mō ichido, shōjo. (70s, 80s & 90s shōjo manga retrospective)
Take to ki no manga bunka-ron

Takeuchi Naoko - interview and art commentary

  • Source: 5-nin no amajin/purojin ten (5 Amateurs Turned Pro Exhibit) artbook
  • Inside Edition / 1997

Translator's notes

This is a complete translation of the Takeuchi Naoko-related texts from the artbook 5-nin no amajin/purojin ten / 5 Amateurs Turned Pro Exhibit, available for download at Miss Dream. It contains a long 50-questions interview, as well as Takeuchi's comments on the 20 pieces of color art she chose to include in the exhibit. It would probably be best to read this in tandem with the scans available at Miss Dream, so you can look at the art while reading her comments.

Foreword (page 14)

Isetan is a place full of memories for me, because it's where the exhibit for my Sailor Moon art was held.
I'm so happy to have been invited to join this exhibition, which is being held in that same memorable place.
If I'm honest, all the other participants in this exhibition are such big names active in their fields, I still can't believe that I've been allowed to join them.
I'm truly nervous and can't stop my heart from racing.
But Yun Kouga, who invited me to join, has helped me out so much and taught me so many things. She is truly like a god to me and I look up to her greatly, and I knew that holding an exhibition with her and her friends would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I jumped at the chance to join.
This is the proudest moment in my life.
I intend to join the people on the floor to admire all the beautiful work by my favorite artists, and enjoy every bit of this exhibition.

Page 18

I plan to show a few previously unpublished works at this exhibition, as well as pieces from Sailor Moon Artbook V, which will be published come August 20. I hope everyone will enjoy the Sailor Moon illustrations, including the pieces from Artbook IV, which were previously shown at a different exhibition.

Takeuchi Naoko

Interview (pages 40-45)

Q1 When did you first start drawing manga?
A1 Third year of high school.

Q2 What made you decide you wanted to be a manga writer?
A2 I've liked drawing since I was a little girl, but I suppose it was because an older girl who lived next door to me loved manga and lent me a lot of her manga. Back when I was in grade, middle, and high school, there were mountains of manga out there that would change your outlook on life, so I always thought that if I wanted to express myself, it was only natural it should be with manga.

Q3 What are some good things about being a manga writer?
A3 That it's relatively easy for me to work and live at my own pace. That I've met a lot of manga writers I looked up to (heart) That I'm allowed to stay a kid, at least a little bit (if it benefits my work). That I've experienced so many things that I wouldn't have if I'd lived an ordinary life. That I've had my own work published (although I'm also incredibly embarrassed about this).

Q4 What are some things that are hard about being a manga writer?
A4 That I sometimes wear my body down. That I have to draw manga even when I don't want to. That I sometimes have to show myself to someone I love although I'm tired and look horrible. That I sometimes have to deal with copyright issues.

Q5 Who influenced you?
A5 Reiji Matsumoto, Yuki Hijiri, Kimiko Uehara, Yumiko Kawahara.

Q6 What has changed since your debut, in how you think about your work?
A6 I realized that I have to draw manga that's fun and interesting to read. (It took me a long time to realize this (laugh).)

Q7 Is there something you can't live without when you work?
A7 Tea, the wind, 0.5mm mechanical pencil with hardness H, eraser, my original brand of manga-drawing paper, sleep, delicious food, diversions, basic skincare products, the amazing night view and sunrise seen from my office, doping, my staff (heart)

Q8 What do you listen to when you work?
A8 It's been a while, but I listened to Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, Ken Ishii, Ian Pooley, Squarepusher, and Prodigy. I love techno (heart)

Q9 When do stories come to you?
A9 These days they won't come to me, so I read, play, sleep, and accumulate, and then I either squeeze something out or make something up.

Q10 Which of your characters do you feel resembles you the most?
A10 Everyone tells me I'm like Usagi. And that I'm like Minako when I snap...

Q11 Which of you own works do you like best?
A11 I think it's "Sailor Moon". But if I'm honest, it's "Yume ja nai no, ne" (included in "Prism Time" vol. 2), which is the first work of mine that was published professionally. It's my roots.

Q12 What sort of work would you like to write in the future?
A12 Melodramatic love stories. Something that pursues what it means to be a woman. Something porny. Hard science fiction. And so on.

Q13 What fan letters have left an impression on you?
A13 The fan letters I got for Sailor Moon were all memorable. It was all so extreme! (laugh) But the letter than blew me away the most was from a friend of mine, who sent me a hammer. She wanted to express that she'd felt "a shock like someone had hit her over the head with a hammer" when she read my manga. (It was a normal shojo manga (laugh).)

Q14 What's one thing you always do when you draw manga?
A14 Spray correction fluid on to make the manga look sparkly. Think about where the source of lighting is when I draw. Write things that only I can write.

Q15 What would you have become if you hadn't become a manga writer?
A15 Someone's bride (heart)

Q16 Please give a piece of advice to people who want to become manga writers.
A16 Please make stories that are so fun and interesting that they'll shock your readers (heart)

Q17 How did you pick your pen name?
A17 I never imagined that I'd actually become a manga writer, so I picked the name that my parents gave me, which I quite like.

