Hiroyuki Takei – the soul of Shaman King

Manga is often considered like a snack, a simple form of entertainment. Something that should just be fun. However, I think that it is better
if it brings you something. Something that brings positive value, I don’t think it should be knowledge,
but wisdom instead. I’d like to share that there are
alternate ways of thinking. My first contact with manga was during the first grade. I believe that was with the Koro Koro Comics magazine. However, it didn’t tick that much at first. The first time I was really impressed was in 4th grade,
when I read Hirohiko Araki’s “Magical B.T.” I thought it was so cool. From there, my path to becoming a mangaka started
when I came to Tokyo when I was 18. Everything was still blurry for me at the time. I had a child after I turned 20. I had to find a job,
this is when I turned to manga. I became an assistant when I was 20, I stumbled upon the Famitsu magazine by chance, this is where I saw an ad saying that the mangaka Sakura Tamakichi was looking for an assistant. I tried applying and eventually got hired. Things took a big turn from there. This is where I took on an unorthodox path. When I was 22 or 23, I won the Tezuka Award
from the Jump magazine. This led me to being introduced to Nobuhiro Watsuki. My workplace was one minute away
from my apartment at the time. I was surprised. We would work four to five days per week,
however everybody would stay overnight. So I would stick together with the group and stay too,
although I was one minute from home. At the time I joined, One Piece author
Eiichiro Oda was also working there. There was also Oni ga Kitarite author Gin Shinga,
who passed away. Then there was Mikio Ito,
who did multiple series in the Jump. That was the team at the time,
we were all motivated. When we had a bit of free time,
we would all passionately talk about manga. After work we would draw characters together,
that was the atmosphere at the time. At the very beginning, I wanted to do
something that no one had ever done before. I had always liked Jump manga. The theme I ultimately chose was Buddha statues. What made me move to shamans… what was it. It was a bit in the continuity of things. What brought the initial idea though…? A flash? I can only draw things that I feel close to. The main character is usually a projection of myself. Then I make sure to make something different, this is what led to the creation of Yoh’s character. After that it came to enter the codes of
Shonen and Jump manga. It is a bit stereotypical, but this led
to creating the Ren and Horohoro characters. They stand on the opposite end,
differing from the main protagonist. It’s like they represent what a Jump manga is. I proceeded by creating this axis, where the main character is the one achieving different things. I went for a big place at first
as I wanted to accommodate a production team, having young creators who would draw for me. That’s why I chose a spacious place. Now that everything went digital,
everyone is working from home. So I ended up alone here. I am comfortable with being alone though. It’s important to have things you like too. It sets up your standards, it’s a source for creation in a way. This is why I have all these things. I don’t want to collect things, after I bought what I liked it just ended up being like this. not being able to throw anything away. Places are important to me. I enjoy service areas a lot, back in the Jump days, I would go have dinner
at the closest service area after work. I like the atmosphere at night. It’s like a place where I can go back to basics. This is how I set the concept of “best place”. The things I wanted to make… At the time I wanted to look cool. I wanted to make something more artistic,
I went towards that direction. Now that I think of it it wasn’t a good thing. The will to show off a performance
was always in the way. Rather that drawing for the readers,
part of me was making things to have fun myself. That wasn’t a good thing. Indirectly, when my manga started
to drop in the rankings, it felt that I wasn’t needed anymore. From there, finding the energy
to end a series requires a lot of effort. I started not knowing what to draw anymore, I was also tired from all those years of weekly chapters,
so I couldn’t find the energy to put it together. In the end, having the plug pulled was important, being asked to finish at a said time. I kind of wish I had been told sooner though… There is a part of frustration of course, but there is also some relief. Losing popularity and getting cut off
hits a blow on motivation. Rather than getting canceled,
the fact of losing popularity is hard to cope with. Part of me felt rescued when I was cut off. There are different feelings I experienced, It’s never a single emotion. My soul would slowly wear off from losing popularity. There was some relief, but part of me was frustrated
that I couldn’t bring my story to the end. There were readers who were looking
forward to the end of the story. I wanted to give it a proper ending someday. There are those cheap manga editions
that are sold in convenience stores. When I received the offer,
I said that I wanted to draw the actual ending. By that point I had had time to rest. I had found my energy back
and could draw the end of my story. I feel grateful for that. I don’t feel I have a place in the manga world. I don’t think on how to position myself in this field. I always take a step back
from manga when I look at it. I was confronted to Eiichiro Oda from the beginning, from that point I knew that
the mainstream road was not fit for me. If I had sold more manga
and were more popular, I would probably have thought
more of my position as a mangaka. However I thought that
I wasn’t made for mainstream. I gave up from that point
and didn’t think of it. Even if it wasn’t doing manga
and made animation, games or figures instead, I just want to make cool things. I feel like I want to give up on my identity. I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t really think of it anymore. The fact that I actually don’t think anymore
may have now become my identity. Currently, I am filling up pages
just to take responsibility. The fact that I am not being creative
now is what frustrates me the most. I am planning my next series, I want to go all in on it,
right now I am clearing things up towards that. it’s tough not to be working on it now. What I want to focus on the most for my next
manga is to apply more care than ever before. I aim at making something
I can be proud of in Shonen manga. I want to make a solid series. I feel that Shaman King is a series
that is somewhat being looked down on, I want to prove that it’s a proper series
and that it deserves its place.

