Hirohiko Araki x Hiromu Arakawa (July 2011)

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Published July 29, 2011
Incomplete translation
Incomplete transcript
Hirohiko Araki x Hiromu Arakawa (July 2011)
Interview Archive
Sketch collaboration between Araki and Arakawa

Interview between Hirohiko Araki and Hiromu Arakawa, the manga artist of Fullmetal Alchemist, published in the Fullmetal Alchemist Chronicle art book on July 29, 2011.


Hiromu Arakawa has always read the works of Hirohiko Araki since her childhood. In 2011, Araki is approaching thirty years of his career. From the appeal of their works to the surprising common points between the hymn to humanity and the principle of equivalence, here is the interview of the century between two people on the front line in the world of shonen manga!

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the manga that gives you courage

Arakawa: I read your manga since Baoh the Visitor. And of course, I love reading JoJo's Bizarre Adventure since the first part. I am honored to meet you today!

Araki: Wow! I am very happy that you have been reading me for so long. Thank you so much!

Arakawa: While I was in elementary school, my older sisters used to buy Shonen Jump. In our barn, I specifically found the issue with the first chapter of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. I went to read it in a dark barn where some agricultural equipment were stored, and I was completely captivated.

Araki: The perfect atmosphere (laughs).

Arakawa: It was twice as scary. But I was still really into it (laughs)! I was still a kid at the time, and I imitated the Ripple and said things like "I want a Stand like this!" (laughs). Knowing that I was going to meet you, I wondered what made JoJo's Bizarre Adventure so appealing to me. And I told myself that it is the fact that it gives me courage.

Araki: That's also the appeal of Fullmetal Alchemist (referred to as Fullmetal from here on), isn't it? When I read it, it made me reflect on the origins of humanity. Through the system of alchemy, we go as far as researching the mechanisms of nature and the human world. I was thinking "Whoa!".

Arakawa: Oh, thank you very much! When I thought about the origins of mankind, it was important not to ignore the question "What are courage and pride?". The protagonists of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, allies and enemies alike, are all proud and live a hard life. I find them admirable. Especially Iggy... Making me cry with a dog who chews gum...! The scene where Lisa Lisa puts her cigarette upside down also immediately comes to mind. I also appreciate Stroheim's determination. I really love all the characters.

Araki: Hahaha (laughs). It's because half of his body is made up of cybernetics prostheses. He wouldn't be out of place in the Fullmetal universe. Personally, I like Armstrong in Fullmetal. I appreciate the characters who let their passion run wild while keeping their seriousness. The scene where he and Sig were staring at each other and made poses was really funny. Conversely, the scene where Al is deteriorated is quite intense. His blood seal could disappear at any time... I was anxious thinking about that.

Arakawa: Yes, he should have covered it (laughs}.

Was the name "Elric" a risk?! The Shonen Manga World of the 70s-80s

Arakawa: Speaking of what makes JoJo's Bizarre Adventure so appealing, I think it's the unique dialogue. I let the JoJo's Bizarre Hyakunin Isshu (ジョジョの奇妙な百人一首, JoJo no Kimyō na Hyakunin Isshu) CD play at my work place, and I had assistants who could recite it by heart without even having read the manga.

Araki: That's amazing (laughs). I created the dialogue by thinking about their motivations, reasons, and "why are they fighting", but I haven't thought so far as making this line popular or making the readers cry. So I'm happy to hear you say that.

Arakawa: I would unconsciously say lines from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in my everyday life. Perhaps more than you think, Araki-sensei, it's probably become ingrained in your readers' blood. That's how powerful the spirit of the words are in your work.

Araki: However, since there are horror elements in my manga, I purposely used vulgar language... I felt that I shouldn't only depict the beautiful parts. "Black and white", "Good and evil", "Beauty and ugliness". I try to keep opposites like these in mind as I draw, so I don't shy away from the ugly parts of human nature.

Arakawa: I see.

Araki: But you know, it wasn't until about ten years after the start of the series that I was recognized in this way. At the time, I was told that it would be difficult to set a story in a foreign country with a foreign main character. Such a manga was in danger of being questioned at any time by the magazine's editorial team. I guess I was a bit cocky at the time. I wanted to challenge the rules and jinxes of shonen manga. As long as I respected the principles of Shonen Jump, which are "Friendship", "Effort", and "Victory", why not include Western characters?

Arakawa: Besides, the story begins with Aztec people.

Araki: It's so confusing (laughs)!

Arakawa: Nooo, for an occult lover like me, I couldn't get enough of it.

Araki: At the time, I was told that a bizarre long-running drama series would not be a hit in the manga world. That's why it was a miracle that an editor appreciated my universe, encouraged me, and allowed JoJo's Bizarre Adventure to get serialized. For that reason, choosing the name "Elric" in Fullmetal would have been dangerous at the time (laughs).

Arakawa: Hahaha, "rejected" (laughs).

Araki: Was it easily decided?

