Interview with Yuri Manga Artist Fujieda Miyabi

May 16th, 2010

There’s not too much to say as an introduction. I have been enjoying Fujieda-sensei’s work since 2004 when I encountered it in Yuri Shimai. That story would eventually be published as Kotonoha no Miko to Kotodama no Majyo to. I liked how cute his stories were and was charmed by the goofy humor of Iono-sama Fantics and the gentle calm of Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan.

I also believe that Fujieda-sensei has the best costume design sense in the entire manga industry. So, when he agreed to answer a few questions, you can imagine how thrilled I was. ^_^

Continuing my series of interviews with Yuri Artists, it is my unbelievable pleasure to present a short interview with Fujieda Miyabi-sensei.

***

Q1: Please tell us about yourself.

A: My name is Fujieda Miyabi.

Even though I draw mostly to make myself happy, I am glad that there are overseas fans who can enjoy my clumsy work.

Q2: How did you become a mangaka? Did you want to be one when you were a child?

A: When I was publishing original doujinshi (self-published works) I was scouted by an editor and became a pro. That original work was Twinkle Saber Nova. It’s not a Yuri work.

Q3: Which artists inspire you?

Although I am ignorant about Fine Art, the manga art that most inspires me is Nagano Mamoru’s Five Star Stories. After that, the CLAMP-sensei, Kouga Yun-sensei and others whose work I admired in my youth.

Q4: If you weren’t a mangaka, what would you be doing?

A: Before I set my sight on being a mangaka, I thought I might become a chef.
Even now, I like to keep my hand in and do design work.

Q5: What was your motivation to start creating Yuri Manga?

A: When two women are happy together as a couple, I can say that that is the time I am at my happiest. In my middle school years, I became acquainted with the idea of drawing same-sex couples through CLAMP-sensei’s and Kouga Yun-sensei’s work, and I began to think about doing stories with female couples. Once I passed through technical school for drawing manga, I began to draw Yuri manga.

Q6: Can you tell us a little bit about your process?

On average I draw about 16 pages every two weeks, but my production schedule is pretty unsteady. Faster if I’m running out of time.

Q7: How were Iono-sama Fanatics and Ame-iro Kouchkan Kandan received by the Japanese audience?

A: Iono-sama Fanatics was not a romantic love story between two women, but was drawn to be a story about a loving Queen with a harem. Those people who prefer mainly comical series seemed to like it. Ame-iro is about only two women, the ones who like it are those who take time and read it slowly and gently.

As an author, these both make me happy. I think Ame-iro is more popular and has gained more readers, though.

Q8: It is not unusual for a man to draw Yuri however, your work has a gentle, feminine atmosphere. What are your thoughts on drawing women’s emotions and thoughts?

Of course, because I am a man, women’s feelings are difficult.

But, I think it’s the same as when it’s a woman and a man, that sense of wanting to be kind to one another. That’s my first thought. How much of that emotion, of feelings of kindness or happiness is just in my imagination depending on the scene that I’m drawing.

Q9: Is there something you’d like to ask your overseas fans?

A: To the fans who anticipate my next work, what kind of story would you like to see?
I’d like to hear from you.

(This is Erica: You can visit his website, Moonphase or follow him on Twitter and contact him directly!)

Q10: Do you have a message for your overseas fans?

A: I am still inexperienced, but from here on, I will to the best of my abilities, continue to work as a Yuri manga artist. From far away, I will work hard to confer upon you happy hours.
Should you encounter my next work, I will be happy.

See you again.

***

Thank you Fujieda-sensei for taking time from your busy schedule and answering our questions – and thank you everyone for reading this interview.

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40 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    This reminded me about Infinity Studios abandoning Iono-sama after the first volume. Not fair.

  2. @Anonymous – It wasn’t “not fair.” Not enough people bought it, so they couldn’t afford to do the second volume.

  3. GregC says:

    What a nice guy. I can see why his stories are enjoyable.

