Last week, Keiji Inafune answered a bunch of fan submitted questions. This week, it's Mega Man Megamix author and illustrator Hitoshi Ariga's turn. Ariga had some time to sit down and answer a few questions, with subjects ranging from his work on the Megamix comics, inspirations and more. Straight from Capcom Unity, here's what he had to say...
1) Oakie620 asks: What inspired your work on Mega Man Megamix? And do you have any interest in working on manga based on another Mega Man series such as X, Zero, ZX, Legends, Battle Network or Star Force?
I was originally a manga artist for a magazine called Comic Bom Bom published by Kodansha in Japan. I mainly worked on one-shot mangas but also worked on 4-panel Mega Man manga at a time. I received many positive reviews for those works, and the publisher asked me to work on the Rockman Tanjo Densetsu (direct translation: Legendary of the Birth of Mega Man). I started to receive more work from Kodansha, and one day they brought me a one-shot Mega Man feature for a Comic Bom Bom extra edition. That was the Mega Man Remix which eventually served the basis for Mega Man Megamix. There had had already been a Mega Man serial manga in the original Comic Bom Bom issues, written by Shigeto Ikehara. His manga was initially created to serve as a game strategy guide. I loved the detailed illustration of his work. His being the original, I thought mine should be somewhat different as a special version. Hence, I paid a special attention the art design to differentiate it from his work. I designed the robots slightly different from the original art including Mega Man himself.
What influenced me most was the Gundam serial manga by Kazuhisa Kondo in Comic Bom Bom. In Kondo’s Gundam manga, Mobile Suit I saw in the TV animation was illustrated in more detail with an additional maintenance hatch. That impressed me quite a bit who was then an elementary school kid. To add details to modify the original forms has become quite common nowadays, like you see in the Gundam figurines. I think that it was Kondo who established the trend of “turning the original art into more elaborate one”. I thought it was a great idea to adapt Kondo’s concept into my art. After discussing the idea with the editor, I worked on Mega Man to add more details along with all the robots created by both Dr. Light and Dr. Wily and submitted them to Capcom for approval. From then on, Inafune-san was in charge of overseeing the character design directly. He gave me feedbacks and we worked together to gradually add more robots.
I’ve always liked those independent robots compared to human controlled vehicular robots. Mega Man was my favorite game of all times, so being a young artist, I felt very passionate about drawing Mega Man manga. I poured all the energy into the work. That is how Mega Man Megamix got started.
Well, I would really love to work on other Mega Man series, but there are so many great artists out there already working on some of the Mega Man series so I don’t know if I get a chance to work on another one. No one has created an epic manga based on Mega Man Legend so if would love to work on that.
2) Eduardo asks: I like drawing the character from time to time, so I have a minor problem when looking at the blade in Forte's helm, in my understanding, the entirety of the yellow (inside) of the blades is one smooth concave shape, and the whole outer side (black) of the blades is convex, some artist draw it angled somewhere atop of the helm, then only the back-half is convex, and the front half is either plane or concave, wich is the accurate one? or is it all just perspective?
I, too, have a hard time drawing Forte. I also really like his helm, but I admit that it’s really hard to draw it in a three-dimension form. I think Capcom has the answer for this one, but ultimately, I think it’s the best to draw it however you like it as an artist.
3) Cory asks: Who was your most favorite Mega Man Character to draw in the comics and why?
My favorite is Heat Man. Out of all the boss characters, I think he is the best. I must say I like almost everything about the character, namely the tackle action, sound effects, and even the stage music in the game. Whenever I draw Heat Man, it reminds me of the time I was deeply enthralled by the video games. I also like Dr. Wily. He’s evil but somehow lovable and very “humanly” character. Dr. Light, on the other hand, is always well-behaved, but seems too controlled to get loosen up.
4) Koop asks: Ariga-san, when you write your stories for Megamix/Gigamix/etc, where do you get the inspiration for each of the different characters' personalities?
The characters didn’t have much of a personality in the early stage of the development, but they had more of functionalities for robots. (For example, Cut Man was designed for outdoor work so he’s rain resistant etc.) So I imagined each personality based on his moves from the game. I brainstormed the story for the manga while playing the game, fighting each boss character over and over. For instance, I determined Skull Man’s personality based on the fact that he doesn’t move until the player takes the first move. I also got inspirations from the weapons they use. I had conversations in my head, “If this is his weapon, his personality could be like…” and so on. Flash Man must have a mean bone since he stops time and attacks. From mid-dated to later-day Mega Man robots, there had been some personalities officially fixed from the game, so if their characteristics didn’t conflict with the overall Megamix world, I tried to stick to the official settings. There are bosses from Mega Man 5 that are a bit prankish though…
5) Mikael asks: What had specifically inspired you to become an artist/illustrator?
One day I just found myself lost in drawing. I’ve always liked to draw since I was little. I was so moved by New World by Osamu Tezuka and inspired to become a manga artist. I had never realized until then that manga artists could tell such great stories. Something so great can come out of manga. I aspired to create a grandeur world and tell my own story through my manga. That desire has led me where I am today.