[Note: This is a preliminary report by Kevin Leahy. More will be added.]

I'm pretty much caught up on my sleep, so I thought I'd pass along
what I heard at Friday's year-end event in Tokyo. The first four hours
of the talk live were divided pretty evenly between discussion of the
VHD manga and the English translation of the novels.

Ms. Takaki was up first, answering Mr. K's question on all aspects of
the project. Regarding the look of the book, which was somewhere
between manga and American comics, the artist explained that the
amount of action and dialog she had to cram in made it look more like
an American comic rather than the slower, more cinematic look of many
Japanese manga. But from the very beginning, she'd asked Digital Manga
whether they wanted an American comic look or a manga style, and they
definitely wanted the latter. As far as Doris's "proportions" went,
Mr. Kikuchi remarked that there was a little more Doris than he
remembered. Ms. Takaki explained that the book mentioned that Doris
was a decent size, and her name suggested non-Japanese origin, so she
ended up somewhat super-sized. Although looking back at the finished
product, she conceded that Doris was indeed over-endowed for a
seventeen-year-old. Ms. Takaki also wished that she had made Doris a
little less average-looking and given her a more distinct look.
Larmica, on the other hand, was her favorite to draw (aside from D, of
course), because she could go totally wild with the hair and costumes.
When asked how she came up with the look of the count, she explained
that she'd had some trouble there. The traditional image of the
vampire from cinema was what the VHD series used to describe the
Sacred Ancestor, so she didn't want to infringe on that. But she was
also trying to make him a little more "bishy" than the anime version.

There was some discussion about the timeframe of this and future VHD
manga projects. Apparently it took about a year and a half from the
time the project was initially discussed until it was finally released
in America. Ms. Takaki had never done a full-length manga before, and
the book was only supposed to be released in America, so it came as
some surprise when the project snowballed and they ended up releasing
it in 8 languages--with Japanese being the last, and that only being
decided about a month before its release. She said the first one took
her about a year, with about a month of that used to plot the story
out page by page and make it fit the target of around 224 pages. The
second book took about nine months, and she's hoping to get the third
down to six months to match Digital Manga's ideal schedule of two
volumes a year. Actually, DM would probably like to get three a year
out (as with the novels), but since she's flying solo on the project,
that doesn't seem possible. Mr. Kikuchi apologized in advance for the
15-year commitment this might involve.

As far as the actual artwork was concerned, I was surprised to learn
that the whole process was done without using any paper. Although some
artists sketch first, then scan the artwork for finishing on the
computer, she did it all, start to finish, on the machine. Because the
Japanese edition is somewhat smaller than the ones available overseas,
she said it looked pretty cramped when she first saw it, and it may be
something she'll have to keep in mind for future books.

Now, Ms. Takaki and her husband have been Talk Live regulars for quite
some time, and she's always been pretty peppy. But I think the
pressure of deadlines has left her pretty weary. Mr. K asked her
repeatedly if she was OK, and hopefully the upcoming New Year's
holidays will give her a chance to catch her breath.

As far as whether she has trouble fitting a whole novel into one volume 
of the manga, she definitely does--right now, she has about 25 pages to
shave off the third book to bring it in around the magic 224. That
would also suggest that multi-volume books (which would still be quite
a way off at this pace) will remain as separate volumes.

Back to the Text Archives
VHD Archives Home