Comic-Con reveals: BLAME! trailer world premiere, Attack on Titan Anthology cover, Ghost in the Shell deluxe

Whew! Here's what from Kodansha Comics made its way into the world for the first time at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend!

BLAME! anime trailer WORLD PREMIERE

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Tsutomu Nihei drawing a sketch for a fan at the comiXology booth at San Diego Comic-Con.

Tsutomu Nihei, creator of science-fiction megamanga Knights of SidoniaBLAME!, and NOiSE, made a big splash in San Diego, greeting his fans and executing signings all around the con.

At his spotlight Vertical Comics panel, he announced the forthcoming BLAME! anime film, coming in 2017 as a Netflix Original. For the press release of the announcement of the anime, click hereThen he kicked off the world premiere of the trailer for the animated feature. You can see it right here:

Big thanks to our SDCC partners at Vertical Comics, 1000toys, BAIT, Bluefin, and comiXology!

Attack on Titan Anthology cover revealed!

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Paul Pope's transformative cover to the Attack on Titan Anthology—first seen at SDCC.

Meanwhile, at the Kodansha Comics panel on Saturday, more details around the hotly anticipated Attack on Titan Anthology were divulged, including insights to its creation and the revelation of variant covers for exclusive editions available from Diamond, Books-A-Million!, Barnes & Noble, and at New York Comic Con. But maybe the biggest news was the world premiere of the official cover by none other than transformative comics savant Paul Pope (@PULPH0PE).

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Left: Paolo Rivera's Books-A-Million! exclusive variant cover art. Right: Some wild pages from the Attack on Titan Anthology story by SDCC panelist Ronald Wimberly.

Announcing: The Ghost in the Shell deluxe edition

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• Deluxe re-release of the original The Ghost in the Shell series: volumes 1, 1.5, and 2. 
• Definitive edition under supervision of creator Shirow Masamune
• In time for the major film adaptation from Paramount Pictures!
• In the original right-to-left Japanese reading format with unaltered Japanese sound effects for the first time
• Coming 2017

The Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set

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• A deluxe box set of Akira volumes 1-6, plus the Akira Club art book, in large hardcover format
• With the art uncut and unaltered, in the original right-to-left reading format with the original Japanese sound effects
• MSRP $199.99
• Coming 2017

Q: What’s happening at San Diego Comic-Con? (A: Tsutomu Nihei and lots more)

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Going to San Diego Comic-Con this year? We are too!

Be sure to catch Vertical Comics and Kodansha Comics' special guest artist at San Diego this year: Tsutomu Nihei, creator of science-fiction megahits Knights of SidoniaBLAME!, and NOiSE.  Here’s a schedule of Nihei-sensei's-related panels and signing sessions at SDCC:

Tsutomu Nihei Panel
Saturday, July 23
3-4
Room 4
Rare chance to see 'n' hear Tsutomu Nihei live in person. Plus—a major new anime project reveal

Tsutomu Nihei signing sessions

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Thursday, July 21
1-2
comiXology — booth 2547
Get your hands on the exclusive Nihei comiXology creator trading card

Thursday, July 21
3-4
BAIT
920 Fifth Avenue, San Diego (@Broadway)
This location is a ~15-minute walk from the convention center.

Saturday, July 23
5:30-6:30
Room AA20

The Tsutom Nihei Quest

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July 21-23 (Thursday through Saturday)
convention hours until around 5 p.m.
check in at Vertical Comics — booth 1631
For the first 3 days of SDCC, we’ll be hosting a scavenger hunt-style quest in and around the convention center, with texts and announcements direct from Nihei-sensei. Quest completers will get a free SDCC-exclusive Nihei-designed T-shirt while supplies last.

