The holidays are over! I was working on my comic’s volume 4. The writing and revision for volume 4 took a long time, but somehow I managed to finish. Just the front cover, I kept drawing and drawing endlessly, and I’m still touching up. Somehow or another it became a situation where I kept wondering if I should do a little more…
This week’s issue of Magi was an encounter between Judar and Aladdin. It took a long time to get here, but finally the fellow magi were able to meet. Because I also want the Balbadd arc to steadily reach its climax from here, please look forward to it!
Aladdin and Judar are fellow magi, so I made their hairstyles, outfits, silhouettes, and so on similar, but I drew them with opposite color schemes. Which reminds me, because Aladdin and Judar, as well as Morgiana, are all barefoot, I often receive letters asking, “do you like drawing barefoot characters?”, but I just like drawing. Parts like hands and feet are difficult, but drawing itself is fun.
This image is a rough sketch from before I had decided Judal’s design. When doing character designs, being able to give them a distinct silhouette, and being able to draw in weekly increments while keeping their characteristics consistent is difficult. Hidden undeneath the rough Judal sketch are new characters that I’m planning to have appear in the story soon, so please look forward to them.
This week’s chapter is an Aladdin vs. Judal Magi Showdown! It got somewhat flashier than I was expecting, and it will continue for a few weeks, but please stay with it. Magi are very determined…is what I was thinking. Please look out for Aladdin as his hidden strength is gradually revealed. And in the face of intense inflation, and increasingly dimming shadows, please wait patiently for Alibaba to take action too.
"The currently airing drama, Prostitute and Lady (娼婦と淑女=Shoufu to Shukujo), is pretty interesting. While watching every episode, I do look forward to the moment when timeless proverbs are stated, but I also can’t get enough of Yumi Adachi in men’s clothes. She looks good in them. So cool! I can’t concentrate on my work on the manga.
In this week’s Magi, there will be a colored frontispiece that features Aladdin and Judar. This is the first time I’m coloring Judar and gave it some thought while doing so. I was especially fired up while coloring his abs to the point they look so protruded. He ended up looking so strong! However, a ‘magi’ is a magician, so basically, they are supposed to be weaker and less buffed than normal people. Even so, I’m not sure if I’m going with that concept, since a magi who can’t use magic or summon djinns will surely lose in a fist fight.
We’re continuing with the Aladdin vs Judar this week. Ugo is going to participate as well!“
“In the picture are the rough designs for Sinbad, Jafar and Masrur. Regarding the short Sinbad, I think at first I wanted to make him a bit younger. As for Jafar’s current weapon, they are throwing knives that were based on the Chinese darts and bola. I think I originally wanted to arm him with a whip.
Yesterday, I bought a new laptop. Now I can watch DVDs while working in my room that doesn’t have a TV. Speaking of which, last week, I filled in the chapter with ink while watching Revolutionary Girl Utena. Prostitute and Lady as well surprised me with its themes of friendship between girls who can be warm or icy toward each others at times. Just before the deadlines they shake the drowsiness off me.
In this week’s Magi, what will be the outcome of the Aladdin/Judar fight? It’s a fight where everyone is showing off that I worked on with enthusiasm. I hope you enjoy it!”
“The image above is the volume 4 cover that features Sinbad and his two attendants. It will be out on the 18th of this month. Drawing Sinbad in formal clothing made me feel like something was off. I prefer the Sinbad from before who encountered the theives. There will be more bonus material than in volume 3, I hope you like it.
In the previous chapter a number of new characters appeared. Creating new characters can be quite difficult, but it’s also fun. The thing I’m worst at while creating them is naming them. Solely relying on Arabian Nights won’t do, so I’m going to borrow from other countries as well. The thing is, a lot of Arabian names start with an ‘A’. Aladdin and Alibaba can be mistaken for one another, so I must make sure not to have too many names starting with an ‘A’.”
