Episode 2

Fujita Kazuhiro 
山下和美藤田 和日郎

Quotes from the Episode:

NAOKI URASAWA:
‘When you’re drawing sports manga, it’s pretty amazing.
You get yourself all excited and you start thinking that you’re actually some amazing tennis player. 
You feel like, “I’d be amazing if I were on the court right now,” and you smash the story out that way.

FUJITA KAZUHIRO:
‘With manga, all you have to do is draw it and see.
It’s fine to start with one panel on the first day, and the second panel on the second day.
Like, it’s fine as long as you just draw something.

  • Born 24 May, 1964
  • Works include Ushio and Tora, The Ghost and the Lady and BakéGyamon
  • Laid-back social approach to making manga; Has a poster saying “No silence allowed.”
  • Listens to heavy metal whilst working.
  • Uses a very incomplete sketch before inking.

Fujita Kazuhiro – Short Documentary


Here is a 15 minute short version of the episode, highlighting the key scenes in the full documentary interview. 

(00:15) Naoki Urasawa Intro Advice

Naoki Urasawa (N) :
Manga is something that’s flipped through and read with great speed.
I think that’s just the way that it gets read.
But if it’s in the back of your head, even if it’s just a bit that, “Hey, it actually takes all of this work,” if you keep that in your mind a little then wouldn’t that make reading manga even more fun?

(00:59) Kazuhiro Fujita Intro Advice

Fujita Kazuhiro (F):
The most important thing for manga is probably that it makes time go by.
It’s like a snack or candy that’s there to kill time, and mangaka are those who put large amounts of time and effort into making something like that.

(03:17)
N:
It’s like when you get that feeling that what you have in mind for these expressions isn’t coming out.
Thinking up and drawing crazy ideas, it’s all about how much it comes out the way you want it ideally.
And when you’re doing that, there are times when it’ll turn out even better than you imagined.
Those times are the most fun.  

(03:40) Fujita Intro

(05:21) Urasawa Meets Fujita

(06:49) Sitting Down in the “Reference” Room

(07:10) Paneling

  • Fujita doesn’t use a ruler, free hands it and his assistants take care of it after.
  • has 3 assistants to help him

(08:25) Rough Sketch (Outline)

  • uses a figurine toy to create poses

F:
Since I always mistake what I think will be left and right, like with the arms, which one would be stretched out, or like for what it would look like from behund and such. 

(9:46) Silence is Forbidden

  • Has a poster saying “No silence allowed.”

 (11:01) The Order They Draw

  • Fujita Uses a very incomplete sketch before inking.
  • Urasawa draws by making an “Outline” with the character’s position and general shape. Then he draws the “Sketch.” By this point you can pretty much tell how it will turn out. On top of that, he finally inks the actual lines he’ll use.
  • Fujita, after drawing the rough outline, suddenly begins drawing with a pen.

(12:18)
F:
I have thought before that it’d be better to do a proper sketch, but has this ever happened to you when you were new?
Even though the sketch you drew with a pencil looked great, you ink it and then when you erase , there’s like this disappointment that you feel.
That feeling has stuck with me, even now.  

(13:30) Drawing the Name

  • Uses white out correction fluid.

N:
That white-out, is it like a magic tool? 

F:
A magic tool, or maybe it’s what I’m actually drawing with.
It’s like I’m doing the inking with both the white-out and a pen.
I sort of like the feeling of shaping it by whittling away the lines.    

(14:15) Blank Page Anxiety Just Draw and See What Happens

F:
Just get the pen work down first for now, since you’ve got the white-out for shaping it anyways.
That fear I have of a blank piece of paper is just too much, so I just want to get the ink down on the manuscript quickly.
It’s really a spineless feeling, but if I don’t do that then manga is just too scary.

Because I’m dealing with whether I can defeat this blank page, so I have to draw, no matter what the case. 

(15:00) Sketching Vs Inking

N:
So it’s like your pen moves before you think about it.

F:
You figure it out while you’re in the middle of drawing, you know? 

N:
I think about this every single time. Am I doing it right, or is it wrong?
I don’t know if it’s correct or a mistake until I ink it.
Drawing it with a pencil is really, at most, just a rough sketch.
That’s why you bring out the pen.
When you draw then, those are the lines with resolve, right? 

F:
Yes, they’re lines with resolve. 

N:
A sketch is still just a sketch, no matter how much you draw it, because there’s no resolve to it. (no finish, no finality)
So when it comes down to it, it’s the same, right? 

(16:30) Origin Story

  • Loved reading manga since he was young.
  • Especially shounen manga with heroes and adventure.

(17:09)
F:
The person I copied first was Monkey Punch’s “Lupin the 3rd.”

  • Influenced by the way the shoulders slump.

(17:47) Where The Story Is Made

Name: The plan for manga drawn when coming up with the story.

(17:54)
Driving force 1:

  • Has loud heavy metal music playing.

F:
Getting absorbed in yourself, getting into how that world works. If you don’t do that, then I don’t think you can draw manga that’s really cool. 

(18:11)
Driving force 2:

  • Has an Idea Sketch Pad
  • Draws many sketches of characters that will appear in the manga beforehand to get them right.

(18:35)
Driving force 3:

  • Toys (guns / swords) for information

F:
That excitement is what gives you energy to draw manga every week.
Though it could be called empty bravado as well

(19:28) Excitement And It’s Importance

N:
How the work turns out and its creator are different things, so I actually get really excited while drawing.
I wouldn’t be able to draw my works cool and composed. 

