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24 September 2008 @ 09:20 pm
SJ Kubo Interview  
It continues to be a shippy season. What with the new Bleach movie being promoted with such shippy dialogue as "Rukia is the one who changed my world" and "Your name.... say it again," there's been flailing aplenty among my friends who are big fans of the IchiRuki pair. And now, in the latest issue of America's Shounen Jump, here are some of those "leftover" questions from the SDCC panel that Viz promised, and guess what? A laugh and a non-committal answer from Kubo-sensei are like rose petals and champagne to IchiRuki shippers!

Thanks goes to Sheryl Nome over at BA for the scans. The scans haven't been transcribed yet but the shippers picked out the important parts. Warning: BIG IMAGE, hard to read but you can make out a lot of the interview tidbits. I'll post more as it arrives.

SJ: What does Rukia's name mean, and why is it written in katakana?

Kubo-sensei: When I'm working, I jot down names in the margins of my notebook as they come to me. Once on TV, I saw the original type of cosmos in South America.

SJ: You mean like the flower?

Kubo-sensei: Yes. The show mentioned the name of the flower in latin or something- like "rukia." It sounded like "Kuchiki Rukia" to me, and I wrote this down. When I created the character, I thought Kuchiki really fit as a Shinigami name and called her Kuchiki Rukia. She had her full name from the very beginning. Later on, I learned that the word "rukia" means "light." She's like a ray of light to Ichigo, which makes the name really suit her.

SJ: Do you have any plans to make Ichigo and Rukia a couple?
Kubo-sensei: I'm not going to confirm nor deny that. [laughs]

ETA:  Sheryl Nome transcribed the rest of the interview!

"Tite Kubo's Big Comic-Con Adventure!"

Drawing Inspiration

Shonen Jump: Did anyone inspire you to draw?
Kubo-sensei: When I create characters, I'm inspired by music rather than stories, other manga or movies. The characters then create the story. So for me, my creativity comes from music.

SJ: Are any of the characters based on people you know?

Kubo-sensei: Well, I haven't mentioned this before, even in the Bleach SOULs Official Character Book, but Kisuke Urahara is based on Snufkin. Snufkin is so cool.
[The character appears in Tove Jansoon's Moominvalley novels.]

SJ: You seem to use mythical content about death and the afterlife from Japanese folklore. Did any books influence you?

Kubo-sensei: I can't point to a particular book, but one manga that influenced me when I was small was Saint Seiya [published in the U.S. as Knights of the Zodiac], which is based on Greek mythology. Because of it, I started looking into things like myths, monsters and the afterlife. I was reading about them until around junior high school, so they might have been the basis.

SJ: What does Rukia's name mean, and why is it written in katakana?

Kubo-sensei: When I'm working, I jot down names in the margins of my notebook as they come to me. Once on TV, I saw the original type of cosmos in South America.

SJ: You mean, the flower?

Kubo-sensei: Yes. The show mentioned the name of the flower in Latin or something-like "rukia." It sounded like "Kuchiki Rukia" to me, and I wrote this down. When I created the character, I thought Kuchiki really fit as a Soul Reaper (Shinigami) name and called her Kuchiki Rukia. She had her full name from the very beginning. Later on, I learned that the word "rukia" means "light." She's like a ray of light for Ichigo, which makes the name really suit her.
[In English, the name is read "Rukia Kuchiki." The meaning of the kanji for Kuchiki is "decayed tree." When Kubo-sensei talks about light, he may be referring to the word "lucia."]

SJ: Why did you pick Bleach as the title?

Kubo-sensei: The title wasn't Bleach when I decided to draw a story about Soul Reapers. (Shinigami) This was before I drew the one-shot manga that appeared in Akamaru Jump. The weapon wasn't a sword, but a scythe. Only Rukia had a scythe and the other characters used guns. At that point, the title was Snipe [as in "sniper"]. Right before I started drawing, I began to think that a sword would be better and realized I couldn't use Snipe as a title anymore. I began looking for a title that grasped the bigger picture. Soul Reapers (Shinigami) are associated with the color black, but it would have been boring to use "black." "White," on the other hand, can suggest black as a complementary color. So I chose "bleach" to evoke the impression of the color white.

