About Dan Luffey

I'm a writer and a translator.

Sato’s Road to Manga #49

Soon, the first chapter of Give My Regards to Black Jack had been published in Morning.   After I had been told that the serialization would begin in five weeks, without any warning, they started exactly on schedule, without giving me any time to prepare. By the time the first chapter was published, I had only just finished the third one. I didn’t have a stock of storyboards either, and up until the third chapter, every page had been a color page. iphone 7 case red apple   After I finished a storyboard, my editor would say: “Congratulations. We’ve gotten the OK to give you color pages.” So I cut even more time out of my sleep to finish them. I was so busy at this point that I no longer had any time to shave or change my clothes. I was just a creature who went back and forth between my apartment on the 4th floor and my office on the 1st floor.   I had very little control over the production schedule, which was very unnerving. All I had were the reference books in my office and the small bits of medical data that the editors would bring me. I had no time to double-check and make sure everything was correct. So I used my imagination to think up scenes from a hospital that I’d never actually seen in real life. What I built up with drawing Umizaru was my ability to draw something a world I’ve never seen, as if I’ve actually seen it. I felt as if I was trapped up in a dark room with only a few parts, and being asked to create something amazing that no one’s ever seen before. But, without any other choice, I just desperately fought as hard as I could and kept working.   Aside from the intense schedule, I was also surprised by how in the first chapter, they had changed the lines I had written without telling me. If it was something as small as rephrasing something, I could understand it, but the main character’s monologues and the medical information had been replaced with completely different things. In 4 different spots.   After opening the magazine, for a moment, I couldn’t really process what was happening. After all, this was my work. I owned the rights to it, and no one else had the right to change anything about what I had written. Legally, that is. The same thing had happened in Umizaru, and as a result, I had gotten into a big fight with the editors… Now, it was happening again, but from the very first chapter. What I had written had been replaced with very explanatory words that lacked any sort of sense or suggestiveness.   I immediately protested to my supervising editor, but he quickly shut the door on me. “We’re working our hardest to make this piece as good as possible. Can’t you simply understand that we were just trying to make your work better?” I ended up getting nothing but a scolding.   “That’s not what I’m talking about. leather phone cases for iphone 8 plus This is my work, right? If you want to change the lines, please talk to me about it first. The main character of my manga doesn’t say things like this. iphone 7 phone cases iblason And if the lines get changed, that can also affect the plot later on.”   “Why don’t get it? This doesn’t belong to you,” he said, sighing and treating me like a complete fool who didn’t understand anything.   I had been through this many times while working on Umizaru. Every time I tried to explain to the editors that they couldn’t just change the lines whenever they felt like it, I ended up feeling like I was trying to communicate with an alien.   This time, I had two supervising editors. S-san, an editor who was a company employee, and T-san, a pro editor. In the end, it was determined that I was the one who had the wrong idea, simply due to influence by numbers. wood phone case iphone 8   I was a fool for thinking that even the tiniest thing might improve after switching to another magazine. The pitch black feelings I had built up toward the editors while working on Umizaru, and the equally pitch black feelings I now harbored toward the insane situation I was currently in became the fuel for my work. I turned all my anger toward my manuscript.   The more those adults with their shit-eating grins corrupted me, the purer my devotion toward my manga became. That was all I could believe. I was in a crisis situation, and I had no time to waste.   I had the owner of a public health center who I met while doing research check my manuscripts and fix any errors he found. iphone 7 phone cases anime I was very low on photograph data, so I just kept staring at the few photos I had and drew everything from them. Even though I had experience doing a weekly manga, I already felt like I had reached my limit…but the train had already left the station.   In the end, chapter one got very favorable reviews. It instantly jumped to the second spot in the reader polls, and requests to turn it into a TV show came from just about every TV station. iphone 8 green case Reviews were published in newspapers and magazines, and it was covered by a lot of media sources. In one night, my world was turned upside down.   Now that I think about it calmly, it seems impossible that the first chapter of a series without any published volumes could garner such a response. Even if reporters did publish articles about it one day after the chapter was released, it would still take several weeks for those articles to reach all the readers. There’s also no way TV stations would make offers like that so quickly… which means that the editors must have started doing PR from much earlier. leather iphone 8 case And it had worked rather well. The editors seemed pleased with themselves. Their plan had been a success, which must have felt quite nice. They had succeeded in selling the manga. I recognize that.   But I’m the one who created it. They’re the ones who sold it.   S-san even went out of his way to show me a message that he had received from the ex-editor-in-chief. “He’s the one who taught me everything I know about being an editor, and he said this is the first manga he’s actually enjoyed reading since he left. And that he loves the way we planned it. He’s never complimented anything this much!”   