Rumiko Takahashi


 

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100 Questions

Taken from Shonen Sunday's Graphic's Urusei Yatsura
Volume 14
and translated by Harley Acres.

These were your questions for Rumiko Takahashi and we combed through the mountains of postcards you sent it. Takahashi-sensei patiently answered one after another on everything from relationship problems to negligees!

1. I don't suppose you're a woman, are you?

Rumiko: Whaaat?

2. What was the first thing you bought when you started making money?

Rumiko: A laundry service! At that time I was destitute (and often the money I made wasn't enough to cover everything) so the laundry had really piled up.

3. If your editor at Shonen Sunday was an animal what animal would he be?

Rumiko: Wh-what sort of animal... I don't want to say. A... hippopatamos I'd like to think. As for me...

4. Recently it looks like you changed your hairstyle from a bob to a perm. Has that changed the way you think about things?

Rumiko: I tried to disguise myself! I enjoyed walking around and not having people recognize me. But when I came out of the salon I said "It's me! It's me! Don't you recognize me?"

5. After Ataru came Godai as the character to fall in love with... which one would make you happiest?

Rumiko: Oh Godai, I would think. I think anyone would find Godai easier to love than Ataru.

6. Do you have any special memories of wearing a sailor fuku (school girl outfit)?

Rumiko: Actually when I was in middle school we didn't have uniforms, so I couldn't wait to get mine in high school. But the high school I went to didn't have sailor suits, we wore blazers! The Marisol Look was really popular at this time too. I really wanted my parents to buy me one though. I'm still holding a grudge over that.

7. Do you have any strong feelings regarding your success?

Rumiko: All the food I can buy now, that is pretty exciting. I can buy really good yakisoba (fried noodles with meat and vegetables) and oden (fish cake stew) at a place called "Nobori". Now I seem to be quite popular there.

8. Do you believe in God?

Rumiko: My ancestors did.

9. Which pro-wrestlers are you a fan of?

Rumiko: I would have to say that I like Dump Matsumoto. "It hurts to be this violent!" as she often says.

Rumic World note: Dump Matsumoto was a female wrestler in Japan in the 1980s. To this day she is still known as the biggest heel (bad guy) in female pro-wrestling.

10. How do you finish a manuscript if an earthquake hits?

Rumiko: Which am I more afraid of, deadlines or earthquakes? I do what I can, and just try to be safe.

11. What do you wear to sleep in?

Rumiko: I wear pajamas and a negligee. From flower patterns to striped and I have everything from pink to blue, all kinds. That doesn't sound like I'm boasting does it?

12. Where do your energy and ideas come from?

Rumiko: Usually I have a meeting with my editor and just hum and doodle and see what he laughs at.

13. Are there any manga creators that you are close friends with?

Rumiko: When I was at my university I was classmates with Hanako Mejiro and in high school I was friends with Yoko Kondou. When I was at Gekigason Juku I was friends with Atsuji Yamamoto.

Rumic World note: The "Gekigason Juku" that she is refering to is "Gekigason Cram School" the manga school run by Kazuo Koike where she was trained. Yoko Kondou debuted in "Garo" magazine in 1979 with "Monologue". Some of her series include "Roommates" and "Horizon Blue". Atsuji Yamamoto did "Mr. Boy," "Sabercats and "Ultimate Teacher" which was made into an OAV and released by Central Park Media in the USA.

14. Why do you hate earthquakes?

Rumiko: Because when the world collapses no one will read manga anymore.

15. Are you planning on getting married?

Rumiko: Nope.

16. If you could ask God for one wish, what would you wish for?

Rumiko: World peace. And if not that, then to have my work finished.

17. If Ataru's parents hadn't named him "Ataru Moroboshi", would he still have been a problem child?

Rumic World note: This reader is referring to the Japanese meaning behind Ataru's name, which has unlucky connotations.

Rumiko: His name is a bad omen, but I think his luck would be the same regardless. No one seems to help Ataru's Mother deal with him.

