Here’s a discussion translated from the Sangatsu no Lion official fanbook, featuring Miura Kentaro, Mori Kouji and Hoshi Takashi. It’s very fun, centering on Umino Chika and should be interesting to those who are a fan of Umino Chika’s works!
Author of the manga ‘Berserk’
Author of the manga ‘Holyland’ and ‘Suicide Island’
Author of the manga ‘Schaferhund’
– Today I have gathered everyone so we can all talk about Umino-sensei. Thank you very much.
Mori: If it’s about Umino-sensei, I could easily talk till morning.
Hoshi: I can, whilst nervously shivering.
Miura: By the way, what is Umino-sensei doing today?
– Now, she is very much in the middle of work.
Mori: Ahahaha! And here we are, having a drink (laughs).
– Right, diving straight in, could you all please tell us how you met Umino-sensei?
Mori: How did I meet her again?
Miura: Well I…..
Mori: Ah, that’s right. Miura, you met her first didn’t you?
Miura: In my case, Umino-sensei’s editor brought her around to my house.
Mori: So that’s how you met her.
Miura: Yes. I first learned of Umino-sensei through a small store below my house, where in the manga corner ‘Honey and Clover’ had been arranged and lined up for display. So, she had wanted to meet me, and so that was how we met.
– Was that before ‘March comes in like a Lion’?
Mori: Wasn’t she still writing ‘Honey and Clover’?
Mori: I wonder how I met her?
Hoshi: Wasn’t it at the Hakusensha party?
Mori: Ummm, I don’t remember at all. Like, before I knew it, I’d already met her (laughs). How many years ago was it when you met her, Miura?
Miura: When was it? Maybe, 6 or 7 years ago. But didn’t everyone else first meet her at the party?
– It was probably at the Hakusensha New Year party, the second after-party wasn’t it?
Mori: Was it? Hoshi, do you remember?
Hoshi: I don’t remember much either (laughs).
Mori: Why? What happened to us? It’s sort of scary isn’t it? Not remembering how we met Umino-sensei.
Hoshi: Could she be manipulating our memories (laughs)?
Mori: This, this is strange.
Hoshi: But, probably it was at the party, wasn’t it? I think this was at a time when I wasn’t working for Young Animal, and I had just gone to have a good time without permission. And then I think we met whilst drinking at a bar for the after-party.
– What were your impressions after meeting her?
Mori: What struck me first after meeting Umino-sensei was that she was just like a ‘real-life Hagu-chan (‘Honey and Clover’)’. Hagu-chan was probably based on Umino-sensei herself.
Miura: That’s right. But, I’ve been thinking recently that she’s perhaps already gone beyond and surpassed that point.
Mori: Yes. She’s completely surpassed it.
Miura: She’s higher up, looking down from above. I think it’s amazing just how much passion she’s able to put into all her characters, regardless of which character it is.
Mori: That’s why whilst reading Sangatsu, I end up thinking, just why am I able to understand the feelings of an old man so well?
Miura: I wonder where these old men all are inside Umino-sensei. In fact, there’s even a grandfather living inside her (laughs).
Mori: If you say that, then the same can be said for you as well. Berserk’s ‘Schierke’ is living inside you, isn’t she? That’s, sort of gross (laughs).
Miura: You don’t have to talk about me (laughs). And anyway, Umino-sensei is on a whole different level.
Mori: Also, you find that in Umino-sensei’s manga, also with the characters as well, she’s always delicately drawing small accessories, or things girls might like.
Miura: Yes, yes. Even drawing things in the corner of a small panel to make it look cute.
Hoshi: Also, she sometimes writes in one or two little words saying something good or interesting.
Mori: And the little notebook that came with limited edition volume 8 was really cute〜
Miura: Overall, she’s sort of managed to create a world that could become a brand.
Mori: And compared to me, with ‘Suicide Island’, it’s pretty much just bows, arrows and spears (laughs).
Hoshi: And torches (laughs).
Mori: Umino’s manga are fun to read from cover to cover, including these little details. That’s why after reading the main story, rereading it a number of times, it’s really nice finding all these little details.
Miura: Normally, you know, for a manga artist, your brain is full just trying to think about the story, the relationships between its characters and some other additional aspects. But Umino-sensei is different. It’s amazing how her mind is able to grasp the manga in it’s entirety.
Mori: And yet, going from Honey and Clover to Sangatsu, things like her technique have definitely improved and progressed.
Miura: And even Honey and Clover was amazing.
Mori: That’s why, if I were to say, she was already amazing enough whilst writing Honey and Clover, so I think that’s enough, she should just leave it at that.
Hoshi: I agree. Isn’t it enough already (laughs)?
Mori: Even so, Umino-sensei has further evolved and become quite something.
Miura: To think, Umino-sensei has now entered our territory, the seinen magazine.
Mori: And now we’re losing completely.
Hoshi: I’m frustrated, and afraid.
Mori: I think Umino-sensei might be very representative of the strong character. When strong characters just learn a new skill, they’re quickly able to use it. They’ll then continue to unleash new, evolved forms of that skill.
Hoshi: They’ll, like, arrange it differently.
Mori: Umino-sensei is just that sort of fighter, you see.
– Umino-sensei is a manga artist (laughs).
Miura: You know how Umino-sensei does twitter? Well when I occasionally meet her, she complains when she’s had a bad experience, but this has been continuing for quite some time. She doesn’t really cut ties with anyone.
– According to the editor, Umino-sensei draws manga because she wants to make friends.
Mori: Really? Umino-sensei’s got this soft sort of image, so she should be able to make friends easily. In reality, she does have a lot of friends.
Miura: I think Umino-sensei sorts of picks up all her experiences with other people and puts it all into her manga.
Mori: So, completely different from you. Miura, you don’t need friends at all, do you?
Hoshi: In the Young Animal contents page, seeing Miura-san’s comment saying ‘I bought a mobile phone’ then regress to ‘I cancelled my contract’, is, I think quite the tale to go down in Japanese manga history (laughs).
Mori: That is quite the legend (laughs). Miura really doesn’t make friends. I guess Miura and Umino-sensei may be different types, though they do have some things in common.
Hoshi: What do you think they have in common?
Mori: Umino-sensei might not like it if I say this, but I think she’s a genius. Geniuses don’t realise they’re a genius, you see. Miura also isn’t aware that he’s a genius, even though he’s completely surpassed what a normal person can do, his talent is inherently part of himself, so he can’t understand objectively that he’s a genius.
Miura: To say I’m a genius…..you’re going to kill me with these compliments.
– But according to the editor, Umino-sensei views Mori-sensei on the same level; as the same type.
Mori: !? (speechless). Stop it! If you say something like that I won’t be able to draw anything tomorrow with all the pressure! The same type? That’s ridiculous!
– Umino-sensei is quite poetic, but she seems to think you’re poetic as well.
Mori: Please stop. This talk is now over!
– Incidentally, apparently Umino-sensei and the editor often talk about how ‘Mori-sensei has the heart of a maiden’ (laughs).
Mori: Okay, so what’s that meant to mean (laughs)?
Hoshi: But, I think I get that one. I think the protagonist of Holyland is similar to Sangatsu’s protagonist in the way they develop with their heart continuing to fill up. Of course the art style is completely different but the way Mori-san depicts the psychology of his characters is quite feminine.
Miura: Ah, that’s true.
Hoshi: Mori-san has the mind of a woman!
Mori: (wry smile)
Image: Amazon jp