Plus don't miss:

Kodansha Comics/Attack on Titan Anthology Panel

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Saturday, July 23
11:30-12:30
Room 8
Meet Brenden Fletcher
(Batgirl, Gotham Academy, Motor Crush), Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats), Kate Leth (Kate or Die!, Vampirella), Jeremy Lambert (Haven: Origins), and Jody Houser (Orphan Black), the talent behind the Attack on Titan Anthology, the ambitious collaboration between the biggest manga hit of the decade and an all-star roster of comics creators, including Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, Phil Jimenez, Michael Avon Oeming, Faith Erin Hicks, and others. New art from the anthology will be revealed, along with a look at new comics from one of America's biggest manga publishers. Plus lots of free books and exclusive promo items.

Vertical Comics — booth 1631
July 20-24 (Wednesday through Sunday)
during convention hours
Come visit us at the Vertical Comics booth, where we'll have special giveaways, including free comiXology download codes for the not-yet-on-sale BLAME! Volume 1. The print edition of this Master Edition re-release of Nihei's manga classic will also be on sale at the booth, months before it hits stores. An SDCC exclusive signing board (shikishi) comes free with purchase.

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Tsutomu Nihei’s classic NOiSE is BACK in digital—read Chapter 1 here

Originally published by Tokyopop, then long out of print, Tsutomu Nihei's (Knights of Sidonia) dark cyberpunk prequel to BLAME! is now back—in digital. (Available now from Kindle, comiXology, iBooks, nook, and Kobo.)

Read the complete Chapter 1 of NOiSE here.

We also recently announced at Anime Expo other long out-of-print Kodansha licenses "resurrected" in digital—with more to come.

And be sure to catch Nihei-sensei's rare Stateside appearance at San Diego Comic Con 2016. Or if you can't make it to SDCC … stay tuned to this channel for a major announcement from manga's preeminent science-fiction master.

Here's a special video message from Nihei-sensei about his anticipation to visit SDCC2016. 

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About Tsutomu Nihei

Born in 1971 in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, Tsutomu Nihei has been drawing comics professionally since the mid 1990s. In 1995 he was awarded the Jiro Taniguchi Special Prize in that year's Afternoon Magazine Four Seasons Awards for his submission called Blame. After working as an assistant to veteran comic artist Tsutomu Takahashi, Nihei went on to launch his debut series Blame! in Afternoon Magazine in 1998. Following the success of Blame! he next penned BioMega (Viz Media) and Wolverine SNIKT (Marvel). In 2009 Nihei returned to Afternoonto launch his latest series, Knights of Sidonia. In 2015 he won the Kodansha Manga Award in the General Comics category for his work on Knights of Sidonia.

Anime Expo Recap: our announcements live from Los Angeles!

July 3 Update: Click here for the announcement on the Attack on Titan Season 2 anime!

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Here’s our running recap of what Kodansha Comics is announcing throughout the July 4th holiday weekend from Anime Expo 2016 in Los Angeles!

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At Friday's Attack on Titan Anthology Panel, we not only met some of the creative minds behind this unprecedented collaboration between Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama and an all-star list of the best Western comics artists and writers, we revealed never-before-seen art from the book and gave away exclusive trading cards and other goodies.

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We also announced the forthcoming release of Attack on Titan Adventurea unique Attack on Titan interactive novel in the tradition of "Choose Your Own Adventure." You'll work your way through branching storylines, puzzles, and more! Coming February 2017!

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At Saturday's Kodansha Comics panel, we announced Fire Force, the new manga about fighters against spontaneous combustion by Soul Eater creator Atsushi Okubo. Coming November 2016. 

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We then announced Ichi F, the landmark nonfiction manga memoir of worker in the Fukushima nuclear power plant that melted down in the wake of the March 2011 tsunami disaster. We'll be publishing this as a 600-page single volume in March 2017.

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We also announced the print graphic-novel release of our newest digital simulpub series, Kosuke Fujishima's motorcross dream, Toppu GPcoming in 2017. Also look out for the manga release of Clockwork Planet in 2017, the post-apocalyptic steampunk saga based on the popular light novel series.

