Interview with Rumiko Takahashi from the Memorial Book
How did you come up with the idea of a main character that transforms? How did you think of transformation by water? The name "Ranma" is rare, but how did you come up with it? Jusenkyö ("Country of Cursed Springs") was an interesting idea . . . Many springs appear in the series, like nyan-nee-chuan and mao-nee-chuan, but did you already know what kinds of "cursed springs" there are? If you are to fall into one of the "cursed springs", what do you want to transform into? Which characters came out with different personalities from what you were originally thinking? To which character did you feel the greatest empathy? There were a lot of sub-characters that appeared in the series, and which ones did you really like? There were three elements in Ranma: fighting, love, and gags. Which episode did you enjoy the most while you were drawing it? Which "love scenes" did you like? Which episode were you most impressed by? Which illustration in this book did you spend the most time on? Which illustration in this book is your favorite? After you collected all the illustrations, did you notice anything? To finish this off, a word to readers
Translation provided by Kota Fujimura
Part one, Secrets behind the creation of Ranma
How did you come up with the idea of a main character that transforms?
If the main character can be male and female, I can draw a lot of both boys and girls. To draw both male and female is such fun, and it doesn't bore me out.
How did you think of transformation by water?
I had trouble coming up with the agent of transformation. I was thinking about "getting punched", but it would make a terrible face. I was thinking, "male, female, male, female . . . " and it reminded me of a shop curtain for public baths. The baths mean, water, and hot water. I really liked it, because it's idiotic and laughable. I wanted to make "Ranma" a funny, kind of happy comic that can cheer up the reader, therefore I was thinking it was a good idea . . .
The name "Ranma" is rare, but how did you come up with it?
It was a cute name for either boy or girl.
Jusenkyö ("Country of Cursed Springs") was an interesting idea . . .
When I decided "water" to be the agent for transformation, I immediately thought of cursed springs. I quickly decided on the place because "China is the only place where those kinds of springs exist".
Part two, Hardship with 100 Ranma characters
Many springs appear in the series, like nyan-nee-chuan and mao-nee-chuan, but did you already know what kinds of "cursed springs" there are?
I was just thinking of a place with a bunch of cursed springs, and I hadn't decided on what kind of curses there were. When I made a new character, I thought what the character transforms into that fit the image, and the number of springs increased along with characters. I don't even know how many there were.
If you are to fall into one of the "cursed springs", what do you want to transform into?
I want something that can fly. I did introduce characters like Pantyhose Taro and residents of Mt. Phoenix. I think it'll feel great to fly freely.
Which characters came out with different personalities from what you were originally thinking?
Ranma. Since he was into fighting, he was supposed to be a clean-cut, nice boy with frank disposition, but he turned out to be an indecisive, stubborn, sly guy. But everyone has those kinds of emotions somewhere. Those emotions inside me probably reflected into Ranma through my pen.
To which character did you feel the greatest empathy?
Ranma and Akane had a little twist personality, but Ryöga was easy to draw because he expressed his emotions directly.
On the other hand, characters with strong will, like Shampoo and Kunö, were hard to understand. In the case for Kunö, I thought "There is no way I can handle him" after I drew him two or three times. However, they made it easier to develop a story, along with Happosai. They kept the story going by causing a trouble because they're too convinced. Like that, and it was very convenient.
There were a lot of sub-characters that appeared in the series, and which ones did you really like?
I really liked King the gambling king for his looks. It was a pure gag.
I also liked the tour guide for Jusenkyö, because drawing him made me comfortable for some reason.
Among the animals, P-chan is my choice. I do like panda bear and Shampoo's cat also . . . If there is a piglet like that, I would like to have one for a pet.
Part three, The basic is the gag that makes readers laugh
There were three elements in Ranma: fighting, love, and gags. Which episode did you enjoy the most while you were drawing it?
I like every single one of them. I just wanted to draw fun and laughable manga, so I ended up including gags in every episode. I like those classic gags like you see a character goes flying to the sky after getting punched, so I ended up drawing those too.
The term for serial publishing pretty long, therefore it gets boring if it was fighting only, or love only. So, if there had been a continuous fighting episode, I drew a gag that lasts only one episode, or maybe a love story for next one. To make a fresh "Ranma", I let it rotate those.
Which "love scenes" did you like?
I like the atmosphere when Ryöga tries to talk to Akane. He really gets embarrassed, or can't say what he wants to say. I get embarrassed when I'm drawing a serious scene, so I ended up including a gag.
This applies to things other than "love scenes". Sometimes, I draw a little gag at the edge of a cartoon. I don't really care if anyone notices it or not.
Which episode were you most impressed by?
That will be the one when Ranma learns the "Hiryü Shöten Ha". Because of Happosai's moxa cautery, hinriki-kyodatsu-kyu, Ranma became really weak, so all the characters who couldn't win against Ranma gathered to beat Ranma. On the other hand, all the characters who are trying to help Ranma gathered as well.
All the sub-characters that appeared previously tangled and mixed up, and moved the story. Since it's been hard up to that point as far as drawing is concerned, so it left me a deep impression as an episode that set the tone for the rest of the series.
If I limit the subject to fighting only, that will be the fight with Herb. Maybe because I could draw both male and female with Herb. The gags by Herb's men was fun, too.
Part four, This extra large poster is the best work
Which illustration in this book did you spend the most time on?
Of course, that will be the extra large poster. This was the first time I drew something of that size. I had hard time with this because I had to decide on minor details like to show the feel for the four seasons, and still put down every character there were. It was hard to decide which character corresponds to which season. Especially for winter, I could only think of the fighting skaters (Mikado and Azusa). After thinking about it for a while, a kotatsu came to my mind, so I created a "slacker" zone with bunch of characters at a kotatsu.
Which illustration in this book is your favorite?
I like every illustration for the calender, but I especially like the illustration of Ranma on page 84.
After you collected all the illustrations, did you notice anything?
Many of the illustrations I did for the cover of Shonen Sunday looked similar. Since it was a comic magazine for guys, I ended up drawing something that looks like it's coming out. I didn't notice this until I gathered all the drawings.
Actually, this is the first time the book is published as a collection of illustration. I never had an opportunity to see my illustrations side by side, and I'm happy to see some of my old pictures.
To finish this off, a word to readers
Thank you for supporting "Ranma" for a long time. I couldn't have published this serially for nine years without your support. When I read a fan letters from you, I knew you like my work and you are supporting me, and it was very encouraging. I'll keep on drawing something that's fun, so please continue to support me.
Japanese Language and Culture | Main Characters | Main Index | Martial Arts | Other Questions | Places and Things | Volume Summaries | Voting
File last modified: Tue Oct 22 21:27:20 GB 1996
West of Tokyo Club Homepage