Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Special Post Two (Part 1) Interview with Aoyama Gosho March 2014

(This interview comes from my translation of the interview posted in the March 14th "Detective Conan Newspaper". I will try to buy next month's issue and post the rest of the interview)

An extra long interview that lasted over 2 hours with Detective Conan creator Aoyama Gosho (50). This time, he talks about the black orginization, how he creates tricks for cases, Kaito Kid...and he gives a full report on his future plans.

So... Please Enjoy! ^o^

I(Interviewer): So, It seems you have decided on the overall ending already right? Have you even planed the final scene?

A(Aoyama): On January 4 this year (2014) I went on a kind of talk show event held in my hometown in Tottori Prefecture, called "Let's Have a Chat with Aoyama Gosho Day!! 2014". And, there we had talked about the black orginization, and the identity of their Boss. I had revealed that the Boss was someone that has already made an appearance and we already know their full name. So, it's a character we already know, and we also know their full name, but there has been some mistake that has gotten out there.It's been going around the internet...and it's wrong!!

I: That would be that it's Professor Agasa...

A: Right right. And it's even being said that it's the woman that Agasa liked, Fusae-chan ( Fusae Campbell Kinoshita), but that's wrong too. hahaha. Even personally, I think their story ended up beautifully. And it's been said many times that that story is just too nice, and that it just has to be her, but I don't think I want to have that be a major plot point.

I: So, at the present moment, are there no other hints about the identity of "that person".

A: No, not for now. Just please look forward to it. (laughs)

I: So then, the black orginization is full of mysteries. But, what sort of orginization are they, and what is their goal? World Conquest?

A: Well, the world....or rather, they want control of lot's of money. They're moving stealthily in the shadows...sort of like (Al) Capone did right? Or, sort of like the image of the bad guys in 007 or something...sitting there stroking a cat. It's probably best not to say too much.

I: Is there any standard procedure when you're drawing the black orginization?

A: As for the members, like Gin or Vodka, their names must be some type of alcohol. But, I'm running low on different types. They're all distilled alcohols. And the girls, like Sherry and Vermouth, are named after sweet alcohols. (As for why) I just think it sounds cool.

I: And as for Haibara Ai, did you intend from the start to have her on the side of the black orginization, or did you always plan to have her develop in the way she has?

A: Yeah, even in volume 2 she had already made an appearance, though it was just a silhouette. And, because she's was a character sort of in between Conan and the orginization, her name Haibara (灰原) came from Haiiro (灰色) meaning grey.

I: The movie that came out at the end of last year "Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan THE MOVIE" (The second cross over movie) there's a scene where Haibara gets in the bath with Mine Fujiko. So, what direction is Haibara going from here on out?

A: Hahaha....Yeah, I don't know. I guess nature will have to take it's course (Laughs) The bathing scene was a little surprising. At first, my editor handed me the story board and was like "Aoyama-sensei, there's a scene here where Haibara gets in the bath with Fujiko!" And, I had read the script and didn't remember there being a scene like that in there. So, when I asked if we should have them cut it, he said that Monkey-sensei (Monkey Punch: the creator of Lupin the 3rd) requested there be a scene with Fujiko in the bath. So, I thought, if it's going to be in there I wanted it to be cool, so I added a bunch of lines, and there was a lot of content that got cut. There probably aren't any manga artists who are cutting things from animations. But I had originally wanted to be an animator.

Haibara's lines are my true intentions

I: The lines that Haibara says when she's merely muttering to herself are impressive and actually very poetic.

A: The only person thinking them up is me, so I struggle with it. She herself is an easy character to write, because the things she says, I could say in real life. The things I couldn't have Conan say inspire what Haibara says. And you could say that those things are my true intentions. If there were someone that killed a person to protect a bear, Haibara would look at them with an angry face and say "You can't take animal rights that far", but if it were Conan he would say some harsh words. Because they'll say some indiscreet line with a stern face, Haibara and Kogoro are valuable.

I: Even if Kogoro is an idiot who's always joking around, he does have some cool moments doesn't he.

A: I created him with the image of just a generally bad detective. He has a habit of misreading things, but he's actually very important. When he should be cool, he isn't. He's very easy to write. I can easily write some perverted thing I'm thinking. I'm probably most like Kogoro.

I: So it's safe to say that your true intentions/thoughts are hidden in Haibara and Kogoro's lines?

A: Yes, those two are very easy to write.

I: How do you think up the tricks?

A: It's painful. Every time it's very difficult. But, there are times when my editor will also come to me with an idea. When we go into a meeting I'll ask "have you seen anything interesting recently? Have you read any novels? Is there anything we could use?" and if there's anything interesting, we'll use it. Of course, we'll end up changing everything about it though. And then we'll start asking various people things. My younger brother is a doctor so, I'll ask him about the time of death, rigor mortis, how much postmortem lividity appears etc. It's important to wring out the foundation.

