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Ace Magazine Interview
Taken from Ace April 1, 2018
Translated by: Laura Arias Moreno
Q1: Our best congratulations for finishing the serialization of Kyokai no Rinne. It was an awesome and refreshing finale in which it is suggested that all of them will continue living ordinary life in an easy and pleasant mood after some having experienced some happy developments taking place at a slow pace. First of all, please let us know how you feel, straight away, after the end of the serialization for eight years.
Takahashi: I feel glad about having finished drawing it, very refreshed and with no regrets.
Q2: Inuyasha was a rare example for a long series of yours since it was a serious adventure story but after that you seem to have come back to your origins with a comedy by starting Kyokai no Rinne. What was the starting point for the series?
Takahashi:Since Inuyasha was rather a hard-kind story, the starting point for the series was a consultation to ask if I should do a relaxed story, and I decided so.
Q3:As the series advance, a lot of new characters keep showing up, and relationships between them which are relevant for the story are built. At what rate were characters already fixed? Also, is there any character that was created out from the blue during the serialization?
Takahashi: I had only created Rinne, Sakura and Tamako, who are relevant characters. The rest of them were created during the serialization when it was needed.
Q4: Can you tell us any aspect dear to you, or something that you discovered regarding the characters from Kyokai no Rinne while you were drawing them?
Rinne Rokudo – The Protagonist
This character, rather than fighting, is a negotiator who convinces people to be purified; it is different to the previous protagonists who had a wide range of expressions, so I was aware of his role as “exhausted-type protagonist”. Also, while drawing him I realized he was pretty serious. I was drawing him thinking that he doesn’t like to work in an unfair way.
Sakura Mamiya - The Girl
Since she is able to see ghosts, she cannot be afraid. So then I drew her in a way she is not very frightened. Maybe this led her to become an unexpressive character. Even for me she is still a mystery. But I thought that it was a good point that no one knew what she was thinking.
Being in a guardian-like position for Rinne, I thought that she could be of help for this and that.
Opposite of the small characters up to date, he is a gentle character who properly follows the rules as a servant. He uses honorific language and respects Rinne. But he is indeed a very rational character, clearly refusing when he dislikes something or there is something that gives him trouble, so it was very funny to draw him.
Masato the Demon
I think that, for being a character who appeared on an early stage, it took him along while to show on the covers of the tankobons (laughs). I enjoyed drawing him, but I remember wondering trying to understand if he could settle in the story at the end. But he was really easy to draw.
Tsubasa Jumonji - The Exorcist
At the beginning, he was settled to have the position as Rinne´s rival, and while I was drawing him I thought he was a positive guy. So even when I had to draw chapters where he was suffering, I was aware that he had always an optimistic reaction.
I created him to be the antithesis of Rinne. Definitely, he is an “evil” character. However, while I was drawing him I realized that he was not aware of doing anything evil at all, so I made him a character who was someone to be regarded and easy to become attached to. So he cannot cross the ultimate line.
Ageha - The Shinigami
I was nurturing her as Sakura’s love rival if possible, but eventually that did not happen. She is totally dumb, but I think she is also cute.
Kain - The Accountant Shinigami
In some way, I created this character to be Rinne´s rival or someone opposing him, but due to some reasons at work, a feeling of him being a lower-ranked public worker was taking shape. But, on the contrary, thanks to that reason it was fun to draw him. He is not a really cool type, but I think it is rather good.
Shoma - The Shinigami Elementary Schooler
I had the idea of a shinigami kid appearing. While drawing him, I realized he did not like to fight against big enemies which involved too much effort, so from that moment it became easier to draw. Also, drawing kids as shinigamis was fun too.
The Crescent Moon Shop - Right and Left
I used the rabbit concept because I wanted to use something visual easy to spot as cute. I thought that I needed some characters related to scythes, and in fact episodes dealing with scythes became easier to draw.
Renge – The Damashigami
At first, she appeared as an enemy. However, I realized that she has very serious approach and that she is eager to cooperate at any time. She doesn’t like necessarily doing bad deeds. I consider her a kind of person who is able to bring out the best from the worst circumstances. Alternatively, I think she has a very strong ethics.
Matsugo - The Shinigami
I realized that he doesn’t know how to keep distance. I thought to make something dealing with Rinne a long time ago, and bringing out someone who knows about Rinne’s past, and so it turned out this way.
