Hi everyone! How was the SILENT MANGA AUDITION 2015? I hope you all enjoyed it!
As announced, the audition will be held every 6 months from now on! I’m looking forward to seeing all your great works about “a charming gift”!!
Reading the past episodes, we can see that an editor’s job includes lots and lots of meetings, especially with the manga artists. Now I am sure you are interested in the meetings between the editors and the manga artists!
I was very lucky to be able to attend a meeting with some of the editors, and the one and only Hojo-sensei!! Here’s a report about what I saw during the meeting!
Besides me, there were three editors attending this meeting. One of them was our president Mr. Horie, who has worked with Hojo-sensei for more than 30 years. Another was Mr. Hanada, the chief editor of Monthly Comic ZENON, which I interviewed in the 1st episode of MANGA INSIDER. And last but not least, there was Mr. Tanaka, the current editor-in-charge of Hojo-sensei’s works.
Hojo-sensei’s office is located in an ordinary building in Kichijoji. I felt sooo nervous going through his office doors…!
As we sat around the table, Mr. Horie introduced me to Hojo-sensei. My face was burning as I was introduced! It was the first time I ever spoke to Hojo sensei, and I knew my mother was a big fan of him. How can anyone stand this!?
The editors and Hojo sensei soon started chatting about the international circumstances of manga, what they are anticipating for the Silent Manga Audition, and of course about the SMAC! mag. Their conversation was really interesting and inspiring, but on the other hand, I was wondering when they would get around to discussing the main topic…
It was 20 minutes later when the topic moved onto the story of “ANGEL HEART”. I was a bit surprised that they would spare so much time. I had heard that these kind of meetings are scheduled to take about two hours or shorter. I think that 20 minutes out of 2 hours is quite long!
For this meeting, the men were discussing the story line of the manga scheduled to be published in June.
There were some things I realized while listening to the meeting. One thing was that it was rather the editors who were speaking most of the time during the meeting. Hojo sensei was mostly listening to the discussion with a thoughtful look, obviously getting the inspiration from the conversation. One reason is because Hojo sensei is the type of manga artist who writes a concrete scenario beforehand; a scenario which is much more specific than an ordinary plot by other manga artists. However, I believe the main aim is to focus onto the “reader’s opinion” as much as possible.
According to Mr. Horie,“A chatty person becomes a good editor”. This is because ideas come up during conversation, since we all use language for thinking about things (This links to Mr. Hanada’s interview, doesn’t it!). He also stated: “An editor has to come up with as many ideas as possible, even if all the ideas may be declined by the manga artist. In my younger days I would prepare at least 3 ideas to bring to Hojo-kun!”
Another thing I realized was that chatting casually didn’t mean wasting time at all. While listening to the discussion, sometimes the topic seemed to get off the track…but at the end, this played an important role in the meeting. I was especially astonished that a little chat about the birth of “PRIKURA” ended up being a source of evidence when considering historical accuracy of ‘Angel Heart’! I’m afraid I cannot talk about the details, but one thing for sure, any topic can become a crucial factor in creation of manga indeed!
Mr. Tanaka, a younger member of the editor’s team, says that there are lots of manga artists who would prefer to talk casually rather than being given directions about what to draw, although it really depends on who he works with. Mr. Tanaka himself has also once been told by a manga artist to give no advice at all! This is because the artist wanted to get the inspiration from casual talk rather than being told to draw “something” by the editor.
Mr. Hanada adds that there are certain kinds of editors who try to control the manga artists by giving them specific directions… The balance between “giving as many opinions as possible” and “giving specific directions to everything” felt so difficult to me. It depends on the artist’s style, but sometimes it is better not to force to come up to an idea. Just chatting casually would work better, and eventually lead to a good idea.
There was one more sensational thing I figured out from the conversation. Not a single person was thinking about “controlling” the characters. They were just imagining how they would move, based on the former episode. Even Hojo sensei seemed undecided about the story line and the characters real feelings… There I came to the idea that a manga character is a “living” thing. Creating manga isn’t controlling the characters; it’s letting them live inside the panels! The creators –even including Hojo sensei- are just a bunch of observers that are imagining what the characters are feeling. This idea kind of reminded me of a conversation with an artist friend of mine, talking about fan-fiction. Now I see the creating process of fan-fiction does not differ so much with the creation of original works. Neither the manga artist nor editor is a “god” of the manga! “Editors are the closest readers which the manga artists can rely on anytime”- these words by Mr. Hanada resonated in my heart! Manga characters are existing inside the panels, and are always growing along with the manga artists.
This meeting took 1 hour and 30 minutes. It was a great experience for me! I could understand everything I had heard so far from Mr. Hanada and Mr. Watanabe with my soul! I truly felt the importance of talking with somebody during a creation. Now I feel that I found a clue in communicating with the manga artists!
Finally, Hojo sensei showed me a few pages he drew for the last episode, and gave me permission to post it onto this article!!
Keep your eyes wide open, these are really special stuff!!
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