Undead Unluck is an unusual manga in many ways. For one, the main character Andy has the power of Undead and literally can’t be killed. The other main character Fuuko, has the power of Unluck and anyone she touches will have a terrible disaster, possibly fatal. And when these two team up, all hell breaks loose! As wild as it sounds, it all works wonderfully because of Yoshifumi Tozuka’s incredible storytelling skill. We got a chance to sit down with the Japanese manga editor Takumi Hashimoto and ask him about working on this unbelievable manga!
Shonen Jump: Many people would love to work in the manga industry, how did you get in?
Editor Takumi Hashimoto: I took the company entrance examination, like many companies have in Japan, and started working at a publishing company. I was initially hoping I would become a literary fiction editor but, for whatever reason, I was assigned to Weekly Shonen Jump. It’s been 15 years now. I am sorry to say this, but it was just “luck and timing.”
SJ: Undead Unluck is one of the most unique manga ever, what’s it like working on it?
Takumi Hashimoto: Yes, as you say, Undead Unluck is a very unique manga. It’s filled with that quintessential shonen manga essence, but how it comes together is like nothing we’ve ever read. I think even in Japan, it’s a shonen manga that’s at the forefront of the genre. If I were to distill the experience of being the managing editor for such a title into a few words, I’d say “It’s filled with the joy of creating something new.” There’s going to be even crazier antics in volume 2 than volume 1, so I hope the fans in North America can read it soon. [Ed: Vols. 1–3 are available here!]
SJ: What exactly does a manga editor and an assistant do? What’s your schedule like?
Takumi Hashimoto: The assistant helps the story take shape. They work on the elaborate backgrounds, bold effects, screen tone, and inking. When you read a manga, please keep all their work in mind. As an editor, I have meetings with Tozuka Sensei to decide on the following week’s plot. I check the drafts and help fine tune the dialogue along with any other details. I also oversee progress on the manuscript and get it ready for publication.
Other responsibilities occur when the manga becomes an anime, editors can be responsible for reviewing anime and supervising products related to the title. There’s no announcement that Undead Unluck will be an anime yet, but I hope it does so I can be involved with it, and everyone can enjoy it.
As far as schedule, I work with Sensei’s schedule, so I don’t have a set schedule.
SJ: Andy was naked a lot in the beginning in the manga, but eventually got clothes. Do you miss naked Andy?
Takumi Hashimoto: I miss it very much. Naked Andy represented his freedom and unbridled wildness. However, after meeting Fuuko, he chooses to become a little more refined. I personally feel that’s a good change for him, but what does everyone else think?
SJ: What lessons have you learned that you would like to pass on to others who dream of making manga?
Takumi Hashimoto: The door to becoming a manga artist is open to everyone regardless of age, gender, or race. As an editor, I’ve learned that each person’s ideas are wonderful, and all have potential. They have just as much value and potential as even professionally made manga, for example Tozuka Sensei’s Undead Unluck. So, what’s the difference between a professional’s manga and everyone else’s? It’s not the quality of the idea, but how the idea is communicated to a large audience so that everyone thinks it’s interesting.
I hope you can be confident, and with great humility and care, go through the trials and errors of communicating your idea effectively. Perhaps in a few years, your manga could be gracing the cover of Weekly Shonen Jump!
SJ: With the main character cutting off his body parts to use as weapons, this could be the bloodiest manga ever made. Are you proud to work on something so wonderfully gross?
Takumi Hashimoto: Of course, I’m very happy! Battles with blood flying everywhere are a cornerstone of shonen manga.
SJ: What’s your favorite part about working on this series?
Takumi Hashimoto: Every week when I have my meetings with Tozuka Sensei, we come up with very bold story ideas for Andy and Fuuko. I love that moment. Andy and Fuuko are taking us on a fun adventure that we haven’t even seen yet.
The moment ideas hit us is fun and I also love it when our readers enjoy the story.
Every week at midnight when Weekly Shonen Jump is released in Japan, the Japanese Undead Unluck hashtag #アンデラ will be trending (in the U.S. #UndeadUnluck). I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am reading those tweets in the middle of the night! I’d love to read your thoughts on social media, so please post them!
SJ: Do you have a message for your English-reading fans?
Takumi Hashimoto: I’m so happy you all get to read Undead Unluck every week! As the story goes on, it’s exploding with new mysteries, worlds, characters, excitement, and the magnetism of Andy and Fuuko. And along with Tozuka Sensei, I hope to see you all in person soon. Until then, I hope you keep reading Undead Unluck!
SJ: Thank you very much for your time and great answers!
Get your hands on Undead Unluck, Vol. 1 by Yoshifumi Tozuka here.
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