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Old 2004-05-31, 22:03   Link #1
Sugetsu
Kurumada's lost child
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Interview with Kentaro Miura the creator of Berserk

Ok, so as many of you know, I'm not only a die-hard fan of Saint Seiya but also of Berserk. And due to my love towards this anime, I have done some little research on its Author. In this post you will find a lot of information regarding the creation of the anime and its future projects as well. I hope that you enjoy reading these 5 long posts dedicated to one of the greatest animes of all time (Yeah yeah... that's a biased opinion )


Kentaro Miura
Berserk DVD 4 Extra

Today, I'd like to interview the creator of Berserk, Mr. Kentaro Miura about how Berserk was created.
Hello, nice to meet you.

The first question is how did you come across the idea of Berserk? Would you tell us how you came up with the concept for Berserk?
I didn't have a solid idea of how I wanted Berserk to be in the beginning, but the idea grew gradually by watching my favorite anime shows when I was in college. If I was interested in something, I'd be looking up information. It was like kneading clay, the concept of Berserk slowly came together. I didn't have the clear picture of what I really wanted to do at first.

I thought the subject matter of Berserk is pretty complicated.
Well...

You talk about the universal law of Karma.
Well, how do I put this... When you're a cartoonist and working at home you sit at your desk pretty much all day. You get most of your information about the world from the news on TV. I think that's how most cartoonists spend their days. And then I start to see the whole picture of my point of view towards all the problems that are happening in the world. An average working man living in an average world would have a personal problem. He'd be worried about how his kids are doing in school. But I live in isolation, watching the world only on the news on TV so I start to see the bigger picture. I can look at the world from another angle. I'm not talking about one specific event. If I see news about war in another country of if there's a massacre somewhere in Japan I just look at the world objectively. Religious cults or acts of atrocity have been the topics of the news recently. When I hear those stories, not that I want to find some kind of answer, but it makes me want to visualize what's happening. I just want to see it in my world in my own way. The idea becomes clearer and polished in the process. I think I've said this in an interview before, but when I learned about Tsuchizoku and Futsuzoku, it did influence Berserk. I was writing Berserk watching the incident on the news. And a little while later I wrote about mass psychology in Berserk. I believe that incident made me want to write about it so I would understand it myself. In the beginning, about up to volume five, I was still writing stuff that I had thought of when I was in college. So my real life reflected a lot in the stories in the beginning. And after a while, I started to see the bigger picture.

I see. That's actually similar to the second question. I'd like to know if anything influenced Berserk.
It is a Japanese novel, but... a novel called "Guin Saga" written by Kaoru Kurimoto was the most influential. Guin Saga is a fantasy novel series, and it's been trying to set arecord in the Guinness World Records as the longest fantasy work ever written by a single author. It was planned to be 100 volumes from the beginning. But it's already 80-something, so it'll go over 100 easily. I started reading it when I was in junior high and I'm still reading the new volume every month. So I could say Guin Saga is the most significant novel. And other stuff like movies and cartoons influenced me, too.

I see. I'd like to talk about a little more about the concept. The timeline in Berserk seems to be sometime in the medieval period. It has the whole medieval theme, like it's happening somewhere in Europe. Is there any real historical events you based Berserk on?
Not really, I don't really use specific historical events but rather I use fairy tales or fantasy movies. I've been working on the concept of my own fantasy world since I was in high school and college. Like I mentioned, I got ideas from Guin Saga, and from films, like "Excalibur" and "Conan the Barbarian." I came up with the dark fantasy concept from those movies. I don't think I get inspired by the actual historical events. I simply used them as data. I've thought of writing a story based on Dracula. I'm talking about Vlad Tepes, the real Dracula. I wanted to use the real historical records. And there's the famous story from Sherlock Holmes. The story where Conan Doyle got tricked by the Cottingley fairy hoax...

I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with it.
I didn't write the exact same thing, but I wrote a story similar to that. There was a story about a fairy in... I can't remember exactly which volume, but I think it was around 15 or 16.