English subtitles are available under the “CC” menu. Portuguese and Spanish subtitles have also been made available through Community Contributions, which are open for additional language submissions. Thank you for following Archipel!

filmed so beautifully and filled with meditative, classic music i can't help myself but love those kind of videos 🙂

What a moving piece, your editing gave the author a level of respect and admiration. I can't wait to see what you make the following year, thank you for this amazing interview. 🙂

I thank you so much for your wonderful work-
First Sakamoto then Takei- I'm just so stunned, Shaman King is one of my very oldest most favorite works of art and I have forever been grateful to Takei-sensei for creating it!

I'm still a little sad that he decided not to green-lit a re-adaptation in anime-format but I understand his reasoning for doing so and greatly respect how he has always maintained creative control over his work.

This interview provided so many insights to me – whether it's how his early parenthood might've shaped Yoh and Anna's relationship, the many accumulated interests of his in his apartment, his early influences including Araki and so forth –

Thank you so very much for shining a light on him and creating English subtitles for this interview.
The work you guys do is so amazing, thank you for sharing it for free on the internet, so all of us can watch it.

I’ve been a fan of Shaman King and Hiroyuki’s style for a long time so this is really special!
Thank you so much Archipel and merry Christmas! ⸜(๑'ᵕ'๑)⸝ 🌟

Thank you so much for your work!
My favorite "hero" from Jump's history has always been Yoh. Since was a child I have always thought how weird was to have a shonen protagonist wishing to just relax and have peace. Now is one of the most compelling characters I hve encountered.

I guess we just need to wait for the next Hiroyuki's work.

A notification from Archipel is probably the best xmas present. Thank you for this and all the amazing work you gave us this year, i'm always looking forward to whatever this channel uploads.

Thanks, fans of his work and newbies would want to take notes of his life and career.
Please add Kinu Nishimura on your list.

Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but I was curious what those movements he made with his arms and the expression he made with his face at the end of the video. Again, I don't mean to be rude, but was that a reflection of a motor problem or just an expression of feeling?
Forgive me if I'm being rude for asking and thanks.

I still have a complete set of Shaman King in my bookshelf and sometimes i just read it again because it was so good! ahh such a good memories. Thank you for showing the man behind the work. this gives me a lot of insight of how he create his works and his ideology. i really appreciate it.

So he's being told to end it. damn it i feel sad for him. The whole part of "when my manga started to drop in the rankings" was so dismal. still a great video though, as always. Thank you, guys!

