Interview: Arina Tanemura

by Carlo Santos, Aug 5th 2007
Saturday at Comic-Con 2007 was a big day for fans of shôjo manga, as they got to meet Arina Tanemura, creator of Full Moon, The Gentlemen's Alliance†, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne and more. Between multiple signings and a focus panel—all in one day—Ms. Tanemura found some time for a friendly chat, not just about manga, but about her love of pop culture too.

So, how do you like America so far?

This is my very first time visiting the United States. I love it. It's beautiful, a great country.

A couple of years ago you went to the Taipei International Book Exhibition [in Taiwan]. How does that compare with Comic-Con here?

In terms of scale, this is much, much bigger. But in Taiwan, there were so many fans around me when I was doing autograph sessions that I couldn't really see what was going on, because of all the fans.

There are many fans here who really like the style of your art. How did you develop that style and where do you get your inspiration?

Since I was little, my style hasn't changed at all. The difference might be the thickness of the line, but the mode of expression is usually the same. And I don't know where it comes from, because it's so natural.

And what was some of your favorite manga when you were growing up?

There are so many. I had manga all across the walls [of my room]. I enjoy both shojo and shonen manga; I love many different kinds of manga.

I actually saw that artwork you drew of Dragon Ball, and I thought that was very cute.

Oh! Yes! Thank you! I love Dragon Ball as well.

Is there any manga right now that you really enjoy?

Hm, recently ... my favorites are in Ribon magazine and Margaret magazine. The publisher sends me complimentary copies, and everyday I still look forward to opening the mail, to see if a new magazine's arrived. I love the series in Ribon and Margaret.

In the stories of your manga like Full Moon and Gentlemen's Alliance†, there are many complicated romantic relationships. How do you keep track of all the characters and all the plots?

That's very interesting. All the characters and the relationships that they develop are based on stories that I've heard, or about my friends. It's like a memory, so I never ever forget. It's always with me, so I don't forget at all. It's like, all the characters are my friends.

You've written a lot of love stories, but have you thought about doing other genres, like maybe fantasy, like Lord of the Rings or something?

Oh, I love Lord of the Rings. My next work might be ... I'm working on it, thinking about it, to make it more like fantasy than a love story.

And do you prefer to write a really long, big series or try to keep it short?

If it's a fantasy, I want it to be long.

Like Harry Potter?

Yes, exactly.

Actually, have you heard about the new Harry Potter book that just came out, the end of the series?

Yes, but I can't read English, so I'll have to wait for the Japanese version. Maybe in a year or so.

I actually already finished reading the book. It was very exciting.

Oh, I'm jealous! I'll be looking forward to reading it.

Now, let's talk a little bit about Full Moon. In the story, it's about an idol singer, and I believe you're also a fan of idol groups like Morning Musume?

I love them. I have all their DVDs and CDs.

Oh really? I like that group a lot too.

(laughs) We could hit it off!

Do you have a favorite member from Morning Musume?

Right now ... well, they change all the time, but I did like Asami Konno.

And you're also a fan of Berryz Kobo?

(laughs) Yes, Berryz Kobo.

Do you have a favorite member from them as well?

Risako Sugaya.

Oh, she's very pretty. My favorite member from Berryz is Saki Shimizu.

Ah! "Captain"!

Yeah, Captain.

Now, I remember in Full Moon, you said that Mitsuki's hairstyle was based on Ai Kago from Morning Musume.

When Ai Kago was in Mini Moni [a spinoff group], she had this vertical ... (mimics the shape of curled pigtails.)

Now I'm wondering if you heard about the scandal that Kago was involved in recently, where she was photographed smoking and seen with another man; I was wondering if you had an opinion on that?

I'm kind of sad and disappointed that she cannot come back because of the scandal, because I really love the unit "W" that Kago-chan and [fellow groupmate] Tsuji-chan were in—I had their DVDs and CDs—I'm disappointed about that. But at the same time, as a woman, I really wish her the best.

Do you have any message that you would like to give to your fans in America?

I would love to come back—I enjoyed my first time here so much that I definitely want to come back and do more signings, so please enjoy my work!

And do you have a message for those who want to become manga artists?

I hope that, for those who want to become manga-ka, I encourage them to read and see great works—not only manga and comics, but also movies, novels, and whatever will stimulate their creativity, so that they can create even greater works.

discuss this in the forum (11 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

Interview homepage / archives

Around The Web