Manga and anime has been a staple to our pop culture. Watching and reading those imports from Japan is something every Pinoy enjoyed during their childhood (and even as adults). Aside from those big eyes and funk hairs are unforgettable stories that still captivates our imagination. Ryo Azumi author and illustrator of the bestselling “Manga Bible” tells us something about manga and everything in between in this brief interview:
Delighting Grace: Hello Miss Ryo, so tell us what’s the difference between a manga and other forms of comics?
Ryo Azumi: It is very important to express the feelings of the characters in the manga. So the face of the characters are being deformed, tend to draw eyes bigger. Because “eyes” are most important part to express his/her emotion. Panel layout is another feature of manga. It’s elaborated. Manga expression is based on the cinema.
Delighting Grace: What you think are the reason manga or anime won the hearts of the Western culture?
Ryo Azumi: It is the mystery. When I was young, manga was a domestic subculture in Japan, I did not imagine that manga become world-wide. I also did not imagine “sushi” become world-wide.
Delighting Grace: How did you start writing and drawing manga?
Ryo Azumi: I was a very introverted girl, so I started drawings from very young age. Love books and drawings rather than playing outdoors.
Delighting Grace: Can you share with us the process of creating the Manga Bible? What’s your favorite part of the project?
Ryo Azumi: Request → Discussion → Plot making → Storyboard → Rough sketching → Inking → Painting.
My favorite part is “King David”. If “project” means “process”, every parts were hard to me.
Delighting Grace: How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
Ryo Azumi: One of my uncle was a Catholic. He showed me some beautiful pictures of Jesus when I was very young. After that, my friend of a primary school (or kindergarten?) invited me to Sunday-school.(Protestant church) Through the long interruption period, I was back to the church.
Delighting Grace: How do Christians strive in Japan which is so heavily influence by Shintoism and ancestral worship?
Ryo Azumi: It’s a difficult question. I think it is different by living in community and home environment. Shintoism is closely related to social community. Generally, community tie is not strong in the big city. Urbanites does not much interfere with the others. In my case, I was born and raised in Tokyo, so there are no problem. (In addition, my family already had a Christian uncle whom I mentioned.) But, I guess, Christian life in the provinces might be not easy in Japan. By the way, it is a natural feeling for the Japanese to respect the ancestral memorial. It is not always “worship.”
Delighting Grace: Can you give some helpful tips for folks who wants to draw manga? Also for manga artist who wants to get their works publish, what advice can you give to them
Ryo Azumi: Draw intently. Do not become complacent. See your work objectively. And enjoy.
Delighting Grace: Please invite them to get your books and how do fans get in touch with you?
Ryo Azumi: Here are the links that can be helpful if you want to connect with me: