SMAC! Web Magazine

Manga Editors in the Spotlight!

Recently, a book called “Manga Editors” by Shunsuke Kimura has become a hot topic in the manga world. This book is a compilation of the interviews of 5 different manga editors by a documentary writer. Books based on artist interviews, or books where artists talk about their manga creation techniques, are relatively common. But editors usually work behind the scenes, so a book that puts them in the spotlight is rather rare.

In Japan, its common knowledge among manga fans that professional artists team up with editors to create their works. But all they know is that the editor makes suggestions, and gives advice for character and story creation. The exact way that the editor interacts with the artist, how they make themselves useful, or if they’re even necessary to begin with… These are the questions that this book attempts to address!

The editors that feature in the book include those in charge of Taiyo Matsumoto (Sunny, Ping Pong) and Yana Toboso (Black Butler). Each of them have different work philosophies, and depending on the type of artist that they are dealing with, the ways that they interact with them will vary.

That being said, there is one point on which they all agree: an editor is the first reader, and before he get into technique, it’s important that he gives his honest opinion about the work at hand. You could also say that an editor needs to understand the various elements that the artist wants to include, and then serves as the “translator” who helps to smoothly communicate these elements to the reader. The editor doesn’t try to control the artist by forcing his preferences, knowledge or way of thinking onto them. Rather, he makes an effort to understand the artist’s taste. When an editor first meets a new artist, they spend a lot of time discussing the artist’s favorite manga and movies, and what the artist is currently interested in. The editor is taking a long term view, and trying to figure out what makes the artist tick. Recommending books or movies that might serve as an inspiration to the artist is also part of their job.

The editor’s main role is to understand the “flavor” of the artist, and to draw it out to its fullest, so that the manga becomes even better. For those who grew up loving manga, but don’t like drawing, becoming an editor is one way that they can contribute to the manga world. If you’re aiming to become an editor, or if you’re an aspiring manga artist who hasn’t yet been assigned an editor, this book could contain valuable hints for you!

 

Article: Kozue Aou
Translator: Andrew L.

 


Taiyo Nakashima