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Manga artist and illustraton Hisashi Eguchi (江口 寿史) had a conversation with Katsuhiro Otomo that was published in Monthly Bears Club (月刊ベアーズクラブ) magazine in august 1990 and was later reprinted in the book THIS IS ROCK!!  that collects articles by Hisashi Eguchi from that period.


Publisher: Kadokawa (角川書店)
Release date: 1994-VI-1
Language: Japanese
Number of pages: 231
Size: 21 x 15 cm
Retail price: ¥950
ISBN-10: 4048524844
ISBN-13: 978-4048524841


Amazon JP: http://amzn.to/29lx5TT
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Amazon FR: http://amzn.to/29ma18R
Amazon IT: -
Amazon ES: -


Otomo: People overseas know a lot about Japan.  I think that makes them fans.  They make magazines, special reports on Japanese mangaka, topics on HOKUTO NO KEN (北斗の拳) and so on.

Eguchi: Really?  Not pirated copies?

Otomo: Not pirated copies.  No, actually I don't know.  Maybe they don't know Shueisha there (laughs).

Eguchi: That wouldn't be terrible.  (laughs).  I heard they got a lot of our anime.

Otomo: In London, there's a famous comic book store called Forbidden Planet.  When you go there they have a manga corner.  They have Animage Newtype and so on.  Lots of people there watch Japanese stuff.

Eguchi: French children believe that CANDY CAND (キャンディ・キャンディ) is a manga from their own country, and if a Japanese child were to tell them that it was from Japan, they would be bullied.  "What are you talking about, idiot?"

Otomo: Yes.  Dragon Ball is going strong there.  They say the market share is 60%.

Eguchi: It's amazing.  I wonder if people here know that.

Otomo: I think it's only in Japan that people don't know about it.

Eguchi: YAMATO (ヤマト) and CAPTAIN HARLOCK (キャプテン・ハーロック), etc., everyone wants to see Japanese things and the Japanese completely ignore it. I heard you surprised your people there when you told them you were drawing 40 pages a month.  (laughs).

Otomo: Yes, yes.  Over there, it's more like four boards a month.

Eguchi: How can you live with that?  The cost per board is too high?

Otomo: No doubt.

Eguchi: Is comics recognized as an artistic field?

Otomo: Yes, yes.  You know Enki Bilal?  He wins prizes and receives money from the government.  In other words, organizations like the French Agency for Cultural Affairs provide money.  Unlike the Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs, which gives money to manga at large.  We are talking here about a very anarchic story of Bilal.  It's not like they give grants to Doraemon, they give money to something really cutting edge, which is totally different from the situation in Japan.  Everyone has a sense of pride there.  It has nothing to do.


Eguchi: Now this'd be a perfect opportunity to plug Rojin Z, don't you reckon (laughs)?

Otomo: Rojin Z (laughs)? Could you perhaps explain a bit more for our readers' benefit?

Eguchi: It's your new original animated video. You wrote the script, and I did the character design.

Otomo: As far as OAV (Original Animation Video)s go, I think this one's been made in quite an unusual way. That is to say, writer-led, if you like. Generally a proposal arrives from somewhere, and you have to come up with the goods accordingly. In this case the director and I also came up with the proposal, and the funds. It's not often that the makers get to make the thing they want.

Eguchi: The concept for the story is also totally different to most anime these days, isn't it?

Otomo: Completely.

Eguchi: Which is what makes it so interesting. Plus it feels like one of your short stories from way back, with its own unconventional sort of humor. Word has it it's about an elderly bedridden man?

Otomo: Well, I wouldn't class it as social comment. Ultimately it is really just a robot anime.

Eguchi: But for you, the animating comes first and foremost, right, the desire to make your own visuals move?

Otomo: Well, I was always mad about movies. So I guess over time I've ended up taking a movie sort of approach to what I do.

Eguchi: So is it about making something that you're 100% satisfied with? More than in the case of manga?

Otomo: ... Hmm, that's a bit of a tricky question actually.

Eguchi: Tricky.

Otomo: Yes. tricky.

Eguchi: Different, isn't it?

Otomo: You have to think of them as different. If you thought of them as the same, you'd have no choice but to do the whole thing by yourself. That is, it'd end up being private animation of the sort you often strike in Europe. But that's not what I'm aiming for. If that's the aim, even with manga. you might as well publish in Garo. It's that sort of world, for the most part. If you treat them the same.

Eguchi: Well, come to think of it, I suppose it's precisely because they were different that even Osamu Tezuka dld both (manga and anime) right to the very end.

Otomo: Exactly. There's something isn't there, about contributing to that kind of culture. A desire to utilize the animators, that kind of thing. The urge, instead of doing things the way you want to yourself, to pull that whole community up with you. You have to think that way, or you can't do it.