(久保 帯人 KUBO TAITO)
Hometown: Fuchu, Aki District, Hiroshima
Date of Birth: 26 June 1977
Kubo Tite’s most significant work to date would happen to be one of the most popular manga of all time –Bleach. His talent was recognised by one of the editors in Shonen Jump when he submitted an entry for one of the magazine’s contests. Although he did not win, the two worked together and he managed to produce three one-shots. His first serialisation was Zombiepowder in 1999, which ended in 2000 with 4 volumes. His next work is also his current one – the ever famous Bleach that has run in the Weekly Shounen Jump since August 2001 with over 430 chapters.
Some of his greatest influences include Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki and Saint Seiya by Masami Kurumada.
- “Ultra Unholy Hearted Machine” (1996, Weekly Shonen Jump Special. Appears in volume 2 of Zombie Powder.)
- “Rune Master Urara” (刻魔師 麗, Kokumashi Urara) (1996, Weekly Shonen Jump. Appears in volume 3 of Zombie Powder.)
- “Bad Shield United” (1997, Weekly Shonen Jump. Appears in volume 4 of Zombie Powder. Also makes a cameo in Bleach as the fictitious movie Bad Shield United 2.)
- Zombiepowder (1999–2000, Weekly Shonen Jump, Shueisha. Collected in four volumes in 2000 and discontinued.)
- Bleach (2001-Ongoing, Weekly Shonen Jump, Shueisha. Collected in 45+ volumes.)
I chose Kubo Tite mainly since my mind has just been half-blasted into oblivion this early into the year by the coolness of Bleach. I’ve just finished re-reading everything now that the new arc has started, and it was really, really nostalgic and absolutely mind blowing to just read it all in one go. The effect’s been really different instead of reading one chapter a week, and I can feel my half-hearted love for Bleach starting to go through the roof once more.
It was really interesting to go research him, especially when I read up an interview of his while he was in America as a guest of the San-Diego Comic-Con. I’ll post up some of the Q&A’s I particularly liked, but if you like you can find the whole interview here.
When did you realize that you had such a broad fan base in America?
I wanted to draw Soul Reapers wearing kimono. When I first designed Rukia, she wasn’t wearing kimono, but I wanted to create something that no one has seen before. From there I created the world of Bleach.
Are there any characters that you thought fans would love but didn’t, or a character that caught on with fans in a way that you didn’t expect?
I don’t really recall any characters that I’ve created that I thought fans would love but didn’t, but usually I notice that when I start describing a character’s personality or back story, the fans start to really respond to them, and really start liking them.
However, in the case of Shuuhei Hisagi (Lieutenant/Acting Captain of Squad 9), fans got hooked on him before I even started describing his personality, so that was very unusual.
(arawr: Dear Kubo Tite, it probably had something to do with the way you drew his face. I mean this in the most flattering way possible. )
How do you come up with the clothes for the characters in Bleach?
I just put the characters in the clothes I wish I could buy, but can’t find in stores.
Speaking of Ichigo’s relationships with his friends, there seems to be a love triangle between Ichigo, Rukia and Orihime. Do you delve more into this in later volumes?
(laughs) I get asked about that a lot! I don’t want to make Bleach into a love story because there are much more exciting things about their personalities and things that they can do instead of getting into the romance aspect of their relationships.
One thing I enjoy about Bleach is that there are many moments of humor as well as drama. Is that intentional to break up some of the heavier moments in the story?
Q: How do you draw your action scenes? Do you have models?
Nobody poses for me — I just have rock music going in my head and just imagine the action scenes. I pause the action and rotate the characters and find the best angle, and then I draw it.
You’re already up to 33 volumes of Bleach — how much longer do you think this story will go?
I can’t really say how long this story will be by the time it ends, but I have a few more stories that I want to tell, so this series will go on for a while. (laughs)