“An apology: Last week and this week as well. the djinn of the Kou female character had the same name as one of Sinbad’s djinns. This is totally the fault of the author, me. I apologize to everyone who were confused by this. It will be corrected in the volume release, so have mercy on me…so embarrassing~
The imege above is the first colored picture of the princess. Regarding the princess’ metal vessel that is shaped like a hairpin, it was designed by the renowned Mr. T, who’s notorious for designing things that ‘radiate the delicacy of an ogre’. Mr. T also designed the accessories worn by Paimon, Abhmad and Sabhmad.
Regarding her attendant, Koubun Ka, if this was a manga taking place in modern times, he would’ve likely been that character who wears glasses. In the world of Magi, there are no glasses, and so, I went with the tattoo on his face *laughs*. When I didn’t draw glasses on him, I just realized how important glasses are in our daily lives. Glasses…
It’s not related to Magi, but I’ve been drawing manga since long ago and my eyesight is still comparatively good, so I don’t need glasses. Not knowing the proper structure of glasses, I anger my little sister (an optician) when I draw them wrong in manga. Glasses…
This week, the long fight will finally be concluded!”
Note: I think Ohtaka was referring to the new world in Magi, since some characters in Alma Toran were wearing glasses. Alma Toran was technologically advanced compared to the new world.
“Yesterday, I went to the beauty salon. Even though I’ve been going there for two years, I always felt too awkward to talk to the beautician about my job. I wondered if a bit of a publicity was such a bad idea….after rethinking it, I started with explaining that I work in a magazine publisher and introduced myself with: ‘I’m Shinobu Ohtaka! I’m involved in the serialization of Magi!’
‘MAJOR is the only manga I’m reading,’ is what he said. I hope you continue enjoying reading Magi.
“On the 26th was the book signing in Shibuya (note: to commemorate the release of volume 4). I thank everyone who had come despite the heat. We were quite behind schedule and we are sorry to have kept you waiting. I really wanted to talk to you more! As for me, everyone who talked to me was quite fun and made me laugh throughout the entire thing. That occasion really filled me with energy. I really enjoyed it.
I read all your letters. They made me so happy I almost cried. I decorated my office with the flowers and clay dolls seen in the image above and I’ll treasure them. I’ll also enjoy using the stationary and the bathing powders I received. As for the sweets, I already ate most of them *laughs*! I’ll also get around to start playing the games you gave me. It’s all fun!
I also thank the bookstore staff that helped the other day. As a way to express my gratitude, I’ll do my best working on the manga!
This week’s Magi will center around Alibaba and Sabhmad. The mystery involving the opposite side in the Balbadd arc will be solved. Also, in this week as well, there will be frontispiece that depicts Aladdin, Alibaba and Morgiana going on a journey. I would like for these three to go on a journey around the world one day.”
“The drawing is one I did in the book signing the other day. It depicts in size the number of drawing requests each character got. Of the 150 requests, half of them were for Morgiana and Alibaba came in second. Surprisingly, there was a lot of demand on Jafar. Sinbad only got three *laughs*. Once again, thank you for coming!
In this week’s Magi we are continuing with Sabhmad’s revelation regarding what’s really happening in Balbadd. Sabhmad is an incredibly thoughtful character. Some manga characters are good-looking, some lack good looks, but can be totally self-assertive with appealing personalities. There are also characters skilled at fighting who possess special abilities. Sabhmad isn’t any of those. He’s an ordinary human being overshadowed by others. Writing about strong and cool superhero type characters is fun, but I also want to write about someone like Sabhmad.
This week as well there will be a frontispiece of Aladdin and the others going on a journey. It was inspired by a Tibetan festival. I’d like to go there and see it.“
“Lately, my assisstants and I have been borrowing novels and DVDs from each other and reading and watching all sorts of things. It totally feels good when others enjoy the stuff that you recommend to them!
It looks like the novel that I borrowed from Mr. M, Tokyo Island, will get a movie adaption. I really want to see it. It looks like they are screening it nearby and I want to check it out. This week’s backstage picture depicts it.