18. I want to get intimate with my teacher, what should I do?

Rumiko: .................................... I'm a cartoonist how should I know!?

19. I own all of your tankoban, but now when I go to the used book store I see Lum's face staring at me and feel pitiful so I buy ones I already own. What should I do?

Rumiko: God!!

20. Up to now, have there ever been times you thought your editor was cool?

Rumiko: Um.... I think so.... I don't think so.... I think so... I don't th-....

21. When there are few people out on the streets and night, what would you do if a foreigner tried to speak to you?

Rumiko: I would start laughing and then start backing away.

22. When you compare yourself with pretty women do you ever get a complex?

Rumiko: Oh of course, it's like they are from another world.

23. When the Hanshin Tigers win, does if affect your work at all?

Rumic World note: The Hanshin Tigers are Takahashi's favorite baseball team and are historically known as the second best team, usually losing out to the Yomiuri Giants.


Rumiko: Well, when I was 17 the Tigers lost to the Giants in the championships but it didn't affect me. I faced the setting sun and shouted "You stupid bastards!". I wouldn't say that means I was affected, would you?

24. Assuming that reincarnation exists, what would you like to be born as in your next life?

Rumiko: I would like to be a manga artist. We never change, so I think it would be impossible to want to be anything else.

25. Using your video projector, I heard you watched "The Thing from Planet X" on a 100 inch big screen. It's a good one, but what other things do you watch?

Rumiko: Right now the video projector is broken, but I really want to see if "Night on the Galactic Railroad" is any good.

26. What if you suddenly became a man?

Rumiko: Then I'd get a wife.

27. What do you do when you need ideas?

Rumiko: The same as I said above. And sleep.

28. Which of the following do you hope is the next type of earthquake we have: 1) One that hits underwater in the Sea of Japan 2) One that hits in Westren Nagano Prefecture 3)An ordinary earthquake

Rumiko: I can't answer that! Earthquakes are a plague to society!

29. Why won't you use a male assistant? Is it because he would be the black spot in your group of females?

Rumiko: It's no good!! If a man joined it would be troublesome. The women may not have the willpower and find him cute. And that would affect the whole atmosphere of the studio.

30. Right before a deadline, who's name or face comes to mind?

Rumiko: Who comes to mind... My editor's face.

31. What would you like to brag about?

Rumiko: I can bend my thumb at a perfect right angle.

32. Do you like love stories?

Rumiko: I love them. I don't write them very often, but even "Urusei" is a love story.

33. Where would you really like to go on a date?

Rumiko: The sea. I would like to go diving in the sea. I love going back and forth to Palau and skindiving there. I like doing it even without a date.

34. If you found some money in the street, would you report it to the police?

Rumiko: If it was more than 1000 yen I hope I would. It it was just small coins like 500 yen or something I would probably just pocket it. It would take a lot of will power to return something that small.

35. I really like "Urusei Yatsura". What are your thoughts on it?

Rumiko: I enjoy all of the projects I do. And because people buy and enjoy them it makes me even happier.

36. How many of your own characters can you name in one minute?

Rumiko: GO! Lum, Ataru, Shinobu, Sakura, Cherry, Kotasuneko, Ten, Ran, Benten, Oyuki, Ryunosuke, Ryunosuke's Father, Ryunosuke's Mother (Masako), Ataru's Father, Ataru's Mother, Lum's Father, Lum's Mother, Ten's Mother... 30 seconds left. Kyoko, Godai, Mitaka, Kozue, Akemi, Yotsuya, Soichiro, Akira, Ichinose..... Ten seconds? Ummm, Ah, Kitsune, Snowman!!

37. Last year you made the annual list of millionaires. So once and for all, how much does Shogakukan pay you for your stories?

Rumiko: That's confidential.

38. That was an odd cat you cared for. Was Min really that energetic?

Rumiko: Unfortunately about 2 weeks after she went home she jumped in front of a motorcycle and died. Rest in peace.

39. When I want to relieve stress I go to bed or talk on the phone. What's the longest you've ever talked on the phone?

Rumiko: The most was probably about 12 hours.

