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New York Comic-Con 2012
JManga Presents: Masakazu Ishiguro

by Crystalyn Hodgkins,

Robert Newman from JManga moderated the panel alongside manga creator Masakazu Ishiguro Sore de mo Machi wa Mawatteiru or Sore Machi) and Mashiro Ohno, an editor at Shonengahosha's Young King Ours magazine and the editor for Sore Machi. Newman started out the panel by introducing the guests and explaining that JManga is a website that releases manga digitally in English. Throughout the panel, Newman gave away copies of the And Yet the Town Moves television anime series on DVD, as well as iPhone covers and the 10th volume of Sore Machi in Japanese.

Newman noted that the ninth volume of Sore Machi was just recently published on JManga. The series is about a high school girl who gets a job at a coffee shop disguised as a maid café. Aside from Sore Machi, Ishiguro also helps out other artists with their own works. Newman noted that Ishiguro is known for the high detail of his backgrounds and characters.

Newman then discussed Ishiguro's one-volume Present for Me series, which was released on Thursday on JManga. The manga is a collection of short stories.

The audience was then treated to a live-drawing session from Ishiguro, who drew the character Kon. Newman then selected a member of the audience and Ishiguro presented him with the drawing.

Newman then launched into a Q&A session with Ishiguro and Ohno, and he started out by asking a few questions of his own. When asked why he wanted to become a manga creator, Ishiguro said that growing up he really wanted to become a one, and he felt it was the only way to go for him. When all his friends left high school and started looking for jobs, he decided that it was time that he should do something about becoming a manga creator. He then submitted something to Kodansha, and it got printed.

When asked how he gets his inspiration, Ishiguro noted that he is inspired by the things he sees in everyday life - he sees something that is interesting and wonders what it might be like in a manga.

Ishiguro then noted that he often draws his manga in the bath. He gets in the bath up to his chest, puts a board on top and then draws his manga on top of it. Ishiguro noted that he's dropped his pen in the bath a few times, but he has never dropped a drawing in the bath. He also noted that he limits himself to two hours when he's drawing in the bath.

When asked about the inspiration for his characters, he said that he is inspired by people around him in everyday life, and he puts pieces of them into his characters.

Newman then asked Ohno if he have any particularly strong feelings when it comes to editing Ishiguro's manga, and Ohno responded that Ishiguro appears to be a shy guy, but once you get closer to him he opens up, and he hopes that the audience will also get to know Ishiguro a bit more.

Newman than opened the panel up for attendees to ask questions. When asked how a company like Shonengahosha nurtures relationships in North America, Ohno responded that generally manga are created for a Japanese audience, but Ohno said he's very interested in creating manga for a foreign audience, and he's interested in new works from new artists. Ohno said if anyone wants to send in their art to [email protected]JManga.com, he'll take a look at it.

When asked if he plans to create a longer serialized story in the future, since Present for Me is a series of short stories and Sore Machi is also mainly a series of short stories, Ishiguro responded that he's always had an interest in creating a long series. Early on in his career, he did short series for artists who couldn't get their work in on time, and he realized then he has a knack for short series. He does have a long series he would like to do, but it will need to wait until he is no longer serialized.

When asked about his self-portrait that he uses in his works, Ishiguro explained that when he was in high school, a Sherlock Holmes show was being broadcast on NHK, and he enjoyed one of the characters in the story, so he drew that character over and over. Eventually, the character evolved and became the blue character he uses to represent himself.

When asked about what manga inspired him as a child, Ishiguro said he grew up reading manga by Fujiko Fujio, and he was extremely influenced by their manga.

When asked about Akiyuki Shinbo's directing style for the anime version of Sore Machi, Ishiguro said he's personally very happy with the anime adaptation.

Newman then wrapped up the panel by saying that those who still want to ask questions for Ishiguro can e-mail them to [email protected]JManga.com, and Ishiguro will personally answer all their questions. At the end of the panel, Newman gave away a Nexus 7 to the contestant who could scream "hoshii" (I want) the loudest. Newman then held a dance off for an audience member to win a Sore Machi figma figure.

Each person in the audience also received a Sore Machi clear file.

JManga is also giving away prizes at the JManga panel on Saturday, and Ishiguro will also have a signing at JManga's booth on Saturday.

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