Arakawa: I think it was accepted because Enix (currently Square Enix) is a game company. In fact, we were expecting readers who are used to RPGs, so we thought a name with a fantasy flavor would be good.

Araki: Is that so? The times have changed, huh?

[Translated to English by Nabu from a transcription by NatDaemon of Jasmine Bretcha's Japanese to French translation of the interview]

Note: Incomplete interview.


荒川: 荒木先生の作品は『バオー来訪者』から読ませていただいています。もちろん『ジョジョの奇妙な冒険』(以下:『ジョジョ』)も第1部からずっと愛読していまして。今日はお会いできて光栄です。どうぞよろしくお願いします!
荒木: おお〜! そんな昔から読んでくださっているとは、嬉しいですね。ありがとうございます! 
荒川: 小学生の頃、姉が「少年ジャンプ」を買っていまして。納屋に積んであったのを何気なく手に取ったのが、ちょうど『ジョジョ』第1話の掲載号だったんです。農機具などを入れておく、薄暗い部屋で夢中になって読みました。
荒木: それはムード満点だ(笑)。
荒川: 怖さ倍増でしたね。もうハマらないわけがない! という状況でした(笑)。当時は子供だったので、波紋法をマネしたり、「こんなスタンド欲しいー!」と騒いだり(笑)。そして今回お会いするにあたって、改めて「私にとっての『ジョジョ』の魅力とは」を考えてみたのですが、やはり勇気をくれるところではないかと。
荒木: 『鋼の錬金術師』(以下:『鋼』)もそこが魅力ですよね。読んでいると、人間の根源について考えさせられます。錬金術のシステムを通じて、自然界や人間界の仕組みまで追求していく。「おお!」って思いました。
荒川: わぁ、ありがとうございます! その、人間の根源を考える時「勇気や誇りって何だろう?」という部分は外せないと思うんです。そこへいくと『ジョジョ』の登場人物は敵も味方もみんな誇りをもって、懸命に生きている。「あっぱれ」だと思います。特にイギーは……あの、ガムをクチャクチャやってたイヌに泣かされるとは……! あと、リサリサの逆さ煙草のシーンもグッとくるし、シュトロハイムのブレのなさもいいですね。本当、どのキャラも大好きです。
荒木: ははは(笑)。シュトロハイムはもう身体半分が機械鎧みたいなものだからね。『鋼』の世界にいても違和感ないですよ。僕は『鋼』ではアームストロングがいいですね。こういう、真面目でありつつ趣味に走る人は好きです。特にシグと一緒にムキッとポーズをとるシーンは楽しい。逆に、アルがボロボロになるシーンは辛いです。何かの拍子に血印が消えたら……と思うとハラハラしちゃって。
荒川: カバーしとけって話ですよね(笑)。


荒木: それはすごい(笑)。僕は「なぜ戦うのか」とか、動機や理由づけは意識してるんですが、このセリフを流行らせようとか、読者を泣かせようとか、その辺りはあまり考えていないんです。だから、そう言っていただけると嬉しいですね。
荒川: 日常生活で、無意識のうちに『ジョジョ』のセリフが出ることがあるんですよ。たぶん荒木先生が思っていらっしゃる以上に、読者の血肉になっているんだと思います。それだけ強い言霊が宿った作品なんだなあと。
荒木: ただ、ホラー要素がある作品なので、あえて汚い言葉も使って……美しい部分ばかり描いてちゃダメって思いはありますね。「白と黒」「善と悪」「美と醜」といった対極的なものを頭に置きつつ描いているので、人間のゲスな部分も避けずに踏み込もう、と。
荒川: なるほど。
荒木: でもね、こうして認めてもらえたのは連載開始から10年くらい経ってからじゃないかなあ。当時は外国が舞台で、主人公も外国人という設定は難しいと言われていて。編集企画段階で落とされちゃうんです。うん、当時は僕も生意気だったんですかね。そういう少年漫画のルールやジンクスに挑戦したいという思いもありました。「ジャンプ」の基本原則である「友情・努力・勝利」さえ守っていれば、横文字でもいいじゃないかと。
荒川: しかも、物語の入り口はアステカですよね。
荒木: わかりにくすぎ(笑)!
荒川: いや〜、私のようなオカルト好きには、もうたまらないですけれども。
荒木: 怪奇系の大河ドラマも、当時の漫画界ではヒットしないと言われていたんです。たまたま、こういう世界観が好きな編集者が後押しをしてくれて……『ジョジョ』を連載させてもらえたのは奇跡だと思いますね。だから『鋼』の「エルリック」というネーミングは、当時だったらかなりキケンでしたよ(笑)。
荒川: ははは、ボツだ(笑)。
荒木: その辺りはすんなり決まったんですか?
荒川: エニックス(現・スクウェア・エニックス)はゲーム会社なので、その点はスムーズだったと思います。むしろRPGに慣れた読者を想定していましたから、ファンタジーの香りがするネーミングがいいのかなと。
荒木: そうなんですか。時代は変わったんだなあ。[1]



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