Go Nagai | Unappologetic Interview

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Stumbled upon this article about Go Nagai the creator of Devilman. Sadly I never heard of Nagai until this article but I must stay he’s a striking character. You can sense the force of his personality through the poorly translated article.

“Devilman does not have a political ending. I just wanted to underline human stupidity.” – Go Nagai

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Go Nagai Interview: Naples Comicon 2007

Manga Forever Staff is pleased and honoured to give you an interview with one of the greatest and most celebrated japanese author of all the time: Go Nagai.
Meeting the man behind the characters and stories that went along us in our childhood and teens, the ones we shaped our dreams on, was a really exciting moment.
We all have fought together with Duke Fleed, Hiroshi or Tetsuya, characters who taught us one essential rule: never givin’ up!
And that’s what we Manga Forever did to get this interview.
We met master Go Nagai on April the 28th at Castel Sant’Elmo, during Naples Comicon 2007.
The press conference, reserved for a few selected journalists – and Manga Fover was among them – saw the japanese master answering some questions.
The event took about twenty minutes; each journalist was allowed only one question.
This is just a teaser about what is going on: we have some more gifts for you…come back and visit us and you’ll find them…

Question: What do you think about the censorship against your characters, who are accused to rise violence among kids?
Answer: I think it is wrong. Giving a fake and sweetened idea of a real world, the grown ups one’s, where violence and competion rule is not very educational and therefore counterproductive.

Q: Did Hiroshima’s tragedy affect your works?
A: I was born three weeks after Japanese capitulation, so I lived the horror of the war only through the testimonies and the stories of people around me, but I was affected by for sure, so all my works were: the fear of the war is clear in every story of mine and I’m often misunderstood because I prefer not to express explicitly pacific messages, but I rather show what would happen if we come to a new world war. I also think that some characters I created shares a hippie soul, because I started working just in 1968, so they were inevitably influenced by those years.

Q: What pushes you to come back to life old dead characters and to write again adventures realized in the past?
A: It depends mostly because I’m never completely satisfied by the quality of my work. I always think it could be improved. On the other hand, animation technologies have a continous evolution, so I’m curious about how my characters could become and what they could do.

Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I’m on four different kind of stories, two of them are manga about Samurai set in Medieval Japan.

Q: It’s been some years since you visited Italy: have you noticed something different?
A: It looks like really dynamic to me but at the same time it‘s able to keep the same setting I enjoyed in my childhood when I watched movies of the italian neo-realismo for the first time. I’ve also found some traces of the ancient Greek and Romans myths, and most of all I’ve been struck by the armour of a statue at the Museo Nazionale, it will probably inspire some new warriors in my future works.

Q: Which works, according to you, are a must-read?
A: My tastes are in continuous evolution and they don’t stop to the stories I read 20 or 10 years ago. I still read comics that excite me a lot nowadays and therefore I just coudn’t give you a specific list of the finest works to me.

Q: Do you often deal with social and political issues in your comics? Has Devilman, for example, a “political” ending?
A: No, I don’t, I prefer to avoid a political connotation for my manga. I might be misunderstood and I’d risk to offend anyone. Devilman does not have a political ending. I just wanted to underline human stupidity.

Q: What kind of relationship did you have with Italian literature, which you’ve always appreciated – especially with Dante’s Divina Commedia?
A: When I was I child I was struck by the edition of Divina Commedia my father had at home, which was illustrated by Dorè; since then I payed attention to Italian culture, mostly novels and movies imported in Japan. Mao Dante and the following Devilman are for sure children of Lucifer trapped in the ice. These days I spent in Napoli gave me the chance to see Pompei and I was fascinated by.

Q: You’ve almost reach a forty years long carrer: why in most of your works do you tend to resume characters and situations created in your first ten years in the industry?
A: Because of two reasons:
1) I’m not satisfied by the style of “the young” Nagai, and so taking back the old characters I can notice how my style changed and in case I try to improve it
2) Resuming situations used in the past give me the chance to update them with historical and social evolutions.

Q: I’ve seen that the science-fiction you tell in your stoies has a kind of destructive connotation, while we have some other writer like Leiji Matsumoto who give their sci-fi a more “romantic” flavour. Have you ever thought about creating romantic sci-fi comic books?
A: Yes, I have, It’d be nice; but the publishers want from me sci-fi comic books full of robots destroying evil aliens. In this way I also avoid misunderstanding: as I write about heroes fighting aliens, I don’t offend anybody; so it’s better to use alien than human beings.

Q: What do you think about the role of comics in our society? How is it evolving?
A: Comics are much more enjoyable than novels, so they can have a more direct role with the readers thanks to the mixing between images and text. They also came through an incredibile evolution in this years and I do not know how far it can go; thanks to the new visual technologies comics will surely evolve into something important and will keep a leading role anyway.

A special thanks to Master Go Nagai who even answered difficult questions, thanks to Federico Colpi (D/Visual) who translated and a very special thanks to Comicon 2007 staff, FactaManent, particularly to Francesca (press office).
Come back and see us for many more goodies..

Source: MangaForever

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