[Kubo-sensei explained to us how he chose English chapter titles for the manga. He uses a dictionaru to look up words that match his idea for the title, and ogten replaces a word with one that has a similar meaning but sounds better. Kubo-sensei didn't use a dictionary to choose "bleach" because the English word is already commonly used in Japan.]

Behind the Scenes

SJ: Will you ever do an Aizen backstory?

Kubo-sensei: Will I...? To be honest, I think part of Aizen's appeal is that he's mysterious. It probably wouldn't be good for his character if I revealed everything about him. If I felt the urge to tell, maybe I would, but I'm just not sure right now.

SJ: Does Captain Yamamoto have a larger plan for the Soul Society? He seems to have no problem with his captains dying.

Kubo-sensei: Does he? I don't have anything planned for him right now. What's interesting about Genryuusai is you can never guess his true intentions. Among the captains, like Shunsui and Inohana, there are a few who appear to have something more to them, but for now I'll have to say it's all a secret.

SJ: Will we learn who will become captains in place of Aizen, Ichimaru and Tousen?

Kubo-sensei: Probably not anytime soon. Assistant captains lack certain abilities that captains have. I personally think the assistant captains need some time before they can become captains. Renji is a major character who's pretty powerful, but put him next to the captains and you'll probably notice that he's kind of erratic... and missing a noble quality. The captains are simply on a whole other level.

SJ: Do you have any plans to make Ichigo and Rukia a couple?

Kubo-sensei: I'm not going to confirm nor deny that. [Laughs]

SJ: Which American superheroes do you admire?

Kubo-sensei: I don't know of many American comic book heroes. I only know them from the movies, but appearance-wise, I thought Cyclops [from the X-men] looked pretty interesting. He can't take off the visor. When he does, his eye power is too strong and kills people- wasn't it something like that? I think that kind of setup is great because it's so dramatic.

SJ: Will Kon ever get his own body?

Kubo-sensei: I hadn't thought about it. I like him in his current body, and I think Kon likes it, too.

SJ: He gets more attention in that body.

Kubo-sensei: That's true.

Kubo-sensei on Comic-Con

SJ: What was the most impressice Bleach coustume you saw?

Kubo-sensei: There were actually two. One was Komamura, who had a wolf's face on when he took off his helmet. The other was Neliel [a character who hasn't yet appeared in the manga in the U.S.], who was in all white. Those two coustumes impressed me the most. I also saw a few Kons out there that were very cute.

SJ: We do call it Comic-Kon!

Kubo-sensei: It's an event made for Kon. [laughs]

SJ: He seems to think so.

Kubo-sensei: That's right, definitely.

SJ: We also saw on Arrancar with a mirror.

Kubo-sensei: Ah, yes. That was Grimmjow.

SJ: He had a round mirror over his stomach to look like a hole.

Kubo-sensei: That was a great idea.

SJ: What will you tell your family and friends about this trip?

Kubo-sensei: I want to tell them about everything. I'll take the time and tell them everything I can remember. I was so glad to meet the fans. I received their heartfelt welcome and felt their warmth. I want to be able to convey what I felt as much and as truthfully as possible.

SJ: Thank you so much for the interview!

Kubo-sensei: You're welcome. It was fun. ________________

V to the A to the D-E-R (Vader!)jaina on September 25th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
HOLY CRAP! OMG XD Now THIS is what an ichiruki-biased interview would look like.
_debbiechan_: meow_debbiechan_ on September 25th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)

Yes, my dear, I think we have an decided IchiRuki bias showing here from Shounen Jump.
V to the A to the D-E-R (Vader!)jaina on September 25th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
*laughs* Or just from the fans, who knows. Either way, I like that Kubo knows enough to tease us and not give us a hint either way, even if he already knows for sure in his own mind one way or the other.

