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Interviews with Tite Kubo - comments and discussion

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Q: Thank you for your time today. Please tell us how you became the main character designer.

A: The offer from Sega came around September 2016, shortly after the serialization of “BLEACH” was over. At that time, I was tired due to serial fatigue and was in a state where I could not start working immediately. So, I tried to refuse, but I received a reply from Mr. Sega, "Wait until your body is cured!"

[If you feel that way ...] I decided to do so and started work as a main character design in November.
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Poor Kubo wasn't in a state to continue his work anymore
 

Polgarena

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Thank you very much for sharing, - Urahara - and Polgarena! :)

Tite Kubo looks healthy and his outfit made me smile. He has a great fashion sense. It is not only reflected in the colourful and interesting character designs but also what he is wearing. I like it a lot!

I am glad that Sega was willing to wait until Kubo is well enough to work again. They obviously value his talent and know what asset he will be - and is - for their company. Tite Kubo is creating again and that makes me happy.
 

Polgarena

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Kubo's clothing choices made me smile as well. If I remember correctly (from a documentary), colourful shirts are quite a fashion item in Japan - more than it is in other countries/regions. A lot of thought is put in designing the patterns on the fabric. Kubo's combination (a T-shirt with Jerry from "Tom & Jerry and that colouful shirt) look so natural on him. Or, if perhaps I haven't worded it good enough - I wasn't surprised by his style at all. :)

Anyway, the fact that the game developers waited for Kubo to get better is a sign of great professionalism and that true skills are always recognized.
 

wanda lensherr

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Should I even ask? I've heard some stuff, like how it focused on the series rankings, cut to a video with trash...and something weird about a turtle or something of the like...

Actually, I may not want to know...
Yeah i wonder the same as well. Its hard to say for sure at least for me but i feel if i had to guess the series rankings would have had some sort of bearings.
 

Polgarena

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Kubo's most recent interview has been summarized on Reddit: https://old.reddit.com/r/bleach/comments/jur3j0/new_kubo_interview_full_summary/
Arturo-Plateado said:
An interview with Kubo and Tatsuro Kawano (Burn The Witch movie director) was recently released on natalie.mu. Below is a summary of all the new info that was revealed and anything else I found interesting.
POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNING: This interview does cover some things which may be covered in the Burn The Witch manga in the future.

