Otaku USA Magazine
EXCLUSIVE: An Interview and First Look at Isaki Uta’s Leaper


Irodori Comics is currently holding a Kickstarter for mangaka Isaki Uta to publish the box set Isaki Uta: The Lost & Found Collection. Uta’s previous manga, Is Love The Answer?, has been published in America by Kodansha. The box set consists of the doujinshi Mine-kun is Asexual, Leaper, Mermaid in a Bottle, and Silkscreen, and Otaku USA gets to exclusively preview an excerpt of Leaper. Uta also answered Otaku USA’s questions about manga, doujinshi, inspiration, and getting into drawing. And if you want to contribute to the Kickstarter, go here.


How did you first get interested in drawing?

I first got interested in drawing when I was in kindergarten. I read a manga titled SWAN that my mother had been reading.

You’ve published both commercial manga and doujinshi. What have been your experiences in each style of publishing?

For self-publication, because there isn’t a check by an editor nor requests to fix things in the manga, I believe I can focus more on stories I really want to draw. To put it in other words, I suppose you could say that my self-published works are rather rustic.

What was your inspiration for each of the stories in Isaki Uta: The Lost & Found Collection?

For “Mine-kun is Asexual”: The theme of this comic was something I wanted to draw as a serialized manga. But before actually doing that, I drew it out as an experimental stand-alone comic. Commercial publishers did not pick up this stand-alone manga, so I decided to self-publish it.

For “Silkscreen”: I got an idea for a yuri manga, so I drew it out.

For “Mermaid in the Bottle”: I drew it out because I love stories about a complicated relationship between an older brother and a younger sister.

Your stories feel very heartfelt and personal, even if they might not be specifically about your own life. Is it challenging, freeing (or maybe both?) to write and draw in this way?

Regarding self-published works, the process isn’t difficult once I can develop the storyboard. But even when I come up with the storyboard, if I’m too busy with my main job or if I come up with it during a time when there’s no event to sell self-published works and I wait for a more appropriate time to start drawing, my motivation to create becomes reduced. When that happens, it gets hard for me to complete the story. Most often, new ideas spring up in me suddenly when I’m riding on a train.

Is there anything else you’d like your North American fans to know about you?

I’d really love to hear what story they love the most out of all my self-published works!!






Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.