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Interview: Blue Exorcist mangaka Kazue Kato

by Zac Bertschy,
We had a chance to talk for a few moments with Kazue Katō, the creator of Blue Exorcist; the manga premiered in the US on April 5th from Viz Media, with an iPad version available on April 11th. The anime series will be simulcast across multiple streaming sites later this month.
ANN: Please give us your personal overview as to what Blue Exorcist is about.

Kato: It is the story of the growth of a boy who was born between Satan and a human.

What themes were most important to you personally as you were creating this series? What themes and messages are you hoping to get across?

Kato: There isn't a “high” message in it, but I tried to create a manga that would intrigue teenagers and people in their early twenties . They are target of the magazine which carries this manga.

What were your chief inspirations when creating Blue Exorcist?

Kato: It originally was inspired by a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, where brothers combat monsters.  Then, I tried to make the story flip several times, and settled down into a simple structure of demons versus an exorcist.

Was it always your goal for the manga to become an anime series?

Kato: No, it wasn't. I was frantically trying to not miss my deadlines. But, looking back, I should have thought about the possibility of it becoming an animated series.

Did the possibility of the series becoming an anime influence your writing process?

Kato: I did attend the meetings where the script for the animated series was being discussed. I felt overwhelmed by the dynamics of many people teaming up and creating something. Personally, my manga creation process is a lonely one, especially when it comes to script writing. I felt that I also wanted to get some input for the writing of the script for manga, although the constraints of the production process doesn't really permit that sort of thing.

There are a lot of biblical references in Blue Exorcist; after the controversy surrounding Neon Genesis Evangelion, were you at all hesitant to include these references?

Kato:  As I commented as above, I did not expect that I would be so consistent in keeping my deadlines for the series so far... I made biblical references with the thinking that “I should not run away from these references if I'm working in the Exorcist genre.” But, I understand that Western countries are more sensitive to stories with biblical references than Japan is.  Right now, the “Blue Exorcist” manga is currently being translated in France, UK, and the U.S.  I was surprised to see some of translations, and thought, “Is it okay to translate that part?” or “Could the fans in Christian countries enjoy reading this?” I got those feelings. I still get those feelings.

Now that your manga is an anime series, how much has your involvement in the production of the anime series interrupted your work on the manga?

Kato: I could get involved with checking on the whole series structure, and on the script for the earlier part of the show, and with the character designs of original characters for the anime series. The challenging part in being involved with an anime was simply the increased workload. But, of course, it was a happy thing.

© Kazue Katō/SHUEISHA, Blue Exorcist Committee, MBS

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