I'd like to ask you a technical question now. Your drawings are very well detailed. From every nook and corner, they are drawn in depth. Do you use anything as reference when you draw?
I do have a huge pile of pictures that I use as reference. I use a collection of photographs from different countries... but it's actually easier to find the pictures of armor or landscape in Japan. So whenever I need some pictures l'll go find it by myself or ask somebody to get it. So the collection is really big now.

I see.
Pictures are the best reference for a cartoonist. It's all about how something looks. If you really talk about technical stuff you'll notice that some armors aren't supposed to be used around that time. But I really don't go that far.

I see.
I simply like things that look cool.

I see. And now I'd like to ask you about this main character, Guts. He's got some personality, he's a deep character. Is there anybody in particular that you used as a model for Guts?
Well, Guts' friends in the Band of Hawk are actually based on my friends from college. But there wasn't anybody in particular for Guts and Griffith.

Not even a historical figure?
Well, it's funny that you mentioned it, but l've heard about this knight who helped a peasant revolution in Germany and the knight's name was Goetz. And he had an iron artificial arm. When I found out about it, I thought it was a strange coincidence. I don't know if he shot arrows from it. It was especially uncanny because I had already started Berserk. I wasn't really thinking of anybody at the time I created Guts. But if you're only talking about his looks and not about his personality then I guess Rutger Hauer was the model. I saw him playing a mercenary in a medieval movie, "Flesh & Blood" and I really liked him in that movie. He also played the lead in "Salute of the Jugger." It was an Sci Fi movie, but I thought the character he played was similar to Guts. And the main character from "Highlander" kind of reminds me of Guts. I think it had a lot to do with those cool collected type heroes I admired when I was in college. But if it's about Guts' personality or his belief... I guess some of it comes from myself. And sometimes I use my close friends as examples. So Guts' personality isn't always based on one person, but it's more abstract. His actions and state of mind depend on the situation. So Guts doesn't have a specific model.

I see. In the U.S, Media Blasters is introducing Berserk the anime to audiences. Did you have any requests when Berserk became an anime series for the first time? What kind of advice did you give to the production studio?
Berserk is my very first comic book and anime. So I was very excited, and I wanted to make something good. I could've just let the studio staff do the work, but I gave some advice on the outlines of the character designs. But my main concern was the scripts. They'd send me the scripts and I'd revise them and make changes. I checked all scripts, and made a lot of changes and requests on all of them. I bet the writers hated me.

But that's natural, that's how much you care about your show.
Yeah, I guess that's about it.

I'd like to ask you a couple of personal questions now. We talked about Kaoru Kurimoto's Guin Saga earlier. And my next question is... Is there any cartoonist, director or movie that influenced you?
Well, it's a Japanese cartoonist, but... like Mr. Go Nagai, I believe he's very famous in the U.S. He was a big influence on me. I love his dynamic style. And I have a couple of favorite American film directors. I like the movies of Tim Burton and Sam Raimi. This is another strange story. Back then I was still in college, it was the day I finished the first episode of Berserk and there was "Evil Dead 2" playing at theaters. So after I mailed it to the publisher, I went to see it. It was so similar to Berserk, I was really surprised by myself. In "Evil Dead 3," I also know it as "Captain Supermarket"... the main character had his arm cut off and he had a chainsaw attached to his arm and had a shotgun on his back. I was like "What the?" Because Guts has a gun on his arm and a huge sword on his back. It was just like Ash. I remember getting worried that I might get sued. I just finished my very first cartoon, but I was already nervous. I'm a big fan of Sam Raimi's movies, I like "Dark Man", too. He got really big after "Spider-Man," but I still like his movies. And I like Tim Burton, because his movies are always 'offbeat.' It's almost strange that a person can be that offbeat and big at the same time. But that's why I love his movies. James Cameron lost his touch after he got big. Well, I don't know if he thinks of himself as offbeat. But when I saw "Terminator," as a Sci Fi fan, I was really excited that he was one of those offbeat geniuses, like Tim Burton... but turns out he wasn't. And of course, "Star Wars" is my all-time favorite movie. I saw it when I was little, so I was really shocked, I was a big Star Wars fan ever since. But "Episode 1" was very weak. The script needed some work.
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Last edited by Sugetsu; 2004-09-13 at 02:48.
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Old 2004-05-31, 22:03   Link #2
Sugetsu
Kurumada's lost child
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
--------->