It’s not related to the picture, but this week will be the showdown (?) between Alibaba and Sinbad. This time they won’t be crossing swords, but metal vessels while discussing things. It looks like it will be a turning point for Alibaba. There will also be characters who haven’t appeared in a while, I hope you enjoy reading it!”
“Next month volume 5 will be out. I just finished drawing the cover. It’s something I wanted to do since long ago and so, I was all fired up. It will be posted on this backstage blog just before the release date, please, look forward to it!
This week’s Magi will be centered around Alibaba and Cassim who are reunited with each after a long time. It will be a crucial moment for Alibaba. Alibaba has been seen with a grim expression lately and I want him to hang in there.
While drawing Alibaba with such an expression, I remembered that at first, Alibaba was supposed to be a character with a terribly gloomy personality. Following that scenario, in order to balance the party, Morgiana was going to be a cheerful girl (see the image above). The story could’ve been different if I had gone with that. Even if the setting remained the same, the characters having different personalities compared to now would’ve resulted in the story heading in a completely different direction. There can be difficult scenarios to work with while writing a manga, but that’s in itself fun.”
“The picture is the volume 5 cover that will be out next month. Ever since I decided this is going to be a manga inspired by Arabian Nights, I wanted to draw something with the theme of the night. I really enjoyed working on it. I already settled on who’s going to be on volume 5 cover since long ago, but I don’t know about the upcoming volumes.
This week’s Magi will open with a colored page. Starting from this chapter, things are getting worse and Alibaba is going to try his hardest. Hang in there, Alibaba! Aladdin is also nearing his recovery. Today’s frontispiece will have Amon. I enjoyed drawing his fake muscles (fake muscles=drawn while being aware it’s impossible for a character to have those muscles with their body and build. It was still fun drawing them)
“This week’s Magi will be the first chapter to center around Alibaba’s struggle during the raid. What await Alibaba, who marched into there alone, are many enemies and difficulties, and one wonders if he’s going to be alright. Please, root for him.
The Kou princess from before is also going to make an appearance. It can be difficult remembering the names of the characters in a fantasy work, especially characters who come from fictitious countries who go by made-up names! I had trouble naming the Kou Empire characters. The names of the main Kou Empire characters include a chinese character that refers to a color. Please, remember them by those colors.
This month on the 18th volume 5 will be out. To commemorate its release is a one-shot starring Morgiana and it will be published in Sunday. I hope you enjoy it!”
“Everyday is hot, isn’t it? I wonder how everyone is spending their summer break.
Yesterday, I attended a friend’s wedding and I did a drawing on the welcome board. Taking note of the bridegroom’s family, I drew something that wasn’t very manga-like and it didn’t end up being very popular (laugh)! Maybe I should’ve gone with something that would stand out more, like the drawing above.
We’re continuing with Alibaba’s one-man battle. One would wonder if he will be able to djinn equip at this point. While working on this chapter, I drew Alibaba sustaining a lot of injuries and him looking like he was in pain to the point it made me grimace.
Finally, volume 5 will be out today. One thing worth noting is how unhealthy Judar looks on the cover.”
The picture depicts the two’s reaction to the serious development concerning Alibaba lately. I like working on serious chapters and those that are not so serious that might be on the silly side.
These recent chapters are going to be compiled in volume 6. Since they are on the serious side, I’m planning for the omake to be on the silly side.
In this week’s Magi, Alibaba will finally be breaking into the center of the enemy stronghold. Sinbad will also be moving out, and Aladdin is undergoing some sort of a transformation?“
“In the picture are the main characters with their hairstyles swapped. The way Morgiana’s hairstyle doesn’t suit Aladdin exceeded my expectations that I’m actually satisfied with how he looks with it.