Finally, on the digital side of things, we announced the beginning of digital re-releases of long out-of-print Kodansha series that had previously been released in English. More details to come, but look for:

Knights of Sidonia creator Tsutomu Nihei's single-volume prequel to BLAME!, NOiSE
ALIVE by Tadashi Kawashima and Noragami creator Adachitoka
The hit romance about two classical musicians Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya
Horror comedy Princess Resurrection by Yasunori Mitsunaga
High school love triangle comedy School Rumble by Jin Kobayashi

Look for these digital releases by the end of this month—with more announcements about digital re-rereleases from our archives coming at San Diego Comic Con!

Attack on Titan Season 2 announcement

Attack on Titan Season 2

At the Shingeki Matsuri event at the Tokyo International Forum on July 3, the 2nd season of the hit anime Attack on Titan was announced, and art from the new season was released.

The 2nd season will air in Spring 2017, an announcement that was met with cheers at the event hall.

Since Attack on Titan began airing in 2013, it has taken not just Japan but the entire world by storm, becoming a global franchise. The 2nd season has been the most anticipated anime release of the last several years.

More information is coming soon.

■■More Information■■
TV anime homepage:  http://www.shingeki.tv/
Official Twitter: @anime_shingeki

Staff
“Attack on Titan” created by Hajime Isayama (Bessatsu Shonen Magazine / Kodansha) 
Chief Director: Tetsuro Araki 
Director: Masashi Koizuka
Series Composition: Yasuko Kobayashi
Character Design: Kyoji Asano
Chief Animation Directors: Kyoji Asano, Satoshi Kadowaki, Ayumi Yamada
Assistant Director: Hiroyuki Tanaka
Action Animation Directors: Arifumi Imai, Yuuko Sera, Takuma Ebisu
Art Setting: Yuuho Taniuchi
Titan Setting: Takaaki Chiba
Prop Design: Takuma Ebisu
Color Key: Ken Hashimoto
Art Director: Shunichiro Yoshihara
3DCG Director: Shigenori Hirozumi
3DCG Producer: Shuhei Yabuta
Director of Photography: Kazuhiro Yamada
Editor: Aya Hida
Sound Director: Masafumi Mima
Music: Hiroyuki Sawano
Sound Effects: Shizuo Kurahashi
Sound Production: Techno Sound
Animation Production: WIT STUDIO

Cast
Eren: Yuuki Kaji
Mikasa: Yui Ishikawa
Armin: Marina Inoue
Jean: Kishō Taniyama
Annie: Yu Shimamura 
Sasha: Yu Kobayashi 
Christa: Shiori Mikami 
Conny: Hiro Shimono 
Reiner: Yoshimasa Hosoya 
Bertholt: Tomohisa Hashizume 
Ymir: Saki Fujita 
Levi: Hiroshi Kamiya 
Erwin: Daisuke Ono 
Hanji: Romi Park 
Hannes: Keiji Fujiwara 

 

Watch Yoshitoki Oima Draw Characters from A Silent Voice

As a part of the Yoshitoki Oima Creator Spotlight, here's a rare video of Oima-sensei drawing Shoya and Shoko from A Silent Voice (from Kodansha Comics' YouTube series, These Hands Make Manga).

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WIN THIS AUTOGRAPH!
But that's not all. You can actually win the autographed sketch Oima-sensei draws in this video. 
All you have to do is take this quick survey*. 
*Sweepstakes ends on July 7, 2016

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For limited time only (6/7-6/14), A Silent Voice digital volumes 1-6 are on sale for $4.99!

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Click here for more features on Yoshitoki Oima, the creator of A Silent Voice. 

What’s happening @ Anime Expo 2016?

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Going to Anime Expo this year? If you’re there, be sure to catch all things Kodansha Comics!

First of all, make sure to say hi to this year’s Anime Expo Guest of Honor: Naoshi Arakawa (Your Lie in April)! Here’s all Arakawa-sensei-related events going on at AX:

Naoshi Arakawa Panel
Saturday, July 2
12:15-1:15 p.m.
Room 403AB
Don’t miss this chance to see Naoshi Arakawa in person! 

