Hiroaki Samura (Blade of the Immortal) in conversation with fawning fanboy Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto)

Never thought I’d translate an interview with the guy who did Naruto, but this is a pretty great conversation! Turns out he’d fallen hard for Blade of the Immortal in university and studied it in a serious way, so he’s absolutely stoked to get to talk to Samura. Topics discussed include:

  • the endings of each other’s series (so: SPOILER ALERT)
  • Samura’s art and panel layout as revelation in the 1990s
  • Naruto haters in the West who need to take a deep breath
  • the perils of overdeveloping characters
  • the perils of drawing the human hand
  • breasts
  • confirmation that Kakashi’s character design is in fact pretty much lifted from Magatsu in BOTI (what a scoop!)

Also: if you enjoy this, might I recommend checking out the 2013 Samura interview I translated?

Kishimoto: This is a total dream come true for me. I’ve always dreamed of meeting you.

Samura: That’s nice of you to say. (laugh)

Kishimoto: No — really. I’ve loved your work since I was in university, and…. jeez, how to put this? I’ve got so much I want to say to you. Let’s not even bother talking about Naruto! Really! I just want to talk about Blade of the Immortal. (laugh)

Samura: Come on now. (laugh)

Kishimoto: I can still remember when Blade of the Immortal first ran in Afternoon: I was in my first year of university majoring in art and I was living in a dorm, and the other students there were all going on about this incredible manga in the latest issue, like, “Kishimoto, you want to become a manga artist, right? Then you’d better take a look at this thing.” And the thing is, I was making a samurai manga at the time, so when I heard that this was a samurai manga too, I figured I’d take a look to see if I could glean something from it, but then it turned out that it was just on a whole other level. Continue reading

“I believe in female supremacism”: A Hiroaki Samura interview


The following interview is from an issue of the newly defunct magazine Manga Erotics F a little over a year old, a few months after Blade of the Immortal ended. Samura also started a new manga series in the same Erotics F issue: Harukaze no Sunegurachika (“Snegurochka of the Spring Wind”), a single-volume story set in the Soviet Union that goes on sale in Japan in July, and which they refer to in the interview.

So, are you ready to see Samura say some strange, sometimes troubling things about the fairer sex? Great! Here we go:

–Your history as a manga artist has been discussed elsewhere quite a few times already, so this time I want to stick to a narrower, more specific theme—girls. So, first, let’s talk about how you do women in your manga. Visually speaking, what is it you pay attention to when you’re drawing a woman? Continue reading