Q18 What interests you the most right now aside from work?
A18 The plan for my house.

Q19 What do you do on your days off?
Q20 Sleep. Shop. Take a drive. Read a book. Hang out with friends. Go on a date (heart) and so on.

Q20 What made you happy recently?
A20 That Sailor Moon was features in a books called Otaku Culture, which is like an A to Z of 90s America, and they called her "Cyber Barbie". I thought that was so cool, and it made me very happy (heart)

Q21 What made you sad recently?
A21 That I was too busy to go on a show about the NHK broadcast satellite. It would have been a dream come true for me, I'd have been able to ask Koichi Wakada from NASA all sort of questions about Mars (star)

Q22 What made you angry recently?
A22 There's been various things that's made me angry, but I can't get as passionate about it as I used to, so I quickly forget it all.

Q23 What made you embarrassed recently?
A23 Above all, I'm embarrassed that the comics of Sailor Moon have been published and sold. Personally, I'm really happy when comics come out, but I wish I could have enjoyed it just by myself. I was insane back when I wrote it! I want to apologize to all my fans.

Q24 What's your current favorite manga?
A24 "Yousei Jiken": It makes my heart beat faster because it's like looking directly into Yun Kouga's mind. "Dolls": It felt like I'd finally found a story that I'd been searching for and wanting to read forever. I've been following Yumiko Kawahara's work since her debut, so it made me so happy when I read it (heart) "Happy Mania": It's too realistic (I can't laugh at it). She's so composed in real life.

Q25 What's your current favorite novel?
A25 A little while ago, I finally read "Neuromancer", and again, it felt like I'd finally found something I'd always wanted to read. It felt very crisp and dry, and was easy to read.

Q26 What's your current favorite movie?
A26 That will always have to be "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Q27 What's your current favorite anime?
A27 I was looking forward to both "Kerokero Chime" and "Revolutionary Girl Utena" so much, but I couldn't get into them as much as I'd hoped.

Q28 What's your current favorite game?
A28 I'm going to start playing "Ghost in the Shell" in a bit.

Q29 What's your favorite food?
A29 In the summer, it has to be somen noodles with plum flavor, and peaches (heart)

Q30 What's your least favorite food?
A30 I don't have any.

Q31 What are your favorite places?
A31 Inside my car Turbo-kun, my house (heart), the Aoyama Book Center in Roppongi, the ocean.

Q32 What songs do you sing a lot at karaoke?
A32 Back in the day, I used to sing and dance Wink with a friend (those were the good old days).

Q33 Where would you like to travel to right now?
A33 Egypt.

Q34 Is there a gadget you own that you particularly like?
A34 The two matching watches I bought with my boyfriend. My skeleton cell phone.

Q35 What's your best and worst features?
A35 Best features: I'm cheerful, make friends easily, quickly forget unpleasant things, I'm not a picky eater. Worst features: I'm impatient, don't listen to what people are telling me, cry easily, lie, and work too slowly.

Q36 When do you feel happy?
A36 When I finish a chapter of manga. When I'm doing nothing but read books, when I listen to the rain. When I'm shopping at the Meiji-ya sweets shop in Hiroo. When I'm traveling alone. When I'm eating Ikuko Mama's food. When I'm driving. When I'm napping.

Q37 How do you de-stress?
A37 Sleep, drive, go out at night, shop like crazy, vent to my friends or boyfriend. Travel.

Q38 What's the one thing you want the most right now?
A38 That's a secret (heart)

Q39 What sort of person would you like to be?
A39 Some transcendent. So, of course, I mean Yun (heart)

Q40 What is your ideal man like?
A40 He's gloomy, and he's an otaku, and an enthusiast, and cultured, and a little chubby, and has a lot of complexes, and he'll take care of me and love me (heart)

Q41 What would you do if you could become a man for one day?
A41 Have sex.

Q42 What would you do on the last day before Earth goes under?
A42 Have Ikuko Mama made me delicious food, and eat it. Then I'll call my boyfriend to meet up with him, and make out. And go out for a night in town.

Q43 What would you wish for if you only had one wish?
A43 May everyone become happy.

Q44 What would you do if you had a whole month off?
A44 Travel and read.

Q45 What would you like to be in your next life?
A45 A female astronaut.

Q46 How did you feel when you finished Sailor Moon?
A46 It finally ended, I'm so happy! Hurray, I'm free! But I want to watch more of the anime (heart)

Q47 What is your new series about?
A47 About cockroaches, and lesbians (I lie (laugh)), and it's a comedy, and science fiction, and I'm making it up as I go... I don't know what to do...

