Katsucon 2012
Izumi Matsumoto Q&A

by Crystalyn Hodgkins,

Kimagure Orange Road creator Izumi Matsumoto (second from the left) headed back to the U.S. for Katsucon after attending Anime Expo last year.

Matsumoto held an hour-long Q&A session on Friday with a very small audience. The panel started out with a mere five audience members, but grew to 15 by the time the panel was over. Because there were so few people in the room, Matsumoto asked each of the audience members to introduce themselves and discuss how they got into Kimagure Orange Road. Many of the audience members, who would be considered older anime and manga fans now, had gotten into the anime series in the late 80s or early 90s through anime club gatherings.

Matsumoto and Katsucon has asked fans to e-mail in some questions ahead of time, so Matsumoto's two translators both asked some of those questions, and each audience member was also able to ask Matsumoto a question directly. As new audience members came in, the hosts would ask them if there was anything they'd like to ask Matsumoto.

When asked, Matsumoto revealed that he actually didn't realize that Kimagure Orange Road had a big impact on anime fans in America in the 1990s. He didn't realize he had American fans until around 1995.

Kimagure Orange Road ran in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump, and when asked about the rigorous schedule for a weekly manga serialization, Matsumoto admitted that there were times where he had trouble coming up for the plot for the next week due to the hectic schedule, and said that even though it was physically demanding, he enjoyed the creation process.

Matsumoto revealed that some of the places in the manga were in fact real places. For example, the junior high school featured in the manga was modeled after a school from Toyama Prefecture where he grew up. Matsumoto also prefers the word "capricious" compared to "whimsical" in the translation of the word "Kimagure," mostly because he wasn't aware of the word "whimsical" being used as a translation.

When asked, Matsumoto revealed that when creating his digital manga now, he uses Photoshop, and he prefers Macs.

Matsumoto admitted he wasn't directly involved in the anime adaptation because he was still publishing the series in Weekly Shonen Jump, and it was impossible for him to work on both at the same time.

Matsumoto also revealed that his inspiration for Kimagure Orange Road was that he was interested in both fantasy and shojo manga at the time. He revealed later that one of his influences was Ray Bradbury. And currently, Matsumoto is reading and enjoying Bakuman., and he likes Death Note.

Lastly, Matsumoto talked about the process of creating a story, in that the characters don't always go in the direction you want them to go. He said that his characters never seem to listen to the author.

Matsumoto ended the panel by talking about the artbooks and other rare Kimagure Orange Road merchandise that he brought with him that are available for purchase at the convention.

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