  • Kubo and Kawano first met in May 2019, before production began.
  • Kubo originally thought that it would be best to draw the pattern of the Pipers' cloaks separately and then paste the pattern onto each individual cloak, but Kawano told him that doing that would ruin the sense of depth in the animation and insisted on the cloaks being drawn completely by hand.
  • From the beginning, Kubo insisted that the director should be someone young and relatively unknown. Kubo thought a young director would be more likely to try some brand new techniques. Kawano previously directed the action scenes in Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, which Kubo was very impressed by.
  • The linework in Kabaneri was very pronounced and that wouldn't work for Burn The Witch, so Kawano went with lighter lines to create a cuter style. Kubo felt relieved that Kawano was able to do that. Kubo says that drawing fewer lines is actually more difficult and time consuming.
  • When asked if his primary goal when writing manga is to entertain the reader, Kubo answers that he writes for the characters in the story first and foremost. Second is whether it is interesting to read. Third is whether Kubo himself would be willing to pay to read it, because if not, then he feels like he would be scamming the readers.
  • Kubo once again explains the origins of Burn The Witch: he was asked by the Jump Editor-in-chief to write a one-shot for Jump's 50th anniversary. EIC wanted to see something original but also wanted more Bleach content, so Burn The Witch was born.
  • The place where the Shinigami are from has been called the East Branch since the beginning (it was mentioned in the original Bleach one-shot and in chapter 50,) so Kubo has always had the idea of a West Branch in his head. The West Branch was supposed to appear in Bleach, but Kubo thought the story was already so large and introducing it would be too confusing, so it was cut. Burn The Witch was the perfect opportunity for him to finally introduce it.
  • Kubo knew that the West Branch would be in London since the beginning. Kawano comments that he thinks it's because England and Japan are actually similar, being island nations that were historically difficult to invade, with constantly updating unique cultures. Kubo says there was no particular reason.
  • Kubo again confirms that he received an offer to adapt Burn The Witch as an anime immediately after the one-shot was released. He was first asked to draw around 100 pages more of the story, enough to fill a volume with the one-shot included, but Jump instead told Kubo that he could draw as many pages as he likes.
  • Kawano was offered the director job through the Twitter account of his animation team @teamYamahitsuji. Kawano thought it was crazy because that Twitter account was only created a month before that. team Yamahitsuji were too small to handle the project by themselves, so they enlisted the help of the rest of Studio Colorido and WIT STUDIO.
  • Kubo hasn't created the designs for the rest of the Märchens yet.
  • The most difficult part of production was apparently in the first episode, when Noel's clothes got ripped during her fight with the Dark Dragon. Since the anime and manga were produced at the same time, the animation staff started working using Kubo's "name" (rough drafts) as a basis. The anime staff had already finished animating that part before they received Kubo's finished manuscript which showed that her clothes were ripped. Kubo was told that it would be impossible to fix, but in the end they were able to re-animate that whole part for him. But then the animators started drawing it torn all the time, so Kawano had to step in and stop them.
  • Kubo felt like Kawano knew what he was doing and barely made any requests to change things in the anime, other than giving Noel a slightly rounder face.
  • Kubo says he usually doesn't like it when the anime makes changes to what happens in the manga, but he was very happy with the changes Kawano made for Burn The Witch, especially the decision to have the Bruno vs Ellie fight scene happen on the crane rather than on the tower like in the manga.
  • You may have noticed that the Wing Bind HQ is a mansion on top of a highrise building, and that some of the buildings in Reverse London have large trees growing on top of them. The reason for this is because the trees and the mansion already existed there and the city was built directly below them. Kubo says this will be explained in the manga in the future.
  • Kubo hates having everything explained to him. He prefers to figure things out by reading between the lines. He applied that concept himself to the worlds of Bleach and Burn The Witch.
  • Kawano wanted to put particular emphasis on the colours of the characters and showing the backgrounds. The scene of the characters talking on the crane was the most complicated due to the lighting. Tetsurou Araki, the director of Attack on Titan, apparently had no idea how Kawano was able to handle that scene.
  • Reverse London is actually inspired more by Edinburgh than it is by London. Kawano visited both London and Edinburgh personally before making the decision on what Reverse London's atmosphere should be, even though he was a bit worried that people would be upset that the setting was different. Kubo says his image of London is similar to the photos of Edinburgh that Kawano showed him. Kawano says he felt both of them were similar to Kyoto.
  • Kubo was personally involved in the voice actor auditions process. Most of the cast were selected on the first day. Kubo and Kawano had a clear idea of what Ninny's voice should sound like and they agreed that Asami Tano immediately stood out as the perfect choice. The others were a bit harder to decide upon, for example with Bruno. The sound director (Keiichirou Miyoshi) thought he should have a cool sounding voice, but Kawano and the assistant director wanted a cuter voice. Kubo agrees with Kawano. Billy Banx Jr. was the hardest to decide and the only one not decided on the first day. Kubo says Billy is a tired man in his early 50s with a handsome voice, but the people who auditioned were using older sounding and more subdued voices. Kubo thought choosing Balgo's VA would be hard, but it ended up being one of the easier decisions. Kubo wanted him to have the type of voice where he could say sexual words without sounding like a total creep.
  • Kubo personally requested to also be present for the voice recording process and gave instructions to Yuina Yamada to help her get Noel's voice right. Yamada was very worried about her performance so Kubo helped her out a lot. Kubo told her that rather than Noel being a cold type of person who doesn't care about anything, she's really the type of person who simply accepts the everything that happens.
  • Kubo thinks that the background characters in the anime look surprisingly like background characters he himself would draw. Kawano says that's thanks to the character designer, Natsuki Yamada, who has been a fan of Kubo since ZOMBIEPOWDER.
  • The part that Kawano thinks was the most interesting from a directorial standpoint was the scene of Macy's monologue in the mirror. Kubo says he had a lot of trouble with the equivalent scene in the manga since he didn't think what Macy was saying was very relatable, so he used different page composition techniques like making the panels smaller to reflect how Macy is feeling in that scene.
  • Kawano says that Macy is a dangerous person. Her memories of the time she spent with Ellie are unreliable, made up of lies and coincidences. Kawano's intention was to show that Ellie was never actually close with Macy.
  • The theme song of the movie, "Blowing" by NiL, was selected by Kubo. Kubo originally wanted Asami Tano (Ninny's VA) to sing, so Kawano asked NiL to imitate Ninny's voice for the vocals. Kubo agrees that it does sound like her. They recently found out that Tano can sing, but she was happy with just having a vocalist that sounds like her.
  • Kubo says he completed the manuscripts for Burn The Witch in the second half of 2019. When Kubo was about to start the colouring work, Coronavirus hit and he was unable to get help from his assistants. So Kubo had to do all the colouring work by himself, including the digital colouring, which Kubo is not experienced in. The cover illustration of the Burn The Witch Blu-Ray is Kubo's first ever fully digital work. He says he enjoyed doing it.
The final part of the interview was already translated by @WSJ_Manga on Twitter:
Kubo: About Season 2... My editor told me they wanted to put the S2 announcement at the end of the final chapter of Season 1, so I told them I'd draw some sketches for that, like the ones that appear on those pages. The "Coming Soon" was written without my permission, haha.
Editor: I showed it to Kubo-sensei before the magazine was out at stores, hahaha.
Kubo: I saw it! And I thought that "it's not going to be coming soon"!
Kawano: When I saw that, I thought that Kubo-sensei was pretty motivated.
Kubo: There were a lot of people on Twitter commenting that they "were sure I'd start drawing Season 2 soon". I ended up thinking that "I'd actually have to start drawing 'soon', it seems". But it will probably not be "soon", so I'll be happy if readers can patiently wait, haha.
The original can be found here:
I'll add it to our Data section at some point.
 
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