He seemed really happy. And of course, by “the editor-in-chief loves the way we planned it,” he meant “The two of us editors are awesome.”   It went on and on. “Usually, as long as the first chapter gets out the door, the manga artist can deal with the rest, but editors are the only ones who can properly handle a project from the very beginning. Manga can be created without manga artists, but you can’t create manga without an editor. Editors are the only ones who turn it from a 0 into a 1.”   As I listened to this, I honestly had no idea what he was trying to say. Manga can be created without manga artists? It sounded like he was trying to say that he was the one who was creating the story, and it just made no sense. I’m the one who created it… It was the same old crap all over again.   As soon as the manga started getting popular, there was an also an incident among my art staff.   One day, when I entered the office, K-kun, one of my staff members, said he wanted to talk with me.   Apparently, his editor had told him that he could start a serialization if he quit working at my office. I was confused, though. For not only had K-kun not drawn any sort of storyboard, he hadn’t even gone to a meeting where they discussed what sort of manga he was going to draw. Why did he have to quit all of a sudden?   Why would an editor say that sort of thing to an assistant like him who hadn’t any real serialization experience? But he was worried about raising any questions and being seen as unreliable by his editor.   K-kun had always wanted his own serialization, and his editor kept inviting him to meetings where they promised him a spot for his own piece, but telling him that they’d let him draw something if he quit working for me just didn’t sound right.   Incidentally, the editor who K-kun had been dealing with worked for the same magazine that had published Umizaru.   Not long after that, I received a call from F-san, who had been my editor during my Umizaru days.   “Congratulations on your new serialization,” he said. Ever since Umizaru ended, I hadn’t met with K-san, the original creator and data provider, so F-san suggested the three of us get together.   As soon as we met each other in a diner nearby my office, K-san told us about his recent work.   “It’s hard to find someone who can draw as well as you, Sato-kun. I-kun is working hard, but his art is just, you know…”   K-san was currently working on a different piece in the same magazine that had published Umizaru. But I think he was only credited as the ‘original creator’ this time.   After he finished putting down the artist, he said: “I wish we could work together again.”   Apparently, he had tried doing a piece with a similar theme to Umizaru in the exact same magazine, but it didn’t gain any popularity, and was going to end soon.   Well yeah, of course.   I’m the one who thought all that stuff up.   Soon, I asked F-san the big question. “An editor told K-kun that they’d let him draw a series if he quit working for me. What’s the deal with that? It seems like they haven’t even decided what exactly he’s going to do… Don’t you think it’s a bit rash of them to force him to quit so early?”   F-san seemed a bit taken aback, but soon regained his composure. “K-kun has talent. It’s true that they haven’t decided what his series will be yet, but I’m sure they’ll get on that right away. You left a big hole in the magazine. Just believe in us and let us take care of him.”   Well, that made it very clear. K-kun was supposed to be my replacement. K-san had worked on another series similar to Umizaru, but it hadn’t gone well, so now he was going to try and take one of my assistants and force him to draw art similar to mine. Just when my new serialization had just begun to make some waves.   I went back to my office, but I didn’t tell K-kun what F-san had said. Meanwhile, Black Jack just kept getting more and more popular. Every week, the media interviewed me and did coverage on it.   Very soon after that, K-kun stopped working for me.


Sato’s Road to Manga #44

That night, 40 voice messages were left on my answering machine.   After slamming my fists on the table the restaurant and walking out on my editor, I went back to my studio/home. 30 minutes later, my doorbell rang. I ignored it, and then my telephone rang.   “I won’t tell the chief about this. So please, just answer the phone, sensei. Please!”   Streaming out from the answering machine was the voice of the second generation F-san. I just couldn’t pick up the receiver. “Talking with you is just a waste of time. iphone 7 case credit card Just hurry up and bring the chief here already,” I had said. So why, then, did he reply with “I won’t tell the chief about this?” I couldn’t believe how he could possibly act like he was doing me a favor here.   After that, every 30 minutes, my doorbell rang again and again. My phone also continued ringingly endlessly.   “I know you’re in there. Do you know what’s going to happen if you keep doing this?” he asked in a low voice, during one call. And then, just when I thought he was about to threaten me, he went… jack wills phone case iphone 8 “Sensei! Please! I still haven’t told anyone about this! Please just answer the phone!”   “Hey, Sato… cut it out already, or I’ll really bring the chief here.”   “I’ll wait just one more hour! I bear no responsibility for what happens afterwards!”   “Today, I’ll wait just one day for you… so just answer the phone.”   “Sorry about earlier. iphone 6 full cover silicone case I’ll forgive you this time, just please, answer the phone.”   Apparently, the new F-san was walking around outside my apartment, hoping he could catch me, and calling me over and over again. Now I couldn’t take a single step outside. ted baker shannon iphone 6 case My refrigerator was empty, and I was starting to get hungry, but my editor was standing right outside my door. Even after it got dark, I didn’t turn on the lights, and since I had nothing else to do, I decided to go to sleep, and curled up on my futon.   As I did this, a vague thought passed through my head. silcon iphone 8 plus case “Guess I’ll just have to give up manga now.”   