Annette Hitomi Anematsuri - The Descendant of witches
I had considered putting a character who was a teacher but I didn’t find the ideal occasion. At last I figured out her background as a witch descendant. I love drawing weird adult characters, so from that point it was easy to draw her.
Otome Rokudo – Rinne’s Mother
The background for this one also was difficult to figure out and I couldn’t show her for some time. I was thinking about a lot of options, a human, a shinigami, even an angel… but at the end I realized: “That’s right, this is a story about reincarnation!” And I could create the idea.
Q5: In Kyokai no Rinne, the portrayed other world has a commercial street with periodical events taking place, the shinigamis have an association, and we can find from an elite rank from students, a registry, shops specialized in scythes, and even a fraudulent company so it has a realistic atmosphere. It is great to have the feeling that this world in the other world exists. What were you caring about the most when you were building up the other world? Please tell us.
Takahashi: Some part of “the other world” has an atmosphere similar to 30/40 years ago, and due to the fact that it is simple to draw when people and rules do not vary too much, I realized about the above point.
Q6: It is fun that the battles between the spirits are analogue. For example, an attack consisting on hitting someone with the corner of a Bible, convincing them by speeches, buying a color balloon and smashing it in order to be able to see a spirit, the description of how to do maintenance to the scythe regularly, the style of battles by slides that makes us feel that is our own ordinary life. Also, battles without magic or special techniques sound more solid and are more easily connected with humor. Is there anything in particular that you realized about battles? Also, is there any special items you fancy?
Takahashi: Well, considering that you only can swing the scythe for slicing, it would be a pity if there are not any other tools. I had a lot of fun thinking about the goods for every episode. My favorite one is the “Tsukumogami Seal”. Apart from that, I think I used a lot of Channeling Dolls, but I had second thoughts, and realized if I had used it too often, the chapter would be coming to an end too quickly, so I set a really high value for it.
Q7: In Kyokai no Rinne we can see a lot of scythes. The one owned by Rinne has closest design to one that can be considered a scythe for a shinigami, but, how did you create the rest of them and the functions they have? Also, please let us know if you enjoyed creating any of these in particular.
Takahashi: I realized that I designed Kain’s scythe by being based on the “Jouhari no Kagami”, a mirror which reflects the deeds of the life of the deceased. My assistants were drawing the scythes of the crowd, and I did the ones belonging to the main characters. Also, the assistants created polished some from the sound of the name, and I was paying attention to creating a design matching the character. Ageha’s scythe has a lot of decorations so I enjoyed drawing it.
Q8: Unfaithful spirits, living spirits, evil spirits, floating spirits, tsukumogami, etc. There are plenty of spirit forms appearing in Kyokai no Rinne. Do you have any in particular that you enjoyed when drawing it, any that was impressive, or any that you considered as cute?
Takahashi: Well, it may sound weird, but the spirit doing pizza delivery at the top of the hill… “I have to deliver it!” I loved such a determined and hard-working spirit. Apart from that, the one from “The one hundred spirits gathering” and the one leaving messages through fireworks. Having a second thought about this, I like simple and not frequent spirits.
Q9: In the frequent episodes where spirits appear, there are a lot of cases in which the tone of the episode is solving the mystery about why the spirit cannot rest at peace. How do you think them?
Takahashi: I create them by thinking a story related to the season and the events, as well as focusing on the fact of the appearing characters showing a funny side of their selves can have an interesting development.
Q10: Since this is a comedy manga and you had to draw plenty of dead people and spirits, did you realize about something or did you decide anything in particular?
Takahashi: I realized that you cannot laugh at death, and that you must deal with it in a respectful way. That is why Rinne has to convince spirits first. In considered important the fact of listening the person while being alive.
Q11: We felt that there were many chapters where love was the reason for the spirit not being able to rest in peace. Why? Was that intended so many people would be able to feel identified and feel that as a close topic to them? We assume that it is also a topic where people can be portrayed in a bad way and acting as being blind-folded, right?
Takahashi: Because it was the easiest thing to understand. It is a really easy to handle topic.
Q12: At first, Rokumon was the only contracted black cat, but as the chapters were going by, the relationship with their owners and within their selves (like the Black Cat Level Test, the secret black cat meetings and so on) were also fun. Did you create the looks and the personality for each of them in a way that they matched? What did you enjoyed the most? Any trivia you can tell us about drawing them?
Takahashi: They were created to match their owners. I try to match their looks and their personalities. The funniest to draw was the Black Cat Level test. It was easy to show their corresponding personalities and it was really entertaining to draw.