40. If you have a long telephone call what sort of things do you do? Fix a meal? Take a bath?

Rumiko: Yeah, fix a meal, take a bath, or help the person on the other line out. They'll say "I have to go to the bathroom" and I'll say "In that case, I'll go too."

41. While working with music playing, do you ever find that the music inspires an idea for the story?

Rumiko: Not usually. Sometimes exactly when it reaches it's highest note though, it will seem to affect me.

42. On Miyuki Nakajima's radio program she has said that Chinese dresses don't look very good on her chest. What are your thoughts on Chinese dresses?

Rumiko: Well, I HAVE a chest. I can understand why someone who doesn't might not like it.

43. Out of the characters that you have created, which would you marry?

Rumiko: There isn't much to choose from. It would be Kotatsuneko.

44. In your student days "Kemo Kobiru" was your pen name. What is the meaning behind "Kemo Kobiru"? And if you read it backwards it's "Rubiko" which is close to "Rumiko", right?

Rumiko: You've got a sharp eye, because the "Kobiru" is just like you said. You were able to figure it out!! Now the last part. Can you find the answer to the riddle behind "Kemo"?

45. The 23rd volume of Urusei Yatsura has come out and you are in the midst of working on the 25th which I saw included the lines "Atatata!". Are you a fan of the "Fist of the Northstar" manga?

Rumiko: I love it! I tape the anime every week.

46. What does Lum dream about?

Rumiko: She doesn't. I'm sorry to say, but in the world of manga that doesn't happen. Only if it has something to do with a scene is it usually shown.

47. Are there times when you wish your manga weren't as popular as they are?

Rumiko: Do you think they are? I don't think they are big news. Someone may read them and find them amusing, and you may read them and not think they aren't.

48. What is your favorite scene?

Rumiko: This one.

49. Now it seems like Aritou is in charge of the editorial duties on your titles. What's he like?

Rumiko: So far there has been a pattern with little variation in terms of my editors appearances. Kubota, my previous editor, looks a lot like him though. He even has type A blood like his predecessor (I think they may be identical!!). He always gets right to the point when we speak (I don't think he sees the similarities). But he's saved us from quite a few headaches.

Rumic World Note: Please refer to the "Kemo Kobiru no Nikki" stories at Tomobiki-cho for information on Aritou.

50. Is your editor Oshima (alias), with the exception of the "editor characters," secretly the inspiration for any of the Rumic Characters?

Rumiko: "That reminds me of Aritou!!" is what people say about Salt Number 1. Ever since then I have modelled Salt Number 1's behavior after his. (Presently Aritou is also in charge of "TO-Y" and "Touch").

Rumic World Note: "Touch" was the then currently running baseball manga by fellow Shonen Sunday scribe Mitsuru Adachi.


51. Oshima (alias) has replaced Aritou as your editor!! By the way, I'm an Oshima fan.

Rumiko: Editor Oshima (alias) likes to tell stories and is a lot of fun. Editor Aritou likes to make sure we have enough time to work. But Oshima likes to chat and... I'd better stop.

52. Oh, I hear you had a great overhand pitching style. I'd like to hear your thoughts on it, Miss Takahashi!?

Rumiko: No, nowadays it's more of a insider corner curve ball!!

53. Have you given any thought to the ending of Urusei Yatsura?

Rumiko: Neeeveeerrr!!

54. Since it is on TV so often now, have you ever thought of having a chain of nationwide chain of Hama Tea Shops? What sort of store might it be? It could compete with McDonalds and Lotteria and it wouldn't be defeated. It could sell hamburgers, shakes, ramen, yakisoba, and other cheap food. Inside you could sell Urusei Yatsura tankobans and things with the chracters on them. Do you think something like that would be possible?

Rumiko: You should make something like this! But the funds to do it may be hard to come by. There would have to be a search for other cute girls for the stores since it would be strange to see Ryunosuke at every one of them. Storefront girls selling things...