Right after telling my editor that I wanted this arc of Umizaru to be the last, he had switched himself out for a new one, who absolutely refused to take any part in a discussion concerning the end of the manga, and no matter how many times I called the editor’s office and asked them to let me speak with the chief, they wouldn’t let me.   What was I supposed to do?   If I had pushed my way into the editors’ office and gone on a rampage in the reception area, screaming “Let me see the chief,” would they have let me? If I had committed some crime and got on the news, would they have let me end my serialization? I had only ever spoken with the chief once, right after the old chief left, when I introduced myself to him. After I finished speaking, all he had said to me was: “Your art’s too black. Can you make it a little whiter?”   Unfortunately, Umizaru was a very popular series. And as long as a series was still making them money, they were going to try and make it drag on as long as they could. I knew that was how they did things. I liked Umizaru. The characters in that manga felt like they really existed. To me, they were no different than living people – they lived inside of me. iphone 8 plus case tough And the only one who could let their story come to an end when they asked for one was me. It was a way for me to show my love to them and the manga. The circumstances of the magazine had nothing to do with me. I knew how the editor’s office was cutting off “fatty” manga one after another, in the name of the new editing policies. I also knew what the editors’ office said to those authors.   “This is the joint opinion of the entire editors’ office. How many people do you think are involved in this magazine? How many mouths do you think it feeds? You can’t expect us to listen to the selfish requests of a single person.”   Please cancel my series, just like you did theirs. I know this magazine won’t last for another decade anyway. I don’t want to draw manga as someone’s dog.   Releasing a work to the world is the same thing as killing someone. Someone who reads your work may be influenced, and may even go off and commit a murder. That’s how horrifying a thing drawing manga is. How could you do something like that while being ordered around by someone else?   As the dozens of calls continued, I got a call from W-san, the woman I was dating. When I heard her voice flow through the answering machine, I picked up the receiver.   “I think I’m going to stop drawing manga,” I told her. She didn’t object.   I had no idea what I was going to do after I quit. I’ll have to move into a smaller room, I thought. And once I leave my studio, I wonder how much severance I’ll have to pay my staff members?   I thought back to when we had started going out. iphone 6 apple case leather The day I asked her on our first date, she said something to me while we were riding the train toward our destination.   “I also got asked out by __ yesterday.”   When I heard that, I felt said, but I mustered up all my courage and gave her a reply.   “Can I like you too?”   If I stopped drawing manga, would she start to hate me?   Soon, it became late, and the doorbell chimes began to dwindle.   If the next chapter of Umizaru doesn’t appear in the magazine next week, what will the readers think?   The next day, I received a call from my old editor, the first generation F-san. After hearing his voice on my answering machine, I picked up the phone.   Several hours later, the old F-san appeared at my apartment and sat down at the table across from me. And then, I repeated something I had said many times before.   “Please let this be the last arc of Umizaru.”   F-san replied quietly. “Alright. We’ll let you end it here.”   That was the moment in which Umizaru’s end was finalized.


Sato’s Road to Manga #46

Are there only corrupt people in the manga industry?   If that’s true, then is it a mangaka’s duty to let these corrupt people abuse him or her?   At one time, I had thought about quitting manga, but for some reason I couldn’t fully bring myself to give up. I’d done nothing but draw manga so far, so even if I quit, I had no idea what else I’d do, and I knew that even if I got to the point of wanting to die, I wouldn’t have the guts to do it.   When Umizaru ended, the waves started getting rough around me again. After meeting with the editors from Kodansha’s Morning magazine, I got a call from a man named S-san who worked at Takeshobo. He was one of the supervising editors of F-san, the first mangaka I worked under. I had known him for 6-7 years, since I started working for F-san, but he had never so much as glanced at me. iphone 8 plus case gel Naturally, I was happy to get the call, so I decided to meet with him.   We met at an okonomiyaki restaurant in front of the station.   We ordered some beers and made a toast to our reunion. The editors’ office S-san worked for published a mah jong manga magazine, and he wanted me to draw a mah jong manga for them.   He praised my work. “You’re the artist I want to work with the most, more than any other person in the industry,” he said, then went on to explain just how amazing and charming Umizaru was, in a tone so exaggerated that it embarrassed me.   “I’ve never wanted to draw a mah jong manga,” I replied. iphone 8 case red spigen   “There are a lot of artists who draw manga without knowing the rules to mah jong,” he countered. “The editors will take care of that, so don’t you worry. ‘Mah jong’ is the key word here, so as long as you touch upon that, you actually might experience more freedom than you even get in a normal magazine. The good thing about mah jong manga is that anything goes.”   He spoke passionately, with his teeth set on edge, trying again and again to convince me. I was nothing but an art staffer when we first met, yet he was very polite and treated me with respect. I had just come from deciding that there were nothing but corrupt people in the industry, but he made me realize that good people do exist as well.   He asked me how much I got for manuscript fees, so I answered him honestly.   “That’s too cheap,” he said, and offered me a higher fee right then and there. “Shogakukan (the magazine I had previously worked with) doesn’t value its artists enough. There’s no future in editors who simply sit on their butts and use up artists like tools.”   The way he suddenly started badmouthing the magazine left me scratching my head, but it seemed like he had his reasons. Apparently, there were a lot of publishers and editors in the industry who wanted my contact information. Those people had to go through Shogakukan’s offices first, but Shogakukan kept themselves closely guarded, and didn’t give anyone any information.   “They keep too tight of a guard.”   Finally, some people came around to S-san’s office, asking if anyone knew my contact info. S-san replied with “I know him, but I can’t just give his information out to anyone. Next time I’ll see him, though, I’ll ask him if it’s OK, so please wait until then.”   It was basically the same thing that the Kodansha editors had told me the other day. At this point in my career, I was completely used to other people treating like a newbie, or like a child, so it was hard to really believe that there were a bunch of editors out there who wanted to hire me. I thought the only reason the Morning editors had contacted me was because T-san, one of my previous employers, had done some work behind the scenes.   S-san went on. “Of course, we’d like you to draw manga for us, but artists aren’t company employees, nor are they entertainers who belong to talent agencies. Hiding jobs from people and stealing opportunities isn’t what a publisher should be doing. When other companies contact us about artists, we answer them, after getting the artists’ permission first.” (Incidentally, after I met with S-san, I started getting a ton of phone calls from other companies.)   I was surprised by how greatly the values of publishers differed. Perhaps the entire industry was already aware of how badly Shogakukan treated its artists.   Well then, what should I do?   Seemed like I’d still be able to work even after Umizaru ended. If I decided to draw a manga for Morning, I knew they wouldn’t give me a serialization immediately, because they were such a big company. I decided the more realistic option was to work at Takeshobo for a bit, do some good work for a monthly magazine, and foster my art staff members.   If I could go on working as a mangaka, then I wouldn’t need to fire them. A mangaka who gathers and fires his art staff based on the conditions of his own career won’t last long. To me, employing staff members as long as you can and working them into every facet of your career is how an employer should be. The only time I would ever close my studio is if I went out of business.   In the end, I decided that if a mangaka’s job is to be abused by corrupt people, then I’d just have to get dirty as well and let them abuse me. Although, S-san from Takeshobo wasn’t corrupt at all.   There were still a few months left until Umizaru finished its run, and over the course of that time I met with S-san and the two Morning editors over and over. The Morning editors wanted to have a meeting concerning a possible serialization, while at Takeshobo, it had already been decided that I’d have a serialization. It seemed that S-san really did admire my work. I hadn’t even drawn any storyboards, but they had already decided everything. It was more than a bit of a surprise.   I had stayed up all night playing mah jong when I was a student, so I knew the rules. And so, without telling them how I had considered quitting my career as a mangaka, I told my staff members that Umizaru would be ending, and that we’d be working on a new mah jong manga for Takeshobo.   Kodansha’s Morning magazine sold way more copies than the magazine that had featured Umizaru, so my meetings with them didn’t go so easily.   “How about drawing for us?” they asked, but still seemed to be looking down on me. The general feeling of the atmosphere seemed to be “If you can draw us a good storyboard, then we’ll put it in,” and I wasn’t sure what I could put my faith in.   Whenever we met, we were always probing each other to find our our true intentions.   “How about a story like this?” I’d say, offering an idea, but they had no interest in what I wanted to draw. iphone 7 slim battery case Instead, the question on their minds seemed to be “What should we make him draw,” and that came out quite clearly in the way they looked at me. 8 iphone cases glitter   In the end, it left me feeling distant from them. All I need to do is understand that this is the way these people work, then accept that and draw some manga for them, I thought. Apparently, I still had some desire to draw a manga in a major magazine.   Until Umizaru ended, I focused only on drawing manga, then took a two month break for preparations before I dove into my next piece. I actually had a lot of things I wanted to draw, if it was possible for me to go on being a mangaka. For years, I had come up with all these ideas, but I wasn’t able to do anything with them. It felt like my suppressed emotions were about to explode.   I’m not saying Umizaru was something I didn’t want to draw. I drew it with all my might, and nothing will ever change that. There was a lot I wasn’t able to do, though.   W-san often lent me an ear in times like these. scania iphone 8 plus case She got angry with me at the editors’ unreasonable behavior, listened to my ideas about my next piece, and told me her thoughts. She had worked with me since chapter 1 of Umizaru, and even when the editors were treating me horribly, I told her: “I’m still happy that I’m drawing manga, because it let me meet you.”   I trusted her more than anyone else, in all facets of my life. iphone 6 element case   “Once Umizaru ends, I’m thinking of giving everyone two months off. Of course, you’ll still get fully paid, but I’m sure that weekly schedule has tired everyone out. I’m going to take a whole month off myself. Then I’ll spend the next month drawing the storyboards for my next piece. So, how about getting married in the month we have off?”   And so, we decided to get married.


