When it comes to fandoms, it’s hard to argue with the rabid community that surrounds manga and its superstar artists. Over the years, many of its creatives have started to become well known to the world at large – much like the current generation of television creatives — and now live in the public eye rather than on the margins of the creative process.
One of its most of prominent personalities is Death Note and Bakuman artist Takeshi Obata. In an interview with Obata at New York Comic-Con, we took a moment to talk with the artist about crafting a manga adaptation of All You Need is Kill, the kind of control he likes to maintain when his own works are adapted into features, and more.
Nerdist: With the following your work has gained over the years, have you found much difference in the reception from Japanese fans versus American ones?
Takeshi Obata: Not a huge difference, actually. I just feel a lot of the same enthusiasm and excitement from all the fans in Japan as in New York. It’s just been really nice.
N: What was it like for you to adapt All You Need is Kill into a manga when the novel had gained such acclaim and a Hollywood adaptation?
TO: I really enjoyed the novel and the movie. I believe each have their own merits based on their own formats. So my job is to make sure the manga does a good manga job, and that it does really well through the things that make the manga format unique. I’m trying to do an adaptation that suits the story, of course, but that it fits the manga format.
N: Do you like to maintain control over your properties, especially concerning their look, when they’re adapted to feature films like Death Note was?
TO: Not necessarily. I don’t feel like everything needs to be exactly the way I drew, because just like I said for All You Need is Kill, there are things that movies succeed at because they’re movies. So if it means changing certain things to make those characters more interesting or to move plotlines differently… and I think it’s through to service of the reader to make those adaptations based on the format.
N: Are you involved at all with the adaptation of Bakuman?
TO: [I’ve] actually had a little hand at the storyboarding and definitely involved at some level. And actually, there’s a short shot of just [my] hand drawing.
N: Has there been any interest at all of turning Bakuman into an American adaptation?
TO: No. There’s not… we’re just looking forward to the Japanese version at this point.
What’s your favorite piece of Obata’s work? Let us know in the comments below.