Comic Con: Tite Kubo (Bleach) Panel Liveblog

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 PMWhat 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 PMWhere does he come up with the opening drawings? He puts characters in clothes he can’t get.

1:40 PMAdvice 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 PMHow 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 PMHow 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 PMWhen 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 PMWill 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 PMIdea 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.

Author: gendomike

Michael lives in the Los Angeles area, and has been into anime since he saw Neon Genesis Evangelion in 1999. Some of his favorite shows include Full Metal Alchemist, Honey and Clover, and Welcome to the NHK!. Since 2003 he has gone to at least one anime convention every year. A public radio junkie, which naturally led to podcasting, he now holds a seminary degree and is looking to become Dr. Rev. Otaku Bible Man any day now. Michael can be reached at You can also find his Twitter account at @gendomike.

16 thoughts on “Comic Con: Tite Kubo (Bleach) Panel Liveblog

  1. No videos or photos? Damn! I wanted to know what his workspace looked like! To see the tools he uses! Argh!!!

  2. @nancyn: you’re welcome.

    @Jonathan: he looks like one of those Asian pop star types. His hair had brown highlights, he wore sunglasses, a beige jacket with a black shirt underneath. All around “cool dude” look. 🙂 And I did not get an autograph–but my fellow staff member, Jeremy, did. He was one of the lucky few. 🙂

    @Ashenge: your frustration is mine, too. Japanese stars tend to be very protective of their image, unlike many American celebrities. They don’t believe in the “any publicity is good publicity” philosophy.

  3. I sat right behind Mike. His summary of the session is extremely accurate. I too was frustrated by no photos of Tite Kubo (“Sensei”). I just checked VIZ Media and nothing is available there (but then Comic-con just wrapped up a couple of hours ago). A very interesting panel.

  4. Thanks for the full coverage!

    Also as a note. In Japan it is considered rude to take film or pictures of a special guests. That is why AX and Comic Con had those standards for their Japanese guests as well.

  5. So no one asked why is bleach called bleach, thats is the question i would have asked

  6. Great job on the coverage! It is a very accurate synopsis. ^^

    That’s pretty interesting how they consider it rude. I mean I can understand it. I think that the US should adopt a little bit of that philosophy. But the VIZ staff was taking lots of pictures of Kubo-sensei while he was at the panel and that autograph session. I think a video of the entire event exists.

    Shonen Jump also had a fan art contest online for those attending the con. I was lucky enough to be one of the 10. O_O I didn’t think I was going to get a slot but I did. They picked the 10 most creative entries. We were able to get an autographed shikishi and have some time to speak with Kubo one on one. (I was so nervous ~_~) We also unexpectedly had to sign a release form at the beginning of the panel and turn it in to a VIZ staff member. It turned out that they wanted to get photos of us with Kubo-sensei. That was quite a shocker for us. I have no idea what they intend to do with those photos. @_@;

    But keep your eyes peeled fellow Bleachers. They may put some really cool stuff on the Bleach Movie Memories of Nobody DVD. I remember that they put some cool footage on some of the InuYasha movie DVDs. Don’t quote me on this though. lol I’m just assuming that that is what they may intend to do. It’s only natural that they would do that but I could be wrong. o.o

  7. I am so jealous of everyone who attended. It’s my dream to be apart of something so memorable.

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