*clings* I MISSED YOU, LJ!
a regrettably  small bearcelemna on September 25th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
KUBO TOOK THE WORDS AND SHIFTED THEM TO BE ICHIRUKI. That bastard. Why didn't he do that for NnoiNel? xDDDDD He's getting so off topic I'm sure he could've fit it in there. "Oh and Nnoitra liked Nell you know, I brought that up because Nell teased Ichigo. They're totally connected"
_debbiechan_: PESH bad porn movie_debbiechan_ on September 25th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)

a regrettably  small bearcelemna on September 25th, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)
Becky: DN - Mello & Phonegully_moe on September 25th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
What I like is that Kubo did not deny the couple question. If Ichigo and Rukia were just friends, he would have said, "I'm sorry, but I've never really intended to write them as a romantic duo, they're just comrades, etc." This just confirms that they are a romantic possibility.
_debbiechan_: Kubo is my boyfriend 2_debbiechan_ on September 25th, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)

yeah, Kubo's no fool. He wouldn't deny something that there are swarms of fans craving so much that the studio is feeding them an IchiRuki movie. To satiate them? Or will Kubo give readers some IchiRuki--the pleasantries he promised for later--in the manga before the movie comes out in December?
(Deleted comment)
_debbiechan_: rukia peeking_debbiechan_ on September 25th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)

Oh, it was that interview long ago with Morita when he said he got goosebumps when the Ichigo and Rukia scene after the Grand Fisher battle was animated that I started to believe that. That's when I started calling him Shoujo Man, LOL.
(Deleted comment)
deathlike on September 25th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
Awesome... Shoujo Man XDDD
Kim!: Mushroom Mushroomspartydragon on September 25th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
Eh? What? Where? O.o
Jaimievirkallea on September 25th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC)
One great thing after another, we really are getting so spoiled! Guh, between all the great things happening right now in Bleach and my other favorite hobby, World of Warcraft, I think I might just EXPLODE. @_@

Sooo happy right now. ^__^

Edited at 2008-09-25 05:05 am (UTC)
eurys: sheryleurys on September 25th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
*giggles* *snorts*


OMG NOOOOOO, he compared Urahara to Snufkin, nooooooooo T_T
Snufkin is so much better dammit.
But he likes Cyclops, awesome. Wow that interview is great.
Grenat: paradiseescarboucle on September 25th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
Need the transcript. XD

And WOW, not even 8am, and I'm squeeing in delight XDD Not good for my little heart XDD
annie_08annie_08 on September 25th, 2008 06:04 am (UTC)
I am SO happy with that line about Rukia being Ichigo's ray of light. May be this is the first time he ever admit something so shoujoish that could not be misinterpret as 'just nakame or mentor/student bond'. I love this view on Rukia's importance to Ichigo.

Oh well, I am a happy shipper right now *giggles*
 la vie élastique: ICHIRUKI - far awayshuimei on September 25th, 2008 06:11 am (UTC)
This is not good for my heart! I just about melted over his comments about Rukia being Ichigo's light and his coyness over their being a couple...! He's playing with our feelings, so naughty! ;O; ♥
misumaru: pic#74281039misumaru on September 25th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
Umm... Are there clearer pictures of the other questions anywhere? A couple of those looked kind of interesting, but I couldn't read the answers. :(
_debbiechan_: aim high_debbiechan_ on September 25th, 2008 12:04 pm (UTC)

See above ETA. Sheryl Nome copied the interview so it's all up in the original post now.
misumaru: pic#74281039misumaru on September 25th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)
Fantastic, thank you! :)
whimsyofaword on September 25th, 2008 08:20 am (UTC)
Oh Kubo, how I love you.
Lucia-- I did think about that when I first started to read Bleach. No Aizen backstory? Aww... maybe that's just him being sneaky tho.
Ha ha, there's some Ulquihime in the fan art winners section. XD -feels shippy now-

I might go out and buy this issue, but my country might be a bit behind...

