No video or photos were allowed. I guess this is the way Japanese guests are usually handled–it’s like AX. Starting in about 5 minutes.
1:15 PM – Kubo has entered the stage in sunglasses. Looks like a pop star or something.
1:16 PM – Kubo presented with an award from Comic Con Int’l. From the cheers I can tell the audience just got much younger than from the preceding Transformers panel.
1:19 PM – 10 kids from Japan are here, Shounen Jump essay winners. Also, we will be getting limited edition posters as we leave.
1:20 PM – “I am very glad to see you all, thank you very much” –Kubo
1:22 PM – Kubo thinks this is “immensely huge” compared to Japanese events. First impressions of being in America: he had to get his passport for this. Strong sunlight makes everything colorful here.
1:25 PM – Has Kubo done any drawing in his time here? (He has to produce 19 pages a week, after all.) He actually worked ahead of time so he could home here. Not a procrastinator (unlike me).
1:26 PM – Footage of his workspace. World exclusive. There are desks for his assistants as well, a big screen TV. Pictures of his chairs and metal suitcase he bought to come ovr here. A miniature TV just as decoration. A rare Bleach watch. Oddly enough, Bobobobo in some background art; he had asked a sketch/autograph exchange. The man has a vast CD collection, too (1200-1300 on a shelf; others stacked up). Picture of a kitchen, which is clean because they never cook!
1:32 PM – Upstairs: Kubo’s actual work area. Footage of him working with a ton of markers next to him. He’s coloring. HIs work chair was chosen based on design and he drew Aizen’s chair like it. Handing manuscripts and fan letters to his editor.
1:35 PM – Video portion over. Now questions from audience.
1:35 PM – What inspired him to become a manga artist? Decided when he was in elementary school. He became interested in architecture and design after he had already become a manga artist.
1:37 PM – Inspriation for Bleach: inspired by the image of Soul Reapers in kimonos. Wanted to draw something no one had seen before.
1:38 PM – Kubo puts character, not plot, first.
1:39 PM – What inspired him to put Spanish/Mexican culture in Bleach? Nothing intentional with the character Chad. However, he just sensed he had a Mexican heritage. Someone in audience shouts “Viva La Raza!”
1:40 PM – Where does he come up with the opening drawings? He puts characters in clothes he can’t get.
1:40 PM – Advice for aspiring manga artists: Seems stumped…”believe in your talent.” Do something you yourself must enjoy; otherwise it’s dishonest to charge someone for your story.
1:42 PM – How did Quincy and its name come about (JEREMY’S QUESTION!): “I created Uryu to be Ichigo’s rival character, so, for that, I put him in white clothing.” He uses arrows because it’s long range, and it will be difficult for Ichigo to fight him. The Quincys’ name is from his five point star; in Japan this is a symbol. If you call every archer a “Quincy Archer” it sounds like a person’s name, so he liked it.
1:45 PM – How do you draw action scenes? Plays rock music in his head as he draws it. He pauses the action and try to swing around in 3D mentally to find the best angle.
1:46 PM – When did he realize he had such a big fanbase in the US? Yesterday!
1:47 PM – Pancha Diaz, Viz editor asks: What part of the process does he enjoy the most? When thinking of the story, if it’s something he’s been waiting to do for a while, he enjoys it very much. Usually has a scene rundown of things to draw in his head. Connecting scenes are a bit harder. Inking is also enjoyable for him.
1:49 PM – Pancha Diaz again: How long between drawing and publication? Between 2-3 weeks. Diaz, by contrast notes, has to do 6 months in advance.
1:50 PM – Will there be an Isshin backstory? Yes! He knew from the start he was a Soul Reaper.
1:51 PM – Three minutes left. Is the Kon doll inspired by something from his childhood? Wanted to create something fake looking, where you put random things together–like a sewing line in the middle of the face. Backstory: a father bought a cheap stuffed animal for his child, and the child threw it away because it was ugly–that’s why he is on the street.
1:54 PM – Idea for Hell Butterflies: Looked up in a dictionary for word that goes well with “Soul Reaper.” It is a kind of butterfly that is another name for a real butterfly species. Prefers to fly in the dark, and it fits well with the Soul Reapers. End of panel.