Sato’s Road to Manga #48

In April, Umizaru’s serialization ended, and I started drawing a serialization for a Take Shobo mah jong magazine in September.   After making my debut as a mangaka, I hadn’t taken a single day off for three years, but after Umizaru ended, I took a month-long break, then started writing my next piece in the next month.   In October, I had my staff members return from their paid vacations to their new office, and we officially got back to work. If I stopped here, people would just start saying “I haven’t seen Sato Shuho’s name anywhere,” or “He just disappeared.” The two editors from Morning said they were planning my serialization, but in the end, if the storyboards I submitted weren’t interesting, it would have been like we had never spoken at all.   I had to draw 24 pages each month for Take Shobo’s monthly magazine. I had three staff members, so I actually struggled finding things for everyone to do. We had made it through a weekly serialization this way, after all. Economy-wise, I was paying out over 500,000 yen a month in personnel expenses alone, and if I included office rent and materials, that easily became nearly one million yen per month. Calculating the manuscript fees from that meant that I’d have to draw 80 pages a month to stay out of the red. I also needed to make enough for my own living expenses. If this serialization with Morning didn’t work, then I wouldn’t be able to sustain my office. Still, “letting staff go” wasn’t a choice to me – unless I gave up on drawing manga, that is. When an employer hires someone, they need to keep them employed. french bulldog phone case iphone 8 In other words, securing that serialization with Morning was the only choice I had.   What I needed to do was “create a stock of pages for the Take Shobo serialization at a weekly pace, so my staff members have something to do” and “start drawing a good storyboard for the Morning serialization.” After I calmed down, I realized just how frightening a gamble I was about to engage in.   Every few weeks, the two editors from Morning would come to a family restaurant near my office and talk to me absent-mindedly for 30 minutes. At the end they would always say “Let’s think about this again later” and leave.   The framing of my manga as a “medical” one had already been set, so I wanted to hurry up and start gathering data so I could draw a storyboard, but they didn’t want me to start just yet. I wasn’t sure whether they were really serious about this or not, so I went out and bought a bunch of medical-related books so that I could start thinking up the structure. After several more weeks, I explained this structure to them at our next meeting. They didn’t really seem interested, though, and repeated the “Let’s think about this again later” thing. blue marble iphone 8 case   It seemed like their plan was just to succeed in capturing a serialization author from another magazine. They repeated the “planning” spell over and over, but they weren’t really interested in beginning the serialization immediately.   At our meetings, they’d often gloat about other authors they’d work with. “We gave this author this advice, and he was able to draw this sort of thing” or “I thought up that project.”   Oh, so these are the kind of editors who take all the credit for themselves, I thought. I listened to the rest of the stories with half an ear, and couldn’t help but feel a bit depressed. Even if they do agree to let me do the serialization in the end, are they just going to turn me into another one of their accomplishments?   Even though I had changed publishers, there was no escaping from the problem of editors treating authors as pawns. I was just one of the many authors they had control over, and they only gave me 30 minutes every few weeks. They were salarymen, and I was a freelance author. I’m pretty sure we had different ideas about the economic use of time. And so, as we continued to have our meetings, my savings dropped by hundreds of thousands of yen. iphone 7 plus case with belt   I was working on creating a stock of pages for the mah jong manga, but in the end, since there was no real deadline, I was unable to keep drawing pages at a weekly pace. This was supposed to go weekly, not monthly… I panicked.   Take Shobo didn’t go far enough to say “We’ll take whatever you draw,” but they possessed a looseness that was close to that and OKed my storyboards in no time at all, so in a way I felt like I wasn’t really getting any work done. iphone x case mirror And unfortunately, the magazine wasn’t very popular inside the magazine. When that news reached me on the phone, my editor S-san dropped his tone of voice. At first he had told me that I was the author he most wanted to work with right now, but all of a sudden my calls were ceasing to get through.   My new office was close to the office of F-san, one of my teachers. It was a complete coincidence, and F-san had just moved there himself, so we didn’t even know at first. Then, when I thought about contacting him to let him know that I was getting married, I realized that he lived nearby, so we decided to have lunch together. F-san was one of the biggest authors in Take Shobo’s mah jong magazine, so he was very keen on what was going on inside the editors’ office, and also knew that my series wasn’t very popular.   When I told him that I was thinking of drawing a serialization for Morning, he said: “Even for a veteran, having a serialization planned for a major magazine is quite an accomplishment. If Umizaru was popular, you should have kept it going until it lost popularity, right? You’re such an idiot, Shuho. At this rate you might just disappear.”   Several months passed, and the Morning editors finally decided that they wanted to do something. They started bringing data to me, and I also went out to go do research. I had done this many times when working on Umizaru, so I had developed my own method. I would take in the entire scope of something as an observer, while K-san would ask questions, and the camerman would take reference pictures. The stories we heard from people were also very important, so I would free up my five senses and just try to imprint as much of the people and atmosphere as I could in my mind. Going to do research and getting so focused on the pictures inside the lens of the camera is pretty terrible, I think. But the only reason I was able to research so freely was because the editors had prepared everything for me, and I had come to expect it. In that respect, they really had gone all-out for me, and I’m thankful to them for that.   