Your Lie in April Quest
July 1-4, during convention hours
full info at the Kodansha Comics HUB at Booth #3501 (part of Kinokuniya booth)

Every day of AX, we’ll be hosting a scavenger hunt-style quest based on Arakawa-sensei’s hit manga Your Lie in April
First 1000 participants will get an AX Exclusive
Your Lie in April tote bag as a prize.*
Plus, the 10 fastest players each day will win a free copy of
Your Lie in April volume 1!**

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*while supplies last
**You can only compete on one day.

Naoshi Arakawa autograph sessions
Friday, July 1
1:30-2:30 p.m.
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 2
2:30-3:30 p.m.

All autograph sessions are held at Kentia Hall.

More events related to Kodansha Comics, and our sibiling-publisher Vertical Comics

Attack on Titan Anthology Panel
Friday, July 1
1-2 p.m.
Room LP3
Meet some of the creative minds behind this unprecedented collaboration between Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama and an all-star list of the best Western comics artists and writers! We’ll reveal never-before-seen art from the book and give away exclusive trading cards and other goodies.

Read-along with KIZUMONOGATARI and Attack on Titan 
Featuring the voice actors for the KIZU and Titan audiobooks and MONOGATARI editor Mariko Yajima.
Friday, July 1
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Room LP3/LACC 408AB

Vertical Comics Panel
Saturday, July 2
1:15-2:15 p.m.
Room LP4/LACC 411

Kodansha Comics Panel
Saturday, July 2
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Room LP4
The publisher of Attack on Titan, Sailor Moon, Fairy Tail, Noragami, and many more debut their new publishing plans for 2016 and beyond! Come speak with some of the editors, ask your questions, and get free books, posters, art cards, and more!

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Come Visit Us!

Kodansha Comics HUB
Exhibitor Hall Booth #3501 (part of the Kinokuniya booth)
Your information center for everything Kodansha Comics

Special features

Show Exclusive: free digital editions (courtesy comiXology) of Your Lie in April, Farewell My Dear Cramer, and Ajin: Demi-Human
AX Guest of Honor Naoshi Arakawa Gallery
Netflix Original Series Ajin: Demi-Human Photo Op
Start and prize point for the Your Lie in April Quest

————

Kodansha Comics booth
Exhibitor Hall Booth # 911
Your place to buy Kodansha Comics!

Show debuts
Fairy Tail Zero volume 2
Queen Emeraldas volume 1
Sweetness & Lightning volume 1
Attack on Titan volume 19 

Giveaways
Attack on Titan Anthology trading cards
Art cards featuring 5 different manga series 

————

Vertical Comics booth 
Exhibitor Hall Booth #509

Show debuts
Immortal Hounds volume 1 
Nichijou volume 3 
Wolfsmund volume 7 

Giveaways 
Chi's Sweet Home poster

 

Not Just Another Romance Manga Sale (June 14-28)

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Have you read any good shojo manga recently? Or do you just shy away from the whole genre because you think it's "just another romance manga"? Well, think again! We've cherry-picked some unique and incredible shojo manga from Kodansha Comics for you to try. 

Starting Tuesday, June 14, we are having a big sale on volume 1's of selected manga series on all digital retailer. 

What's on sale now (June 14-June 28): 

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Princess Jellyfish vol.1 for $6.99

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Say I Love You. vol.1 for $.3.99

 

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My Little Monster vol.1 for $3.99

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LDK vol.1 for $3.99

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Missions of Love vol.1 for $3.99

But hurry! These sales are for a limited time. 

 

 

Creator Interview: Akiko Higashimura on Princess Jellyfish

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Princess Jellyfish is one of the rare series that started to get published from Kodansha Comics due to high demand from the fans, even before it was published! So what’s the hype all about? Part of it is the comedic and accurate portrayal of the lives of otaku girls, and part of it seems to be the name value of Akiko Higashimura, a charismatic shojo manga artist who adores shojo manga herself, and continues to make shojo manga for shojo manga fans.