And another question... As a lot of people know, you started writing Berserk when you were in college... and finally it's been animated and people can see the world you've created. You've mentioned it earlier, but tell us how you got a chance to publish Berserk.
I tried to get Berserk published by Hakusen Publisher.

Get it published?
Yes, in Japan, a cartoonist would write a cartoon of about 25 pages... and send it to a publisher. And if they picked yours, it would be a series in the magazine. And fortunately, I was picked. The publisher liked Berserk, so I would be able to make Berserk into a series. Usually, those first ideas always seemed to have something special.

I see. And this is the last question. Berserk is a huge success in the U.S.
Thank you very much.

Berserk fans abroad are very happy. If you have any messages to the fans in the U.S...
Actually I kind of have a question. What do Westerners think of this fantasy world created by an Oriental? Many of us Orientals feel that the fantasy worlds created in Hollywood... or believed in by Westerners are more genuine fantasy worlds. And I think Berserk is strongly influenced by Western culture. I'm trying to create something from what I learned from the West. So I'm curious about what people in the West think of Berserk. That's my question to the fans in the U.S. I hope they like it.

I'll make sure to tell Berserk fans in the U.S.
Thank you.

Pictures of Kentaro when he is drawing

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Last edited by Sugetsu; 2004-05-31 at 22:15.
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Old 2004-05-31, 22:06   Link #3
Sugetsu
Kurumada's lost child
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Taken from the 5th Region 1 DVD:

We're here to talk to Mr. Nakatani, the producer of Berserk about the making of Berserk as an animation series. As a producer, I am sure you're always looking for good stories to animate. Could you please tell us how you came across Berserk and why you chose to animate it?

The point of this project was that it was to be animated for television. It wasn't made for video distribution. Berserk was made to be broadcast on TV. It was aired on late night TV. So the targeted audience was limited. If you broadcast during prime time, kids as well as adults are your audience. Broadcasting late at night gave us the opportunity to target a wide and young adult audience who've begun to understand the ways of the world.

This time slot did not originally belong to an animation but to a variety show. This project's first consideration was how to create an animation that could fit this time slot. We realized that a typical animation would not work. We had to breakdown stereotypes and to turn the known parameters on their sides. It had to be something with a strong impact. That's where it started.

I've been an anime producer for a long time. It's not something most producers would have chosen to be made for TV. This story isn't my typical choice for an animation. But I chose it because that it itself would create an impact. That and the great story line itself. The reason it was difficult to adapt to TV was its violent content. But behind the violence is the passion and the struggles of the young people. I wanted to make this come to life. And the late-night time slot allowed me to try something totally new. It seemed like the perfect match, that's why I chose it.


I see, so this was a challenging project.

Most definitely.

This project began in 1997. There was an animation boom in Japan at the time. There were about 60 new animations being created in Japan. The market was over saturated. Nihon TV wasn't broadcasting anything during the late night slot back then. But other stations, this isn't very nice to say but... the quality was so poor that you could barely watch them. Most of them were not up to TV standards. So if Nihon TV were to go this route we decided to do it head on, to put everything into it. We spent more money on production than prime time does. This cost 1.5-2 times more than a prime time production does... That's how much effort was put into it. Although it was late night, if we could make an impact and send our message the production costs would be offset in many ways. We were thinking pretty positive.


I'm sure you encountered many difficulties in adapting this story to animation. There are many violent scenes, there's a lot of slicing and dicing, if you will... it is a story with a lot of blood. What were some of your concerns when you were adapting this to animation?

