At NYCC 2017, Anika Hossain got to chat with Akira Himekawa, the duo female Japanese comic book artists.

ComicsVerse: So how are you both liking New York Comic Con so far?

S. Nagano: We actually haven’t been able to walk around very much yet but regarding just our image of it, [it’s] just this huge entertainment convention where not only artists from the U.S. but cool artists from around the world come together to attend — and also all the movie stars. We almost saw one yesterday, but kind of like an image of all these American heroes coming together and mingling.

ComicsVerse: Great. Awesome. My next question is how long have the both of you been collaborating and how did you guys meet?

S. Nagano: It’s our 30th Anniversary since becoming a duo, Akira Himekawa. We first started our collaboration work in 1987, but we were friends before then. We were both fans of one particular artist, Ishinomori Shotaro, who wrote Cyborg 009. He’s very famous. We both liked his work, and we both belong to his fan club. Although we lived far apart, we were familiar with each other’s work, and we liked each other’s work. We then met up several times through some of the fan club meetings.

ComicsVerse’s New York Comic Con Coverage

I became a pro manga artist first and then she came over to help once and then, just for fun, we decided to collaborate and create one story. Then we put that out to the comic market. It was just so much fun working together. We both loved it, and so we just couldn’t stop.

ComicsVerse: Tell us a little bit about both of your background. What inspired you to pursue a career as an artist? When did you know that this is the career that you wanted?

S. Nagano: Our stories are a little different, so is that okay if we each tell our own story?

ComicsVerse: Yeah, absolutely.

S. Nagano: Ever since I remember, I’ve always had manga and anime around me, and I’ve always really loved it. Ever since I was in elementary school, first grade I knew it, that’s what I wanted to do. So I loved Ishinomori Shotaro’s work and also Osamu Tezuka’s work.

A. Honda: Originally, I actually wanted to become an animator. I grew up on Disney and all these American characters, like Bugs Bunny. I loved that. The first time I thought, oh I want to become a pro manga artist was when we first worked together. About 20 years ago, I decided, yes, this is what I want to do.

ComicsVerse: That is great to hear when I hear that people are following their childhood passion. I am really happy to know that.

S. Nagano: At the same time, you know, because you love something it’s also a lot of effort and hard work to do that.

 

ComicsVerse: Do you prefer doing art digitally or the old school way?

S. Nagano: We use both, actually, so we’ll start doing the sketches just drawing it out analog and then we’ll do the finishing touches digitally.

ComicsVerse: Now to the third question. Were you a fan of The Legend of Zelda video game before working on the manga?

S. Nagano: Up until we actually started working on this job, we only really knew about the Zelda name and had never actually played the game. When we first started working on it, is when we actually started playing it.

ComicsVerse: Oh, okay, that’s good to know.  So, what aspect of The Legend of Zelda do you enjoy exploring more in the manga? That’s question four.

A. Honda: Two things. We like the animals and nature. We’ve always enjoyed drawing a lot of nature, and so that part of the work was really easy and fun to adapt into these projects. The other is having these characters take an adventure, go on a voyage and face these challenges. That’s been a fun to explore.

NYCC After Dark 2016

ComicsVerse: Do you think more things can be achieved in the manga as opposed to the video game?Is there any aspect of the character Princess Zelda that can be explored better in the manga form?

A. Honda: With a game, you play yourself. You’re actually playing, and you’re solving things, achieving the goals, and so that’s the sort of entertainment you get out of there. Whereas, with manga, you can become the character and empathize with the emotions that they’re going through, the thoughts they’re going through. That whole mental aspect is something that can be done better in the manga.

ComicsVerse: The final question. Are you both working on any upcoming project?

S. Nagano: Twilight Princess is still in progress, and so we’re going to continue working on that. Also, we’d like to work on a Japanese fantasy as opposed to, like, a Western fantasy world.

ComicsVerse: Awesome. Thank you. Thank you very much.

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