New four-part Interview with Miura on Future of Berserk and Duranki

Kentarô MIURA interview :

About Berserk plan :
後ろのほうには来てますよ。キャスカの復活でそろそろ妖精島の章が終わりに近いですし、この後はけっこう驚きの展開になると思います。「ドゥルアンキ」ともども、ぜひ楽しみにしていてください。
Pictures of Miura studio :
 

jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
Yup, even with a bad translator like the Google translate, this interview has some nice tidbit of info. Of course I'm waiting for a better one that makes more sense to read but still was fun to browse through it. Thx for sharing!
 

RaffoBaffo

Ex-Newser of the late Berserk Chronicles
I'm on the second page.
This is probably one of the most interesting Interview of Miura in ages.


The bit about the ambitons of Miura and what he want to do with his studio for his assistants is gold.
スタジオ我画のもと、アシスタントの名前が載せられるような仕事を作りたい
 
Don't want to jump to any conclusions, but I have a feeling that Miura wants to use this Duranki as a sort of test for art done by his assistance. If successful, he might offload some of the work from Berserk to them without compromising anything.

It's interesting, and this was stated in other interviews as well, that Miura writes the story and "names" (which is the term for story-boarding and panel layout in manga industry) very fast and spends most of the time on the actual art. It's understandable, since most people who become mangaka are people who love to draw. But I think Miura is understanding that it's too risky to only reply on himself when it comes to the art.

I find it kind of interesting that Miura's "struggle" is with the amount of art which is the exact opposite of Takehiko Inoue. In a documentary on Inoue working on Vagabond, it was shown that he was really struggling with the story and "names," then blazing through the incredible art like it was nothing. Maybe Miura and Inoue should team up? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
Yeah makes sense that the art for the first 2 episodes were pencil sketched by Miura. I did not expect his studio to be that truthful to his art style just yet.

Its also crazy how much of the workload he does himself, which is not surprising considering his nature as a perfectionist when it comes to his art.

I do wonder how long it will be before the process will be limited to Miura only writing the name and leaving everything else to his assistants.

What i admire the most about all of this is his dedication to create a proper studio with full time employees while at the same time adjusting that balance to Berserks publication.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Here's a rough translation of the first page, courtesy of Puella.

Studio Gaga is my company with my assistants. The inking is being entrusted to my assistants for Duranki, but I did the storyboard, the draft and the final modifications.

-Modifications?

Each assistant has a different drawing style. So I unify and integrate them. Producing is like being a drawing director for animation. Three of my assistants commute. One lives in a remote place (stays in studio?).

-Berserk is also drawn by them, so what's the difference?

For Berserk I do almost everything myself, the characters and the backgrounds. I only give them the toning, buildings, soldiers, backgrounds, etc. These days I let them do the ground too.

-Berserk isn't available in every issue. With the start of Duranki, some fans might think the publication of Berserk will be delayed.

I'm quite fast at storyboarding, the main reason for the delays is my drawing speed. My staff is competent but I still draw almost every part myself, so it brings out more and more delays. So I hope my assistants' skills will grow with Duranki, so I get to think "this is good enough". So this can make me consider using them more for Berserk, and then I hope Berserk's publication speed will get faster.

-Do you mean your role in drawing Berserk can be reduced?

Yes. Because if the finished item is of the same quality, it's good. So when I entrust the inking to my assistants, I also think they can do it. I have staff meetings and I share ideas with them. At my age I think I should be able to establish a good system for my staff to get them to draw well, so Duranki is a really good chance to do that.

-Tell us how you started to publish Duranki.

Working on Berserk, I also have many ideas for other manga, but I don't think I can do them because I have no time. But accidentally I told one of my ideas to my editor. He said it's enjoyable, and suggested I take on the role of original writer, so I only do the writing. so I made a presentation with my ideas. They gave me a good feedback. So finally Studio Gaga took care of the drawing, but I'm short handed. I'm currently recruiting staff. But compared to the past it's hard to get the kind of assistants who commute to the studio and work seriously.