Only weeks before the release of Princess Jellyfish vol.2, we had a chance to interview Higashimura for the first time in English.

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Photo credit: © Weekly Bunshun

About Akiko Higashimura
Born in Kushima, Miyagi Prefecture, she made her debut as a mangaka with Fruits Koumori from Shueisha. In 2001, she started her first series, Kisekai Yuka-chan in Cookie (shojo manga anthology magazine published from Shueisha.) Her most famous work includes Mama wa Temparist, Himawari: Kenichi Legend, and Kakukaku Shikajika. In 2015, Kakukaku Shikajika won the 8th Annual Manga Award and also 19th Annual Japan Cultural Affair Media Art Festival Manga Award. Higashimura is known for working simultaneously on multiple manga series including Yukibana no Tora (published from Shogakukan), Princess Jellyfish, and Tokyo Tarareba-Musume (both published from Kodansha.)

Kodansha Comics (KC): What were you like when you were a child?
Akiko Higashiura (AH): My father’s work required a lot of relocation, so my family had to move a lot. We’ve moved five times during my elementary school years, and twice during junior high. I was a pretty active kid, so it wasn’t too hard to make friends. But I had to accept the fact when we move again, I have to build relationship with new sets of friends again. I remember thinking, “Okay, I have to just get over this whole year without causing any trouble.” I was sort of sober-minded for a child.

KC: Did you read manga as a child? What story influenced you the most?
AH: I was heavily influenced by shojo manga from the 80’s in general. Rather than being influenced by one specific series, I was influenced by everything I’ve read back then.

KC: Why did you become a mangaka (manga-artist)?
AH: I was always drawing ever since I was little, and my parents were supportive of it too. As long as I can remember, it was in back of my mind that one day that I will become a mangaka. But it took me awhile to put it in action. By the time I’ve drawn and submitted my first manga, I was already a working adult.  

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KC: How did you come up with the story of Princess Jellyfish?
AH: I loved shojo manga since I was little. So when I started to get serious about making my own shojo manga, I put together all the aspects that I loved, like the theme of boy meets girl, “gap-moe” (being in love with unexpected side of a person,) and friendship between girls.

KC: Do you have models for the characters in Princess Jellyfish? Which one do you identify with the most?
AH: There are models to these characters. Most of them are based on my otaku girl friends. When I was a student I was also really into jellyfish. I used to spend a lot of time drawing them, or looking at picture books on jellyfish. In that sense, Tsukimi, the main character who is into jellyfish, is based on myself. But people tell me that my personality is a lot like Kuranosuke, the cross-dressing guy.

KC: Speaking of Kuranosuke, how did you come up with a male main character who is into cross-dressing?
AH: Initially, Kuranosuke was going to be just a pretty girl. When I told this idea to the editor, he said “what if this character was a boy?” I thought, “wow, how fresh would it be if the male protagonist looks like a ‘princess’ that the female protagonist dreams of becoming?” So I’ve changed the setting immediately. Originally, I’ve imagined Kuranosuke to have a very strong personality. But by making him into a cross-dressing guy, it made him even more of a strong character, who is very self-assured.

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KC: Do you like drawing art or writing stories more? Do you find one more difficult than the other?
AH: I only feel joy, whether if I’m drawing art or writing stories. I’ve never felt like it’s a difficult, or painful thing to do.

KC: How do you feel to see your manga being adapted into anime or live-action drama?
AH: I feel very happy. It’s really exciting to see other creators expanding upon the world I’ve created in my manga.

KC: Do you have any hobbies that you’re currently into?
AH: I’ve been into growing succulent plants. My entire day off is spent on gardening.

KC: What manga are you currently working on?
AH: Lately I’ve been working on two main series; Tokyo Tarareba-Musume, which is about the troubles of thirty-something-years-old single ladies. Also, I’ve been working on Yukibana no Tora, which is based on facts and my imagination on “what if Kenshin Uesugi, the war hero was a woman?”

