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