By Operation Rainfall Contributor / September 20th, 2016
At Anime Expo 2016, Azario Lopez had the opportunity to sit down with OKAYADO, the creator/writer/illustrator for Monster Musume. Monster Musume is a manga series currently being serialized in Monthly Comic Ryū in Japan and localized in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment.
Monster Musume takes place in a world where mythical creatures such as harpies, lamias, and mermaids are revealed by the Japanese government to actually exist and are then integrated into society as part of the “Interspecies Cultural Exchange Act”. Kimihito Kurusu first takes in Miia by accident, and then more and more ‘monster girls’ as the series progresses. As each of these girls that moves in with “Darling” (as Kimihito Kurusu begins to become known by) falls for him, he in turn has to help them integrate into society-at-large.
Anime Expo is the largest anime and manga convention in North America, and takes place annually at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. In 2016, over one-hundred thousand people attended the four days of the convention. Tickets for Anime Expo 2017, which takes place between July 1st-4th 2017, are currently on sale.
You can purchase the physical English language manga volumes of Monster Musume on Bookwalker, download it digitally on comiXology, and stream the anime series on Crunchyroll and/or with a Hulu Plus subscription. You can also message OKAYADO over on Twitter. You can check out Anime Expo over on their website, follow them on Twitter and on Tumblr, and like them on Facebook.
Interview by: Azario Lopez. Formatting and layout by: Quentin H.
Operation Rainfall: When you created Monster Musume, did you think that it would have a chance at being popular in the West?
OKAYADO: I never thought it would be this popular, especially in the US.
OR: The series features a comedic overtone, but also features scenes of racism directed towards the monsters living in the human world. Did you intend to address these issues?
O: I enjoy creating strong characters. To build up the personalities of these characters, I thought it would be interesting if I had those themes in the story. That particular theme didn’t come first, it actually came later on as I built up the characters in the story.
OR: With so many fan favorite female monster characters, do you listen to who they would like to see Darling-kun with?
O: Actually, I often get influenced by the fans. One fan from Twitter really loves Polt and asks me all the time to [have] Kimihito Kurusu go to the gym with her. This had me thinking that maybe Polt is a good character and deserves some alone time with Kurusu. So if you read the recent stories, Polt shows up a lot more.
OR: Do Western fans message you as well?
O: Yes, all the time. Actually, the fan that requested more of Polt was from overseas and use[d] Google translate to read the manga. [OR Note: OKAYADO uses Google translate to read messages from fans as well.]
OR: Will there be an American monster girl?
O: I think about this a lot. I believe that Zombina is sort of American. My image of zombies comes from American zombie movies so I used that influence when creating Zombina.
OR: When first creating Monster Musume, were there people who told you that it wouldn’t work?
O: Monster Musume started out as a one page manga. I would put it on the internet and it started to gain a fan base. Later, when I decided to make it into a series, those fans were against it. They told me that if I made it into a series it wouldn’t be able to capture the interesting aspects of the manga. I decided not to think about it too much and do what I can do. The fans that loved the series in the beginning really kept me going.
OR: Is there anything you won’t draw in Monster Musume?
O: First of all, Monster Musume is not an adults-only manga. In Japan, to get this adults-only title you would need to show the actual sex scene or show anything below the waist.
OR: If you moved on from Monster Musume, which character would you miss the most?
O: Probably Miia. She was there since the beginning so I’d probably miss her the most. Honestly, I was pretty surprised by the popularity of [Arachnera], she doesn’t really look ‘cute’. I was not only surprised, I was also happy that people loved her and for that I would miss her as well.
OR: Do you have any future projects in mind?
O: I’m interested in science fiction, but I really like monster girls. So if I was were to start a new project, it would have monster girls in it.
OR: Kimihito Kurusu rarely gets called by his real name. Instead the girls call him various forms of ‘Darling’. Was this intentional?
O: Well yes, I do this on purpose so that the readers can connect more with the characters. I feel like it attaches the reader more to the character.
OR: Fans who enjoy Monster Musume are often on the receiving end of bullying and criticism. Do you have any advice for them on how to deal with those situations?
O: Well I feel like I’m still trying to figure that out myself. I really don’t know.
OR: What is the future of Monster Musume and can we expect spin-off stories?
O: I mainly focus on the main girls, but I’d love to expand on the side characters’ stories in the future.
All images are the copyrighted property of OKAYADO, and are used here with permission.
Tickets for Anime Expo 2017 are currently on sale.
Who do you think “Darling” should end up with? Are you planning on attending Anime Expo 2017? Let us know in the comments below!
Anime ExpoAX2016Kimihito KurusuMonster musumeOKAYADO