Location: Otakon 2013, Baltimore, MD, USA
Date: August 11, 2013
Kaoru Kurosaki graciously sat down with Anime Secrets to answer a few questions during Otakon 2013. Below is the transcript from the interview.
AS – Have you spent much time in the States before?
Kurosaki-san – This is my fourth time here. I usually come to Anime Expo and Otakon.
AS – So, what is it like being married to a manga artist? What’s challenging or rewarding about it?
Kurosaki-san – When I want to read manga, I grab a Shonen Jump magazine, and Watsuki-sensei comes in and tells me “Don’t read my stories!” As you can imagine, the scheduling is crazy. There’s no shopping together. It’s not like normal couples.
AS – Out of the works your husband has created, what are you favorites?
Kurosaki-san – There are two number ones – Rurouni Kenshin and Busou Renkin.
AS – On Busou Renkin and his newer projects, you’ve been credited as helping him create the story. How much input do you have, and do you enjoy working with your husband?
Kurosaki-san – We start from scratch with plot. Then he makes a storyboard (nemu) and gives it to me, and he asks me to make it better and funnier. We go over and over. It can be very good, but also very frustrating.
AS – As someone who enjoys collaborating, I just want to say it sounds very rewarding despite being difficult.
Kurosaki-san – As you know, it’s tough and rewarding. So I understand that a lot.
AS – A lot of the information I was able to find was about your work with Watsuki-san or his stories. What kind of stories do you like to write?
Kurosaki-san – Well, my favorite type must have three things:
A – It has a kogai (sword?) in it.
B – It must have a deep expression of how characters interact with each other.
And finally, readers must enjoy it and say it was worth reading.
Right now, since I’m doing the novelization of Rurouni Kenshin, I’m working in a historical setting, but time period isn’t important as long as there’s a kogai in it.
AS – How did you meet Watsuki-san?
Kurosaki-san – We met at the Shonen Jump 25th anniversary event. Then again, that’s work too, isn’t it? (laughs) Right now, they’re on the 45th anniversary. We’ve only been married for 8 years, so we dated for a very long time. As a manga artist, he lives in the world of manga, and not the real world. He only comes back to reality once in a while, so maybe it wasn’t so long after all! (laughs) Sometimes when he comes back he tells me that things are going well, and others he learns they aren’t going so well.
Have you had a chance to check out the exhibit (of Watsuki-sensei’s art) yet?
AS – No, I haven’t. Is there any piece in particular I should see?
Kurosaki-san – X-Men Misao! That’s all I can say. There’s a card with the description. You’ll have to see for yourself. (Interviewer’s Note: For the benefit of the readers, in one draft of a Kenshin cover piece, Nobuhiro Watsuki colored Misao from Kenshin with bright blue for the main ground of her outfit and bright yellow for the trim. It definitely gave off a very X-Men-like appearance!)
AS – Finally, I noticed that some current popular Shonen Jump artists worked under Watsuki-san as assistants before, that he helped mentor them and train them. Do you still keep in touch with them?
Kurosaki-san – Even now, we’re still good friends with all the artists. Shonen Jump artists get three breaks a year: Christmas/New Year’s, Golden Week, and one during summer vacation. We all either crash at Watsuki-sensei’s house or Oda-sensei’s (the creator of One Piece) house to relax and talk about manga.
AS – That’s all, I think. Thank you very much for talking with me today!
Kurosaki-san – Thank you very much!