Manga-ka of the Month – Watsuki Nobuhiro

WATSUKI NOBUHIRO

(和月伸宏)

August

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Pen Name: Watsuki Nobuhiro (和月 伸宏)

Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Date of Birth: 26 May 1970

Horoscope: Gemini

Responsible for the creation of Rurouni Kenshin – one of the most popular and classic manga of all time – Watsuki Nobuhiro’s path towards manga artist started long before he was even known. He started drawing manga by following his older brother when he was still a young boy, and continued even after his brother stopped.

In middle school, he practiced kendo although he eventually quit due to frustration with his own performance. He still drew manga, and continued to do so through high school where he won the Pop Step Award for his work, Podmark.

He had been influenced by other manga artists such as Tezuka Osamu (Astro Boy) and Fujiko Fujio (Doraemon). He worked as an assistant for Takeshi Obata (Hikaru no Go) and went on to have other assistants who grew to become well-known, such as Oda Eiichiro (One Piece) and Takei Hiroyuki (Shaman King). In 1992, Watsuki sent in a 31-page prelude entitled ‘Rurouni: The Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story’ which was later on published into the popular series we all know.

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Awards

Hop Step Award by Shueisha

Works

Podmark (submitted to Shueisha)

    北陸幽霊小話 /Hokuriku Yuurei Kobanashi (Hop Step Award Selection vol. 6, 1991)

戦国の三日月 / Sengoku no Mikazuki / Crescent Moon in the Warring States (Weekly Shonen Jump and collected into Volume 6 of Rurouni Kenshin)

るろうに -明治剣客浪漫譚 / Rurouni: The Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story (Weekly Shonen Jump and collected into Volume 1 & 3 of Rurouni Kenshin)

るろうに剣心 /Rurouni Kenshin (Weekly Shonen Jump, 1994)

剣心華伝 – 春に桜 / Kenshin Kaden – Haru ni Sakura (Rurouni Kenshin guidebook with full-colour short-story, Shueisha, 1999)

弥彦の逆刃刀 / Yahiko no Sakabato / Yahiko’s Reversed-Edge Sword (Rurouni Kenshin Volume 22 Special Edition, Japanese ver., 1999)

メテオ ストライク / Meteor Strike (Weekly Shonen Jump, 1997)

Gun Blaze West (Weekly Shonen Jump, 2001)

武装錬金 / Busou Renkin (Weekly Shonen Jump, 2003)

エンバーミング – Dead Body and Bride / Embalming – Dead Body and Bride ( 2005

エンバーミング -DEAD BODY and LOVER- / Embalming II – Dead Body and Lover- (Jump – The Revolution 2006)

エンバーミング- THE ANOTHER TALE OF FRANKENSTEIN- /Embalming – The Another Tale of Frankestein- (Jump SQ, 2007)

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Okay, so we’re into September now and as usual I haven’t been able to keep up with my posts schedule with everything that’s been going on in my life.

Anyway! Watsuki Nobuhiro. Honestly speaking, he holds a very special place in the history of my anime and manga life. Rurouni Kenshin was the first manga series that my brothers and I finished collecting, and it was one of the earliest anime I’ve ever watched – it was before I learned of the differentiation between anime and American cartoons. I suppose what makes it even more special is that it was about something historical, and it was an adult’s story, yet as a kid my brothers and I were completely into it. Even now, our Rurouni Kenshin manga is still being read to the point where it’s kinda falling apart.

So besides the sentimentality on my part, I chose Watsuki Nobuhiro as our Mangaka of (last) month because Rurouni Kenshin seems to be coming up with pretty much a lot of stuff this year. With a live-action movie coming up some time next year (here are some pics) and a two-part OVA series with the first premiering in Japanese theatres this December, I’m pretty sure a lot of fans are getting really pumped up to reminisce the old days.

Chungky’s helping me out for the rest of the post (including the pics) so credits to my lovely partner for that since I really have no time SOB! However, for any of you Rurouni Kenshin fans out there I implore you to leave some comments and we can all just have a lovely chit-chat about one of the awesomest manga (and its sub-series’) to hit the shelves (…when I have time). We could even talk about Busou Renkin but I kinda forgot what happened…

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Yes, it is I, Chungky. I’ve gathered a few snippets off some interviews with Watsuki Nobuhiro around the web. Here are a selection of questions and links to the sites I got them from, credits to them!:

Kenshin Hiden interview translation by Viz Media: 

Shueisha: Did you decide from a very young age to become a manga artist?

