Original interview here. The way the translation is divided does not correspond with the division of the original interview. Corrections, suggestions are welcome!
Mantanweb.jp in 2019 featured an interview with Yukimura Makoto (Vinland Saga, serialised in Kodansha’s Monthly Afternoon) and Noda Satoru (Golden Kamuy, serialised in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump). Part 1 of the translation is here.
One of Golden Kamuy’s charms is the scenes about cooking and meals. Is there any of the dishes that is particularly impressive for you, Yukimura-san?
Yukimura There are many, but the one that really made me think “I want to eat this!” is the battered, deep-fried orca meat (tatsuta-age). That one really looks delicious! While brain is… Maybe if Asirpa-san looked at me with that terrible face, I’d eat it (laughs). The drawings of the meals look really realistic. The ways to prepare them are also depicted in such details. Does Noda-san draw it all from imagination? Or probably he tries to make it himself and takes pictures for collecting data. Whichever way he does it, it’s still great.
Noda There are indeed references such as documented oral explanation from women born in the Meiji era, or materials of how to prepare and eat various animals by an Ainu who was born and raised in Eastern Hokkaido and a Wajin friend who gathered information from the Ainu in early Showa; I used them as references, but I also collected information from an Ainu cuisine restaurant by the side of Lake Akan and went on a deer hunt with an Ainu hunter. Recently, I went to Karafuto to ask Nivkh people to cook various dishes while I took pictures. Various museums and university researchers also kindly supplied me with a lot of pictures and materials, such as old literature that described the taste of crane meat. As for sea turtles, I asked how to prepare it to the people of an izakaya in Chichijima that served sea turtle meat, but a reptile researcher told me that the way of cutting the abdomen that I drew was wrong, so I had to correct it. I also draw stuff out of imagination by referring to modern dishes that are similar to the old dishes, so I really use a lot of ways.
Please tell us about the scene that’s truly impressive for you in each other’s work.
Yukimura There are many of this too, but maybe I’ll go with this one. It’s the scene when they hid inside the belly of deer to escape the cold in Daisetsuzan. Asirpa-san and Sugimoto hid inside the same deer, and he wept to Asirpa’s response to his words about not being able to return to his former self and how his heart was left on the battlefield (cries). That’s such a good scene. I love it. Descriptions of war, violence, and murder have often been made available for consumption as entertainment through media such as manga and films. However, is it ‘just another’ work of violent entertainment, or is it a frank description of violence as an aspect of humanity that’s an inescapable reality? I think it’s the presence of scenes like this that makes the work carry a considerably different meaning. It shows it all yet woven it with that spirit of playfulness; you’re just too cool, Golden Kamuy….!
While the impressive thing about Vinland Saga is?
Noda First of all, it was good to read how the English, who knew the Vikings took a bath in Saturdays, attacked exactly at that moment. The most ideal way to write a story is to develop one based on the customs of the ethnic group in question. My editor-in-charge always told me not to make Golden Kamuy just another manga that introduces a culture. Also, when Bjorn became like that, the day before he had an exchange with Askeladd, “How’s your leg injury?”. I hate spoilers so I won’t go into details, but I really like the seemingly unemotional relationship between war veterans like that.
As a mangaka, is there anything you envy from the other?
Yukimura My answer to this would be similar to the question about what makes me think Golden Kamuy is amazing, but I really envy that abundance of playfulness. I think if I reflect on it, I don’t have that… I am aware that I have this habit of drawing only “the necessary things”. What I mean by “necessary” is what is needed for the progression of the story. I don’t handle my stories with such playfulness. I don’t give it enough room. I don’t think my work has such “unnecessary but fun” parts like Golden Kamuy. Maybe I should have made more fun detours, such as eating tree nuts, hunting, making delicious meals. While reading Golden Kamuy, I’d think of how I wish I could draw a lot of fun like this.
Noda I think a lot of readers like Yukimura-sensei’s hard-headedness. I don’t intend to write Golden Kamuy as a manga that’s mainly about solving the gold mystery. I write it thinking of it as a story of each person searching for their role in life. Because I write it like a drama with multi-protagonists, I feel that I have to write each character with some depth, or else the work would end up half-baked. To tell the truth, I’m a very impatient person, so I want to finish what I want to write as soon as possible.
Who is your favourite character in Golden Kamuy?
Yukimura For me it’s Tanigaki.
Noda For me it’s Tanigaki too. Who is your most favourite chacter in Vinland Saga, Yukimura-sensei? Needless to say, Askeladd is a really good character, and I take the liberty of thinking that he’s the character that exudes Yukimura-sensei’s own personality the most. I simply like skillful professionals like the Ear, but even when I think that he’s good, I secretly laughed when I saw his cruel, merciless eyes.
Yukimura I’m happy that you praised Askeladd like that. Thank you very much. I too really like Askeladd. I think the character’s grown into a strange person that even I do not know how to describe him well, with the so many conflicting sides concealed in him. I don’t know if he’s a bad guy or a good guy, a father or an enemy, a fool or a wise person. I don’t know if my own personality is reflected in him, because I’m not good at objectively assessing myself. I really wonder….
Yukimura If you had to have ukocanupkor (intercourse) with a non-human creature, what creature would that be?
Noda Let’s not go forth with that question. I just want to say that Yukimura-sensei came up with such an insane question.
Yukimura I’m sorry for asking such a ridiculous question (laughs). No, for me, Anehata Shiton is a character that’s too extreme. I’m really impressed that all of the escaped convicts display how nuts they are. How did you come up with these people… Amazing. By the way, if I really had to have ukocanupkor with a non-human creature, I think I’d throw myself naked into a large school of salmon that have migrated upstream to spawn.
To be continued to part 3.