Regarding the violence, unfortunately, it was horrible timing. At that time, there was the very well known murders in Kobe where a young child was committing gruesome murders. And so the question was how to regulate violence on TV. That was our main concern. Of course, we were not happy about this violence. And there's nothing about it that we condone. But on the other hand, the story takes place in Medieval Europe so there were things that could only be expressed with violence. Part of their identities could only be portrayed violently and their passions were hidden behind their violence and battles. It's a story about life, death, and friendship. So rather than take the violence out of it, it was important for me to use the violence to express these things. I don't think watching this would make people violent. And I don't think our viewers are that stupid. It would be like trying to put a lid on something that smells bad. Covering up the violence won't accomplish anything. We show the violence, but if we can show their passions as well... we, including children, can take the violence head on and think about it.

Regarding how we portray it in other animations, it's common to use a white or blue flash of light to portray blood when someone has been cut. But rather than make it an abstract thing with white or blue light blood is red, and it hurts, like I mentioned before if you portray it honestly, you can see it for what it is. This is something I feel very strongly about.


I'm sure when you were readapting the story you had to make many decisions about the storyline and the characters to remain 100% true to the original would be extremely difficult. There are only 25 episodes in one season. Could you please talk about some of your concerns and things you absolutely had to cut out in the process of adapting the story.

As far as the storyline goes, there is a pivotal event called "the Great Eclipse". You will know what I am talking about if you've seen it. It is the end of a segment of the story. Berserk is a fantasy animation, but the Great Eclipse ends on a very dark and gloomy note. We went back and forth about ending it at the Great Eclipse but we felt the theme was a priority. Like I mentioned earlier, we wanted to express their struggles and passions. There were young passionate characters in the Band of Hawk and we opted to prioritize their characters. And at the very end, when you see the Great Eclipse you get a sense of their ferocity. And the emptiness and their breakdown can be a part of youth experience. I wanted to broadcast up until the Great Eclipse so I could convey this.

There is a character named Puck who appears in the original story. We went back and forth on this, too. In the original Berserk comic by Mr. Miura Puck plays a major role and is integral to Berserk but in the animation of Berserk, Puck was taken out of the picture and it diminishes the fantastical nature a bit but the lead characters, and Guts and Griffith's passion, became the focus and became the common thread throughout the series. So with Mr. Miura's permission, it was decided.


The music for this project, Mr. Hirasawa's music is a perfect fit. What are some of the things you discussed with Mr. Hirasawa?

It was very simple. Mr. Miura, the author of the original story, is a genius. Only he could write something like this. He draws every tiny detail by himself. The music that he listened to while he created this world was that of Mr. Hirasawa. In a way, the music he listened to while he was making Berserk created Berserk. So it makes total sense to bring this music to the animation of Berserk. It's a perfect match. Mr. Mirua wanted it as well.

This is shop talk but musically, there are things that work together and things that don't. As I mentioned earlier, one of our goals was to breakdown walls and parameters. So there were disagreements with the record company, but we went for it with Mr. Hirasawa, and fortunately he agreed. We discussed the concepts and he created music that would match perfectly. We all feel that Mr. Hirasawa's music took Berserk to yet another level.


This is a personal question. I'm sure you've had a lot of encounters with movies and animations before becoming an animation producer. Could you please tell us about any animations or movies that have been influential to you?

With regards to animations there are the ones that are representative of my generation but Mobile Suit Gundam is one of my favourites. It's a pretty run of the mill animation. It is a robot story but, like I mentioned earlier ones with human struggle as a theme, young people's concerns like we see in Berserk, that's what Mobile Suit Gundam is about.

There were a number of animations but this may surprise you, but actually, I wanted to make do***entaries when I came to work at this station. When I was a student, I went to Tibet and all sorts of places. I went down the Yukon River, it's quite popular in North America, river rafting in a rubber boat down the Yukon River in Canada. I also spent time on the Tibet-India border and I was wondering how I could convey a certain thing? And by conveying it, how would the viewers respond? That's what I wanted to do, that's why I came here. But I grew up with manga and anime. So eventually I came to see the beauty of these things that were created. And I think that animation was the most direct route to achieve my goals.


