Interview【Part 2】Kentaro Miura & Yuji Kaku Dialogue Berserk Hell’s Paradise




Creating Manga with One Idea

Kaku: I saw an article that Mr. Miura told me before in another interview. When creating action scenes in manga, the content was how should draw it to compete with the power of the depiction of Kenshiro’s fist popping out in front of the screen in Fist of the North Star. At that time, Mr. Miura said “Rotate the opponent’s upper body when cutting”, which was very interesting. I think the rotating upper body in It’s still Berserk is a great invention.

Miura: At the time when Fist of the North Star and Knights of the Zodiac came out, which were my favorite manga, Jump had various manga with such one trick and there was a part of me that thought that manga had to be like that. In such a situation, what shocked me the most was the expression of the fist that fills the whole panel in Fist of the North Star. That was the moment when manga became an attraction for me. For me, that expression at that time was innovative in the way that 3D and VR are today.

Kaku:For me, exactly the same impact as Mr. Miura was felt in the scene where Guts slashes from the side with a big swing and the upper and lower body of a person rotates.
It was definitely the moment that made it an attraction.

Miura: (laugh) But since it has become possible to draw anything with computer graphics, the originality of such ideas has been gradually diminishing, including in the visual culture. However, I still think that the value of idea itself has not faded away. When I was in college, Terminator and Robocop were very popular. Those movies were performed by human actors who were trying to figure out how to portray a robot on the screen, right? Schwarzenegger’s expressionless face and the head-spinning movements of Robocop. were very convincing at the time, weren’t they? I don’t want to forget that feeling. It is not OK if it can be drawn, but it is easier to understand if the idea is structured in such a way that it can be “explained” from the beginning, so that it can be conveyed to many people. I still like the science fiction that was created through trial and error by various people back then, when computer graphics had not yet been fully perfected. I would rather see Christopher Reeve hanging on by a string and trying his best than a CG flying Superman (laugh).

Kaku:It’s more interesting to see how to show how to make it look real, or how to construct a different kind of charm by throwing away the real thing.

Miura: I think that if do that right when start a new manga, it will be a good manga. I think it is necessary to have one idea or one impact as the old JUMP manga artists did.

Kaku:The idea that Mr. Miura is talking about now, do you have a stronger awareness of the idea in the drawing aspect?

Miura: It’s not just pictures. When I think of an idea, I think I mobilize everything I have. I decide this is what I am aiming for. I set a single goal, both in terms of pictures and ideas, and then I go for it with a good balance.

Kaku:It’s as if various parts are rising up at the same time. I see.
But even if you spontaneously think, I’m going to create a new idea today, you can’t actually create it.

Miura: Haha, that’s true (laugh).

Kaku:In terms of the current conversation flow of ideas, there are a lot of questions I would like to ask you about storyboards…! Mr. Miura, first of all, in what order do you make the storyboards? In my case, I make storyboards in the following order: I decide on the overall flow of the episode, prepare a memorable scene, and then write the lines I want the characters to say in the scene.

Miura: It’s almost the same as Mr.Kaku ‘s. I also have the rough part from the very beginning to the very end sort of decided, but once I decide on what chapter or what part of the scene I want to do this time…. In the case of Mr. Kaku, was the lines setting next?

Kaku:Yes, then the lines.

Miura: I set the dialogue much later, surprisingly. And I’ve had almost no trouble with storyboards until now.

Kaku:Oh, really?

Miura: When the characters are in the scene, they speak something on their own (laugh). To put it more bluntly, rather than having an image of the character speaking, as I was drawing, I gradually developed an image in my mind of the theme of this manga and what is important. Then, when the character goes to that scene, he absorbs that image and creates a storyboard from the character’s unique standpoint. I don’t set a storyline from the beginning, but as I draw, the whole picture comes into view little by little. It is similar to sculpture, isn’t it?

Kaku:So, in your mind, the goal of a manga is not really there at the stage where a new introduction or a new chapter in the manga storyline begins. I guess it is a feeling that Mr. Miura’s hazy image is gradually taking shape as a work of art.