Watsuki: Yes, I started drawing from the influence of my older brother. When it comes to works that have given me influence, they’re titles like Fujiko F. Fujio’s Doraemon and Pa-Man, Adachi Mitsuru’s Touch, Katsura Masakazu’s Wing Man, Narita Minako’s Alien Street and Cypher, Obata Takeshi’s works, Togashi Yoshihiro’s Yu Yu Hakusho. Roughly speaking, that’s about it. My favorite artist is Obata Takeshi and my favorite manga is Tezuka Osamu’s Black Jack. I started drawing in frames divided on a notebook during the early part of elementary school, and I actually started drawing manga in ink in the second year of junior high. I probably completed a piece when I was in the first year of high school.

Shueisha: Which American comics do you like?

Watsuki: I like X-men the most. That’s what got me reading American comics. Recently, I’ve started to think that Spider-Man is entertaining too. I basically like the ones released by Marvel.

Kenshin Kadan(guidebook) interview:

Q: How did you feel when you eventually finished Rurouni Kenshin?

A: In retrospect? *laughs* I hope to start on a new project using what I have learned. I’ve analyzed Rurouni Kenshin’s strong suits and weak points, and I want to improve the good and minimize the bad in my future work.

Q: What is it about your completed work that you feel you should have given more thought to?
A: The most important element in being an artist is developing your own creative sense and your own unique style. Even though it’s fine to be inspired by a particular event or subject in your own life, you need to keep the source of your inspiration from being the focus. You need to create a mature piece of work, something the reader can identify with and feel strongly about.

Manga artists, assistant commentaries:

Eichiro Oda – About Watsuki sensei

Watsuki sensei is my teacher and friend/ally at the same time. A long time ago, when I was looking for a job as a mangaka assistant, the topic of Rurouni Kenshin arrived. Because I loved the story of it, I went and applied.

Hiroyuki Takei – About Watsuki sensei

I was introduced to the job as Watsuki sensei’s assistant around 4-5 years ago, when I first won the Tezuka award. (Tezuka award = some manga field big award held by the original author of doraemon). I remember my first impression of Watsuki sensei being “a person who’s not very easy to get close to.” He was a person who would stab my arm with his long hair (which reached his waist) whenever he turns to talk with me. Just like a bestseller would look like.

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This concludes our August’s manga-ka of the month post. Thanks for viewing this post! Not sure whether arawr would add anything extra here later, but here’s to Watsuki Nobuhiro’s works, past, present and the future!!!

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8 Comments

Filed under Manga Related, Manga-ka

8 responses to “Manga-ka of the Month – Watsuki Nobuhiro

  1. Ah, Rurouni Kenshin…I still wish Cartoon Network finished the series…but yes, I am hoping that the live action turns out well!

    • I was really hoping that the new anime project would be about the Enishi arc from the manga!! Apparently the first part of the OVA’s about the Shishio arc from Misao’s point of view, and since I like her it should be quite fun…
      But I still want my Enishi OVA lol.

      I’m super excited for the live-action too! It’s prolly the first live-action where I’ve watched/read the anime/manga first, plus it’s a classic and it’ awesome and I really just can’t wait..!! XD

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  4. I was amused by the talk of a live-action. Just wanted to comment that it was Obata Takeshi he worked under (there’s no ‘no’ in his name). Obata’s also the artist of Death Note and Bakuman.

    • I was super excited when I heard about the live action since it’s been a long, looooooong time since I’ve heard anything about Rurouni Kenshin (it IS pretty old lol)
      And yes!! Thanks for the correction!! I was writing up the article wayyy past the deadline and was really rushing through it… I think I mixed it up with Hikaru no Go =P
      Thanks a lot for dropping by and commenting! =D

  5. Rurouni Kenshin was the first truly great manga I ever read, and I always remembered it fondly. Even if the current plans have nothing to do with it, I think they should do something with the Enishi arc, since I’m sure there’s no shortage of people who would watch it.

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