Mimiko: Good day Ohkubo-sensei
Ohkubo: Good day.
Mimiko: Thank you for taking the time today (to talk to us). […] Was there a certain person, that inspired you to draw manga?
Ohkubo: I read Akira Toriyamas ‘Dr.Slump' often as a child (you know that work of his before Dragon Ball) till my volumes fell apart (because I read them so often). Other than that manga I didn’t read all too much other things though.
Mimiko: What was the crucial reason for you to become a mangaka?
Ohkubo: Errr… I have troubles getting up in the morning, that’s why I wanted a job where I could freely arrange my time.
Mimiko: How did you got the idea for ‘Soul Eater’?
Ohkubo: At this time there were only very little female main characters in Shounen mangas. Or rather I barely know mangas that had one to begin with, so I wanted to create one on my own. Nowadays, Shonen mangas are also popular with girls in Japan, so I made my main character female too.
Furthermore, Shinigamis are very well known, fantastic creatures, that play important roles, but they never were a main topic, so that’s what I wanted to do. But then, at the same time, titles like Death Note and Bleach were published, with the same idea, so these overlapped somewhat.
Mimiko: Why did you choose Maka, a female and with that a rather untypical figure as the protagonist for a Shonen manga and what were advantages and disadvantages of this?
Ohkubo: Like mentioned before, I decided to work with here since there were barely female leads around. One advantage is that she has different ways of solving issues as a girl (than it would be usual for a male Shonen lead). The battle between her and Crona would’ve been different if both were boys - More aggressive and not solved that gently.
The disadvantage is that surprisingly many people in Japan think that a Shounen manga needs a male protagonist. Therefore they reject this kind of manga.
Mimiko: Why did Excalibur get the appearance in the series you choosed?
Ohkubo: Because I like the works of the artist Edward Gorey. I guess it were his picture books that are the source for this inspiration (for Excaliburs looks).
The concept is of course a bit different, but the fact that he looks like an anteater, comes from my preference for pointy designs. Everything else just kind of happened.
Mimiko: What projects or manga would you like to draw or work on in the future?
Ohkubo: I have different ideas but at the moment I want to focus on the end of Soul Eater (which is already planned) and to keep it clean and reasonable and think about other things afterwards.
Mimiko: Which are your favourite characters from Soul Eater and why?
Ohkubo: Shinigami-sama, Excalibur and Mosquito are my favourites because they are rather easy to draw. (laughs) Otherwise Black*Stars dialogs are very easy to write because he never discusses more complex topics.
Mimiko: Do you even have time to read manga nowadays? If yes, which one is your favourite?
Ohkubo: Even though I like manga, I actually don’t read them very often. Especially since I’d have a lack of space in my flat if I’d collect them. Even if I’d only buy magazines it would be pretty cramped. Right now I read ‘Yotsuba&!' though and always feel very relaxed when I do so.
Mimiko: Do you regularly exchange experiences with colleagues and do you motivate each other?
Ohkubo: Well, regarding our jobs we don’t motivate one another, but with some of the drawers that I’m good friends with I talk quite often.
For example Arakawa-sense,i who did Fullmetal Alchemist, since we were both published in the same (Gangan) magazine. Or Yusuke Kosagi-san who did the character designs for Fire Emblem. We get along well since we are of the same age, but we don’t talk about work.
Mimiko: Do you listen to music at work and if yes, what kind?
Ohkubo: I basically listen to everything, but I like nineties music the most because I was a teen then. To name a few… Nirvana, Radiohead, Massive Attack… These are my favourites, as well as many others from oversea.
Oh, because of my mother I also like Led Zeppelin from the seventies (progressive rock) and Jazz and Techno. If it sounds good I’ll listen to it.
Mimiko: Finally a question about your stay in Germany. What are you looking forward to most? What would you like to see, eat or drink?
Ohkubo: Football (the european = soccer). I like japanese football but I’d love to watch a european one while being around here.
Mimiko: Thank you for everything.
Ohkubo: Thank you very much.
- The translation was done from the german subtitles provided.
- The trascript privide is rough, not word-by word, translation in some spots.