_debbiechan_: Aizen cruel but awesome by heterogen_debbiechan_ on September 26th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)

Villains don't get back story until the moment before they die... I think we can rest assured now that Aizen is going to be around for a LONG time.

Fine with me! XD *loves her hawt evil overlord*
(Anonymous) on September 25th, 2008 09:31 am (UTC)

omg!!! i love your lj... i always visit this...

so there really is a possibilityof an IchiRuki!!! hahahah... i love the interviewer, he/she is an ichiruki shipper!!! kya!!!!!!!!
ayusakura on September 25th, 2008 09:44 am (UTC)
The movie,the words from Kubo-sensei...one can't truly deny that Ichiruki is canon!!!All the fans are swarming in for joy!!!VICTORY!!!!!!
mezzo_marinaio: Lotusmezzo_marinaio on September 25th, 2008 10:09 am (UTC)

And yeah, I too did notice he seemed much happier this time around... I'm very glad for that. For him (obviously) and for us, because I'm sure it will reflect in his manga as well! ^__^

...with that said, though - the greatest question ever remains Jaina's one about the BANCOUCH. ^o^
Chloe-girl: Spirited Away - Hakugrass_angel on September 25th, 2008 11:16 am (UTC)
Urahara's based on Snuffkin?
Ahahahaha, those Japanese really DO love those books.
carpediem: IchiRuki Peek-a-boo!chappy_bunny_15 on September 25th, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)
This is Sheryl Nome from BA. I wrote the rest of the interview and put it in the interviews therad!
_debbiechan_: squee by stereotype vamp_debbiechan_ on September 25th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)

Kylara: rukiakarenai on September 25th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU SO MUCH. I can't even tell you how much I appreciate you getting this to the rest of us. <3!
(Anonymous) on September 25th, 2008 12:48 pm (UTC)
now that he knows that there are a lot of fans rooting for ichiruki, he can't pair the two to any other else... I HOPE!!!
_debbiechan_: meow_debbiechan_ on September 26th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: kaiserkawaii

He's always known. The IchiRuki love is huge in Japan. He knows now that it's huge in America too.

And Bleach is his story--not the fans--so we'll just have to wait and see what he does, haha. What I like to believe, shipping-wise, is that the majority of (non yaoi) shippers in Bleach are IchiRuki because that's what Kubo-sensei's story reveals.

But still... hey, he can throw us some Gin/Kira fanservice anytime!
peca_06peca_06 on September 25th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks Sheryl Nome and Thank you Debbie for the rest of the interview. I am always happy to read about Kubo's artistic methods. I love to see that he gets inspired thru music, because I do too <3333 ^_^ It puts me in that "brain wave" were I can tap into great thoughts and inspiration. I love Kubo. I love that he gets so poetic and shoujo about his own characters (I can feel the LOVE he has for them and specially Ichiruki). "Rukia is a ray of light to Ichigo" is such a beautiful metaphor. She sure guides him like a beacon in the darkest times hehe. I knew that "LUCIA" had something to do with the meaning of the word Rukia. I am definitely happy about just that statement. The rest is just very encouraging.
Seakhyata on September 25th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
He could have totally denied the IchiRuki question. Fed the interviewer his usual blase "I dont want to focus on romance yet" type answer and be done with it. Instead, he laughs and gets all coy and refuses to confirm nor deny it. Oh Kubo, you sly dog.

And what gets me is the fact that he gave a terribly shippy answer for a question that had nothing to do with IchiRuki! It is a fantastic shippy season for us. *is ecstatic*

Edited at 2008-09-25 03:13 pm (UTC)
renki_chanrenki_chan on September 25th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the inteview, It is really really interesting ^____^
and I'm happy Kubo-sensei did enjoy his trip ^___^
Akiahara: ichigo wtfakiahara on September 25th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
Wow! Thanks for this!

Rukia is Ichigo's ray of light...