  4. Pocky says:

    I’d love to see him do more adventure Yuri tales (in fact HE should have been behind the El Cazador de la Bruja manga adaptation lol)

    but I could definitely see him making a great adventure series with Yuri owo

    I think he’s a great artist and writer, I love his work to death, so I hope to see more from him in general

    oh, dang I don’t think I can mail him, since his site seems completely Japanese

    can ya forward that to him Erica? owo

  5. Mandy says:

    What a wonderful interview. Fujieda-sensei seems like such a kind and dedicated artist. Please convey our sincere thanks to him for all his hard work! He is absolutely one of my favorite artists and I think it’s awesome he took the time to speak with you and give a message to his overseas fans. :)

  6. @Pocky – Yes, his site is in Japanese. He is from Japan, drawing Japanese manga for a Japanese audience. This really should not surprise people.

  7. Mara says:

    Fantastic. As always this is the sort of thing that you can not get in just any manga blog. Good show to both Erica and Fujieda.

    Damn awesome as well to hear that he was influenced by CLAMP and Yun Kouga, two other favorites of mine. Now he merely needs to power up someone else into making great manga and the cycle will continue.

  8. @Mara – I agree – and I think he already has. His assistant Minamoto is the creator of the series “Fufu” that is running in Yuri Hime S.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This interview was a fabulous surprise. He’s my favorite manga artist and I have always respected him for his work, now I respect him even more for his thoughtful responses. Thank you for this interview!

  10. Rikaishi says:

    Clumsy?! What rubbish. There’s all sorts of superlatives you could use to describe his work like Beautiful or Enchanting, clumsy ain’t even in the running.

  11. @Rikaishi – I agree with you, of course. He chose the term for himself. It’s called “being humble” and mangaka do that rather regularly in interviews.

  12. Antoinette says:

    *sigh* I’d ask him to marry me if I weren’t so completely “not-straight”. Have to admit, I was a little surprised at the CLAMP influence but that could be due to my own bias against CLAMP manga. I’m so not fond of them. His Nanoha doujins are among my favorites. His work always makes me want to sit by an open window and have a cup of something soothing to drink.

  13. Eric P. says:

    He does sound humble, but that probably leaves room for the rest of us to say that he’s definitely a terrific artist. Nice, insightful interview with the man himself!

  14. darkchibi07 says:

    @ Mara – I would say the next step for him is have one of his works become an anime series. Get the right animation studio and character designer, and his stuff would look downright gorgeous!

  15. Cryssoberyl says:

    Thank you for bringing us this, and please thank Mr. Fujieda again, both for doing this interview and for his continuing Yuri work. Both are greatly appreciated.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Fujieda Miyabi is one of my favorite mangaka, so this interview was a pleasant little surprise.

    I really wish there was more of a market for his works here in the States. It would be wonderful to see one of his series succeed over here, not to mention well deserved.

  17. Pocky says:

    @Erica

    umm, I was being sarcastic since you told people to go speak with him, but not all of us speak/write in Japanese o,o

    no need to snap at me there

  18. @Pocky – I was being helpful and linking to his site. There’s no need to be incredulous about how not arranged around your convenience the world is.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Lovely. I always like reading what mangaka themselves have to say about their work, and Fujieda-sensei is one of my favorites.
    This is perhaps something more general and not specifically aimed at Fujieda-sensei himself, though I’m sure he’d do a wonderful job with it, but I’ve always wanted to see a Yuri detective story.

  20. Anonymous says:

    @Pocky – Give up. Erica writes great reviews and has lots of information, but she’s spiteful and rude, doubly so if you try and point out a mistake on her part (misinterpreting your sarcasm). Acting like her mistake is all your fault is a childish way of trying to keep herself from looking bad, as far as I can tell.

    I’ve given up posting comments here because of that; Erica makes it too unpleasant to try and conduct a discussion or make a joke here. Just read for the information and ask questions on friendlier Yuri sites–there’s plenty out there. :)

  21. @Anonymous – Don’t you just love irony? :-)

  22. BruceMcF says:

    Like sarcasm, irony so rarely makes it through the narrow filter of plain text that when it makes it through, it should be treasured.

    On the question, of course, girls w/guns, Yuri in space (that is, not Mr. Yuri in space, Planetes already had that), and Yuri fantasy quest, thanks.

    If that’s too much drawring, all three at once could well be just as good.

  23. @Bruce McF – He’s already done scfi-fi in Twinkle Saber Nova, although, as he says that’s not really Yuri. I was thinking a good D&D quest would be fun, as well.

  24. Ashrie says:

    Such a great manga-ka. Thank you for this awesome interview with one of my favourite artists :):)

  25. darkchibi07 says:

    Ohhh, as for future premises, what about having lesbian vampires? That ype of thing needs to be exploited more often in manga and anime!