I have fond memories of Shaman King and the Jump titles of that era. It was a special time. Grateful for Hiroyuki's work!

I thought that this interview would give me some motivation, but Takei-san looks so tired and depressed… I feel sorry for him. Great job on this video anyway

If Hiroyuki Takei could read that, I wanted him to know how Shaman King was one of the first mangas I've bought and have it until today. I love that series and I wish it had more love. Here hoping that one day they'll make a proper remake of the anime. Hiroyuki-sensei, you are the best!

Great video! I loved Shaman King as a kid and have always meant to go back and read it all the way through. He deserves more praise and I hope his new series is successful

Wow. This is amazing.
I remember watching Shaman King on french TV when I was 7/12 years old. Then I red the manga and I loved it. This video gives a new vibe to his work.
He must have gone through harsh feelings and letdowns. Thank you sir for sharing your heart through your great work !

Thank you very much for this! Hiroyuki Takei has always been my favorite mangaka (mainly because of Shaman King, but I enjoyed his other works as well), but I just now realized I've never really seen him or know much about his career. Although I haven't really been able to get into the sequel series which he has penned after Shaman King, I definitely support his notion that Shaman King deserves more recognition. To me, it is one of the best Jump series, but it certainly does feel like it has become a forgotten classic of sorts.

I think his musings on Shaman King and his own position in the world of manga is very interesting. I feel like Shaman King has always floated somewhere between the mainstream and the alternative, especially the further it progressed. Always being somewhat rooted in Shonen characteristics generally and Jump traditions specifically, such as rival characters, tournament structures, battle centric plotlines etc. but also pushing back on those elements and playing around with concepts which seemingly have no place in a Battle Shonen Jump Series.

Kind of a dangerous position to be in: best case scenario, it will be able to appeal to different audiences; worst case scenario, it won't appeal to a specific audience hard enough. The latter might be exactly why Shaman King waned in popularity, but those same elements which might have made it hard to stick around in the rankings is also precisely what I loved about Shaman King.

Thanks a bunch. Thus was awesome, I've been a fan of Takei sensei's work for many years now, seeing some insight into his work and how he wants to keep going is very nice. Many well wishes to Takei sensei and the Archipel team!

You can really feel the fatigue when he brings up having to a come up with a new ending after being told Shaman King was getting cancelled.

Thank you so much for this! Shaman King is my all-time favorite manga series and I think that Hiroyuki Takei is one of the most interesting mangaka in the mainstream/shonen scene. Despite being world-renowned, he is right when he says that Shaman King is looked down, mainly because most of the audience didn't understand its themes and both of its endings. Now with his new Shaman King series he is demonstrating once again to be one of the most original artist out there (the villain is literally capitalism!) and I hope he can soon get the recognition he deserves.

Hearing him get down on himself has me wincing a little.. Shaman King was never a favorite, but it’s definitely a memorable piece of my childhood. Even just watching the silly 4Kids dub, then eventually picking up the GNs whenever I had birthday or Christmas money, I knew there was something unique that had been brought to this series. It’s spiritual, yet has these “cool” western sensibilities. Brutal, but full of humor and warmth. Mainstream-ish, but decidedly its own thing.

It’s been said that the best anime and manga bring elements from outside the medium to strengthen their storytelling, to humanize their characters and experiences with a wide breadth of what the real, peopled world has to offer. Takei is definitely among the ranks of creators who excel at this. Shonen manga is better for him, as were my awkward middle school years.

I live in France and here Shaman King has been the gateway to the world of manga for many young people. I don't know how it is perceived in Japan but Hiroyuki Takei should be proud that his manga had such an impact abroad.

You didn't talk about his work "Ultimo" with Stan Lee or is it me ? Otherwise Shaman King was one of the first anime I saw and it will always be a special anime and manga for me.

Shaman King was my favorite after yugioh out the bunch we had in the US monthly shonen jump. When it suddenly vanished I completely abandoned shonen jump. I stopped watching anime for years since I knew I couldn't get the one I wanted. I don't think he realized how much some of us loved his work.