55. You get hundreds of fan letters everyday all saying very nice things about your work, but do you ever get letters that say bad things?

Rumiko: In the past 3 years, I have gotten 1. I tore it up.

56. In your manga Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku, the protagonists are always male, but they are always portrayed in a very poorly. Do you have some sort of grudge against men?

Rumiko: I don't have any resentment towards men, however they behave that way because they are the main characters. If they did not it wouldn't be nearly as interesting. I think I am hard on the female characters too because of what they have to endure!! They have to withstand a lot because they are the main characters.

57. When you are playing charades and your partner says "What is that?" and you cannot say anything, what do you do?

Rumiko: Avert your eyes, and don't correct them.

58. Regarding your characters, do they ever have birthdays?

Rumiko: No, none of them do. But all of the characters are hits and if they aged then it would be a jinx. If they aged they would have to move on, and I am trying to restrict that. Once they move out of the story, then they will have aged without realizing it.

59. When you were a little girl, did you resemble Amefurashi or Shunmin at all?

Rumiko: I looked like Shunmin.

60. Please tell us once and for all... why should we laugh? And why should we fall in love?

Rumiko: Laughter is a pleasant sensation, and love is the theme of my works. Isn't that the very thing that Rumic World is made up of!?

61. Can you imitate any of your characters?

Rumiko: None of them, but physically I probably have very little to contribute to their facial characteristics.

62. In volume 27, "The Blue Bird of Happiness" story, page 50, on the upper right hand coner of the drawing... I was hoping you could reveal what that is.

Rumiko: In the right hand side is a drawing of a large hand. In Japanese "hand" is "te" right? And it has the character "o" written on it. So it's "o-te-o" or "audio" or "arms outstreched". (Editor's note: In Japanese a "large hand" would be "o-te", and a large hand with "o" written on it would be "o-te-o" which is Japanese for "outstretched arms" and is very similar to the Japanese for "audio". Essentaially this is a pun even a native speaking Japanese person could not understand, so it is fairly complicated).

63. In Graphic 3 you said that Ataru was the protagonist, but on Urusei Yatsura Volume 7 you put Lum in the center of the cover, and she appears more than anyone else. So do you still think Ataru is the main protagonist?

Rumiko: I think Ataru is the lead character, don't you? If the male character is a flower, the females are what make him bloom. The reason Lum is on the cover is because she appears on a lot of other Urusei Yatsura products.

64. I have a question, what are Megane, Chibi, Perm, Kakugari, and Onsen-Mark's real names?

Rumiko: I'll feign ignorance on that one. As long as you can who tell who they are from looking at their faces, it will be fine.

65. If Mr. Hanawa is in charge of the the second year 4th class, then why does he not show up anymore?

Rumiko: "Why don't you leave? I don't understand!!" and once that occured Mr. Hanawa tried to be as inconspicuous as possible and has not been since so he can plan for his classes.

66. Why are the daughters of noble birth like Lum and Oyuki going to the same school with girls of common birth like Ran and Benten? Even in space I would think there would be such a thing as a girl's private school.

Rumiko: Well, you make think that, but in outer space there are no girl's schools like the ones here. They have a totally equal society. So even with Lum's high class and pedigree she is not treated any differently.

67. Also, if Lum comes from a noble lineage, then why is her aunt (Ten's Mother) a firefighter?

Rumiko: What!! I beg to differ. There is nothing wrong with being a fireman. Being careful with fire is the first step towards happiness.

68. So, in Volume 10's 'Cure for the Uncommon Cold,' why didn't Lum's horns grow, when you said in Vol. 21's 'Lum Turns into a Cow' that they do if bacteria get into her system?

Rumiko: Lum's dad said that they would, right? If you wonder why they didn't, the answer is that a cold is a virus. What's the difference? All you good kids out there should go look it up.

69. In the story "A Good Catch" (Vol 1) why does Lum only fly when she is jumped towards? Why not just fly all the time?

Rumiko: What would have happened!? If she had flown from the first he would still have to jump since she would be flying.

