always work while thinking about drawing manga like him.
─ What do you mean by 「like Mr. Samura」?
In the current situation, if I were to draw every detail and apply the tones properly, I “just can’t” keep up with the pace of the weekly serialization. If I were to draw a picture that gives the reader a sense of reality and conveys what the characters are doing, I think I would prefer a manga style like 「Mr. Samura’s」. Samura-san does not use a lot of tones, but rather uses lines to express the shadows of clothing and other parts that can be skimmed off. Before I started my manga series, I asked the person in charge to send me a copy of a book by 「Mr. Samura」 that I had not yet read. So, the style of my manga is very much influenced by 「Mr. Samura」.
Last Interview Tatsuki Fujimoto
Well, Please give a final message to our readers.
I really feel that my drawings are really bad and pathetic, so I will make an effort to get better at them. The story is getting more and more interesting, so I hope fans will pay attention to that part.
Thank you for watching. See you soon!
chainsaw man. (World’s largest number of translations)