-When Studio Gaga recruits people, you welcome regular positions.

Yes, since Studio Gaga publishes Berserk and Duranki, we offer a decent, stable job. We're not a black enterprise. We're not like an ordinary company. I welcome experienced and senior people and I can pay them appropriately. Before I also thought about recruiting assistants to start Duranki.

-Tell me more...

I want to create a job that can put my assistants' names on the page under the studio's. At Studio Gaga, to be an assistant is an excellent job that allows them to draw, which is their favorite, and to make a good living. As for my staff, some are even married, some bought a good apartment in Tokyo, they've been building their skills for years. I am motivated to recruit more assistants who can take care of the drafts for the main characters, or of the inking. I hope Duranki will make it come true.
 

Grail

Feel the funk blast
Thanks very much Puella for the translation!

Interesting reading about Miura's process with his assistants. It sounds like his role with Duranki is still pretty involved (or at least more involved than I was expecting), but with the ultimate goal to help his team become more independent and ready to take on more work, even with Berserk. I'm excited to see what's in store for us in both series!

Seems like Miura got a Monster Hunter Ilustration book (top-left corner).
Nice catch there! Also, I'm super jealous of his anatomy model and giant tablet.
 
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Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
It sounds like his role with Duranki is still pretty involved (or at least more involved than I was expecting)
Same here. Also, I've been saying for many years that he was doing most of the art himself for Berserk, but I have to admit I was still surprised at how little the assistants seem to contribute.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
https://i.imgur.com/cMvk67S.png It's this translation from Google, some people saw this and freaked out. I'm pretty sure it's wrong because it just feels out of place. However no one corrected me about this.
This is why I always tell you people to stop relying on machine translations. The relevant part is this one:

Q: 先ほどから何度か作画のスピードが話題に上がっていますが、やはり描き込みについては伺いたいなと。
During our conversation, your drawing speed has been mentioned several times. But I also want to ask you about that.
描き込みはねえ、もう病気です。病気としか言いようがない。
Drawing is a disease (to me). I have no other word for that.

You can thank @puella for that translation. What Miura means is that he's drawing compulsively, that it's an obsession for him, that kind of thing. He's being emphatic about his passion for drawing manga, basically.
Now, I'll be honest with you, it's pretty fucking annoying to me that I always need to correct people's stupid misconceptions. People who can't get it into their heads that automated translations are unreliable and will produce confusing, misleading information simply shouldn't look at them to begin with. These things are at best a tiny peek at the basic outline of text, but they're never good for parsing individual words or meanings.
 

jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
I was specifically waiting for a better translation about that part since when I read it I already knew it was not a good one. (to be honest I thought about you Aaz on how you often said to not read these automated translations)

Anyways, thx to Puella and you for the clarification when you have the time! :guts:
 
https://i.imgur.com/cMvk67S.png It's this translation from Google, some people saw this and freaked out. I'm pretty sure it's wrong because it just feels out of place. However no one corrected me about this.
Folks today are all about instant gratification. I can understand if someone's not part of the board and they don't know of the years of precise and high quality translations that we're all grateful for having access to from amazing Puella. But you're part of the board dude, so be patient and in time, you can read a correct translation.
 
Folks today are all about instant gratification. I can understand if someone's not part of the board and they don't know of the years of precise and high quality translations that we're all grateful for having access to from amazing Puella. But you're part of the board dude, so be patient and in time, you can read a correct translation.
I don't even know who's Puella dude. I don't know every user on this forum + asking a question isn't bad.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I don't even know who's Puella dude. I don't know every user on this forum + asking a question isn't bad.
Puella does all of our official Berserk episode translations, and has for over 15 years. She also posts all of the Miura comments, once per week, and has been doing that for more than 5 years. She also posts Miura interview translations when she can, and has been doing that also for more than 5 years, ever since we started a Patreon specifically so members here could help support her translation work. It's no exaggeration to say she's the most valuable contributor on the forum.