Q48 How is your car?
A48 I'm looking for my fifth boyfriend right now (heart) My fourth boyfriend, Turbo-kun, is getting his audio system powered up (heart)

Q49 What are your favorite brands?
A49 A while ago, I bought some stained glass by Frank Lloyd Wright (heart) It's so beautiful! I also love and collect René Lalique glass lightings (heart) I plan to buy a Bang & Olufsen audio system soon (heart) And I'm still crazy about Vivienne Tam and Anna Sui when it comes to clothes (heart)

Q50 Please leave a message for your fans.
A50 I've taken a bit of time off (I want to take much more time off (laugh)), but I accidentally started a new series (it was really "accidentally" (laugh)). I would love to receive letters with advice, encouragement, and scolding! Thank you (heart)

Art descriptions and commentary (pages 15-17)

1 Sailor Moon Memorial Book cover / 272x382mm / color ink on fine-textured BB Kent paper / I made an artbook with close friends and acquaintance, who all loved Sailor Moon, to commemorate the end of the series. This is the cover of that book.

2 Drawn for Sailor Moon Artbook / 396x272mm / pencil, color ink, water-based ballpoint pen, texture gel, and glass beads on OK Muse Kaiser paper / I drew this for the new artbook. It'll go on sale on August 20, so please check it out (heart)

3 Drawn for Sailor Moon Artbook / 364x250mm / color ink, poster color, and screen tones on fine-textured BB Kent paper / I drew this for the new artbook. Mamoru is wearing a Paul Smith suit. He probably doesn't want it (laugh), but I dedicate this piece to Sailor Moon editor Osabu.

4 Nakayoshi March 1997 cover / 382x273mm / color ink and beads on fine-textured BB Kent paper / This is a piece I won't ever be able to forget.

5 Nakayoshi March 1997 title page / 373x550mm / water-based ballpoint pen, aero flash, color ink, marker, and screen tones on Canson paper / This, too, has become a commemorative piece for me. It's the title page of the last chapter of Sailor Moon.

6 Nakayoshi January 1997 title page / 374x548mm / color ink, markers, and poster color on Canson paper / One of the Sailor Moon editorial staff at Kodansha, Saito, said he liked this piece very much (heart) I think this might also be my favorite piece of color art from the fourth arc.

7 Drawn for Sailor Moon Artbook / 383x266mm / color ink, markers, pastels, and aero flash on fine-textured BB Kent paper / I think this is a very Michiru-like piece.

8 Drawn for Sailor Moon Artbook III / 374x274mm / color ink, marker, color spray, and aero flash on Canson paper / So many fans have drawn pictures of Haruka (heart) I drew this wanting to dedicate it to all those fans.

9 Drawn for Sailor Moon Artbook III / 410x317mm / color ink, markers, poster color, and color spray on Japanese paper with "Unsai" Chinese porcelain pattern / Satsuna is... sort of an old lady (laugh).

10 Drawn for Sailor Moon Artbook III / 376x274mm / color ink, markers, and aero flash on Canson paper / On the opening day of the exhibition for the artbook in 1996, the telephone cards with Hotaru on them were sold out really fast. Passionate fans of Hotaru are called "Hotarists"! I love this word (heart) (But that telephone card... had a horrible printing mistake on it (cry))

Art descriptions and commentary (pages 41-45)

11 Runrun July 1995 cover / 375x275mm / color ink, color spray, and markers on Canson paper / Ami was such a sweet and trim character at the beginning, so I wonder when she became such a comedic character?

12 Runrun November 1995 cover / 390x269mm / color ink, markers, screen tones, and color tones on Kent paper / I wanted to draw so much more manga with these two!

13 Runrun May 1995 cover / 354x248mm / color ink, markers, and color tones on Classico Fabriano paper and Japanese paper / I'm told this piece was popular with Makoto fans.

14 Sailor Moon Artbook IV cover / 435x658mm / color ink, pastels, markers, color spray, gel, beads, and ballpoint pen on fine-textured BB Kent paper / This was hard for me to draw, because I couldn't decide on Usagi's pose. I like the posing of Makoto, Haruka & Michiru, and Chibiusa & Hotaru (heart)

15 Sailor Moon Artbook III cover / 484x678mm / color ink, markers, color spray, and modeling paste on fine-textured BB Kent paper / This took me sooo long to do (laugh), so I love both the posting and coloring of this piece (heart) It was so hard!

16 Sailor V volume 2 back color / 363x257mm / color in on Canson art board / I think this is probably my favorite of all the Sailor V colors.

17 Amie March 1997 cover / 383x267mm / color ink, markers, and pastel on fine-textured BB Kent paper / The one-shot I wrote for Amie is a blemish on my career!

18 Prism Time volume 2 back cover / 173x271mm / color in on Canson paper / I love night views, so all the back covers of comics have night views. (Although there are some that might not strictly be night views (laugh).)

19 Mermaid Panic volume 1 frontispiece / 271x194mm / color ink and poster color on fine-textured BB Kent paper / This is art for the frontispiece poster included in a novel written by my dear friend, Koizumi Marie. Her novels are so much fun to read, because her protagonists are just like her (heart)

20 Nakayoshi September 1997 title page / 274x382mm / color ink on fine-textured BB Kent paper / This is the title page for the new series that started in September 1997. I was a mess, because the schedule for it was the worst I'd ever experienced. This is a horrifying series, because I'm making it up as I go, but please check it out!