Ninomiya Kazunari x Yoshinaga Fumi talk
A long, long, LONG discussion talk with Ninomiya Kazunari and Yoshinaga Fumi, the manga artist for Ooku. Something to tide everyone over until the DVD is out! <3
Ninomiya: Oooh, I’m glad. My heart was beating fast. But even “differently,” I think it’s not good if it’s not derived from the original work. This time, when the director was giving directions on the acting that were very precise, like “Do it this way here” which I thought was very rare. Because he wasn’t a director who usually says things like that. But I’ve been allowed to read the original work, and I was convinced, or that’s to say I came to an understanding. If the director is handle it all with the intention to loyally reproduce the work, I should be able to think about it maybe not in the total opposite way, but maybe in a different vector. From that one step, I’ve been allowed to think that it might be okay even if it turns into a different colour.
The happiness of being chosen from so many other manga
Yoshinaga: Being in something that has an original work, was it more difficult compared to something original?
Ninomiya: No, it’s fun. Rather, I quite like it. In the case of an original, there are points where it’s like “This is everything, this is correct,” there is always something that is overlooked. I would think, if it’s okay for something like this to be overlooked (laughs). But something that has an original work, isn’t it something that has succeeded, isn’t it entertainment that has been completed? Because the correct answer is right there. Regardless of that, there are enthusiastic people who are tampering with it on purpose, and they become dramas or movies. The risk of doing something “on purpose,” I like that. On the other hand, why did Yoshinaga-san wanted it to become a movie?
Yoshinaga: Well, it was 5 years ago that I’ve received that offer…
Ninomiya: Well, well… even so, hasn’t the manga been completed? Using that, you can play with that as you like, right? There might be a chance of it turning into something different from “the Ooku that I drew,” right? Wasn’t there the feeling of uncertainty?
Yoshinaga: Ah, a straight question, that’s good (laughs). I love movies and dramas. That’s probably one of the reasons why I can accept that. When I received the proposal, although I couldn’t be completely realized, there was the dream of “I’d like this actor to do this” or “If it’s up to me, this person is good too”…
Ninomiya: That seems fun.
Yoshinaga: Just imagining that is already fun. Another reason would be, I’ve always thought about this, but there are so many manga in this world. In this case, my manga was chosen among all these manga in the world. There are so many more manga that have sold more, but for my manga to be especially chosen, as a manga artist I’m honestly happy. After that, I want to watch the completed movie to see which parts of my manga did Araki-san liked, and what kind of work did he want to make this into. That was the reason why I accepted this.
Ninomiya: That viewpoint, or to say, that sensation, is really good. The viewpoint that only the person who drew the original work would have.
Yoshinaga: An extremely huge amount of money and work and energy is needed for a movie, isn’t it? Spending all that on my manga… I’m really happy.
Ninomiya: You’re a super good person.
Yoshinaga: U~m (laughs).
The pleasure of “being able to enter sensei’s mind for one moment”
Yoshinaga: Ninomiya-san likes manga, right? I’ve heard rumours about it.
Ninomiya: Yes, I like it extremely. I’ve read manga countless amounts of times. I’m not saying this just being I’ve been allowed to do “Ooku”, but especially period pieces; I can read them again and again. Even “Ooku,” it has the special viewpoint of a reversed man-and-woman world, so it’s extremely different, but isn’t it still a period piece?
Ninomiya: What is it… If I were to compare it to a Mito Koumon package, it would be like him definitely bringing out the (medicine) pill case. Like how Yumi Kaoru would definitely get into the bath. That feeling is good. It’s like one can watch it without stress.
Yoshinaga: That’s right.
Ninomiya: When you were young, aren’t there things you would deny? Even to other people’s stories, you would enter with something like “Speaking of which, that’s not right, is it?” It’s like… “This fellow is denying it so much.” But when you’re watching a period piece, you tend to take in everything, you tend to accept it easily, there is a strength, a good feeling to it. That’s what I learnt. Also, it’s like “If I turn the page, that will happen. See, here it is!” That’s fun. Panel layouts are the same too, but in the end it’s the sense.
Yoshinaga: To hear the words “panel layout” coming from Ninomiya-san (laughs).