70. Frankly, Lum can fly freely, but if she always flew wouldn't her feet become degenerative!?

Rumiko: That is why she walks.

71. What was Cherry like during his boyhood?

Rumiko: Hmmm, that is difficult to say. I don't think we will ever know.

72. When Ten blows fire, what keeps his mouth from getting burned?

Rumiko: I don't know. Ten's mouth is not the type that can get burned. If it were, it would get burned, right?!

73. Lum's favorite dish seems to be electricity. What do you think "the taste of electricty" would be like?

Rumiko: It could be spicy and harsh or sweet maybe, if you can get a hold of it.

74. How are people able to understand Kotasuneko?

Rumiko: I think because Kotatsuneko has been in the area for 300 years, and has lived as a ghost for so long. That is why they can understand him.

75. In the first volume Cherry seems to come up to Ataru's hip, but in the second volume he is shorter. Did he shrink?

Rumiko: I see. His back seems to have visibly shrunken. Perhaps he can no longer stretch it like before. Maybe because he is always doing yoga that is what keeps him looking so young.

76. Does Ryoko Mendo have a boyfriend? If not, I want Ryoko-chan to choose me!

Rumiko: Well, if you had a lover's quarrel you had better be careful!

77. On the TV show and in the movies, I have seen a guitar in Ataru's room. But can he play it?

Rumiko: I think he plans on learning, but probably has it there to impress girls I think. By the way, we had an unplayable piano.

78. Princess Kurama has failed with ladykillers like Ataru, Shutaro, and Rei, but maybe she should find someone like Tsubame?

Rumiko: She may know of him, but I do not think she has much time. Kurama would have to be careful because Tsubame's sweetheart is Sakura.

79. I see Kotasuneko getting under his kotatsu often, but where does he plug it in at?

Rumiko: For Kotasuneko it does not matter whether it is plugged in or not. All that he is interested in is the kotatsu. But on cold days when he has it outside he can run a long cord back to the neighborhood and connect it there.

80. I only see female octopi with the Mendo Family. On 4 of their 8 tentacles, male octopi only have one large suction cup. Why are there no males?

Rumiko: Wow! Is that so!? That is the first time I have heard that!! Then I suppose he only has female octopi then. Anyway, if that is the case, then I guess so.

81. When did Ton-chan (Tobimaro Mizunokoji) go from being a left handed pitcher to a right handed one? Probably in the big leagues they do this after pitching 3 innings.

Rumiko: Ton-chan is a switch pitcher.

82. If Mendo is nyctophobic (afraid of the dark), then why when he closes his eyes to go to sleep he does not panic? Last January at the a fan convention, I asked this to Akira Kamiya, but he said to ask Takahashi-sensei. I have not heard anything since then though.

Rumiko: When Mendo sleeps he does not sleep in pitch darkness. He leaves a lamp on, so that even when his eyes are closed he can see a little light through his eyelids. Speaking of Mr. Kamiya, he once brought some sushi to me. It was delicious!! I always look forward to his performance as Kenshiro.

Rumic World Note: Kenshiro is the main character from "Fist of the Northstar", one of Takahashi's favorite manga series. Akira Kamiya, who played Shutaro Mendo as well as Shun Mitaka, also played Kenshiro. The Urusei Yatsura anime series takes the connection one step further by actually having a giant student that looks exactly like Kenshiro.

83. In Volume 27 "The Blue Bird of Happiness" was published. It was first published in a Shonen Sunday special issue and I was wondering if there was any connected between the Blue Bird's feather attack and the Prefectural Earth Defensive Force's "Happiness Beam". Probably not though?

Rumiko: It's the spitting image of it!! But there is no relation.

84. I am a fan of Kosuke Shirai! Please tell me something about him!!

Rumiko: Besides the fact that he is Ataru's friend and a fellow classmate, not much is known about him. Recently in the "Electric Jungle" storyline Ataru abandoned him and never returned.

