Moriyama Daisuke is a mangaka and illustrator known for works such as Chrono Crusade, World Embryo and Thou Shall Not Die (as the artist, working together with Yoko Taro who wrote the story). He used to work on original designs for gal games/bishoujo games and illustrations for light novels before switching over to draw for manga. Read on to find out what he has to say in his journey as a creator!
Q: So from your debut as a manga artist until today, what can you say you improved the most?
A: Until the age of 25, I was more of a game illustrator, so I didn’t exactly have an input on how to draw a story. I suddenly wanted to draw my own story, so I decided to become a manga artist. I improved in my drawings the most, thanks to digital improvement that’s happening around. I’m not sure if there were any improvements in terms of my storytelling.
Q: When you first started out, which manga artist inspired you the most?
A: I have three inspirations: Araki Hirohiko (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure), Fujita Kazuhiro (Ushio to Tora), Naito Yasuhiro (Trigun). For me, these three people influenced me greatly in my decision to become a manga artist.
Q: What is the difference between Japanese fans and overseas fans?
A: I’ve only been to Malaysia and the US but in these two places people try to listen to me and respond very warmly. In Japan, they do give reactions but they’re more subtle and reserved. It’s not to say the Japanese aren’t supportive but the culture is simply more reserved.
Q: You said you became a manga artist after game illustration. At any point, did you ever think of turning back to game illustration, and why?
A: For me, I don’t limit what I will and will not do, so I won’t stop myself from pursuing any road to what I want to do. I am doing illustrations for the FGO game series so I am doing both but now that I’m more busy with the manga side, it doesn’t stop me from doing games as well. Drawing is something important to me so I’ll do my best not to stop.
Q: What is the best part and the worst part of your job?
A: The difficult part is when I have no ideas but I have to keep up with deadlines and churn out drafts. One of the best moments is when the ideas do come and they are some of the best ideas I can use in my works.
Q: What tools are you using to create your manga artworks now?
A: I am using the 22’’ Wacom Cintiq and the iPad Pro.
Q: How was it like to work with Yoko Taro for the Thou Shall Not Die manga?
A: For Yoko-sensei’s style, he knows exactly what he wants and doesn’t want. He decided an ending but he won’t know what he should do in the middle. It’s also possible that what I draw every month will suddenly change its course, so I will just discreetly change whatever I can. Sensei already knows the way the characters are supposed to be so I will sometimes discuss with sensei to provide my input along the way.
Q: During the panel you mentioned that you weren’t in charge of the characters, so is the way the characters die mainly from Yoko-sensei or from you?
A: Sensei because he is a very decisive person so he already knows how the characters are going to die. It will have panels of how the head is blown out and stuff like that. I will do my best to add on details in the drawings.
Q: On a more technical end, what influenced you to change from analog to digital?
A: For traditional, I used acrylics, but since it takes a lot of time, I couldn’t draw a lot with it. Sometimes I do feel like picking acrylics back up. A co-worker from a company I used to work in, taught me how to use Photoshop and Painter. Ever since then, I’ve gotten quicker and at the point where I’m able to get work done digitally with no problems.
Q: Do you consider your artwork produced by digital tools to be of higher quality?
A: If you talk about analog, there are a lot of things you can’t do to refine your work sometimes. But when it comes to digital there are many tools to refine my works better. When it comes to analog it’s quite nostalgic because that’s where I started from but from a more efficient point of view I will continue to work hard using digital tools.
Q: If you could tell your younger self when you first started in the manga world something, what would it be?
A: I only have one slogan: build your stamina! As you grow older your stamina falls so that’s really important.
Q: Besides drawing for work, do you draw during your free time?
A: My daily habit is to draw 15-minute sketches on my sketchbook. But for the last three months I’ve been busy so I couldn’t draw much of it.
Q: Is it more of practice or more of a hobby?
A: It’s a bit of both but I also find it very fun to draw others’ characters sometimes.
Q: What kind of manga genre do you enjoy drawing the most?
A: Fantasy. I also love battle and fighting scenes. Also maybe a bit of erotic stuff (laughs) I’m sorry.
Q: Any advice for aspiring manga artists?
A: When you first start out, your passion to draw is very strong but I would recommend also to have additional hobbies or interests so at least when the passion dulls you will have something else to fall back on. Also, train your stamina! You also need to have great mental strength, because you will need it to persevere through hard times.