Interview【Part 3】KentaroMiura & YujiKaku & Dialogue Berserk Hell’s Paradise


A powerful design lineage


Kaku: Character design is both a fun and nerve-wracking part of the work in the manga that I draw. On top of that, I am very interested in Mr. Miura’s character designs. For example, one of my favorite manga is Devil Man by Go Nagai, and I feel that the designs drawn by Mr. Nagai are, in my own words, very strong. That is, no matter who draws it, the scary and cool elements of Mr. Nagai’s Devil Man ooze out. Even if a shoujo manga artist drew it, I think that the feeling of scary, cool, and almost revered is embedded in the design as an image. I call that a strong design in my own way, and that’s what I’m aiming for myself.Go Nagai wiki

Miura: Even though you are young, your sensibility is closer to that of our generation (laugh).

KakuFor me, that’s too one of the things I really love about Mr. Miura’s manga works . All the new characters are cool, and I would love to hear about the foundation of Mr. Miura’s designs!

Miura: That is exactly the place you just mentioned. The things of the era that I was absorbed in when I remember things were all the things you mentioned. In the past, I think the most important thing was a design that children could doodle on. As you can imagine, it is not possible to write the designs of those days as they are now, but I think it means to increase details without blurring them.

KakuAre there any designs that made you think that they had an influence on your own mind?

Miura: I was influenced by Devil Man, after all. The works of Go Nagai and Dynamic Productions were completely under my influence when I was in elementary school. Also, like the foreign film Robocop, which I mentioned earlier, I think the works from the 80s and 90s have the best balance between the original designs and those that have been brushed up to the point where they can be seen by adults as well. The same is true of Tim Burton‘s Batman, and I feel that films from that period had the strongest influence on me.

KakuAs for the designs that continue to be made still today, the ones from that era seem to be the first to come to mind.

Miura: Yes, that’s right. In those days, the designs of games such as Street Fighter II and Vampire by CAPCOM were very good, and it was easy to recognize the characters. It’s good to be able to recognize a character at a glance.

KakuI could immediately tell what kind of guys the characters of that era were just by looking at them.

Miura: There was no complexity, and I think that period probably represented the perfection of Go Nagai’s route design.

KakuI also like that kind of design that is not blurred. I would like to have various people draw my idea of a character, but ideally, no matter who draws it, the axis that the character has should not blur. I liked Devilman and Ultraman a lot, so I am conscious of the designs of Mr. Toru Narita, who designed Ultraman and monsters, as my ideal. Of course, I also get that kind of pleasure from reading Berserk.

Toru Narita wiki

Miura: Mr. Narita’s presence has a feeling of being outstanding. I think about the design of the monster in Berserk so as not to twist it. For example, Zodd was born from the idea of what would happen if we made realistic medieval illustrations that appear in religious books and so on. I tried to blend the design into the world without twisting it too much. Also, I try not to include mob character apostles or other artificial designs that look like a papa drawing of something that came to mind when I woke up from sleep.

Kaku: Zod’s design is really amazing. It’s so simple and easy to understand. A simple design can easily be lumped in with something else that you see often. But Zod’s design is not like that, it has a distinct character. How does Mr. Miura do it so well

Miura: It probably depends on how you handle the characters, doesn’t it? I think it depends on how the character is movement and directed to make the character more real That’s what manga and novels are about. I think it is a form of thinking about the design and direction together from the beginning. As far as direction is concerned, that scene is the part where the story returns to normal after the ensemble drama.

Kaku: It’s good that Zodd is always naked, and he has that feeling of not wearing clothes.

Miura: The idea that being naked is good is often found in the works of Kazuo Koike and Ryoichi Ikegami (laugh). 「Naked = great」Something like that. (laugh).

Kazuo Koike wikiRyoichi Ikegamiwiki

Kaku: Also, when I was thinking about drawing something never seen before that would differentiate me from other manga artists in Hell’s Paradise, one of my references was the bande dessinée.  

Miura: Oh! You reading it?

Kaku: When I read Gigantomakhia by Mr. Miura, I felt the same atmosphere. I felt an atmosphere similar to that of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s works in DUNE and The Metabarons. I thought that Mr. Miura also read Bande Dessinée.  


Miura: I have read The Metabarons. and other famous works. I also watched the movie Dune. When I was a student, I used to buy HEAVY METAL and other books at Western bookstores. I think The Metabarons. was a book when I was a college student, but Mr. Kaku noticed it well.

Kaku: No, no, not at all. I am glad to see that it is now available in translated editions and easier to obtain.

Miura: When I was reading HEAVY METAL, everything was written in English, so I just enjoyed looking at the pictures (laugh).

Garai: You mean feeling like looking at only Frank Frazetta’s drawings?

Miura: You even check out Frazetta. These days I don’t have the energy to read manga… (laugh). It’s easier to read the text, isn’t it? But I recently bought a batch of manga. I bought knights of sidonia by Tsutomu Nihei and UQ HOLDER! I like Magister Negi Magi by Mr. Ken Akamatsu (laugh).

Kaku: Wow! I see! So that’s where part of the atmosphere of Berserk comes from.

Miura: What impressed me when I read Magister Negi Magi was how you kept that level of quality in a weekly magazine. I thought it was really professional work. There are a lot of manga magazines with a lot of blank spaces in them, but you have maintained a certain level, and you have established a style of art that young children are embarrassed to admit they enjoy every time. I read your work with admiration, thinking that you are doing a good job. I also read it while squirming (laugh).

Kaku: I also try to read new works and works that have been talked about in order to “input information as much as possible. Recently, a manga that has greatly satisfied my desire is the work of Kei Ichinoseki. I realized how great it was even after all this time. I have been told that Hanagami Sharaku and other manga works have always been great, but I have not been able to take a step forward. When I finally read them myself, I was convinced that they are highly praised by all quarters

Miura: Wow! I’ll read it too. In my case, I’ve been re-reading a lot of things I read in the past recently. I like Yuu Koyama a lot, and I read Oi! Ryoma and Ganbare Genki and so on. I would like to make a story as dramatic and beautiful as that one.

Kaku: I admire Ms. Koyama, too. I love it.

Miura: And, I often re-read Mr. Yuichi Hasegawa’s Maps as a science fiction work.

Kaku: I know, I know! It is a wonderful manga.

Miura: I love it…it’s amazing how warm it feels even though it’s science fiction, and how the characters on the spaceship each stand out.

Garai: I like the unique atmosphere of that era of science fiction. It stands out.

Miura: I hope they make another anime version. I was surprised when To Earth… was made into an anime. I thought, they are going to make an anime in this age! Also, I’ve been reading a lot of light novels lately.

Kaku: Really? What kind of things do you read?

Miura: The one that impressed me the most recently is Alderamin on the Sky. It is a fantasy story about modern warfare. The will and etc. of the part of what is war were well written. I am impressed. I often read military-like books and fantasy novels that do not reincarnate in another world. Since Ms Kaoru Kurimoto of The Guin Saga passed away, I didn’t think of reading fantasy very often, but I may be unconsciously compensating for that.

Kaku: When I read Berserk, I felt it that you were incorporating new things into the work more and more. I thought it was great that you had your antennae up to the world, like the appearance of the Witch Girls’ School in the most recent development.

Miura: It’s not so much that I have my antennae up, but rather that I am an appropriate person to begin with (laugh). I feeling try not to erase the part of me that is not fully grown up and still remains.

Kaku: I see. It is a childish part of Mr. Miura, isn’t it?

Miura: That part may not have luckily disappeared yet, but if the physical part weakly disappears, the childish sensibility may fade away. I feel like I’m still just barely okay for now (laugh). No, I didn’t expect to get someone so young who could talk so smoothly about what I’ve been seeing. Most of our manga assistants are in their 40s, but my conversation doesn’t work with them. I work with them saying, They don’t understand what I say… (laugh).

Kaku: No, no, I am glad that the doctor is very friendly. Before I met him, I thought he was a great guy with one eye like Guts. I wondered if anything strange would happen to him, like if he would hit me with an iron fist. I was imagining what I would do if that happened (laugh).

Enlightenment creates masterpieces.

Kaku: This may be a personal story, but in the serialization before “Hell’s Paradise, I was more concerned about what people would think of me, and I kept drawing with the reception of the readers in mind. But that serial did not become popular at all and was discontinued. In reaction to that, I decided to try drawing in the direction I liked and see what would happen. Surprisingly, things went better that way. So now, I try to enjoy myself first, and if possible, I try to create from my own perspective, narrowing my viewpoint. I think that the audience enjoys my work because they are inspired by my enjoyment of it.

Miura: That’s really true. If it is not a manga that the author enjoys, if it is not a manga that he or she wants to enlighten people with, it will not get through to the audience. A successful manga has the feeling of wanting to convey the message, after all.