But for obvious reasons, we really can't dedicate time to parsing every bad machine translation. So while I do understand the immediate desire to know the meaning of a new translation, and I myself use machine translations to get the gist of something, they're never reliable. They've improved over the years, certainly, but you always have to use common sense if something seems wrong, because odds are likely that yes it's wrong. At best you can kind of squint and get the barest outline of what is being said. "He's talking about his art style." Or "it seems like he's talking about hiring more staff." Never, "he said he's sick so maybe that's why there's no Berserk this month oh my godddddddddddddd."

To help urge the thread along, this is a pretty incredible interview. Because Miura is talking about so many big pieces of his business. He talks about why his art style is so detailed, his work habits, showed off the latest photos of his studio (check out that Robocop statue on his shelf :SK: ), talked about Berserk's future, how staffing up could ultimately change the game for Berserk's release schedule. That's H U G E!
 
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Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Here are selected bits from the second page, which focuses on Duranki. Courtesy of @puella.

"Duranki" is a story about mythology with the tagline: "The ancient world. Building up a new myth with sagacity". Usumugal, the main character, is revealed at the beginning to be androgyne: "neither god nor human, neither woman nor man".

When I was a boy, manga that were about boys in mythical backgrounds such as "Triton", "Arion", "Pygmalio", etc. were hits. The biggest one was "Saint Seiya". Since it's been a long time since we had this kind of story, I wanted to do it.

A common thing in these manga, except "Saint Seiya", is that the boys are sexy and girl-like, surpassing gender conventions, which gives us a "tingling" feeling.

I've revisited these characters as androgynes in a modern style. I'd say I'm communicating to today's youngsters that the manga I, a middle aged man, had enjoyed are "great"!

I want to create a story that can be shared by both young and old generations. And to have an androgyne character can be a good contemporary theme. Besides, these days we have many female characters with a strong will, like in "Frozen" or "Mad Max: Fury Road". My creation is also based on them.

To describe androgyny well, I think romance is essential, which means Usumugal falls in love with a man or a woman. Romance is one of the main themes in "Duranki", but I'm not sure I can do it well since I haven't described it well in Berserk. Though Guts and Casca look like that (lovers), the truth is that the relationship before actual romance has lasted forever. *laughs*

"Usumugal" is the name of a dragon in a Mesopotamian myth. Anatolia, the land between Europe and Asia that is also called Asia Minor, is the background of "Duranki". It's sourced from Greek, Mesopotamian and Sumerian myths but is different from the existing myths. It's half-fiction, half-reality and a blend of history and myths. I even thought of a modern kid going to that era of myth with a time slip...

The highlight of the manga is that Usumugal can "think up unknown things", not just using modern knowledge but they themself should come up with great ideas.
 

puella

Popopopopopopopo!
Here is my translation of the third page of the interview:


We know your work has become fully digitalized, both in color and black and white. When did it start?

Around 2015. From the time when Rakshas' true form was revealed.

You mean the episode in volume 38.

Before the digitalization, I did "pencil copy" for some time. I drew with a pencil, then thickened the lines and after that toned it to finish it. It was when we were in the pirates' story.

Why did you finish your manuscripts with "pencil copy"?

In the hope of increasing my drawing speed. I wanted to draw efficiently as well. I tested it on "Gigantomakhia" and kept it for Berserk. But it didn't help speed up and I couldn't have thick lines like those I did with a pen. It wasn't convenient in terms of lines. After a serious reflection, I decided to change to digitalization instead of going back to the analog pen.

During our conversation, your drawing speed has been mentioned several times. But I also want to ask you about that.

Drawing is like a disease (to me). I have no other word for that.

For Elfhelm in volume 39, you've performed an unspeakable level of detail in your drawings.

