Learn, Understand, Grow. Dedicated to the challenge. For the future of Manga.
We’re not in the business of hunting manga, but farming manga.
“We focus on creating products that are destined to sell.”
Among editorial skills, are there any that are cultivated through actual practice?
Horie: There are a lot of elements to understand when making a new name in manga, namely a lot of practical meetings. No matter how much an editor gives it their best, it pails in comparison compared to the genius of the author’s ability. By creating manga, together with a talented author, the editor’s skill is constantly improving. That is why I am expecting to discover new, exciting talent and am very much looking forward to meeting them all soon.
So the editor and author grow together?
Horie: By doing so, the creator will not stop at the first successful hit. If the creator is properly supported by effective editorial techniques, no hit will be an accident. We are focussed on the “farming” model of publishing, sow the seeds, nurture them with care and dedication and they will grow stronger the following year…
As an agricultural nation, this way of thinking is very Japanese! (laughs)
Horie: This way of thinking isn’t only limited to manga. By fully realising 85% of your potential, you are capable of being the best in your field. You don’t even have to reach 100%, but anything lower than 70% and productivity begins to falter. Most Manga creators begin their careers at 70% and its the editor’s job to make up the remaining 15% using skill, dedication and a genuine love for the work being created.
Of course some rare creators are way over 85% to begin with, leaving nothing for the editor to do other than say “thank you very much sensei, keep at it!” (laughs). For everyone else aiming for 85%, we are focused creating work that has selling potential, through building and nurturing strong editor/creator relationships.
So this isn’t an accidental or intuitive technique.
Horie: To that end, I am actively researching and analysing popular manga hits. For example, we implement a useful analysis method we call “Pitch” where we deconstruct the story by cutting the work into pieces and then reconstruct them to create a narrative. By repeating this method, the editor and creator become adept at crafting a perfect story, while also identifying the weak points in the narrative. “Pitch” can also help even the newest creators of manga who are suffering writers block.
And you use this procedure every day?
Horie: With this method, we are able to work successfully with creators overseas instead of just telling them to “understand the Japanese method of working”. We are able to really hone a universal way of editing manga through method and language.