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Taken from Animerica Vol 5, No. 5 1997 Interview
by Seiji Horibuchi, translated by Takayuki Karahashi.
Inuyasha, your new work that the entire world's been waiting for, has
finally begun serialization in Japan, and the English translation is already
underway. Can you tell us the basis for the idea or story inspirations
when you were creating Inuyasha?
Takahashi: Well, that's difficult to say, but for one thing, I
wanted to draw a story-oriented manga. Also, I liked the idea of a historical
piece. Something I could easily draw. That's the premise I started with.
Animerica: Compared to your previous work, Ranma ½, were there
aspects or trends in the story that you intentionaly tried to change?
Takahashi: It's not intentional, but Inuyasha is less comedic that
Ranma ½. Actually, I would like to get a few more laughs in, but I think
that can wait until I can organize it better myself.
Animerica: That certainly feels the way it's going. I've read the
manga up to the fifth installment. I did feel it's less comedic, and I
kept on waiting for the laughs to come up. I don't remember which story,
but the main character Kagome makes Inuyasha quiet down by chanting a
mantra... and it's "sit!" I laughed out loud there.
Takahashi: I'd like to have more of that sort of thing myself.
Animerica: So right now, you're more at the level where you're
setting up the story?
Takahashi: Well, yes... that's the current stage.
Animerica: Inuyasha's setting is purely Japanese. I'm sure that
after the story has been translated into English, it will also be translated
into various other languages of the world. Now, I'm sure world readership
wasn't the first thing you had in mind when you were creating the story.
How do you feel about a purely Japanese story going out to the world?
Takahashi: Well, some aspects of Ranma ½ and Urusei Yatsura were
truly universal, but I wonder how it will work out in Inuyasha. For example,
I must wonder how much of historical Japan foreign readers will understand.
But of course, when I'm drawing the story, I'm drawing it for the Japanese
readers, and historical settings don't matter to them. Instead, I have
to draw a piece that will register to them as manga. In that sense, I
think it will work out.
Animerica: The serial's just started, and we're all interested
in how the story will develop. As one of your readers, I'd be happy if
you could tell me what I should look for in the story and keep in mind
to enhance my enjoyment of the manga. Of course, I'm sure you have story
spoilers that you don't want to give away just yet.
Takahashi: Well, I'm not really sure about it myself yet, but if
I could, I'd like to depict a bizarre world view.
Animerica: Okay... well, the serial's just started, but how far
have you planned out the story?
Takahashi: Well, I have a rough idea of how the personal relationships
should work out, but that's all. I'm hoping the plot will follow. But
I'm wondering about getting too tied up in relationships. So, I'd really
like to be able to improvise as I go.
Animerica: So you're just preparing the characters and their relationships
and letting the plot develop by itself?
Takahashi: You could say that. So I don't want any premeditated
Animerica: It looks like there will be more characters introduced
over time, but do you plan of having, say, so-and-so many characters at
such-and-such point in the plot? Would that be in response to the plot
Of course, it would be in response to the plot, but currently, there are
only antagonists, so I would like them to find friends soon. I am hoping
Animerica: You're just hoping and don't have specific ideas for
such characters right now?
Takahashi: Right, I don't have specific characters for that yet.
I'll probably come up with one the week I have to draw the story.
Animerica: It must be tough work to do a weekly serial.
Takahashi: It truly is tough.
Animerica: Do you almost never get time off?
Takahashi: You can say that. Once it starts, it's difficult to
get time off.
Animerica: There was quite a while between the end of Ranma ½ and
the beginning of your current serial when you didn't have regular work.
Were you able to have some leisure time during then?
Takahashi: You could say that. (LAUGHS) I went to Mexico. It was
my second time, but it had been a while. I'm glad I was able to go.
Animerica: Where in Mexico did you go?
Takahashi: I went to the Yucatan Peninsula again. I saw the ruins
and the pyramids.
Animerica: Did you stay in Cancun in Yucatan?
Takahashi: I went to Cancun and then to Mérida for a total
of ten days.
Animerica: I hope you can find time to come to the U.S. again.
When you came to the San Diego Comic-Con two years ago, it was such a
big event, for the fans and probably for you as well. We were glad you
Takahashi: It was fun.
Animerica: I hope we can invite you to San Diego again, but I'm
sure you have something else to concentrate on while you have a serial.
Takahashi: I'll say. That does tend to become the case.
Animerica: Society and times have changed since you first started
Ranma ½, haven't they? And naturally you're older and more experienced
as well... How are your feelings different now that you've started Inuyasha
from how they were when you began Ranma ½?
Takahashi: Well, I didn't realize it myself when I started Ranma
½, but I must have been under pressure to match my previous two works,
and I think I was rushing. I was thinking I had to create memorable
scenes as soon as possible. In that sense, I think I feel like now I'm
free to do what I can do.
Animerica: Are you that much more relaxed?
Takahashi: I wouldn't say I'm more relaxed. I wonder how you'd
Animerica: You've grown up?
Takahashi: I wouldn't say "grown up" either. I'll always be a kid.
Animerica: But you don't feel the pressure like last time?
Takahashi: I do feel the pressure, but I'm starting to wonder if
I'm at the age when I can keep on drawing shounen manga ("boy's
comics") forever. But I do... I do want to keep on drawing shounen
manga until I die.
Animerica: I certainly hope you'll go on for a long time yet. (LAUGHS)
Inuyasha is just starting its run in the U.S., but we'll be doing our
best to take painstaking care with it, so I hope we can have your blessing.
Now, I'd like to ask a few more questions on something besides Inuyasha.
Your American readers learned last year the news that you've sold a cumulative
total of over one hundred million tankoubon copies ["compilation
books," or graphic novels - Ed.]. It's hard to imagine what the
number one hundred million copies means, but how do you feel about
It's really, really hard to have a feel for it. I didn't suddenly make
one hundred million copies - it was the result of many years of steady
work. But it really made me happy too.
Animerica: It averages out to every person in Japan owning a copy
of your book. That's monumental.
Takahashi: But I do have the great mentor in Mitsuru Adachi [another
manga artist to sell over 100 million copies, author of Nine, Slow Step,
Miyuki, Touch, etc. - Ed.]. I could always see what Adachi's done
and I would know how to follow in his footsteps.
Animerica: So tentatively, your next goal is two hundred
Takahashi: Two hundred million copies would be tough. I've only
recently realized how tough it would be to make one hundred and fifty
Animerica: In creating your works, is there a particular place
that inspires you the most, or do you have a unique way of coming up with
Takahashi: Well, I basically think at home, which is my workplace.
But I'm thinking about my serial work whenever I go out. Especially in
Inuyasha, the task of observing minute details in very important, so I
keep an eye out for what's going on in newspaper columns and what-not.
Animerica: Do you mean you often get ideas from daily observations?
Takahashi: Yes. Although, that's true whenever you're drawing manga.
Animerica: Do you read books or see movies when your serial is
Takahashi: I read books. I see more plays that movies, though.
Animerica: Do you have a recent favourite play?
Takahashi: Well, I've been going to see Takarazuka. (LAUGHS)
Animerica: That you very much for your time today. I really hope
you can come again to the U.S. when you have the time.
Takahashi: Thank you. I really made fond memories last time.
Animerica: I hope you'll be able to make new fond memories.
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