Research with Morning was an editor bringing in a medical writer, a doctor, and a medical intern. Then, I’d talk with them and listen to what they had to say. I didn’t get to go and see an actual hospital, but I just thought: This is probably the initial stage of the research, and they’ll let me go and see one next time. But next time, all they did was bring in someone else. Over a period of two to three weeks, I met with nurses, a director of a public health center, and overall about 7 different medical professionals. case iphone 6 What they said was really just a rehash of what had been written in the research documents Kodansha gave me, so these meetings didn’t really seem too meaningful to me. Only one time did I have a chance to go to an emergency center and stay there for 24 hours and take pictures. But once it got to around evening time, my editor said “Don’t you think we’ve seen enough?” and went home. The cameraman also left, so I had to the rest all by myself.   Compared to the research I had done for Umizaru, this felt really lacking. But it was still just the beginning, so I was prepared to keep fighting as things progressed. Then, all of a sudden they said to me: “Now draw a storyboard.”   I was shocked. “Huh? I’ve met several people, but I’ve still only been to a hospital once.”   I asked them to let me go on more detailed hospital research trips, but they just kept ordering me to draw. It was all they ever said, so I really had no choice in the matter. We had had a few meetings so far, but the contents had all been so abstract, and none had really gone in a specific direction. All the details had been left up to me, which was of course fine, but when I showed them what I came up with, they didn’t really seem to like it, and made me redraw it. All it made me think was: Tell me what you want in the beginning!   I redrew it immediately, and this time they gave me the OK. iphone 7 minnie mouse phone case   What? I thought. They’re OK with this? I was beside myself in astonishment. What are they going to do next, ask me to draw the second chapter?   Then, they told me: “We’re interested in seeing what sort of art ends up in these frames, so do a rough draft and let us check it again.”   Does this mean I’m getting a serialization for sure? I wondered.   It took me two weeks to draw the rough draft. When I showed it to them, they both nodded and said it was good, then said: “Please let us use this as the manuscript.”   They had managed to shock me yet again. “I could add backgrounds to this rough draft, but if you want it to be completed, then I’ll need some documents so that I know how to draw the details of the hospital. I took photographs when I went to that emergency room, but his part-time hospital and other hospitals also appear in this chapter, so I want to prepare data on those as well. I can’t draw all of them just with what I have now.”   This was their response. “If you want to know how to draw a hospital, just go look at a photo gallery or watch a movie or something. There are a lot of medical dramas out there, right?”   “No,” I replied, standing my ground. “I’m drawing a medical manga here. I can’t just use generic data books or rip off stuff from TV, right?”   “You’re the first person who’s ever asked for something like this…” One of the editors muttered.   In the end, though, they let me go to a hospital in Chiba that had yet to open and take pictures of the inside. iphone 8 plus case supcase Nowadays, I have the skill to make plans on my own and go and do my own research, but at the time, I had no choice but to rely on editors for research at special institutions. Perhaps I was expecting a bit too much of my editors.   After taking photographs at the Chiba hospital, I still lacked a lot of the data I needed, but I eventually succumbed to the “We’ve done so much for you already, just draw it!” pressure from the editors and started drawing the manuscript. I still wasn’t really sure at what pace they were planning to proceed. First they had told me not to draw anything, and now they wanted me to draw the entire thing. But I knew that I had to do what I was told, or else I’d be out of luck. I spent another two weeks perfecting the manuscript, and what did they say?   “Pff, look! You drew all these hospitals perfectly!”   Actually, it took me a lot of work to come up with what I did, because I lacked data on entire subjects…   As they continued to stare at the finished manuscript, they asked: “What should we do about a title?”   The full-time editor S-san spoke up. “Since it’s a medical manga, how about working ‘Black Jack’ into the title?” *Black Jack is the title of Tezuka Osamu’s famous medical manga.   I wasn’t sure about using the title of another manga in my manga’s title, but they told me that copyrights don’t exist for titles, so people are free to use them as they please. If we asked Tezuka Productions to give us permission to use the title, they would ask for money or something even more complicated might happen, so they just planned to send a notice and be ethical about it. Afterwards, I heard them complain about Tezuka Productions for quite a while. Even though Mr. Tezuka had passed away, they still considered themselves a leading figure in the manga industry, and tried to strongarm the whole deal.   When I heard them getting so angry over it, I spoke up. “How about we think up another title without Black Jack in it?”   But that seemed to only make them angrier. Eventually, I gave up. No matter what I say, they seem committed to only proceeding things at their own pace.   “How about ‘Leave it to Black Jack?'” I asked. I decided to suggest the worst possible name that included Black Jack that I could come up with.   A few days later, after I faxed the completed manuscript of the second chapter to them, they called me back. “The second chapter looks great. By the way, we decided on a date for the serialization to begin. Five weeks from now, next month.”   “Huh?”   “We got you a space five weeks from now. Congratulations.”   “But I’ve still only drawn two storyboards. I completed the first chapter because you ordered me to, but I haven’t made any preparations. And we still haven’t come up with a title…”   “The title? It’s ‘Leave it to Black Jack.’ We already created a logo for it. So, five weeks from now. Got it?” the editor said, then hung up. The serialization was official now.   Umizaru ended in June, my Take Shobo serialization started in September, and then two months later, my serialization with Morning was going to begin. Over eight months, my savings had dropped by 600,000 yen.