(20:13) Burning Calories Making Manga

N:
When you’re drawing sports manga, it’s pretty amazing.
You get yourself all excited and you start thinking that you’re actually some amazing tennis player.
You feel like, “I’d be amazing if I were on the court right now,” and you smash the story out that way.
When I was working on “Yawara!” and “Happy!” I would look at the 2-page spread layouts, and I’d be like, “Hyah Hyah! Ahh! Nngh! Zahh!” I’d draw it to that timing.
Well, I sure did use a whole lot of calories for that….

(22:03)
To draw is to erase, to erase is to draw. 

(22:23) Working On The Title Page

(23:56) Worried Over the Depiction of the Eyes

(25:16)
N:
Mangaka always have an ideal expression in mind, like, “This is how I wanted to draw it.” I guess this is the work of approaching that.
Other people might not understand it though. 

(26:02)

  • Searches for the answer whilst chatting to assistants

F:
Should they look stone cold or barely able to hold it back? 

(28:15) Drawing Something Not of This World

F:
I do have this fear of people whom I can’t really communicate with, enough for me to post on the wall, “No silence allowed.”
I really attach a lot of importance to those things.
In the moment I think, “I can’t communicate with this guy,” there’s also a part of me like, “man, this guy is cool.”
It’s just a conclusion I come to on my own from my own values. 

(28:37)
N:
When a bunch of youkai appear, they’re “The Eyes of Something Not of This World.”
These eyes that show you’ll never be able to understand them.
To recognize that and draw them so they’re discernible made me think, “This Fujuita Kazuhiro guy must be terrifying.”
Like he’s got this insanity tucked away inside him. 

  • (29:02)
    Debuted with “Renrakusen Kitan” (1988)
  • His work from then heavily focused on monsters and youkai.

(29:24) What Turned Fujita On To Doing Manga

F:
Old Chinese stories, ghost stories etc, I’d read them and think, “Wooow, youkai are so interesting!”
But in those stories the humans pretty much always lose.
Then, when I starting thinking that was sort of a bummer, Takashi Rumiko came out with this one short story, “Yami wo Kakeru Manazashi,” that was in a special edition of Sunday.
It was a story with regular humans that fought the weird and won.
I thought, “Oh, I am really glad she drew something like this.”
Like, “This is just the kind of think I want to read!”
It was the kind of thing that made me think, “Manga’s amazing!”
And I think it was the thing that turned me on to doing manga. 

(30:42) The Rebel Spirit Of His Youth Passed On To His Character Ushio

F:
Part of me wanted “Shounen Sunday” to ask me to draw for them, and a part was pissed off, like, why don’t they want me?
It was pretty much that I was picking a fight.
It was just sports series or love comedies, like, “What’s with all these guys, always with these damn plausible expressions on their face.”
I think I wanted someone who would normally be an all right guy, but with a blank face that you totally couldn’t communicate with.
I wanted him to come in and mess everything up.
There must’ve been a part of me that felt like that.
I was looking for a fight with them. 

(31:42) A Mangaka’s Battle

N:
Rough sketches are really nothing more than that, there’s no responsibility to them.
It’s at the end when you’re inking that you take responsibility.
You’re telling the world, “This is what I want.”
Telling the world that, “This is what I’m fine with right now,” that’s something with responsibility to it.

(33:24) 4th Day of Filming

(34:23) Drawing the Last Panel

  • draws with a chopstick

F:
Mangaka always want to stand out right?
For those critical scenes, you want to pull people’s eyes to them.
It’s like saying, “It’s going to get even more exciting, stay tuned!” almost like I’m begging them.

(35:51)

  • Uses Kabura pen to add small nuances to lines.
  • Even uses his fingers to make the last panel stand out too

(37:09) Tezuka Osamu’s “Compactness”

N:
With Tezuka Osamu’s manga it was about how much information was in that compactness, and that the emotion of it isn’t lost even though it’s so compressed.
It was the aim of the method.
Look at “Phoenix,” after all.
You know, that grandiose arc, “Dawn,” is the first volume. It was just as long as how hot it felt when you read it, it’s be like the longest thing ever. 

(37:58) Last Touches

  • Spreads thin ink with brush pen, like watercolour.
  • Changed the eyes of the main character a total of 7 times, totally over 1.5 hours.}

(39:03) Still Focussed on the Eyes Till the Very End

(40:49) Handing Over The Finished Work

(41:53) Conclusion

N:
Being a mangaka is really tiring but, we do it because this moment comes around every time. 

F:
When it’s all done, right?
Handing over what you did and feeling like it’s complete.

N:
It’s because this moment exists that we draw. 

F:
With manga, all you have to do is draw it and see.
It’s fine to start with one panel on the first day, and the second panel on the second day.
Like, it’s fine as long as you just draw something. 

N:
If you leave it blank, it’s always going to be that way.
So you know, it’s like they say, “Just fill it up for now!”

F:
Kids don’t know what manga is, so the first “gateway” they discover manga from is shounen manga.
And that’s pretty great, isn’t it?
It makes you want to draw something they won’t forget.
So I want to draw something that’s not too difficult, something that’s interesting and simple, something good.
That’s how I feel, anyways.