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KC: Do you have any comments to the fans outside of Japan?
AH: I’ve noticed that lately, people outside of Japan are also really into manga. It’s exciting to be able to talk about manga with someone from different countries. I’m usually walking around hear Harajuku, where my work space is. So if you ever see me there, just come up to me. I’ll buy you a latte. Let’s talk about manga!

KC: Thank you!

 

Watch this video of Akiko Higashimura in action at her workplace on Higashimura Akiko Production YouTube Channel.

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Princess Jellyfish vol.2 is coming out on June 28. Preorder it now on KodanshaComics.com

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Princess Jellyfish and other shojo manga are on sale in digital format. (Sale ends 6/28). 

Creator Spotlight: Yoshitoki Oima (A Silent Voice)

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A Silent Voice is this year’s Eisner Award nominee from Kodansha Comics. It’s the story of boy meets girl … except its main focus is on how difficult it is for one person to communicate with another, especially if that other person can’t hear you. A Silent Voice came to its conclusion with the release of the final volume (Volume 7), which went on sale May 31.

Within those seven volumes you’ll find real-life drama so painful and heartwarming, you can’t keep your eyes off it. What’s the secret of A Silent Voice’s acclaim? Find out for yourself!

Creator Interview: Yoshitoki Oima on A Silent Voice 
Creator Sketch Video: Yoshitoki Oima drawing Characters from A Silent Voice 
Win the Sketch by Yoshitoki Oima
Catch up to A Silent Voice—while volumes 1 through 6 on sale!

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The complete series of A Silent Voice (volumes 1-7) is available now from Kodansha Comics!

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A Silent Voice digital volumes 1-6 are on sale for $4.99—for limited time only (June 7-14)

Interview: Yoshitoki Oima on A Silent Voice

Interview by Misaki C. Kido

Yoshitoki Oima was only eighteen years old when she first started work on A Silent Voice. Most would-be mangaka aspire to going pro around that age, but what made Oima special was that she had a full story already in mind and the determination to tell it to the world. What led her to make that manga? Here, the creator of the Eisner-nominated manga series reveals her innermost thoughts for the first time. 

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About Yoshitoki Oima
Born in Gifu Prefecture, Japan in 1989. In 2008, a pilot manga of A Silent Voice won the 80th Annual Shonen Magazine Newcomer Manga Award. In 2009, she debuted as a mangaka with the manga adaptation of a novel by Tow Ubukata, Mardock Scramble (vol.1-7 available from Kodansha Comics). In 2013, a remake of the A Silent Voice pilot chapter ran as a one-shot manga in Weekly Shonen Magazine, which then went on to become a full series. It has been announced that A Silent Voice will be adapted into theatrical anime in September 2016.

Kodansha Comics (KC): When you were a child, what were you like?
Yoshitoki Oima (YO): I was the youngest sibling in my family. So even though I wasn’t aware of it, I think I was pretty selfish [laughs]. I was a tomboy who liked to play imaginary gunfights. I was pretty active back then, although I became more of a gloomy person later.

KC: Why is that?
YO: A lot of stuff happened at school that made me that way. But when I was playing with friends, I was as happy as I can be.

KC: Did you read any manga when you were growing up?
YO: I did. I have a brother who is six years older than me, and he liked to buy and read manga. There was stacks of manga everywhere at home, so I picked up some of them and started to read it myself. But I wasn’t too deeply into it. I only read a specific series from a certain manga magazine.

KC: What manga had the most influence on you?
YO: I’ve been most influenced by a manga called 3×3 Eyes [by Yuzo Takada]. That was the first series I collected myself.

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A Silent Voice is about Shota [left], a boy who was once a school bully, and his complicated relationship with a girl he bullied, Shoko [right], a girl who can't hear.

