QooApp with Takuya Fujima: the path to Nanoha and the path away from adult arts

Mr. Qoo

Takuya Fujima’s autograph and illustration of Nanoha 

Secretive, quiet and shy – this is possibly how visitors of Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) 2017 think of Takuya Fujima (藤真 拓哉), whom, for the first time in his life, attended a stage event and spoke publicly.

The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid mangaka has never been very keen on meeting people. Before STGCC 2017, only those die hard fans who follow him closely know how he actually looked and talked. This time, QooApp was truly lucky to hear about his story, his works, and most importantly, his Nanoha.

Unfortunately, he was still too shy to take photos.

The road to kawaii and moe

Starting from university, he drew doujinshi as a hobby. He looked up to animator Haruhiko Mikimoto, so much that he actually called Mikimoto’s workplace, Artland, to look for an internship. When he worked there, his doujinshi became popular and caught the eyes of some businesses. This was where he began his life as an illustrator.

A lot of people may not know that his artworks were far from kawaii and moe when he began his career. Fujima sensei drew and wrote a few adult manga back then. Their shojo-manga-like arts are clearly distinguished from his current style. How and why did sensei evolve from this to moe?

Message: Aishii Hito he, Takuya Fujima’s adult manga released in 1998

“I was trying to adapt to the plot. Different plots have different styles.” Even for his Nanoha manga, he felt like his style changed over the past nine years of serialisation. “I have influences from the writer and the past Nanoha series also.”

The second reason why he made such changes was to cater to the Japanese taste. “The Japanese like different styles over time. I go with the flow.”

It may seem like the representative of moe only draws in the way he does for others, but he does admit he in fact like cuteness a lot. “The kawaii-ness is the most important matter when designing a character.” He explained, a character’s roundness and eyes determine how cute it is. He usually makes the eyes as clear as glass balls to give them a doll like clarity and mysteriousness. This is also his favourite way of drawing eyes.

At the same time, he said he was still proud of his past works.

“They are much different from my recent works, but I wouldn’t say they are bad. They are just not as good as what I draw now. When I look at them, I can still remember and feel the passion I had at that time.”

The road to Nanoha Vivid 

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid, starting 2009, is a manga project of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series. It has even been adapted into a TV anime series in 2015. If the writer Tsuzuki Masaki is said to be the father of the series, Fujima sensei must be the mother who gives birth to the characters.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid

After drawing nine years non-stop for the show, sensei considered it the most memorable title in his life. “It has become a part of my daily life,” he sighed, “the manga is ending soon, so I will feel kind of lonely without it.”

Yes, the Vivid manga is welcoming its final chapter in two months. He said, he is definitely going to take a break for a month. “This is what I have been planning for ages!” Sensei has been drawing not only non-stop for Nanoha, but also non stop for other projects as an illustrator and animator. Being a popular in the industry, his excessive amount of work takes up his rest days sometimes. “After this last day in Singapore, I am flying back to Japan to begin work immediately tomorrow.”

Yet, there is no need for fans to cry over the end of Vivid. A new manga, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection The Comics, is going to begin in December. While Vivid is set in a world where the protagonists, Nanoha and Fate, are grown up, Reflection The Comics is set in a world where they are still children. Same characters, but different setting, different age, in different manga – Sensei has no trouble dealing with the big change.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection The Comics

“It’s like Star Wars. The story jumps back and forth in each new piece of work. It’s not very difficult to sort it out.”

The character Fate, however, poses a challenge to the artist.

“Fate is difficult to draw as a child because she has such a grown up face at a young age.” On the other hand, he found Nanoha the most difficult to draw in Vivid because she has a young face even as an adult.

Anyway, whether it’s the old Nanoha or the new Nanoha, sensei hopes fans still follow the series.

“Those of you who have supported the series for the past 9 years, I want to thank you for your support.”

The road away from adult contents 

Apart from moe and kawaii, Fujima sensei is also remembered for his adult doujinshi and adult illustrations in games. Surprisingly, he doesn’t really like it.

Sensei 3, an adult game that Takuya Fujima illustrated

“For adult games, I didn’t want to do it at all. I did it because it was a job.” What if some companies that is famous for producing adult contents, say, Key, find him for a collaboration?

“A collaboration with Key would be fun, but it has to be for all ages.”

In the future, he would like to focus on producing arts for everyone. “I want to create something for teenagers too.”

Even as a well-established artist in the world of adult arts, he is still hoping to be accepted, and appreciated by all sorts of people, from children to elderly.

The motto 

Throughout the interview, Fujima sensei told QooApp a lot about the enjoyment he gets from drawing, also the disappointment he gets from drawing as a job. He did some jobs that he didn’t like to get recognitions, and that’s why his message to aspiring illustrators is “never give up”.

“The most important thing is to not give up on your love for drawing. That probably is the most important and the most difficult thing.” He advised people to make use of social media, “make use of these and show your work to people you have never met, and have them comment on your work!”

Even at the end of the interview, he told QooApp to “work hard to continue doing what you love”.

Seriously, it was one of the most heart warming messages QooApp has ever got after two whole busy days at the event. Thank You sensei!

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