Q13: The love relationship between Rinne and Sakura was a point of interest for the readers. Rinne is always trying to read Sakura’s feelings, which are basically difficult to understand through her face. When we had a situation similar to a date, she said smiling sincerely: “that would be nice” and that was cute. Is there something that you realized or that you enjoyed after having drawn that scene?
Takahashi: I don`t know what Sakura is thinking, and probably neither Rinne does. So when he is nervous towards her, I am too, so I enjoyed the fact of him not being able to read her feelings until the last episode. Also, since both of them have no love rivals, the development of their relationship depends on their selves only and there are no big changes. I had fun when drawing them since there was not any couple similar to them so far.
Q14: Any aspect that you realized or that you enjoyed that you would like to share with us regarding the relationship between Kain and Renge?
Takahashi: Renge has a pure side, she likes Kain in an honest way and she doesn’t want anyone else to know, and she turned out to be a girl with a wide range of reactions. Kain is indifferent to love. For that reason, Renge is working at Kain’s office, but from that point I have no clue. I liked them because I could draw them in a tender way to my liking.
Q15: Finally, the relationship between Matsugo and Anju finally has some development at the 38th volume, what happens to them?
Takahashi: I have no idea.
Q16: I am also curious regarding the future for Jumonji and Ayame Sakaki. Will Ayame Sakaki continue leaving her body as a living spirit?
Takahashi: Same as before, I don’t know. I didn’t reach a conclusion for that. I leave that to the readers’ imagination (laughs).
Q17: Will Bijin, the secretary, continue working for Sabato without learning the lesson? Too tell you the truth, I laughed when I knew that her real name was Beauty.
Takahashi: I don’t know about that either. About her name, I was determined to give her one since she showed up but it remained undecided… I think I decided at the moment of this episode it was announced.
Q18: The personal relationships in Rinne have a crucial weight, and it is interesting to see different sides of each character. For example, their reactions towards the person they like or towards the one they hate. Or for example, the rich and the poor, owners and servants, classmates, parents and children, higher and lower course classmates, rivals, etc. Not only the fixed human interrelationships but also the different combinations of characters along with their circumstances and relationships, seeing their different faces and their charms we feel that it is one of your typical ingredients when reading your mangas, Ms. Takahashi. Did you find out anything new after having drawn the relationships between the characters? Do you have something similar to particular rules for that?
Takahashi: There is something that remains the same in any manga I drew, and for me it is very important whether parents, brothers and childhood friends, as well as the characters surrounding the protagonists click with the rest or not when they appear.
Q19: Your stories are also really interesting because they have a lot of one-only-panel pages. Well, of course the pages which are divided into several panels are also interesting, but one-only-panel pages are cutely arranged. For example, the final comical panel in every chapter has a lot of information in it and since they can be seen at a glance they are nice to read. So once again, I think they are great since they are cute and interesting to read.
Takahashi: I try not to draw even one single panel which is not useful. On the other hand, I have been told that there is a lot of information in one-only-panel pages, but I am very careful about it not breaking the rhythm of the scene. I also try to draw the divided panels as if the images were being recorded with a camera. At the end, I am giving priority to it being easy to read. I set up the position of the characters according to the order of every line.
Q20: Would you like to explain to us the initial point for designing the visual part of the characters, and how do you proceed with the design?
Takahashi: I start by fixing their personality and their circumstances. I put something in them as a mark that makes them easy to recognize.
Q21: Please tell us any chapters from Kyokai no Rinne that you specially like.
Takahashi: For the main characters, I like The Promise of the Underworld (chapters 259-260). I liked a lot to involve characters in a situation with the setting of where they couldn’t look back.
Q22: How do you feel about your next series? Please let us know.
Takahashi: I would like to draw something entertaining again. Anyway, I would like to draw something that I can enjoy while drawing it.
Q23: What are you interested lately about, regardless what genre it is? Please tell us something that you are interested or hooked about.
Takahashi: As usual, I support Hanshin Tigers, I like watching sports and I’m a fan of theatre.
Q24: Is there any change from the used material questionnaire from Ace Magazine nº. 43 (in 2013) for originals in B/W or in color?
Takahashi: Now I use the computer for the color work.
Rumiko Takahashi's art tools: (Monochrome originals Human figures: Zebra Dip-pen type G; Backgrounds: Zebra Dip-pen type G, Dip-pen type “Maru” /Used ink: Pilot for technical drawing / Black fillings: Zebra McKie ultrafine, Pigma).
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