KC: Why and how did you become a mangaka?
YO: When I was spending a lot of time reading and drawing manga, the thought to be a mangaka was at the back of my mind. I was actually drawing before I was reading. But I was kind of embarrassed to tell anyone about my dream.

KC: Why was that?
YO: Everybody around me had more specific occupations in mind that sounded good, like becoming a florist. If I say that I want to become a mangaka, it would’ve sounded like I just wanted to goof around. A mangaka can provide entertainment, but I don’t know if it would contribute to society in any specific way.

KC: Do you like writing stories or drawing art more?
YO: When I was younger, I liked drawing more. But now I like making stories, or rather, it’s something I’ve been focusing on. It’s hard to say. Drawing art and writing a story are both fun and yet difficult.

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KC: So you made this story with the support of your family?
YO: Yes, for sure. And I had to work it out that way. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to survive.

KC: Why did you decide to write this story from the perspective someone who was once a bully?
YO: First of all, I didn’t want to write this story from the perspective of the one who was getting bullied, because I didn’t think that was interesting to me or anyone else. To me, it’s easier to get into the story from the perspective of a bully, or Shota’s point of view. I’m sure more readers can relate to Shota than to Shoko. Most people can only speculate what it feels like to be a girl with a disability who gets bullied. But the truth is, you won’t be able to know how she really feels. I thought that was the more important point to convey. So I didn’t want to reveal Shoko’s inner thoughts or her true feelings.

KC: Do you have any personal experience with bullying or being bullied?
YO: Bullying in real life is not very visible on surface. Sometimes you can tell someone is talking behind your back, but I’ve never gone far enough to confirm it. So I don’t know. I wouldn’t register it as bullying, but I still get negative vibes from it. I’d just stop there.

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KC: Shoya and Shoko; How would you describe them in your own words?
YO: Shoya is a simple-minded person who only thinks of things in terms of whether if something feels right or wrong. Shoko wishes she could do so much more, but in reality, nothing goes according to her will. She may think most people don’t understand her.

KC: Do you have any models for the characters in A Silent Voice?
YO: I can think of people who have some resemblance to the characters. For example, Naoka reminds me of a girl who was high up the social ladder of my class. Miyoko reminds me of a girl in my high school who I thought was really cool. If Tomohiro was real, I’d want to stay away from him. But his inner self is very close to mine, in the sense he clings to his friends. But for the most part, those characters consist of certain aspects of myself, but more exaggerated.

KC: Do you have a favorite character besides the main characters?
YO: I would say Miyoko. Maybe not my favorite character per se, but I feel like I go too easy on her … like I don’t want to give her too harsh of an obstacle.

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[From left] Miyoko, Naoka, Tomohiro, Satoshi, and Miki all play significant roles in A Silent Voice. Their backstories, which explain what makes each one of them so different, are only revealed towards the climax of the series.

KC: How did you come up with the interactions between these characters? <
YO: I turn them against each other in my head [laughs]. When I am drawing a character, I become that person. So I know exactly how each one of these guys feels like. Even people like Miki, Naoka, and the school teachers like Mr. Takeuchi and Ms. Kita–– a lot of readers assume I portray these characters as the “bad guys,” but that’s not true.

KC: It’s hard to say anyone from A Silent Voice is “bad” or “evil.”
YO: I don’t quite get why people think in such ways. When I look at people’s reactions to this manga online, it makes me wonder why certain people feel a certain way about a certain character.

KC: Maybe it’s because it feels “too close to home.”
YO: Yea, maybe [laughs].

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KC: There’s expressions in this manga that are unique, like the “X” on people’s faces from Shoya’s point of view, and words that are half faded from Shoko’s point of view.
YO: Those were purely just ideas that I had. At first, I had a vision of a classroom scene with all the classmates’ faces crossed out with X’s. Because I thought of this scene, I dug deeper into developing Shota and other characters’ personality. The scene from Shoko’s point of view, when the words in the speech bubble get cut off, the whole point is to show the world she lives in. I don’t know if this was the right way to express it. Because at the end of the day, I don’t really know what it’s like or how it feels to be in her world. But I want to know. That’s what made me struggle the most.

