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Q&A with MANGA PRO Session 2 – Japanese Manga 101 #039

Taiyo Nakashima Taiyo Nakashima 16/10/2015 7 min read
Today we are answering all the questions you sent us!

I’ve been wondering about working on a pilot manga just to start a series. 

I noticed that “Hokuto No Ken”’s pilot manga had 2 chapters before the actual series started. While the pilot manga for Naruto only had one single chapter with 45 pages before the series started.

Well… can a pilot manga have 2 or 3 chapters and not just 1 single manga between 30 to 45 pages? And if the pilot manga has 2 or 3 chapters, they should have somewhere around 30 to 45 pages each, right?

<Kuroi Kai>

As Kuroi says, many of the popular series on Weekly Jump, first begin as a one-shot of 31-45 pages, before actually becoming a series. Please note, the one-shot is made BEFORE the series is confirmed. Meaning, the one-shots aren’t merely a pilot version for already decided production. Many, including the mega-hits, were originally just one of MANY one-shots, trying to win the readers’ hearts. Not just Jump, but almost all of the periodical magazines works like thus. That is why, young manga artists keep on drawing, many and many one-shots. Those one-shots are drawn, to win the place as a series-production. Even though they are a “one-shot”, we work on characters, the world settings, to the level of details that is good for a series production. That is necessary to really win the readers’ support, without which it won’t become a series. So, most mega-hit manga like “NARUTO”, only had a single chapter of the one-shot. We recommend everyone, to try planning for a series, with charming characters and the world, then drawing a “ONE SHOT” that represents the whole series. That way you may win a place, as a series-production artist.   So why the exception? Why did “Fist of the North Star” have 2 one-shots? They told us that, even though the 1st one-shot was so immensely popular, the editorial team couldn’t quite understand the reason why it was so popular. Was it the Violence, or more with characters and stories? So they tested it out with the 2nd one-shot, this time asking the readers especially this question, in the Questionnaire card for the readers.   Hope that helped clarify things? Let’s move on to the next question!

How much forward are the series usually planned? I wonder how often authors know what way they want everything to go vs making it up as they go and how much editors help them keep on the track or steer towards a better direction.

<Joanna Piechowiak>

When a proposal for series seems to have potential, by being well received as a one-shot, or the artist already has a successful history of hit-titles, we ask the artists to produce Manga NAME, for the first 3 episodes of the series. Those NAMEs go to the editor’s meeting, then the chief editor has the final say, whether to make it as a series or not. If the NAMEs are deemed not strong enough to be a series, the editor will work with the artist, till the NAME wins the hearts of the editors first. So, before any series begins, in most cases they think “3 chapters” ahead. About “how much editors help”, this really is different from cases to cases. The editor may have a plot or an original story for the artist to work on, or the editor might only provide advices about the characters and the world, created by the artist. Either way, the editor is there to help the artist, whatever way necessary. We always try to be a dependable ally, and NOT an enemy you may have seen or heard before. An editor has experienced many successes, as well as failures. With that knowledge, an editor considers and provides what works best, for the artist to produce a hit title. What we are trying to achieve here at Comic-ZENON and SMAC!, is to provide that successful assistance, to not just manga-ka in Japan, but to people around the world. We hope we are going in the right direction!   スクリーンショット 2015-11-11 17.22.02 GOT IT!?   Hope that helped! Anymore questions, please do post it here and on any of the channels we have for you! See you next week!  
Taiyo Nakashima

Taiyo Nakashima