Kaku: I was very happy to hear Dr. Miura say the word enlightenment right now! I have always thought that this is interesting, but I have wondered how I can convey this to readers. There is no doubt that what I am thinking of is the correct answer in my mind, but the fact that it is not conveyed is my problem. I keep having the feeling that my ability is insufficient and that I have to work to draw out the part that is lacking. If I could express 100% of what I am trying to draw, I would definitely be able to take the world by storm, but because my power is insufficient, I still have drawn out only 60% of it, and that is the feeling that I have when I draw.

Miura: You should stick to that idea, it shouldn’t be blurred.

Kaku: Thank you very much.

Miura: When I started writing my series, the Japanese fantasy market was dominated by Dragon Quest-like worlds in video games. There were also TRPGs such as Record of Lodoss War, etc. Overall, there were many fantasies that were closer to the world of games. But the fantasy I liked was from a time before RPG games became popular. There were a lot of things that were appreciated overseas, such as Conan the Barbarian and the Elric Saga series. I wanted to do a manga with that atmosphere in Japan, but it wasn’t major at all in Japan at the time. But it was appreciated worldwide, and I thought it was legitimate. At that time, The Lord of the Rings was not so well known in Japan, but The Lord of the Rings is more of a dark fantasy than a fantasy in today’s classification. Dark fantasy = fantasy.

Kaku: Ah~ I see! So you weren’t so conscious of the fact that it was a dark fantasy when you started drawing?

Miura: I was just drawing normally. When I heard that Conan the Barbarian was called barbaric or a dark fantasy, I thought, Oh? I thought it was a

Kaku: I actually feel the same way about my own work. People often say that the manga I draw now are cruel, but I don’t feel that they are cruel at all. I have reading fist of the north star, Apocalypse Zero, and BAKI THE GRAPPLER, so I draw while thinking that this much is normal.

Miura: Certainly, watching Apocalypse Zero and Death Frenzy makes you feel that it hurts when you get cut by a sword, and that your internal organs will come out if you do this (laugh). You’ll die if you do this! Like that.

Kaku: Berserk was a big part of that feeling for me. I read Berserk and Parasite when I was in junior high school, and they left a strong imprint on me as my original experiences, so I thought that if I cut someone, of course there would be sections of the body and blood as a matter of course. If a strong man and a strong man fight, of course there will be blood, and if they don’t fight to the point of being covered in blood, the readers won’t feel the heat. I have the sense that it is normal to get covered in blood when trying to depict a hot story.

Miura: Yes, that’s right. I may be questioning my own character if I say this, but the pleasure of seeing a human body being destroyed exists in people after all. I can’t really explain it (laugh). Especially if you use a sword as a subject matter, you can’t avoid it, especially the destruction of human body parts. If that is the case, there is no other way but to depict it as entertainment.

Kaku: Come to think of it, I have a relative who is a tate instructor, and he was involved in the motion capture for the Berserk game.


Miura: Oh, really? Thanks for everything! (laugh).

Kaku: During the preparation period before drawing Hell’s Paradise, I learned basic kind of movements of behavior with a sword from relative. At that time, he told me that basically, once a sword is drawn, it never goes back into its sheath unless one of us dies. He told me that to pull out a sword is to compare it to a gun, in which the muzzle is pointed at a person and the trigger is already pulled, and that the rest is whether the bullet hits or not. At that time, I thought that I could not escape from cruel descriptive expressions or blood when I handle a sword.

Miura: Because thinking about what to do with the tools of murder when you have them in front of you itself makes you decide what to do afterwards. Speaking of that, I saw an interview with a grandfather who went to the continent for the war and actually engaged in close combat. He said that when you cut someone with a sword, you have to get so close that you are face to face with them before you can cut them. He said that you have to pull the sword while cutting after jumping into the pocket to cut, so if you don’t get close enough, you won’t reach the point where you can inflict a fatal wound on someone. I was impressed to hear that those with strong souls, those who can step out of a situation that may take their lives, are the strong ones. I guess the ones who have such guts and take the first step will be the dramatic heroes. Well, as for the sword in Berserk, I can’t get close to it (laugh). The sword is too big and the distance is too far (laugh). … As a manga artist, a difficult situation is when a character that you’ve been involved with and nurtured has to die, isn’t that right, Mr. Kaku?

