Last Sunday was the unique occasion to discover in France one of the pillars of the Shônen Jump, who came to talk about Beelzebub, an amazing manga series full of action and humor. Ryuhei TAMURA wrote and draw all this series, that made its debuts in Japan in 2009 and in France in 2011.
You all know the story: it’s about Tatsumi OGA, a young student at a school for juvenile delinquents called Ishiyama High. One day, he learns that he was chosen to raise the son of the Devil, Kaiser des Emperana Beelzebub IV, AKA Baby Beel. And he will have to do it until the day the baby reaches the age at which he is to destroy Humanity. However, the artist confides he is not a fighter: « I don’t run alongside with louts. I’m more like those who change sidewalk when they see them coming”. He’s never even trained any martial art! “I wanted to bring the readers something different from the manga with louts, give it a constraint. That’s why there’s a baby on my main character’s shoulder.”, he says.
Happy to meet his fans at Japan Expo, TAMURA was there with his editor to reveal himself and to talk about his career’s path, his influences, his work and his way of working… “I had the chance to have a mother who read manga at the time, so I read them too and I knew very soon that I wanted to become a mangaka.”. He has his first contact with the professional world of manga at the age of 16, when he sends boards in yon koma stripes to a magazine, with Dragon Quest as a theme.
But he made his real debuts four years later, when he left his school of animation to follow his real career path in the Shônen Jump magazine. He tells his audience how this milieu works in Japan and how you start publishing in a magazine. “To have his stories published in a magazine where big authors are published was something so overwhelming that I skipped the pages where my stories were printed when I read it”, he says.
The interviewer remembers the audience that the twenty seventh and last volume of Beelzebub was just released in Japan, and the mangaka reveals that it wasn’t easy to just let go of the characters he had worked on for so long during the past five years, and that at the time he was drawing the last chapter, he was overcome by a deep feeling of sadness: “Of course, I am thinking about new projects, but I haven’t yet cut the link that unites me to my characters, because I’m still working on them for episodes in series.”
To close this friendly and privileged moment, he answers to the numerous questions of the audience and gives a little live demonstration of his drawing talents!