I: Do you ever try out the tricks in real life?

A: For ones we can test, we test mostly all of them. A long time ago there was one where an answering machine was used as a tape recorder and then the tape was recovered. We had to actually test that. And just recently we tested if you could float a tomato on water using salt. We wanted to know how much salt would it take. And in order to get it to float, you have to put a ton of salt in the water. So, we didn't know what to do with that. But, at first, if you put just enough salt in there so that it's not quite floating, but it hasn't quite sunken either, and then you just barely sprinkle a tiny bit more in, it floats right to the top. And I thought that was really cool.

I: If you test things too much you'd probably get hurt wouldn't you.

I: There is a lot of variation in the stories, but do you ever reference cases that occurred in real life?

A: Actually I don't reference cases that have actually happened. That would probably be a little inconsiderate. But, actually a few weeks after I had drawn the Bus Jacking case, something similar to that had occurred in real life. I thought "Oh man, this is bad. Should I stop drawing Conan." Although, I could probably use cases from a long time ago. Like the "3 hundred million yen case" (He is referencing the largest heist in Japanese history. It occurred in 1968 in Tokyo, and has yet to be solved.) But I couldn't reference cases that are still ongoing or that have recently occurred. It might seem like I'm making fun of it, or making light of it, and that wouldn't be good.

I: Of the tricks and the story, which do you think of first?

A: Without a doubt, the tricks. And then I write a story for the tricks. Because I start with the most difficult thing and go from there. The trick will take about a half a day, or about 6 hours. If it goes quickly, maybe 3 hours. But even in 1 day, there's stuff I can't get done. There are times when I'll only get to sleep about an hour and a half. So, I'll be like "I'm gonna sleep, so hang on a little while."

I: Of these past 20 years, what trick are you most satisfied with?

A: Hmm...What would that be? Maybe I should ask you that. But, the code with the sun and the moon (vol 12),  the secret to that was originally from Sherlock Holmes in "The Adventure of the Dancing Men". That's one that you can figure out on your own. That's also the first Holmes story I read. I was really excited and very moved. I was a kid, so I couldn't read English, but I still thought it was really cool. Even if it said, this person is an "L", as a kid it still didn't click immediately and I would read it while referencing the dictionary.I was in about 2nd or 3rd grade. I thought "wow, Holmes is cool. I want to do that someday." 

I: Where do you get the news and lingo related to the police and investigations?

A: I've asked the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. They'll tell me various things.

Kid is a sneaky character

I: Kid is also a very popular character. Could you tell us the details of his creation, and your future plans for him? Is he going to be involved with Conan and the black orginization?

A: Well, he's originally from my previous work called "Magic Kaito". I created that because I really liked Arsene Lupin and Lupin the 3rd. And recently he got involved a little with the black orginization during the Bell Tree Express case (the mystery train case from vol 78) but from here on out I don't think he will very much. Kaito Kid is a very sneaky character. He can disguise himself, and he can change his voice and stuff. It's better if he's an enemy. He's too sneaky to be an ally. There are a lot of female fans of his, but I don't plan on bringing him out too much.(wry smile)

I: There are creators who decide how much a character will make and appearance completely on their own.

A:Yeah, there are. Just freely doing whatever they want. When there's a movie, saying things like "No, don't have them say something like that" and then changing everything. Then they'll notice how it ends and really just change everything.

I: The Conan anime is faithful to the original.

A: Yeah, that's because it's a very long story. If it wasn't faithful to it, it would become inconsistent. And at the beginning I asked them to please do just as the original does.

I: When a movie comes out, I heard you are very involved.

A: I am. There's the feeling with a movie that you can do larger scale things that you couldn't do in a manga.

I: I also heard that there was an idea to set something up that would link the "Lupin the 3rd VS Conan THE MOVIE" with the 18th Conan movie "The Sniper from another Dimension".

A: The setting is the "Tree" but we weren't allowed to use the name "Sky Tree" (The Tokyo Sky Tree is a tower recently built in Tokyo). They weren't sure about having people dying there. They were probably right about that. (wry smile)

I: I guess there aren't too many differences between making it a movie, or for TV, but the TV series is steadily becoming larger scale.

A: Just as long as they don't interfere with the original.

I: Last year the Conan series was awarded the Fujimoto's "Special Series Award". There was an award recognizing the people who make it, and as one of the great anime which have crossed over to become movies.

A: Yeah, that's amazing isn't it.

I: Even as a movie and anime, you're still pretty involved aren't you?

A: I feel I might as well get involved. At first I was just going to completely leave it up to them, but then I thought, well, I better not. And I ended up changing things on all the scripts. And I was wondering if that's really something a manga artist does. It was a lot of work. After I would finish the name (the term for the "story board" like stage of a manga) I would read scripts and check them. That's a lot of work.

(Continued in the next issue)