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These are just some examples of truly innovative expressions in this manga to convey what is going on in someone’s mind while trying to communicate with others.


KC: What does it mean that Shota sees X’s on people faces?
YO: It means he doesn’t want to, or cannot see that person’s face.  It’s like the symbolism of indifference. Or sometime you are really interested in that person, but trying not to be.

KC: There’s many hidden truths and inner thoughts of each character that won’t be revealed until the end of this manga. Did you plan this series to be this way?
YO: When I started making this manga, I already had a rough idea of the overall story all the way until the end. In my original idea, Shoko was going to be the one to go through what Shoya went through in the end. But my editor was against the idea. I mean, I kind of get it too. But then what? I had to think about what to do with the story when one of the main characters was suddenly “out of the picture.” That’s when I switched writing the story from Shoya’s perspective to everybody else’s. In my favorite video game, Chrono Trigger, the main character also goes out of the picture. Meanwhile, the main characters’ allies try their best to hold down the situation. I think I was influenced by that.

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Every cover of A Silent Voice features both Shota and Shoko … except Volume 6. What happened to Shota? Find out by reading the whole series.

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Mardock Scramble volumes 1-7 are available from Kodansha Comics

KC: Your previous work, Mardock Scramble is quite different from A Silent Voice. Do you feel any difference in making these two manga?
YO: Mardock Scramble was based on a pre-existing novel. So I’ve read it over and over again, and every time I read it, I’ve found something new about it … It was very hard. In some sense, I completely lost my own imagination and the ability to write my own story at that time. Instead, I learned just how much story I can incorporate into one 45-page chapter each month to satisfy a reader. I was very much focused on just Mardock Scramble. It was a good training.

KC: Is that why your storytelling was fully embraced in A Silent Voice?
YO: I couldn’t stand the fact I hadn’t made my own manga for over three years. I didn’t care what anybody thought about my manga at that point.

KC: It sounds like the time and effort you’ve spent on Mardock Scramble somehow lead up to the making of A Silent Voice. YO: It does. While I was working on Mardock Scramble, it seemed like I wasn’t making my own manga. But I had something to draw in front of me. That was what was given to me. I was constantly searching for the reason why Mardock Scramble was given to me. And I feel like found some answers. In Mardock Scramble, the main character Balot says she wants to die. As a reader, I didn’t get why … and I wanted to know why. I wanted to dig deeper. What leads a person to think in such way? I felt like it was my duty to really understand this point. The answers I got from working on Mardock Scramble carried through to A Silent Voice.

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KC: How did you feel when you completed the story of A Silent Voice?
YO: To me, it was almost miraculous I got to work on a manga about communication. A lot of things led up for me to make this manga about the difficulty of communication. I am just fascinated by the feedback that I get about this piece, from anyone. I feel so lucky to have opportunities like this interview, to talk about why I’ve made such manga. And the fact so many people recommended this manga to other people like their friends makes me feel so fortunate.

KC: What kind of audience would you want to read A Silent Voice?
YO: I want somebody like Shoko–– who feels lonely––to read this manga.

KC: Do you have any comments for the fans of A Silent Voice?
YO: If you feel anything, or find anything in this manga, I would be very happy. Even if you don’t, the fact that you’ve still read this manga would make me happy.

KC: Thank you!
 

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A Silent Voice is a nominee for 2016 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material––Asia.
The complete series (volumes 1-7) is available now from Kodansha Comics!

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It's been announced on Weekly Shonen Magazine that Yoshitoki Oima's brand new fantasy series is starting in September 2016. Stay tuned for more info on Oima's new series on KodanshaComics.com

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For limited time only (6/7-6/14), A Silent Voice digital volumes 1-6 are on sale for $4.99!

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Click here to check out more Creator Spotlight features on Yoshitoki Oima (creator of A Silent Voice).