Sato’s Road to Manga #43

One day, a page I had drawn appeared in the magazine upside-down.   It was a spread double-page bird’s-eye-view of Hakata Bay. But in the magazine, it depicted the landscape in the opposite way you would see it on the map, and there were no text indicators, so readers who hadn’t looked in a map in a while might have gotten confused.   Ever since the second F-san became my new editor, his low-level mistakes and misunderstandings continued in rapid succession, but even I was shocked by what he had managed to do this time. I immediately contacted him, told him that the manuscript had been published upside-down, and asked him to fix it. It was just such a basic, unthinkable mistake.   I was shocked by how he responded.   “In this situation, does it really matter whether it’s upside-down or not?”   For a moment, I didn’t quite understand what he was trying to say, and just replied with: “Huh?”   “There are no words, so it doesn’t really matter, does it?”   “Of COURSE it matters. It’s upside-down. deadpool phone case iphone 6 plus Please fix it. The magazine’s already been released, so I know you can’t fix that, but please fix it so that it appears right-side up in the volume.”   “Sato-san, it’s already appeared in the magazine like this, so I think that if we change it now, it’ll confuse the people who read the chapter in the magazine. And that isn’t good, is it? I think you’re being too selfish here.”   “What are you talking about? You’re the one who made the mistake here. North and south are upside-down. It’s like publishing a map of Japan upside-down. There’s no possible way that this could be OK, no matter how you look at it.”   “No, I’m just saying that it’s not good to confuse the readers. Sato-san, don’t you understand what I’m saying? This is a really important thing, you know. Sheesh…”   He even made sure to throw in a few calm sighs as he spoke. In short, he didn’t want to let his superiors know that he had made an irreconcilable mistake, so he was trying to twist it around on me, insisting that no one would realize that Hakata Bay was upside-down. In order to make it all the way to the magazine like that, it had to have passed through proofreading, which means that none of the editors must have caught it. Although these sorts of things kept happening over and over again, I was still shocked by how he wouldn’t even acknowledge his mistake, let alone apologize, and just kept trying to pass it off as insignificant. camo iphone 8 case   Because of this sort of behavior, it became extremely difficult to talk to F-san about ending the serialization. Hardly any time had passed since he became my new editor, but I still had to break into the topic somehow.   “The previous F-san told me that I should talk about this with you, so that’s what I’m going to do. I want this arc to be the final arc of Umizaru.”   After approaching him as directly as I could, F-san pretended not to hear me. Ignoring things that were problematic to him was something he had tried numerous times before. I changed my approach.   “F-san, I’m sitting here in a coffee-shop with you, trying to talk to you. Can’t you tell that I just said something to you?”   As he continued to ignore me, I continued to speak.   “Before you came along, I had been talking with the old F-san about ending Umizaru. iphone 7 case genuine apple You became my new editor in the middle of that discussion, but it hasn’t ended. I believe that Umizaru has reached its endpoint. If I just decide to end the series without contacting the editors’ office, it may cause problems for them, so I want to discuss the matter beforehand. Please let this arc be the final arc. I think I can finish it in about two volumes.”   He ignored that as well, so I said one more thing.   “F-san, I’m speaking to you alone in a coffee shop. Can you hear me?”   Then, he finally opened his mouth.   “I can’t. iphone 6 palm tree case I can’t hear a single thing you’re saying.”   Wow. gear4 iphone x case There are actually adult, fully-employed males who behave like this… I was shocked out of my mind. And so, as if explaining something to a child, I slowly explained why the manga had to end. As I did this, F-san glared at me, and further distorted his asymmetrical face.   He was trying to intimidate me, as unbelievable as it may seem.   Then, when I finished speaking, he lit up a cigarette and replied. “It’s not gonna end. Because I don’t think it should.”   Now, he just sounded like some low-level thug. He switched from the polite pronoun ‘boku’ to the rude, more informal pronoun ‘ore,’ and tried to sound tougher to me.   “Sato-san, man… what is it with you? The editor-in-chief changed, and we’ve switched out a bunch of series. You have no idea when they might cut you off as well… if the editor-in-chief wants to keep doing it, then that’s what we’ll do. It’s not your decision.”   After hearing this new speech pattern of his, I opened my mouth to reply, but he cut me off. “Shut up. You’re going to keep drawing, it right? In times like these, you have to say ‘Yes.'” He wasn’t even going to listen to me anymore.   