The scale of the elves was out of my calculation. To realize one panel packed with characters like Puck was actually nonsensical *laughs*. Besides, I wanted to make each of them react differently because they have their own spirits.

Until what point do you draw before you judge it’s finished?

I don't know myself. (When) I hear the bell ringing "Diiiing" somewhere. Sometimes I notice the bell is "ringing…". *laughs*

For what reason do you draw that much?

Because I got to like it. During "the Baroque era of manga", when many good manga like "Akira" or “Hokuto no Ken" came out, I was at an impressionable age. And I fancy that the panels in manga are windows leading to other worlds. As the windows allow us to peep on other worlds, there must be something over there. I also wanted to feel the layers of atmosphere as much as possible.

Can I say you draw to heighten the resolution of the world we look at through the windows?

Yes. In manga, many things are usually left out for arrangement but the manga by which I was enchanted in my high school days weren't like that. When I read "Hokuto no Ken" drawn by Hara-sensei, his spirit "I'm drawing this panel with such an energy!" was transmitted to me, I think it's the essence of it. I still hope I also can feel it in Berserk. A good drawing is a proof that a lot of efforts were put into it, much time was devoted to it, isn't it? In our time, it is thought that time devoted equals a high commercial value. So I hope we find the value there.

For example, you use lines to express gradation in Guts’ cloak and armor while it would be usually painted evenly. What’s your intention?

Things have details. Clothes also. Since there’s cloth and thread, each material has a different surface. I want them to feel details as well between the lines in manga.

Has the digitalization changed your conception for expression of manga?

Yes. I thought I got a convenient thing and it was good enough to be used as a tool, because it’s actually used for something like "enlarging the image continuously to see it dot by dot? Huh? Huh?!" *laughs* I feel like during the editing process they would grab me from behind, telling me "Sensei! Please stop!" several times. I shook it off (refrained his crazy desire).

Hahaha *laughs*

Mori (Mori Kôji, Miura’s friend since high school) also often said "it’s good you didn't reach that point." And I could give it up… Now I deem that drawing is in my personality. I just hope the overall level of my studio is improved with "Duranki" and I want to give that back to Berserk.

Casca has regained her consciousness finally in the recent volume 40 of Berserk. Many fans must have wished and waited for it.

I’m also filled with emotion. However, Casca's real problem has started from now on. She herself should analyze, understand and solve what happened to her. She should confront what Griffith or the monsters did.

In other words, I guess the process is necessary for Casca's recovery. We expected a kind of route "she'll be fully recovered once she regains her consciousness" but an easy way out isn't allowed for the characters in Berserk. I think you also should be prepared for it.

It's like that because I draw humans. I should depict well what humans would do in this situation to make the story appealing.

This is a bit of a hard question… You've drawn "Berserk" since 1989, but are you never tired of it?

No, never. I feel like I draw a new thing each time. I've never been bored with "Berserk" and no episode has made me think "this episode has been imperfectly (poorly) done". It's probably because it's not a manga where the same patterns are repeated. I draw the essential themes with "hard work" (he uses an onomatopoeia) and then go to the next theme. I mean I challenge myself to do something new each time. I think those who draw epic (long) manga would never be tired of it…

There are no hard parts?

Actually, it’s always pleasant to draw manga. I have little trouble drawing manga. Sometimes there's some bothering things but I do them pleasantly as well. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to keep working on my manga for such a long time. *laughs* Because manga gives me nothing but pleasure, I do it all day long which causes me to give up leading a decent life sometimes… Ah, now that I think of it, I need time. I'm getting old with not much time left, and my body not being what it used to be would be a painful thing…

In this state, you would be reborn if you have a Beherit with you. *laughs* Where are we in the whole story of “Berserk”?

Around the later part. With the revival of Casca, the Chapter of the Elf Island is going to be ended and you can expect very surprising developments after that. Please look forward to “Duranki” as well.
 
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