What sort of movies do you like?

Mr. Miura will tell you that he likes fantasy movies like Berserk but I like the blockbuster movies. I like Hollywood blockbuster movies more than the minor films. I like the Hollywood scores and the big productions. I just like Hollywood-style movies. There are some Japanese films that I really like, but I don't think anyone would know them. When it comes to foreign films, let's see, what do I like... I do watch a lot of movies, probably dozens a year but I can't really name any. It's difficult. I like many different kinds of movies.


Our last question. This is to your fans in the U.S. The Berserk DVD's are a huge hit in the U.S...

Thank you very much.


And many people have told us that they cannot wait to see the next volume. Do you have a message to your fans in the U.S.?

Thank you very much for watching. It would mean a lot to us if you could catch even a glimpse our passion for this project. From here on out, the true theme that lies dormant, the theme behind the theme... the various things that surface when humans engage in their battles like nihilism or hope or despair. If we can get this across, the secrets of those emotions this project will be a success. The manga Berserk still continues so as a producer, I would like to continue to animate the story beyond the Great Eclipse. If and when this happens I hope that you will continue to watch and that we will continue to hear from you.

Thank you very much.
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Last edited by Sugetsu; 2004-05-31 at 22:20.
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Old 2004-05-31, 22:09   Link #4
Sugetsu
Kurumada's lost child
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
This is taken from a Berserk's web site, which unfortunately I will not list here due to the fact that it contains licenced material.

Kentaro Miura



Mr. Miura (right) June 2002

Kentaro Miura was born in Chiba, Japan on the 11th of July 1966.

In 1976, in primary school and being only ten years of age, Miura was already working on a manga. This first work titled “Miuranger” was said to be made for his class mates, and appeared in some of the school’s publications and books. As time progressed, “Miuranger” ended up finishing at around 40 volumes. A year later, Miura was working on his next work entitled “Ken e No Michi” or ”The Way Of The Sword” - his first work drawn using indian ink. By 1979 and in middle school, Miura had began using rasters for his work, and had oriented himself to use professional drawing methods.

In 1982 he enrolled in an artistic curriculum in high school, where together with his friends and class mates they had their work published in school booklets, as well as having his first dojinshi published in a fan produced magazine.

Busy times for Mr. Miura in 1985. Miura applied for, and was accepted into an art course at the Niho Daigaku University. Two more works are started this year also, “Futanabi” and “Noa” – which may have been the work he showed to gain entry to the University in the first place. “Futanabi” and “Noa” where also submitted to the Shonen magazine, the magazine awarding Miura a prize for the best new author for “Futanabi”, and they actually published “Noa” in their magazine towards the end of that year. However the publications were short lived; Miura had a difference of opinion with one of, or the editor, and no further work was published. This apparently starts some hard times for Mr. Miura.

With 1988 came the first appearance of his “Berserk”. The 48 page manga - which we know today as the “Berserk Prototype”, it was sort of a preview of things to come, but not quite the Berserk we know and love today. Still, it wins Miura a prize from the Comi Manga School and things start to look up.

Having finished his course, receiving a doctorate, in 1989 sees yet another work, entitle “Ohroh” or “The Wolf King” which is based on a script written by Yoshiyuki “Buronson” Okamura, creator of "Hokuto no Ken", of Fist of the North Star fame. “Ohroh” is published in the monthly Japanese Animal House magazine, in issues 5 and 7 for that year. The 10th issue of Animal House that year saw the first ever, and only publication for that year of Miura's solo work “Berserk”. The year ending with “Ohroh” being released as a stand alone manga volume.

From the 2nd to the 6th issues of Animal House in 1990, a follow up to “Ohroh” is published. Entitled “Ohrohden” or “The Legend of the Wolf King”, it too is based on a script by Okamura. “Ohrohden” receives a stand alone volume release that same year, but more importantly the first volume of what we know today as “Berserk” was released, though it only enjoyed limited success. It isn’t until a whole year later, with the release of the story arc entitled “The Golden Age” did “Berserk” find a degree of popularity and success.