Kaku:It’s extremely painful. I have been drawing until now, wondering if this character would finally die here. Especially when I was drawing the running lights of the character on the verge of death, I was like, I don’t want to draw this! That’s how I feel. But, Eclipse in Berserk is just like that, isn’t it (laugh) 

Miura: If you like Devil Man, you have to do that! (laugh). 

Kaku:Like Eclipse, the part where the emaciated Griffith tries to kill himself in the river… This author is the worst! He’s too evil! I thought to myself as I read it (laugh). It was great, though. (Laugh) Wasn’t it hard for you to draw that?

Miura: There are parts that are painful to draw, but there is a dark pleasure in them. I think there is a devilish part of the human heart. But around the time of the episode, as expected, Berserk’s popularity went downhill quickly, so I was very shaken (laugh). I wondered if what I thought was right was really safe.

Kaku:Oh, really? In my mind, that part of the story was an uphill climb. But since it was so hard even when I was killing my own character, I thought Eclipse would make Mr. Miura’s mind sick.

Miura: The sick part can be sublimated into entertainment, so the emotional fluctuation is repeated like a perpetual motion machine (laugh). I am impressed that you know so much about the kind of generation I am looking at, but on the other hand, and this may be a bad word, but how is it that your senses are so out of tune with the younger generation? I think so (laugh).

Kaku:No, thank you for your concern. I am certainly very concerned about that myself. I am trying to draw out and burn into memory the feelings I have inside myself in order to draw expressions that move people, but I continue to be concerned that the feelings I have drawn out may be out of sync, or that my senses may be old-fashioned….

Miura: That’s where the stories of Mr. Kaku’s guidance from tate instructors and other people who are doing this with conviction come from, so it’s ok because it’s not a lie even if your feeling is out of sync.

Kaku:great words !

Miura: As Mr. Kaku said earlier, I think it is a matter of whether or not you can convey the goodness of the work after you want to convey it. When I was looking at Mr. Kaku’s paintings, I was wondering if you also like Sanpei Shirado‘s and so on?

Kaku:I love it!

Miura: I knew it. For the first time in a long time, I thought that the lineage of Sanpei Shiratsuchi has been revived in this modern age (laugh).

Kaku:Before Until I started this series, I was told by my editor that I had some problems with my drawings….

Miura: With that drawing ability? That’s terrible…

Kaku:While I was struggling with that, I thought it would be good to bring something like gekiga to manga, which I originally liked, to stand out in a reverse way, so I read Samurai Executioner 「kubikiriasa」 or other works by Mr. Koike and studied them. In the early days, I was very conscious of the gekiga touch. For example, I didn’t use shadows.

Miura: I was surprised that there are newcomers emerges drawing manga like Ninjabugeicho and Kamui nowadays (laugh).

Kaku:I very much like gekiga-ish things as a hobby. I originally liked manga and movies, but I came in touch with gekiga from the movie side; I was the kind of student who would kill time at TSUTAYA(rental DVD shop), so I started going toward film director Takashi Ishii as I looked around to see if there was anything there. I was like, There is a world like this! From there, gekiga became firmly connected with Fist of the North Star and other works, and the boundary between gekiga and manga disappeared. Until then, I had the feeling that gekiga and manga were two different things, but if they could be combined, I thought I could express myself even now. That is how I felt about the description of Hell’s Paradise.

Miura: There used to be special effects period dramas, such as Transforming ninja storm. That kind of special effects period drama has disappeared from Japan. There are so many historical dramas about the Warring States period and biographies, but the ridiculous ninja dramas have disappeared. I would love to see Mr. Kaku make a manga version of that…(laugh).

Kaku:I don’t know if I’m able to do that in my manga or not, but… after all this time, I’ve discovered a ridiculous historical drama like Hideo Gosha‘s Kumokirinizaemon. If I could recreate this feeling in manga form, I think it would definitely stand out because no one else has done it. Also, I like “Berserk,” so my underlying theme is to draw humans and big monsters. I feel good about violently beating up big monsters by small humans, and I loved The Masked Ninja: The Red Shadow, so I have a desire to do that.

Miura: Red Shadow has monsters in it.

Kaku:I like the gap between the world of ninjas and period dramas but and the appearance of monsters. There are no such works nowadays, so I think that if I made it into a manga, it would stand out because it would be old-fashioned in a backwards way.

Miura: Of course I would like to see “Hell’s Paradise” in anime form, but I would also like to see it in film form. A special effects period drama revived in live action Like that (laugh). I’m looking forward to it.

Thank you for watching. See you soon

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