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CyberManga blog

From CyberManga artists in Japan

I assume everyone knows the voice actress Megumi Ogata, the voice of Shinji in famous “Evangelion.” She is also the voice of Kurama in “Yu Yu Hakusho,”to whom she is more strongly associated for our generation.

The words she gave us 10 years ago are still the very core part that supports our creative works in CyberManga. So, I’d like to share this story with you today.

In case you haven’t seen the ending movie of “Uzozozo Zombie-kun,” there’s a mention in it that the prototype of Zombie-kun was created in 2001, over ten years ago.

We had submitted our project to “Support Project for Individual Creators,”also called “Premiere Project” organized by Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA). Our project was selected and Zombie-kun was created as a prototype of manga contents for next generation.
Although what we created was a Flash-based web-manga, as iPhone and iPad were nonexistent at that time, it already had almost all the features implemented in the current app, including the multi-casting function.

The support project had allocated us some budget, which gave us a chance to solicit voice actors/actresses to voice our manga characters…such a fortunate opportunity, when I come to think of it.

We went straight to Ms.Ogata and Mr. Nobuyuki Hiyama, who voiced the main characters of “Yu Yu Hakusho,” simply because we were a huge fan of the program.
Looking back, it was a miracle that they agreed to do it since it wasn’t a usual anime-work they are used to do, let alone the fact that we were asking them to do the voices for 3 persons simultaneously.

They both were already at the top-class voice actor/actress, so imagine our surprise and appreciation when we found out they were going to do it.

On the recording day…we just turned to groupies (lol).

Oh by the way, we, Konohana Sakuya (yes!), wrote the lyrics and music of the theme song of Zombie-kun. And at the recording studio on that day, all the voice actors sang it together. Very, very rare and precious audio source today.

In addition, as it was recorded 10 years ago, you can listen to a bit of Mr. Kousuke Toriumi and Ms. Sachi Matsumoto in it. So if you’re a fan of these two voice actors, you should definitely check it out!

Well, then, after recording was over, we walked up to the voice actors to greet them.

As much as we are excited by the fact that they had come all the way to collaborate with a minor manga artist like us, we were also feeling undeserving. So the word of apology came up first to my mouth.
“I’m very sorry to put you into this.”

Ms. Ogata, to my surprise, replied with a smile.

“Oh, I enjoyed it so much.”
“You did?”
I asked, and she continued.
“With anime, voice actors’ performances are inevitably time-constrained because of program duration and the mouth-movements of the characters on screen. But I was able to act out more freely without watching out for the mouth-movements this time. I think it enhanced my performance.”

That was a total surprise for us, as we had never thought about it.

But at the same time, we learned one thing; when people from various fields become involved in a project, new values are created in a way we’ve never imagined to be existed. That’s a very different experience from manga-creating process.

Basically, paper-drawn manga is under 100% control of a creator.

On the other hand, CyberManga involves various kind of people, including voice actors/actresses, audio directors, programmers and so on (although a very small group compared to the anime or game productions).

If the works can create some new values that have not existed in manga-creators’ mind frame as a result of such process, I believe that’s what gives a meaning to this new challenge of creating digital manga instead of a paper version of it.

Oh, and just as a sidenote, Ms. Ogata has announced the release of new CyberManga on her official Web-site before anyone did.

We always appreciate her generosity and her dedication to connect to the fans (think about it, we only worked together once, ten years ago!)

And I can tell, her personal quality passes on to her fans. They are as enthusiastic as Ms. Ogata.

When we created our prototype in 2001, we put Zombie-kun up on our display for the exhibition organized by IPA
On that occasion, Ms. Ogata had also announced the event, and her fans came to see it.
I remember it so well because it was such a pleasure to see them try all the multi-casting patterns voiced by Ms. Ogata.

It was then when one of the fans suggested if the frame could be played automatically, as it was taking her some trouble displaying them one by one manually.

As a result of the suggestion, our new CyberManga is has an AutoMode function.

So, to Ms. Ogata’s fan we met at the booth, I hope you read this and receive our thanks.

Your idea of AutoMode works!!!

Kohei Nishino

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(This is Dario voiced by Ms. Ogata. Check out her extatic performance. It’s the best.)