Thanks a lot jaina, our lucky interviewer, for giving Bleach fans something more than same-old canned questions. Also thanks to Amaranth from BleachAsylum who transcribed it from the magazine.
Is there a reason the manga is called Bleach, or is that a secret?
The Soul Reaper - the color that you associate with the Soul Reaper is black. But "black" is too straightforward. So I thought about "white", but white is too simple. So if you put "bleach", somebody can associate that with white. So that's how Bleach came.
If you become a Soul Reaper, what division would you want to be in?
The fourth [medical], because you don't get hurt there!
One thing a lot of people have noticed is that Bleach has many different female characters, each with a distinctive strength. Is that something you took a lot of care in doing?
Usually, I don't intend to create personality before I draw. Usually I draw a character and then I know which side of her is strong and which side is weak. But sometimes the personality and the design come at the same time. I don’t think that the artists should create the character that you want it to be. I think that the character should have its own character. Let them grow: that’s my belief.
What do you think is the main theme of Bleach?
In my work, I don’t like to impose a message or theme onto the reader. I want the characters to develop on their own and create the story themselves, and it usually turns out very clever. So I tend to do that sort of thing.
Way back in the beginning of the manga, when Ichigo was first using Rukia’s powers, was he also wielding her actual sword, just much bigger? A lot of people have noticed that the marking on it were the same.
The design is the same because at that time he was bearing her power. So yes.
Was the spirit of her zanpakuto in him also?
The outside [of the zanpakuto] has the design of Rukia’s but when he was fighting at the beginning, the spirit was his – Ichigo’s. At one point during some battle, Urahara tells him that Ichigo’s zanpakuto is big, but there’s nothing in it. So at that time he hasn’t really developed his spirit in it, but he gradually starts to.
For a shonen series, Bleach spends a lot focusing on the emotions and different bonds between the characters. I’m sure you’re asked this a lot, but will we ever see any romance by the end of the series?
I don’t really intend to make it a romantic story, but it’s one of the aspects of the series, so I put it in here and there.
In some of the earlier collected volumes, you list a theme song for each character in the character profile. Do you have any songs picked out for some of the newest characters?
Usually when I draw, when I create a character, I’m playing some music in my head and that’s why I assign that music, for example, to Ichigo. So even if I don’t list it now, I do assign it, I just don’t put it on paper. But every character has a theme song.
When did Rukia have the Hogyoku put inside her?
It’s a secret!
From the beginning of the series, the team-up of Ichigo and Rukia was very important to making the series work. How did you plan it out?
Ichigo obviously needed help because he was developing his talent and strength, and here she was, so I thought they’d be a good match to help each other.
Finally, can you tell us why Aizen’s couch is so big?
The bigger, the more beautiful!