Shaman King was my first anime/manga…I was 9 then. Now I'm 26… I will always love it. To this day I still love the art and characters. I would love to see it as a series. It deserves a reboot, it is incredible.

Are you Kidding me we Love you and Shaman King. Right now one of my best friends I have is someone I contacted thanks to Shaman King and since my childhood i Love Shaman King and I know so many people that does habe the Same thoughts on it Just because it didnt make the top in Japan doesnt mean its Trash its a beloved series in the Western Side. Ue no bun o yomanakattara watashiwa ima kakaru kotoga dekiru dake kakitaidesu. Watashiwa shamankingu o daisukidesu. Ima watashino tokubetsuna Tomodachi to hajimeteno kaiwawa Shamankinguni tsuitedeshita. Soregai watashino shamankinguga suki tomodachi ga takusan imasu. (Fun fact) Senshyuu tomodachito Shamankinguni tsuite hanashimashita. Nishino kunitachide Shamankinguno fanu ga takusan imasu. Deskara anatano sonna kanashii iru kotowa machigaeruno kekkadesu. Yoku ni nattekidasai.

Really good interview, I loved Shaman King when it came over to Mexico. Ryu ended up becoming my favorite character because of his search for the "best place", and I'm really glad that Hiroyuki talks about the concept in this interview. I hope he keeps going strong and keeps making cool things!

Great content as always. I remember loving Shaman king back in the day even if it was kinda hard to get my hands on the manga and DVDs here in my country. I was surprised when i knew that it was canceled it was such a nice series loved the art style and caracters.

Shaman King was and will remain one of the most vivid memories for those who grew up in the early 2000s throughout the post-Soviet space. Ask any twenty-year-old guy or even a girl about what they did every day after school as a child, most will say that they ran home so as not to miss a new episode. The first anime for many of us. What we have never seen before. The story and the characters who attracted attention and limitless child imagination.

As I got older, I discovered the original manga and found out the true ending. I was shocked. I could not believe that the very heroes of my childhood actually lost and that the main villain won. I understood that it was more logical, even the characters themselves understood that there was no other way, and yet they managed to do everything possible to save the world.

I still dream of a possible remake of the anime series, but I know very well author’s thoughts about this idea and will just keep these hopes in my heart. Anyway, I will be happy because I will have a wonderful tradition of doing two things once a year: to rewatch the Lord of the Rings trilogy and re-read the Shaman King manga.

Thanks to Hiroyuki Takei-san for our happy childhood. Thank you for teaching us that it is always worth looking for good in people, even if others refuse. Thank you so much for the wonderful characters and the exciting story. But most of all I thank you for Anna.

P.S. And of course thanks to the Archipel channel for this video.

What an amazing and humble guy. I can't understand his frustration and disappointment though. Shaman King was probably the first manga that I encountered way before I started to get into them. Mr Takei I know that you probably won't see this but thank you for your amazing work. Shaman King is a really popular manga in the West and I hope that you can take at least some confrontation from that. Keep up your amazing work. And as always well done for the amazing work Archipel. You are making our days really beautiful with everyone of your uploads

Sad there was no mention of karakuri douji ultimo,, wouldve liked to know more about how that project even came to be

His point on SK not fitting the mainstream codes of shonen jump is interesting. This serie indeed, despite being classical shônen, is tainted by a very unique ambiance, not everyone can be sensitive to. In my opinion, there is a huge problem cut off as abruptly a serie as jump does, sshaman king serie and more recently bleach don't have proper ending, despite these two being classic series in the magazine

Shaman King is legitimately one of the best mangas i've ever read and i would never go back on that. Part of it is probably because i read it as a child and it really did left a mark on me.
The end of the manga however is very blurry as i think of it, i don't even know if i read the last book…

I didn't really understand at the end, what does this "new series" have to do with Shaman King ? Is it the sequel ?


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