85. Why do characters in Urusei Yatsura not grow older? Did they eat the flesh of a mermaid!?

Rumiko: Because it's a mangaaaaa... I get this question all the time, and have answered it many times over, but THAT is the truth!!

86. Does Lum like squid?

Rumiko: Well squid is firm, and make you work your teeth and gums pretty vigorously. The trademark of oni are their sharp teeth... but other than that I have no idea.

87. Are Urusei Yatsura's Ryunosuke Fujinami and The War Council's Ryoko Fujinami long lost sisters?

Rumiko: No, they are unrelated.

88. The Mizunokoji family's bodyguards are all made up of gorgeous women. Do they have to "have a great body and smarts" to become on of the family's bodyguards?

Rumiko: I am sure they do. Well, they at least have to suit Ton-chan's level to get in. But I am sure it is difficult.

89. Does Ten-chan not have to go to pre-school or nusery school?

Rumiko: He doesn't. He is being raised naturally and at ease.

90. It seems that Ran hides her true form, especially when she has come to Tomobiki High lately to see Rei. But when she becomes worked up she changes it seems right?

Rumiko: The image shows her true form, but you should not let it concern you!!

91. Something has been on my mind. Sometimes Lum stays in Ataru's room, and when he goes to bed, she sleeps in the closet. But why does she sleep in there? I think Ataru's room is big enough for two people to sleep in. Also, where does Ten sleep?

Rumiko: Like you said, the room is big enough, but they are both high school students, so sleeping together wouldn't be good. Ataru sleeps on the futon and Lum sleeps in the closet, and that is the best way for men and women in that situation. Because Ataru is lecherous if Lum did sleep with him he may try something while he was half asleep and she might electrocute him. Ten probably just floats around somewhere.

92. Where did Lum's crazy personality come from?

Rumiko: All the fans that have watched Lum throughout her life want to know this. Everyday of her life is wild and has many hardships, which may be a reason.

93. Ever since March of last year (when volume 13 went on sale). Since then, I have become a big Asuka fan! When I first saw her I said "cute!". If I wanted to marry her, what would be the best way to do that, do you think?

Rumiko: First you would have to be able to withstand her crushing your body. Then you would have to become a woman.

94. In volume 10, we see the "Daikanki" (Warm Welcome) ramen shop, and it is also visited in Maison Ikkoku. Are Tomobiki-cho and Tokeizaki the in the same area?

Rumiko: Tomobiki-cho's and Tokeizaka's "Daikanki" ramen shops are part of a chain.

95. In volume 1, we see Sakura's house has one floor, but in volumes 7 and 26 it has a second floor!?

Rumiko: Business was good and they added on.

96. Lum's hair color and the hair color on my laserdisk are not the same. Which is the true color?

Rumiko: Because of the way the light hits it, it can be various colors. If you were close to her, you could see it.

97. Lately, I have noticed that in the beginning Lum seemed to cry out in jealous fits (how selfish!!) more often, and now she no longer does so. Has Lum grown out of this phase?

Rumiko: So you think that lately Lum has kept her composure and stayed calm, huh? Oni daughters can be typical that way. Ataru's parents becoming more accepting has also helped her become happier. But at times, that behavior could come back and she might be that way again.

98. In volume 27 "The Three Criminal Girls Operation: Animal," on the last frame of page 100, who took that picture?

Rumiko: Um... How was the picture of Lum and the eel with the girl gang leaders was taken... Ah! The camera took the picture!! It has an automatic shutter.

99. Why does the principal not seem to mind the fact that the school and gymnasium seem to get damaged and defiled so often?

Rumiko: His eyes may be small, but his heart is big!!

100. Urusei Yatsura "Only You," "Beautiful Dreamer," and "Remember My Love," have all debuted now. What were your thoughts on each of them?

Rumiko: Wow, that is difficult... "Only You" had very interesting character designs, and I enjoyed the fact that it was an original story. "Beautiful Dreamer's" was masterfully directed (by Mamoru Oshii). But saying that, I really enjoyed "Remember My Love" a lot.



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