YASUSHI SUZUKI ORIGINAL PURGATORY KABUKI INTERVIEW
Yasushi Suzuki doesn't consider himself to be a manga-ka, but an artist trying to do something innovative and different with his upcoming original Dr. Masters tale, Purgatory Kabuki. In the world of entertainment, Suzuki's usual "realm" is the video game industry, but he's hoping his story about Imanoturugi, a dead samurai battling others in the underworld to gain a new life above, will be just what the comic doctor ordered in this New Year.
THE PULSE: When you were designing Purgatory Kabuki, what were some of the biggest things to influence how you created this story?
YASUSHI SUZUKI: In creating this story, I've made conscious effort to incorporate the Ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints) art style, battle picture scrolls, Noh farce, Kabuki, and Japanese oral tradition and fables into the overall story.
There is artistic intent in doing this, but the real intention is to amplify the potency of amusement.
Because there are far more exciting and unheard-of elements in these historical culture themes than the entertainment that is available today.
THE PULSE: How did you want this to stand out from the other mangas that were available worldwide? How do you become competitive in this market?
YASUSHI SUZUKI: I remind myself that I'm not a manga artist (in fact, I try not to become one).
I'm glad I'm not, because then I'm not restricted to drawing only manga.
As a professional artist who creates characters, this helps me to use various logic to put together something appealing.
To stay competitive, you've got to give your best like you have no tomorrow, even if that means forgoing sleep. It's as simple as that. If you see with the "Artist's Eyes” and use your skill and put in the effort, I guarantee you will come up with something amazing. And such a product will be treated with open arms in any market.
THE PULSE: What were some of the challenges of designing this so it would be accessible to any demographics - not just the usual target audience?
YASUSHI SUZUKI: I designed it so people would understand my work through action. This is inevitable, even after it goes through translation.
Because I know when Japanese jokes are translated into English, sometimes the joke gets lost in the translation.
The meaning of the words can change too depending on the culture and the environment. So, from the onset of the project, we've decided to cut the wordy lines and turned the whole story into a full-scale battle action!
Sword showdown speaks louder than words, right?
THE PULSE: They always have in my kitchen! So how did you come to work with Dr. Masters? What made you want to do an original project for them?
YASUSHI SUZUKI: I received an e-mail from DrMaster asking me "Would you like to draw manga?" and I'm not even a manga artist!
Really caught me by surprise. But then, I started thinking after I received a couple of more mails: What would be crazier (and more fun) than to start a manga that's doesn't fit the conventional style overseas?
(In Japan, manga has infiltrated the nation so deeply, it's not suited for trying something out of ordinary)
And I love trying out stuff that people have never done before! From there things just started rolling.
The response from DrMaster has been excellent! I’m so thankful to them!
THE PULSE: How is working on a manga different than designing video games?
YASUSHI SUZUKI: The concept of "entertaining to play" and "entertaining to read" is different, but the production process is quite similar.
If anything, the difference comes from the display medium, since it affects various designs.
What I like about manga is that it's easier to modify design and expression to accommodate the impression of scenes.
It's hard to do that in game design since there are a lot of restrictions in game data.
Here are some of the games I've worked on:
Stamp Club (1997)
Radiant Silver Gun (1998)
Sin and Punishment: Successor to the Earth (2000)
Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song
As a game designer, I usually work on data surrounding the objects, but I also work on motions and effects, as well as background design. I love working on anything that has to do with games because you're creating something you can play with.
THE PULSE: If you were describing this to someone who doesn't usually follow comic books or manga, what would you say to get him or her to check out your original story?
YASUSHI SUZUKI: I feel no need to introduce my work as a manga or anime to any audience.
Rather, they could view my work as Kabuki Picture Scroll or Sword Fighting Artbook, or even a Japanese game plot (the idea actually came from my old game design).
I'm here to create an unheard-of piece with a simple concept, yet with high quality that doesn't limit itself to the conventional style of manga.
THE PULSE: What do you enjoy the most about working on Purgatory Kabuki? It sounds as if you're incorporating a lot of elements you like into this story ....
YASUSHI SUZUKI: The fact I can draw swords! And create new ones!
And I set the stage is such a way that I can draw as many battle scenes as I want. It can't get any better than that!
THE PULSE: What other projects are you working on?
YASUSHI SUZUKI: My 10th anniversary Exhibition ran from 12/6-12/11, so that took up a lot of my time.
I'm also doing a lot of illustrations for Sci-Fi novels lately. It's really different from what I'm working on, but I love Science Fiction.
I'm also working on cover illustrations for the Japanese edition* of "A Storm of Swords" by George R. R. Martin. His stories are just fascinating! *The novel is divided into three novels in the Japanese version.
And DrMaster Publications will publish my artbook titled "Art of Yasushi Suzuki" next year! Check it out!