In this week’s Magi, we finally reached the inside of the palace. Sabhmad really stood out and I really like his character, but depicting his anthropophobia is something I can’t skip over and it pains me to write him like that. It makes me think ‘it would be nice if Sabmad is a more cheerful character!’, but it’s unreasonable to think such a thing. He’s a characters who tries his hardest and his perseverance is admirable.
I’m working on volume 6 omake. I have a number of pages to spare in the volume itself and so I have the chance to do a long omake. It will be titled ‘The Idiot, the Princess and the Attendant’s Adventures in Balbadd’. I hope you enjoy it.”
“Even though Kougyoku is around seventeen, the editor comments with ‘she looks old’ every time I draw her. Just why does she look old to him? Is it because of her lower eyelashes?”
“In this week’s Magi is the conclusion of the Alibaba vs Kougyoku. Last week, Sinbad appeared to help Alibaba, but it looks like Balbadd is still at an overwhelming disadvantage. One would wonder if Alibaba will be able to pull through.
In the picture above are the three who were accompanying Sinbad last week. I want to and it will make me happy if the countries that they came from give a different feel from the other countries and villages that were introduced so far. The setting so far is mainly inspired by the Middle East and Asian countries, but I’m also thinking about introducing characters who hail from western, southern and northern countries.
I’m working on the manga while being surrounded by mountains of cardboard boxes that will be delivered to my new residence. I finished working on volume 6. Before the release of volume 6, we’re planning to release an omake manga. Please, check it out!”
“Kougyoku’s character was originally more eccentric and an extremely extravagant girl. However, when I started writing about her character in the story, she turned out to be the type that takes responsibility and fulfills it. ‘Could she be blood type A?’ was what I thought.
In the world of Magi, the concept of characters’ personalities being controlled by their blood type doesn’t exist. I haven’t decided on the blood type of each character, but I wonder if Kougyoku, Koubun, Hakuei and Alibaba are blood type A.”
‘At first, Cassim’s character was quite different from what he is now, I was planning for something like what appears in the image above (the idea was rejected early on). The Balbadd arc could have been totally different otherwise.’
“This week, we’re continuing with the Balbadd arc’s final battle. Last week toeards the end, Alibaba was able to stop the black demon that even Sinbad wasn’t able to stop.
That being said, the previous chapter marked the first time Sinbad was in tatters. Until now, I have written Sinbad to be this undefeatable, flawless superhuman, and as an author, having Sinbad lose a battle made me feel at last he was in the end a human.”
“The characters in the picture are the two magis dressed in Chinese clothes.
There’s a theory that the character Aladdin in the original Arabian Nights texts is actually a Chinese person.
In this week, Alibaba and Aladdin team up and fight together! When a magi and a dungeon capturer join forces, I wonder what kind of fight it will be? Please, look forward to it. Judar is telling them there’s no way they can win.”
“It’s December already!
Since I mostly stay indoors every day, I don’t feel the change in seasons like I’m supposed to. Though, while commuting from the publisher while working on the storyboard, I get to feel the atmosphere of Christmas while browsing through the menu of the family restaurant that I stop by. That apple cake was delicious.
This week covers the showdown between Alibaba and Cassim. It took so long, and those two are finally going to settle things between them.
I’m currently working on the omake manga for volume 7 that will be out next month. It comes in two parts. Just like the previous one, it will be an extra with a different mood compared to the main story. Please, look forward to it.”
“In the picture is Sinbad with a look that I only had the chance to draw in only two panels this week. How unfortunate…
Starting from last week, new characters are going to make their appearance one by one. Among them, two were named after characters from the Arabian Nights. Yamraiha, who made her debut last week, is such a character, though in the original stories there are times when this character appears and then is absent for a while. Finding the character that she was named after in the original book may prove difficult, but if you are interested, give it a try!
Incidentally, much like Kougyoku, Yamraiha is associated with water magic, and it was hard not making them similar to each other appearance-wise. When creating them, I based Kougyoku’s appearance on Queen Otohime and Yamraiha on the Little Mermaid.”