"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sneak Peak at Michio Murakawa's New Manga!

漫画家むらかわみちおの『宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199』漫画 !

Two unfinished pages for the first new Yamato manga since 1983.

Over at his blog, professional mangaka Michio Murakawa (Robot), just posted a long update concerning his work on the adaptation of the upcoming SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199, which will be appearing in the pages of Kadokawa Publishing's NewType Ace monthly manga magazine. The 63-page debut will be featured in the April Vol. 7 issue, hitting Japanese booksellers on March 10th, and will continue in successive issues over the coming year in shorter installments. Murakawa is a diehard YAMATO fan who was hand-picked as one of the contributors for the Yamato Comic Anthology published to support the Yamato PlayStation games in 2000. He has also produced a series of self-published illustration books (Yamato: 2199, Yamato: 2201, and Yamato Reunion) with contributors including such famous alumni as Yutaka Izubuchi, Supervising Director of YAMATO: 2199.

Murakawa writes about the trials and tribulations of tackling the first 63-page installment, for which he was hired last summer, and the trial and error process that he encountered; especially being such a fan and trying to create something fresh and original, despite his constraints and pushing his own abilities. The worst of these was the grueling schedule and the fact that he also had little support in terms of assistants to help ink, detail and shade his work. In order to meet deadlines, he worked it out that he would need to complete four to five pages of line art per day, for a total of two weeks. But, with the amount of detail, especially in terms of the battleships, and in terms of his own speculation vs. the finalized designs, all he could achieve were about three pages per day (which burdened him with an extra week added to his own timetable). Not being able to meet his own weekly goals, he said he felt like a fool for ignoring the prophetic advice of his colleague, Miki Matsuda (Unlimited Wings): "Never underestimate the Mecha."

While he received an unprecedented amount of cooperation from the staff of YAMATO: 2199, in terms of the teleplays and storyboards (as well as viewing the first two episodes), Murakawa decided to create mostly disperate angles in his panels, and also, to elaborate on character situations, even the character designs, which was encouraged by the producers. This allowed him to stretch his imagination in creating the manga (and to take his own pride in the job) — which was his motivation in becoming a mangaka in the first place. He noted that he rendered most of the art in freehand, including the hard mechanical elements, such as Radar Screens and the interiors of the spacecraft, which was a challenge. Murakawa noted that the density of this work is unlike others, such as the current Gundams, which comes from being from an entirely different generation. He then wrote that the job was akin to being waist-deep in a 40-year old sake. And a particularly tasty sake at that. But, that he was also overwhelmed on account of the depth in the collusion of the elements which are used to create the animated versions, including music, voice acting, photography, and so on.

In conclusion, Murakawa stated that it was unbelievable to see his name in the end credits, because Yamato has been in the forefront of his dreams since Middle School; even though he realizes that it would be impossible to go aboard, since it is a ship that exists in a realm far beyond his generation. While he acknowledged that his manga will be something that the next generation of fans will inherit, along with the feelings of the crew of the Yamato, he also expressed his hopes that those who read his adaptation will come away with something memorable. His blog entry ended by expressing his wish that, "I'd still like to take a ride on that ship, someday."

Source: Music Only Hall: The Blog of Mangaka Michio Murakawa

Stay tuned to this blog and the official Star Blazers website for more news and information on SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199 as they develop — and soon, we'll be off to outer space, in the funny pages!

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