    Or if you want something rather different, about a story of a girl aspiring to become an escape artist like Harry Houdini. Her assistant can be a cute girl who’s also her girlfriend (or becomes her girlfriend).

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m thinking a hospital story of some sort might suit Fujieda’s style pretty well (and I’d really like to see him draw women in those white coats). Also, he’s pretty much the only manga author I would trust to write a story like that without resorting to a Mysterious Terminal Illness for cheap drama points.

  27. BruceMcF says:

    Yeah, SF girls in space school with battle armor, but not Yuri so much.

    But something out of school … even if just barely. A newly graduated space transport crew is hired to carry the newly graduated magic special forces school graduates to their new assignment, when they are waylaid by pirates.

    And then hijinks ensue, as the captain and her crew and the sergeant at arms and her squad fight against misfortune as they try to reclaim their ship, deliver their cargo and take their postings.

    And is the sergeant really as annoyed by the high spirited attitude of the captain as it appears, or is there something else at work?

    ^_^

  28. Nathan says:

    His answer to the first question made me smile like an idiot for some reason. It’s so placid and guileless, even beyond its self-effacing quality.

    Placid and guileless – that seems to be the sort of man and artist Fujieda Miyabi is.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I can’t read Japanese either, but I went to http://www.moonphase.jp/ and looked in the upper right-hand corner of the page. There are three links in English: “home,” “about,” and “contact.”

    I clicked “contact” and got to http://www.moonphase.jp/contact.html . The names of the fields you can fill in are shown in both Japanese and English:

    “お名前*
    your name”

    “メールアドレス*
    e-mail address”

    “確認用メールアドレス*
    e-mail address”

    “ご用件*
    inquiry body”

    Since Japanese is one of the more common languages on the internet, you can even go find a web translator to translate your letter to him from your English to comprehensible-if-not-good Japanese. When you’re writing stuff to be translated by a machine, spell everything correctly (none of that txt msg or LOL or ^_^ stuff) and don’t use slang. Then, include the translated Japanese and your English original (so he, and/or someone he knows who can read English if he can’t, can refer to the original if the machine messed up).

  30. Anonymous says:

    Nice interview!

    Having just found out about your blog, I was wondering if you have any idea what is happening with the second English volume of Iono-sama Fanatics? Is there any chance that you could forward a question on this and possible the rest of Fujiedas licenses? I’m sure that other readers of your blog would be interested in this too.

  31. @Anonymous – See the rest of the comments for your answer.

  32. Anonymous says:

    @Erica Friedman
    Well, I saw the site links and how to mail him…I just thought that maybe instead of using an imperfect translator, it couldn’t hurt to ask for you help.

  33. @Anonymous – READ the first two comments. They *are* the answer to your question.

    Sheesh.

  34. Anonymous says:

    @Erica Friedman
    I assume you mean:

    “This reminded me about[…]”

    and

    “@Anonymous – It wasn’t “not fair.[…]

    I know that they couldn’t do it, but it seems to me that maybe it had nothing to do with any specific title. Anyway, if you meant those two posts it still doesn’t say anything about the current state of the license.

  35. @Anonymous – This is where you realize that that is all the information you’re gonna get without contacting Infinity Studio directly and asking them a nosy question that’s frankly none of your business.

    No, I do not have any information I can share with you. Stop asking now.

  36. Anonymous says:

    >a nosy question that’s frankly none of your business.

    That’s quite rude answer…

    I agree that it’s technically not my “business” but as a person interested in this series from a fan point of view I can’t see how it’s not in my interest to at least try to find out.

    N.B. This is not a question :).

  37. @Anonymous – Hint: This was not the way to go about it.

    I won’t be posting any further comments you make, you’ve ceased to be entertaining.

  38. Kanan says:

    Getting angry this whole thing seems rather silly, wasn’t this just a mistake anonymous? Try to contact someone from IF instead.

  39. Fujieda Miyabi-sensei is a wonderful person and very easy to contact if you make even the smallest effort. Infinity Studio is not as easy to contact, but is not impossible. You are all very welcome to contact them on your own. I am not open for messenger service for you you on this matter or any other.

    I hope this clarifies things.

  40. Anonymous says:

    It sure did, I’m sorry for this misunderstanding and I leave with no hard feelings.

    All the best.

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