Yet another joint effort between Miura and Okamura in the 1992 work “Japan”, appearing in issues 1 through to 8 of Animal House for that year, again with stand alone manga volumes following later in the year. The year ends with “Berserk”, currently only being released in volumes, again being taken up, but this time by the Japanese magazine Young Animal where it has enjoyed serialization ever since. That year, Miura decides to dedicate himself solely to working on “Berserk”.

1997 saw the release of various art books and supplements by Miura based on “Berserk” as well as Miura overseeing the production of a 25 episode animated series based on his “Berserk” to be aired on Nihon TV in Japan. Since then in more recent times, the manga has made its way to 26 released volumes, 27 just around the corner and it is still going strong and with no end in sight, as well as having picked up a cultural award, second place supposedly, for Miura in 2002 earning him one million yen. The series has also spawned a whole host of merchandise, both official and fan made, ranging from statues, actions figures to key rings, video games, and a trading card game.

Both the manga and the anime have had success outside Japan, with both already available throughout Europe having been translated into various other languages from its original Japanese. America has just been privy to the release of the anime resulting in a push for more to be created, and possibly indirectly bringing about an official English release of the manga, the first three volumes available for purchase in the States as of now.

And that’s not mentioning all his dedicated fans, and the communities that have built up around his "Berserk".
-----------------------

I hope that you have enjoyed it (Well, that if you bothered reading the whole thing )
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Last edited by Sugetsu; 2004-05-31 at 22:26.
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Old 2004-09-13, 02:45   Link #5
Sugetsu
Kurumada's lost child
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Second Season Information Taken from http://www.thespectrum.net/

Season 2 Information

Q. Season 2? Yes or no?
(The following is from Animenation's article, Ask John. Since it was written very good, I won't be editing anything.)

A. The 25 episode Kenpu Denki Berserk animation aired on late night Japanese TV between October 7, 1997 and March 31, 1998. The series earned unusually high ratings for its timeslot- higher ratings than contemporary late night shows including Outlaw Star and Vampire Miyu, but was still a late night show with a very limited target audience and very limited commercial potential. The TV series ending, which has been steadily criticized by American fans for years, was extended the year after its initial broadcast with the release of the Japanese Dreamcast game "Kenpu Denki Berserk: Sennen Teikoku no Taka Hen Sousitubana no Shou," released in Japan on December 16, 1999. This Dreamcast game continued the TV series story, but still did not provide a resolution to Gutts' conflict with Griffith. (This video game was released in America on March 16, 2000 under the title "Sword of the Berserk.")

In April 2002, nearly four years after the Berserk animation had ended on Japanese television, Media Blasters announced at the Anime Central convention that Japanese production studio OLM was considering the possibility of producing more Berserk animation. At that time, it was hinted that new animation would have to be produced in an OAV format because the next chapter of the Berserk story was simply too violent for adaptation as television animation. Now, almost a year later, it can only be assumed that OLM has decided against progressing with new Berserk animation. In the nearly 5 years since the Berserk television series ended on Japanese television, there has never been a confirmed report that new Berserk animation was scheduled for production, and there has never even been widespread rumor in Japan of plans for more animation. While the Berserk manga has been a consistent bestseller in Japanese bookstores, the animation was simply never successful enough in Japan to insure a second series. There's always a possibility that strong demand from the American market may lead Media Blasters to encourage the production of more Berserk animation, but at the present time such a hope looks remote.

(Back to me...)
So basically no. As popular as the anime and manga have become in America and Japan (and many other countries for that matter), there really is no real answer to why there isn't a second season in production. There has been countless rumors and sometimes actual news of a new Berserk season or OAV in the making, but until something is actually released, I won't believe it. Perhaps with the upcoming Playstation 2 Berserk game coming out, it might spark some interest in the decision making process of more animated Berserk.

By Fusiongt
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