If that's not IchiRuki-ish, I don't know what is. >.
Ashe: Nellutenatai on September 25th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Kubo likes me! ^_______^
_debbiechan_: Neliel_debbiechan_ on September 25th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)

I know, baby--he's like mentioned you twice and DRAWN YOU even. I might have to fight you for him. XD

Seriously, your cosplay was awesome and GOT KUBO APPROVAL, HOW KEWL IS THAT?
a regrettably  small bear: rarnellcelemna on September 25th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
You have my honest and purest envy as a cosplayer. You make a gorgeous Nell- I have no complaints at all...and I hate most cosplayers and I'm very picky so that means something.

*baaaaw's in aww*
Fanartist: [Mumei] DAAAAAAfanartist on September 26th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
nooziewoozie on September 25th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
This interview is leaving me wibbling inside. Oh, Kubo, you sly sly man!
(Anonymous) on September 25th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
this is like a knife in the heart to ichihime supporters. *sigh*
(Anonymous) on September 26th, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)
nah dont worry they'll recover soon.Denial is strong in this fandom.

Anyways I'm satisfied with the interview.You can see that rukia has a important place in his heart. Everything took place after her creation: the plot, ichigo and the other characters,the bleach universe...
no wonder she is precious to him ^^

I cant believe he wont do aizen's backstory XD
It's as if his only role was to be badass and hot lolol

Fatty Mcbaldenwheezy P.H.D.: My joy stems from your unending kindnessanemoneoflight on September 26th, 2008 06:11 am (UTC)
Oh wow, we really have been spoiled haven't we? So many great questions and Kubo even directly answered some of them! lol Needless to say, I'm very much satisfied with this interview. As usual, thank you Debbie!
melodymix: FMA ED approvedmelodymix on September 26th, 2008 08:35 am (UTC)
Such a shippy interview! I'm glad the America JUMP sees Ichigo and Rukia as a main pairing of Bleach. They wouldn't be asking a question like that.
Bunnisteffi lay flayrah u silflay.bunnisteffi on September 26th, 2008 09:30 am (UTC)
WAHAHA. So those of us who'd theorised that Rukia's name isn't just a jumble of sound-kana are right! Lucia! That's what I'd believed. XD XD XD ルキアは一護の光ですよ!

Kubo-sensei has had fun! That, I am glad. Thanks, debbiechan and Sheryl Nome!
cheese_chan on September 26th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
No one asked about Ishida...WRRRYYY?! D:

I can't tell you how much I get excit4ed from reading this interview stuff! <3 Thank you, Debbie! ^__^

<<;;; Kubo has never mentioned Ishihime before, has he? Dx
_debbiechan_: smile_debbiechan_ on September 26th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)

There are some offhand mentions in the All Color But the Black. Twice, he mentions he likes how Ishida and Orihime look in a spread. Once he says "I like how Ishida is looking at Orihime here." That's all, not much.
Rappydappydappy McTappy: [Bleach] Ishida - The fangirls touched mraptorix on September 26th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
Damn! These must have been the extra questions from fans and Viz staff. I was hoping for a transcription of the Q&A from the ComicCon Panel! There were insightful answers about other characters too! (For instance, Kubo's decision to make Chad Mexican, and his thought process that conceptualized Ishida and Quincys...)

I do admit I saw both the Grimmjow with the mirror cosplay (and watched Kubo's reaction to him at the signing, it was amusing! Plus, the cosplayer has been around at AX too.) and the Espada Uniform Neliel cosplay (who was accompanied by a release-form Neliel I think.)

I'm going to have to see if this month's edition of SJ is at Borders and if there's a copy out of the wrapper lol!
サラ・: Rukia Cosplay: Profilepixyteri on October 3rd, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
This interview is amazing. I'm still waiting to get this issue due to both the interview AND my fan art being in it.

Tons of cool tidbits here, of course the Ichiruki-ness, but also Snufkin (Whoah!) and Cyclops. Interestingly, Cyclops isn't quite as popular in the super hero universe. Kubo seems to support the underdogs.

I also like this explanation of the meaning of "Bleach" better, he made it much more interesting here. ^^;;;; Good job mah man!