10 Years of Kodansha Comics—August Spotlight: Vinland Saga

10 Years of Kodansha Comics!

The year 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the first Kodansha Comics manga published in English. Please join us in celebration as we select one classic Kodansha Comics series each month for exclusive content, promotions, and other surprises!

Vinland Saga Volumes 1-10 are available now from Kodansha Comics!

August Spotlight: Vinland Saga

Our August Spotlight title is Makoto Yukimura’s Viking epic Vinland Saga, which recently received an anime debut! So what kind of “special surprises” do we have for you to pillage this month? Check these out …

Surprise 1: Exclusive Vinland Saga pin!

As a part of the 10 Years of Kodansha Comics project, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Rightstuf to bring you this awesome Vinland Saga Pin!

Visit Rightstuf and order any volume of Vinland Saga and you’ll receive an exclusive pin for FREE! Available this month (August 2019) only or while supplies last.

Surprise 2:  Vinland Saga digital sale!

What better way to cool down during the hot summer days than taking a journey to the cold northern seas! From now until August 12th, get 50% off on Vinland Saga manga at our digital retail partners: Apple Books, BookWalker, comiXology, Google Play, Kindle, Kobo, MyAnimeList, and nook! What are you waiting for?? The epic journey that inspired one of this anime season’s biggest hits is waiting!

Surprise 3: Vinland Saga survey sweepstakes!

Have you been wanting to check out Vinland Saga in anticipation of its anime release? Set your sails and get ready to join the hunt for some sweet loot! For the month of August only, ONE lucky winner will win a set of Vinland Saga manga Volumes 1-10. All you have to do is take this survey by August 31 to enter for a chance to win!

Surprise 4: Celebrating Vinland Saga‘s anime! A special long-form fishing-hole interview between author Makoto Yukimura and director Shuhei Yabuta 

Vinland Saga‘s anime adaptation was announced in March 2018. The first round of announcements revealed some visuals from the show, and Shuhei Yabuta’s position as director. 

Yabuta previously directed the Inuyashiki anime and was a 3D-CG director for Attack on Titan. Now all eyes are on him and WIT Studio as they produce Vinland Saga, which depicts the lives of Norse warriors. 

Read on for an interview between Yabuta and Yukimura! Of course, you can’t talk about Vikings without talking about fishing! (Save your snappy comebacks, please!) We set the scene at a fishing hole somewhere in Tokyo … 

The Difference between Anime and Manga in Showing Flair 

Makoto Yukimura (MY): I saw some anime storyboard drafts and thought, “Oh, it’s already cleaned up and finalized!” That’s how incredible the recreation of the battle scenes are. In the manga, I am doing my best to think of the sword fighting as an entire scene, but since it’s ultimately just still images, the only thing that really matters is that the images look cool. But animation has to show the flow of movement from still image to still image. So seeing how that’s interpreted and put into motion made me go like, “Whoa, no way!” I was very happy to see how much you preserved the original work. It’s really true that when it comes to depicting motion, a manga author has nothing on an animator. 

Shuhei Yabuta (SY): You know, in that regard, I don’t think there’s a huge difference between manga and anime. Yes, animation is a moving video, but rather than expressing the whole movement, I try to make the cool points stick out and capture the viewer’s attention. When you get down to it, it really is like a sequence of stills. So at the core, I think, like you, that “We gotta make sure the stills have that flair!” 

If the still images don’t look cool, the animation won’t look cool. The parts that stick out in the manga, the images that you as an author focused on, are very clear and crisp—so my team has to think about how to lean into those illustrations. Since the motion in your manga is extremely clear, we never have to worry about how everything is moving. I think that makes the process very enjoyable for the animators! And I can feel the motivation from them—when I check over the motion sequences, I often think, “Wow, you even included this detail?!” [laughs] 

MY: That’s really great to hear. I have absolutely no worries about the anime. Coming from the manga side, however, I’m so jealous about animation. You get all the movement, the color … I would love to be able to draw a manga entirely in color, but it would take me about three years to put out one volume. [laughs] 

The Stark Differences between Anime and Manga Production 

MY: In animation, a lot of people are involved, right? In manga, at the most, you maybe get a little less than ten staff members. How many people in total would you say are involved in the Vinland Saga anime? 

SY: We’re still in the early stages, so we’re not at full capacity yet, but ultimately I would expect it to include about a thousand people. 

MY: A thousand! That’s two digits more than I expected! [laughs] But I only have five assistants! I’m sure you already have lots of processes to produce animation in place, but it’s hard to believe that you can get so many people to share in the same mindset of producing a single work. I would imagine that the more people there are, the more difficult it is. 

SY: You’re right. It’s hard. After all, different people will interpret the same idea differently. Sometimes there are differences in how deeply we think about something, and even when you’re trying really hard to be on the same wavelength, there are times that the results end up on slightly different vectors. So I end up reflecting on topics like: How do I talk about things to ensure that the work properly follows its core themes? How do I give directions to minimize the discrepancies? 

We have a whole bunch of people taking part in the series, but even with differences of opinion, we’re all coming in sharing a strong attachment to the original work and a determination to make it as good as it can be. So a ton of the production is supported by that motivation. 

I think that manga as a medium makes it easy for the artist to express their own creative nature. You have editors, too, of course, and you can’t do it entirely by yourself, but I think that in terms of personal vision, it’s very pure and genuine. But when it comes to animation where there’s an existing manuscript, since I’m not the author, there are times that I feel a kind of emptiness because it’s not truly my own creation. [laughs]  That being said, I’m still fascinated by work as a director—I want to make the finished product as enjoyable as it can be, and appeal to as many people as it possibly can. 

MY: Well, when it comes to the anime, it seems that the best thing I can do to make it better, is truly doing nothing at all … I can make the anime better by not getting involved! I’m really looking forward to how it turns out. Thanks for your hard work. 

SY: We’ll do our best to meet your expectations! 

About Makoto Yukimura
Makoto Yukimura made his debut with the science fiction manga Planetes, serialized from 1999 to 2004. Vinland Saga is his first manga for Kodansha Comics.

Celebrate 10 Years of Kodansha Comics with us all year long by following us on KodanshaComics.com!

Be sure to check back again next month, when we’ll be throwing the spotlight onto yet another Kodansha classic!