Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto: ‘I was so tired after finishing Naruto that I lost the energy to draw manga’
After finally finishing Naruto back in 2014, mangaka Masashi Kishimoto has been on break since. However, he’s now coming back with a new series titled Samurai 8: Hachimaruden, which will debut later this year. In a press conference, the mangaka talked about the new manga, as well as what happened after finishing Naruto.
During the press conference, the mangaka said that after completing the Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring side story manga in 2015, he finally felt “released”. He elaborated that he had lost the energy to draw manga, and it took him two years before finally decinding that he wants to “draw manga again”. He also said “I may have felt like I poured everything into Naruto, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t perfect, and that thought tugged at me. Around the time I ended Naruto, I felt like the way to draw manga had finally clicked in me, so I wanted to channel that into my next work”. That new work is Samurai 8.
For this new manga, Kishimoto said “I love science-fiction and samurai, so I want to draw manga about those themes, but considering my age it’s getting unreasonable to throw myself into manga like that, so I decided to combine the two themes into a single work”. The mangaka revealed that the first work he submitted to Shueisha was a samurai manga, which they rejected. He then added that Samurai 8 is a “revenge” of sorts for that, and then he laughed.
Kishimoto also admitted that Samurai 8 won’t be very good for people new to science fiction, as it starts off with a ton of jargon. “If you’re a new artist, I wouldn’t start out with sci-fi, but I thought that I’d have more leeway coming straight off Naruto,” he says. As to why he chose his former assistant, Akira Ookubo, as his co-mangaka, he says that because the new manga will be weekly like Naruto, it would be impossible to do it all himself. He also said, “It’s hard to admit this frankly, but Ookubo’s art is so good that in my heart I can’t help but admit defeat.”
As for the impact Samurai 8 will have, a reporter asked him if it will be more interesting than Naruto. To this, he said “I thought about it a little while working on Naruto, but I’m more socially conscious now and I would like to put that into my next manga.” He also said that one of the themes of the manga will be “It’s okay to be imperfect”. He also added “I know it’s a contradiction for me to say ‘I want to draw the perfect manga’ only for it to have the theme ‘it’s okay to be imperfect,’ but it was Naruto’s imperfections that motivated me to draw my next manga, and when this one ends, the imperfections will inspire me to draw the next one after that.”
Finally, Kishimoto admitted that he still has no idea how long Samurai 8 would run. “Let’s just go with 10 volumes for now. I remember saying one time that Naruto would be 15 volumes. It always ends up being longer,” he said.
Samurai 8 will debut in Japan on May 13, withing the pages of Weekly Shounen Jump’s 24th issue.
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