Miura: I am careful in drawing Berserk…not so much to say, but I try not to be too eccentric in what I do in each chapter. I think that there are parts of a fantasy story that must be passed through as a promise. To put it simply, there are parts such as witches, religion, war, or, in the case of the sea, a sailing ship. If you go on a sailing ship, you might see a pirate ghost ship, a kraken, a sea monster, and so on. I decide on these themes myself, and I don’t mess around with them. They may be ordinary ideas, but they are major elements in the story, and I think of them as the general framework.
Characters have their own personalities, so the more detailed the story, the more it may deviate from that. I think that if I don’t miss the big part of the story line, the allegorical part, I can create something major.

Kaku:Don’t you ever try to be eccentric if it is in a detailed storyline that is not the main storyline?

Miura: For myself, I have never really thought of making something very strange. In recent manga, there are always unexpected twists and turns, such as what happens next or there is actually a twist in the story. In my case, I think that if I let readers read manga with such elements, it would be troublesome to use their brains (laugh). I think it is better for me to draw ordinary things in an excessive way and to charm the readers with such things. In the beginning, the concept was simple: a black swordsman conquering demons. First of all, I decided that what I wanted to do in manga was to draw a story in which the black swordsman, the twisted one that everyone loves, plays an active role in a Chuunibyou-era manga「(be) too cool for school」. Then I thought, Since he is a black swordsman, the story would be like a dark hero story, and if it is going to be a dark hero story, what should be the motive for fighting, since he is not a righteous hero? I thought about it, and the one that made the most sense to me was revenge. But it took me a long time to find “that prosthetic hand” and that sword in the story. At first, I was wandering around ideas that just barely anyone could come up with, like not a cannon but an iron arm with a hidden bow gun attached to it. I even thought about making the sword a Japanese sword. One day, the sword and the size of the sword fit beautifully in the place where I had been thinking about it. And at the stage when the sword was decided, the prosthetic hand became a cannon as well. I kept thinking about it for a long time, and when I decided to take the right route and place it here, it was like the answer to one of the many ideas I had in my head suddenly appeared.

Kaku:I see… It sounds like an accumulation of what you have done so far, or rather, a culmination of what you have seen and ideas you have developed. There is something else I wanted to ask you. I love the exquisite balance between the elements of the intense and flashy battlefield story of Berserk and the drama that depicts the emotions of human beings. I am embarrassed to say this, but I like it so much that I wish my manga could be like Berserk.

Miura: Thank you, but let’s not go there (laugh).

Kaku:No, no, no, I really think that balance is ideal. And a sense of balance as well as that balance, or is it a mixture of opposites? For example, the relationship between Guts, Griffith, and Casca is like a shoujo manga, and the way the story between Jill and Rosine in the Lost Children chapter ends is like the ending of an anime from the World Masterpiece Theater. The opposites seem to be well combined. ……

Miura: Actually, surprisingly, the characters are not in conflict with each other. In our generation, there is a great animation director named Osamu Dezaki. Dezaki Osamu made Ashita no Joe, The Rose of Versailles, Aim For The BEST! and many other diverse animations, all in Ⅾezaki’s colors. The original manga for The Rose of Versailles and Aim For The BEST! were difficult for me as a child to understand. However, even with such ultra gekiga works as Ashita no Joe and The Adventures of Gamba, Mr. dezaki was able to create them in animation, with the same touch on everything. I was so influenced by that that I thought, I can do the same thing naturally when I draw my own manga. After that, I read The Rose of Versailles under Ⅾezaki’s influence, and I read Keiko Takemiya’s works, which were wonderful and made my heart flutter with excitement.

Kaku:I see that you did . I had assumed that Mr. Miura was making people who are opposites face each other on purpose.

Miura: Since there were precedents in anime where these things were done naturally, I was convinced that this was something I could do. So I can only say, You should watch a lot of things. If you want to draw manga with a balance like mine, Dezaki-san is worth watching. There is something romantic in Ashita no Joe as well. There’s a lot of powerful stuff in The Rose of Versailles, too. You have truly lost a very sad person. ……

Osamu Dezaki wiki

Relationships create dialogue.

Kaku:The lines in Mr. Miura’s works have a feeling that only the character would say those lines.

Miura: I think that as you work with the characters as a manga artist, they acquire more and more humanity. If you want to make the characters’ personalities stand out and make them say what they need to say, it might be a good idea to put emphasis on what will happen to the relationships between the people who have gathered there. As is the case with most of the widely known dramas, what the viewers expect is the part of how people meet each other and how they change. If you think about the importance of the three parts of a character’s past and present relationships and what kind of future they will move toward as a result, the things you say will become more and more human-like. Also, in my case, the more fantastical the character is, the more I try to think about the character’s mind so that it becomes more human-like. That is why, when I read “Hell’s Paradise,” I wonder what kind of relationships these people will have in the future.

Kaku:Oh, thank you very much. I think there are a lot of manga that think about how the relationships of many people other than themselves are for the main character. In Berserk, for example, there is the story of Farnese, and then there is the Serpico-driven story that accompanies it, and each story exists as an independent individual, doesn’t it? Isn’t there a time when it becomes hard for you as a manga artist to create a story that is too close to each individual?

Miura: When I first create a character, I first focus on the main character, even if I have to put aside other minor issues. In “Berserk,” he is Guts. I place the other characters according to how I want to present Guts. If you want to show Guts, a character who fights in a solitary manner and has a strong character that pushes people away, it would be very good to place Farnese. The two are normally water and oil, aren’t they? If you have Guts go from Farnese’s side, it is difficult to get close to him. But if you send him from Isidro’s side, he becomes a good brother. In this way, the characters are arranged to show Guts’ multifaceted nature. Not everything in Berserk works well as a manga, but if you want to make the main character stand out as a role in the story in general, then if you start by placing characters to express the multiple aspects of the main character, they will all function properly, and as you do this, you will be able to delve deeper into the story.naturally.

Kaku:I see…!

Miura: In my mind, relationships are things that come together and disperse. And after they disperse, they meet again and repeat the process. The same is true of historical dramas. Breakups occur, but I think that these breakups are also connected to other encounters. Being alone is an everyday occurrence when you become an adult. The people you meet after you go out into the world and the people you meet when you are a student are completely different. The relationships you have after you become someone else and the tangled relationships you have while trying to become someone else have different meanings, don’t they? But both are important. I hope to draw that part in the future. Berserk is the story of the battle between Guts and Griffith, and both are stories of change. In that sense, the current Guts and Griffith do not exist in a predetermined storyline. If Griffith was like this, Guts would be like this, and so on, and I will continue to center and draw on this part of the story.

Kaku:As a writer, I feel that decision is also a courageous one.

Miura: Does Mr. Kaku plan to change the relationships of the hero and heroine in the future?

Kaku:If possible, I would like to depict the parts that have to change when human beings meet each other, just as Mr. Miura mentioned. I think it would be interesting to tell a story about a strong person who becomes weak in the midst of such a relationship.

Miura: Humanity and strength are incompatible elements.

Kaku:I think it would be interesting to depict the difference between the two in a story about murderers or people who have crossed the line.

Miura: In Hell’s Paradise, there are only bad people and crazy people (laugh). On the contrary, the straight people might stand out more.

Kaku:If Gabimaru becomes an honest person among them, I don’t know in what way, but I think he will stand out.

Miura: Even so, he still has to be strong as the main character.

Kaku:That’s right. I’m also thinking about how I should not lose my status as the main character. Um… Can I talk about just an ordinary fan? I’m sorry. I’m a big fan of the “Band of the Hawk”, especially of Kolkas.

Miura: Ha-ha-ha-ha (laugh).

Kaku:When making a team for the main character, it is very important to include a person who does not like the main character until the end, but surprisingly, many people do not do this.

Miura: That’s true. Band of the Falcon was modeled on my everyday relationships in high school, and I threw it directly into the manga. If you put in something that is true or a drama that is likely to happen, it becomes something that can be read by ordinary people and is easy to get along with. If you make each character fit into a special setting, it becomes like hard-to-get-into science fiction.

Kaku:I think that bonding or getting along with your friends is a common structure. Just having one character, COLCAS, makes it feel more realistic.

Miura: I think I had a good treasure .

Kaku:I wonder if the relationship between these high school friends is reflected in Mr. Miura’s work.

Miura: It is reflected in my work (laugh). I really hope that new manga artists don’t forget that they have their own treasures. They tend to think that what they create in their own minds is manga, but I want to tell them that it is not the only weapon you have.




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