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MangaNEXT 2012 – Tateno Makoto Friday Q&A

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Tateno Makoto debuted with Yurarete Egg Boys in 1986. Tateno-sensei currently creates works for magazines such as Dear+ (Shinshokan), Bessatsu Hana to Yume (Hakusensha) and BE×BOY (Libre Publishing). Her most popular title in the US is Yellow and she is currently working on Blue Sheep Reverie which will be released in a few weeks. RomeoxRomeo and A Bloody Kiss Tonight can be found digitally on JManga.

Robert Newman from JManga introduced Tateno Makoto-sensei. He also pointed out that publishing company, Shinshokan was also in the audience. Shinshokan released several of the manga by Maeda-sensei and Tateno-sensei and is the main representing company for bringing the two creators to the US via JManga.

Newman noted that Tateno-sensei was fond of drinking and usually drinks to match the title she is working on: if it’s romantic than it’s red wine, if it’s something more violent, she drinks beer and whiskey. *audience laughs*

A raffle was announced to be held after both panels with the mangaka. The floor opened for questions with Felipe Smith asking the first question.

    Q: When did Tateno-sensei know she wanted to be a mangaka?
    A: I wanted to become a mangaka when I was in junior high school. I actually started submitting in junior high and high school, but unfortunately, no one picked me up. At that time when I graduated, I started to become an assistant to other sensei. From there, I actually started out.

    Q: How long before you got your first piece of work published?
    A: I actually got an award first in shoujo manga. It took a long time before I actually received the award. But once I received the award, it actually moved things from there.

    Q: Is there anything in particular that motivated you to keep on writing?
    A: The biggest drive is when someone actually sends me their opinions from things they’ve read and how they felt. When people comes to see me at events such as this.

    Q: Do you have tips for any inspiring manga artists who wants to go into the business?
    A: There are many different styles. Especially in Japan, there are many different styles of manga so you can actually choose which magazine you want to submit to and work towards that style. But in America, maybe you should try to put up a website first and find a way to express your ideas.

    Q: Do you have any common character types that you are fond of using or any characters that you favor aboves all?
    A: Bishonen. *laughs* I totally love pretty boys so I obviously push them above other characters. The thing is, they have pretty faces but they have very strong wills inside.

    Q: Many BL mangaka don’t usually have female characters, but in many of your stories, you have a strong female character. What do you think is the role or purpose of female characters in BL?
    A: Just because it’s a BL manga, it’s unnatural just to have guy characters and no girl characters. Also I get tired of having just guys. Having a female role shows the hard love story that they’re going through and she could actually become the reason why they realize things.
    Fan: In BL manga, fans don’t usually like the female characters in the story. But the ones that you create are so likeable, strong that we don’t mind them being in the story. They’re a strong part of the story.
    Tateno: I don’t usually aim for that since I focus on the story. However, I’m very happy to hear that comment.

    Q: Out of all the works that you have done, which is your favorite work personally?
    A: I have a lot of memories of each one of my works. But the reason why I am able to come to America and overseas is due to the series Yellow so that has a lot of memories for me.

    Q: Alot of times Japanese manga is always translated or revised. I was wondering if the revision was acceptable to you? [In terms of standarization or revising to explain the culture.]
    A: I’m sorry but I can’t read English so I don’t know what changes were made. I receive a lot of comments from readers all over the world. Judging from those comments, I feel that the readers are getting the original meaning that I was trying to convey.

    Q: What is the most challenging when working on a series? Take the most time?
    A: The most challenging part is looking at the story as a whole. Obviously the most important part is the final outcome of the story and trying to bring everyone to that point without boring people out while expressing my storyline.
    Newman: Especially trying to keep a long series entertaining throughout the entire series is a very difficult part of creating manga.

    Q: Have you ever gotten writer’s block and how did you overcome it?
    A: I drink alot when I have writer’s block. *audience laughs*
    Newman: She just likes drinking.

    Q: Have you ever put any personal experiences or people you have met into the story?
    A: Nothing specific concerning experiences like that. I do blend in my experiences. When I saw something or felt something, I would blend it into the manga to express that feeling.
    Newman: She may use her own experiences as a base in the story but she wouldn’t use that directly or in that context. So there are bits and pieces in the story.

    Q: Have you ever created a character that was a projection of yourself in the story?
    A: No. *laughs* I hope I’m drawing all characters who are different from myself.

    Q: When creating drama cds, some mangaka usually spend alot of time recording or picking out seiyuus. Can you share one of your experiences while recording a BL drama cd? What kind of seiyuus are you usually looking for? Popularity or something else?
    A: When it’s becoming another media format, there is always certain choices of voice characters that we get. There are times when we do get choices or we can make a request. The main point is obviously focusing on the character images themselves. We select the voice actors that we would like to use if their schedules are open, than we use that voice actor.
    Newman: There are candidates that are proposed to her, other times there are specific ones she would like to use. More than anything, it is finding the right voice that fits the character and the character personality.
    Tateno: There are no drama cds released over here right?
    Fan: None unfortunately. I listen to the ones I bought in Japan.
    Tateno: Did you enjoy them?
    Fan: Yes. Are there any stories that you could share when they were recording in the booth? I must imagine the recording session to be very interesting.
    A: This doesn’t happen often. For the recording of Yellow, there was an after party. The voice actor for Taki and Goh actually started doing an adlib of a sumo BL. It was so like ‘Oh, master!’ *laughs* That was really, really funny.
    Newman: I think Tateno-sensei should take this up and write a sumo BL. *audience laughs*
    Tateno: *makes a face* No…I wouldn’t be able to draw it. *audience laughs*

    Q: When you come up with the design for each frame or each page, do you concentrate more on the facial expression or body posture?
    A: It’s different in each panel. When there is alot more action and movement, I focus more on the body. When the emotions are stronger, I focus on facial expressions more.

Tateno-sensei was than asked to draw. It was projected on the screen. She used pencil first followed by her own pens, than finally coloring in with sharpies. It was wonderful to see Taki appear on the screen. His expression is cool and and calm. With just a few simple strokes, his strong personality is revealed.

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