By this point, he was mixing polite and rude speech together, and none of it made any sense to me.   My clenched fists were shaking. iphone 8 battery charger case “When I try to discuss things with you, we never get anywhere. Please let me talk to the editor-in-chief,” I said, and left. I had to. I felt like if I stayed there any longer, I’d end up punching him.   After that, I kept requesting to speak with the editor-in-chief. But whenever I mentioned anything about ending the serialization, he would always start trying to intimidate me with threats and menacing statements. Our discussions never got anywhere, so I just kept asking him to bring the editor-in-chief out. Every time we had a new meeting, I’d think “OK, this will be the week he finally brings the editor-in-chief” only to be disappointed.   There was a lot I didn’t like about the old F-san, but he would always explain his editing policies and how that related to his own opinion, so for better or worse, at least he never lied. That’s why, even though I didn’t like him, there was still something about him that I could respect. People who have no personal pride are trouble. The only thing the second F-san had pride in was his role as the “gatekeeper,” and unless the artist decided to agree with the editing policies unconditionally, he’d just keep trying to shoo them away.   The old F-san probably realized that I could keep drawing manga without an editor, which is why he entrusted me to this idiotic guard.   Eventually, I just got fed up with him, so whenever he would come to my studio to pick up the manuscript, I’d keep my face glued to my desk, leave a bag containing the manuscript by the door, and force him to leave immediately, among many other childish things. But I thought that if I kept giving him these strong signs, the problem would spread to the entire editors’ office, and I might finally get a chance to right things.   Hm? You think that instead of trying all those roundabout tactics, I just should have tried calling the editor-in-chief and speaking to him directly? Of course, I tried to call him. Many times. His secretary wouldn’t even give me the time of day. I imagine that at the time, not letting Umizaru end was a supreme directive of the editors’ office. The volumes were selling well, and it was a popular series. oasis phone case iphone 8 Ever since the editor-in-chief changed, the magazine had forcibly cut off every series that didn’t fit with the new editing policies. But Umizaru was drawn by a newbie author, so they thought that instead, they could mold me and fit me to their own devices.   But there’s nothing worse than an editor who won’t work for the sake of the manga. I didn’t expect him to do any work for my sake, and since he was an employee at a company, it was only natural that he would do work for their sake, but unless it was benefiting the manga in some way, it wouldn’t really end up benefiting the company. Mangaka bet everything they have on their manga. Of course, I know that there are some artists who don’t think like that, but still. I wasn’t trying to end the manga for my own sake. I was doing it for the manga. I wanted it to end when it was still at its best.   At that time, to me, Umizaru was everything to me. OK, maybe not everything. Sometimes, I would think about perverted stuff. I always thought about W-san, as well, who I was still dating, and I also racked my head over my staff members and their salaries. But despite all that, the majority of the time I spent at work – in other words, all my waking hours – was spent thinking about Umizaru.   One day, I brought up the topic of ending the series again to F-san. However, since I knew he had a hearing problem, I made sure to say it in a very big voice, one that would surely reach his ears.   “I’m the author, and I’m serious about this. Talking with you gets me nowhere, so please bring the editor-in-chief here!”   This happened about two or three months after he became my new editor. I had reached my breaking point.   “If you continue to ignore me, then I’ll stop drawing the manga. I just can’t anymore.”   This is how F-san replied.   “You cocky little newbie. If you keep saying things like that, then I’ll tell them to the editor-in-chief. And then you’ll be the only one in trouble, because you’ll lose your job. Wouldn’t you agree?”   Something inside me snapped.   “Please, hold on a second. What are you going to tell the editor-in-chief? I haven’t even said anything yet. I just keep asking you to let me speak with him.”   “I can’t hear you.”   “You have ears, don’t you?”   “Who are you? Who are you talking to? I’ll really bring him here. Are you sure you want that?”   “Yeah. Bring him here. Talking with you is just a waste of time. Just hurry up and bring him here already!”   “How will bringing him here change anything?”   WHAM!!   I slammed my fists down on the table in that family diner as hard as I could, stood up, and walked out.