Ninomiya: I like it, looking at panel layouts. “Huh, so this is how it ends here” right? Or “It goes straight to here, huh.” Or even “Reversibly ending it this way with this choice, huh?” (laughs) For a moment, it’s like I’ve entered sensei’s mind. Therefore, if when I open the page in the beginning and the same panel layout that I’ve thought of comes up, it feels really good. When I think about how this line would be good, and that line pops up, I go “Yes, here it is!”
Yoshinaga: Exactly, like the pill case.
Ninomiya: Yes! It feels good so I can read it again and again. Manga has depth.
Yoshinaga: Um, do you draw manga?
Ninomiya: This, I totally can’t draw (laughs).
Reversed roles of men and women… Also, the love scene with the reversed Yoshimune
Ninomiya: Reversed roles of men and women. Hmmm. If there is such a strong woman as the shogun, I could only be prostrating myself at her feet. Even in the movie she was an “absolute existence.” She has an amazing aura, if there really was such a strong woman like her; I think men really wouldn’t be able to say a single thing (laughs).
Yoshinaga: This time, there is the feeling of love scenes amongst men being fully taken up…
Ninomiya: To the maximum.
Yoshinaga: I want to hear about Ninomiya-san and Shibasaki-san’s love scene. Regarding Yoshimune and Mizuno’s love scene, I want to know many things, like would Shibasaki-san push Ninomiya-san down like in the manga (laughs).
Ninomiya: You know, we thought of two directions for that scene, and filmed them. Even though we don’t know yet which version would be used in the movie. As expected, I cried. I didn’t intend to cry, and there was no plan for me to cry, but I naturally cried, so that became one of the answers. Honestly, when I read the script, I felt a difference of warmth in it. But when I did it for real, there was also the director’s demand of “Don’t cry” so we took a version in which Mizuno was stronger, which was closer to the original work.
Yoshinaga: Is that so?
Ninomiya: This was also in the original work, but there was a line of Yoshimune’s that goes “About this matter, your regret is…” This is connected to the line “At least, at least…” that comes after that, we talked about wanting to show manliness there, so with the feeling of “I can’t let him say it after that” so she kissed Mizuno.
Ninomiya: Pulling her close with all his might. But after that, Yoshimune pulls away and then kisses him.
Yoshinaga: Ooh, ooh.
Ninomiya: How should I say it? This sort of men and women…
Yoshinaga: Reverse of the reverse.
Ninomiya: That’s it, that’s it. Araki-san was going “Kya, kya” over it, so I think it’ll be fine (laughs).
Yoshinaga: Ah, in that case, there should be no mistakes (laughs).
Ninomiya: He said it twice, “Kya ♥ kya ♥” For one moment, the man stands on top. But when you return to reality, you’re reversed by the shogun’s strength.
Yoshinaga: That has a different feeling from the manga. But it’s the highlight. I’ve heard an amazing story.
At the climax, the unreasonable scene was the best scene.
In the end, we asked him his favourite scene in Ooku. Ninomiya-san flipped through the pages without hesitation and pointed out Sugishita’s last scene.
Ninomiya: Even in the movie, I liked Sugishita’s last scene.
Yoshinaga: Thank you very much. I like that part the most too, in the Mizuno chapter.
Ninomiya: Really? Yay. I feel happier than when the same panel layouts come up when I read manga (laughs).
Yoshinaga: I like subjecting my characters to an unreasonable climax. It’s period piece-like.
Ninomiya: Yes, yes! It’s period piece-like. For me as Mizuno, I think of this as the last scene. So I had really strong feelings for this as well.
Yoshinaga: I’m happy.
And here, the talk ends with a cruel announcement…
Yoshinaga: (while looking at the Letters from Iwojima DVD) I wanted to talk about this as well…
Ninomiya: I wanted to hear about it too…
Impression of Ninomiya Kazunari by Yoshinaga-sensei :
As a person who draws manga, I was very happy to hear him talk about how he liked manga. He was a person who had a very beautiful way of choosing words.
 Mito Koumon - a Japanese period drama where the main character always brings out a medicine pill box in almost every episode.
 Yumi Kaoru - a regular cast member on the Japanese period drama Mito Koumon who plays the character O-gin and O-en. She has a bath scene in almost every episode.
That was long! I hope you enjoyed reading this :) Please do not distribute or repost without permission ^_^