Considered as the pioneer and founder of RPG, Dragon Quest is one of the biggest licenses of the video game history. Created in 1986, the game was adapted as manga through two sagas: Dai's Great Adventure, by Koji INADA and Riku SANJO, and Emblem of Roto, by Kamui FUJIWARA. The latter has been able to seduce the Nippon public, the proof is that the manga sold more than nineteen million copies in Japan. Published in 1991, the public will wait until May 2014 for the manga to be translated and published in France.
Despite of the huge success of Emblem of Roto, it is in simplicity and with humility that the much appreciated Kamui FUJIWARA arrives on the Japan Expo stage. Winner of the Tezuka Awards in 1979, the mangaka has not always destined himself for this job: student in design, it is firstly to earn some money that he decided to take part in the contest with some of his friends. Then he started to work in a printing company while sending short comics to editing houses.
Big fan of the series Dragon Quest, he already imagines stories on the mythic video game… and when the offer comes, it is a huge wave of joy that descends upon him! Too amazed for being able to work on his favorite characters, FUJIWARA doesn’t feel any pressure and even works with a relative freedom: adapting a NES video game lets your imagination flow for both the graphical aspect and the scenario, a lot less elaborated than a manga.
Considering seinen easier to realize than shonen, Kamui FUJIWARA is nevertheless still flexible: “I adapt myself to the title, not the opposite”. It is this philosophy that he advises future mangaka to adopt: a good sense of communication to be open enough to accept modifications and a strong determination for being wholly focused and dedicated on one thing.
Even with a busy schedule, the mangaka always finds time to play to video games, and whether it is on 3DS or on his smartphone, he is still loyal to Dragon Quest, his flagship series.
When we ask him what role he prefers between his role of chara-designer (Terranigma, Grandia Xtreme) and his job as a mangaka, he seems to hesitate: “The chara-design is easier. We make our character with several poses then we send it to the developer, as a child at the kindergarten. The manga is like an enfant terrible, but is more gratifying since you have the impression to have made everything from A to Z.”.
After having answered the public’s questions, it is now time to start the live-drawing. It is directly with his marker that the skilled FUJIWARA draws the first clear and neat stroke of his artwork. Confident he carries out the live-drawing, and the public, as if he was hypnotized, assists at the composition of the picture… a beautiful moment of sharing almost suspended in time.