The official Twitter account of Shounen Jump+ announced on August 3 that they are finally releasing the first Volume of Yukinobu Tatsu’s bestseller manga DANDADAN on Wednesday. To commemorate this crazy tale of aliens and missing balls Jump+ has created a PV to go along with the release.
In light of the announcement, Dandadan’s author Yukinobu Tatsu and his editor in charge Shihei Rin shared a few secrets with AL(alu.jp) and Da Vinci News(ddnavi.com) about the hit series.
In this interview, they talk about the creation process of Tatsu sensei and how he eventually came up with the series with his all-time support system, his editor Shihei Rin.
Chapter 1 of Dandadan generated a huge amount of buzz and trended on Twitter. It exceeded 1million PV in just two days and the first 3 chapters were released in a row which exceeded the mark of 1 million PV within a week! The series is bound to get more traction as it heads to VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump service as well as Manga Plus later this year.
However, DanDaDan, the supernatural manga centered around ghosts and urban legends, was born out of pure impulse after Shihei advised Tatsu to “draw freely without thinking about anything even if it is just one page”.
Yukinobu Tatsu wasn’t a household name in the industry. He was only known for his connection to Chainsaw Man author Tatsuki Fujimoto and Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku author Yuji Kaku, until he released DANDADAN on April 6th,2021.
Tatsu initially started to work on series like “The Roku issue of justice” or “FIRE BALL!” in “Monthly Shonen Magazine” to get serialized, but they were extremely short-lived. Soon he met Shihei Rin as his editor back in 2015, who had recently shifted from “SQ.” to “Jump+”. However, Tatsu at the time really wanted to get serialized in “Weekly Shounen Jump”.
As a responsible Editor, Shihei made Tatsu participate in “Jump + GW Yomiki Festival” in 2019 with “Yamada Kiki Ippatsu“, a one-shot manga that earned a fair amount of praise but didn’t end up getting serialized.
Following the one-shot a number of series were tried with elements like robots, beasts, and “kyonsy(reanimated corpses)”, but none of them made it to the serialization meetings. This was definitely a burn-out phase for the author when he could not find the right push to finally settle on a plot.
The process Tatsu sensei follows is something he learned at a “Pixar Exhibition”. He makes the storyboards using cuts that show the worldview first. It also helps him to convey the character’s personality and story to his editor just from these images.
No matter how much Tatsu sensei’s breathtaking artwork was ready to grasp the audience, there was a time when he was going through an artist’s block.
In 2019, Tatsu sensei was working under Fujimoto and other authors as an assistant when he expressed to Shihei he was no longer able to put out what he wanted to. He gave up drawing. Until Mr. Editor gave Tatsu the freedom to draw freely without thinking about a story. And hence born, DANDADAN.
There was no plot, no storyboard. Yukinobu Tatsu made a character table just from the “name”!
When Shihei was asked why he gave him this advice, he replied that Yukinobu Tatsu has a lot of potential which he cannot express if he is put under restrictions. He has tried every means to get a story serialized and in the process, he believes Tatsu has forgotten how to draw without a story. So, it was his idea to give him the chance to go back to what he likes.
Among the huge number of techniques and tricks that authors and scriptwriters use to come up with a series or a movie, Yukinobu Tatsu and Shihei Rin went for “logline”- a concept of describing a script in one sentence. Scrambling through his notes he found an idea of “Sadako vs Kayako” that formed the occult theme of the manga.
The author says he used the reference of “Sadako vs Kayako” because it was “ridiculous in a good way”. He is not a fan of the pure horror genre, however if a mistake is made to express the fear factor of the genre it can become funny. Many ghosts have a sad background, and the likes of Junji Ito’s “Tomie” are too scary for him. That is why, Tatsu wanted to give a fun twist to the ghosts, making them more fun than scary(mostly because he is a scaredy-cat himself).
It won’t be a stretch, since fans totally agree that “a monster can only be defeated by a monster”. His idea was to involve the creepiest creatures such as UMA(unidentified mysterious animal), aliens, or even youkai/spirits that fans can’t naturally think of, placing them in all kinds of fights and scenarios and go all out with the manga.
In an interview with Jump Comics, Tatsu sensei features an illustrative songbook by Narita Toru, creator of Ultraman composed of abstract-looking creepy creatures. Looking back to the weird questionable villains in Dandadan, they quite follow the same uneasiness of the illustrations. Well, the author himself admits that’s the feeling he is going for in this manga. The “interesting” uneasiness.
Since Tatsu sensei is who is good at using the screen with bold flashy cuts Shihei thought it will be best to put it in Jump+. To favor them more, Jump+ does not care for the number of pages, which makes it easy for DANDADAN to unfold at its own pace.
Believe it or not, Chap 1 of Dandadan was a complete reflection of what the author thought at the moment. And editor Shihei was certain it would blow up. So he wasted no time making plans to get it to serialization no matter what. However, the problem was, they didn’t have a concrete plot until Chapter 3!
When the author was asked, why he chose to create a character called “Turbo Baba(Turbo Granny), he replied that he was called “100 Kilo Baba” when he was little. The idea stemmed from his childhood memories and also the fun contrast in the words “Turbo” and “Granny”.
From the start of the series, following the Turbo Granny arc, everything has come so far after this power-duo brainstormed through the story in the whackiest way possible. As a matter of fact, regarding Okarun losing his “balls”, that was also an idea Editor Shihei has pitched in over a drink.
Frankly, the plot of Dandadan mostly constitutes elements of some random conversation, from where the author picked up only the best ingredients to cook up the manga to perfection.
At the time of writing, Dandadan is in the Top 5 ranks of Best Selling Category on Amazon Japan. It was also nominated for “Next Manga Award 2021” in the Web Manga Category!
You can read a free preview of Dandadan on Shonen Jump+ According to Yukinobu Tatsu, the author of the manga, only good things are sure to come to those who read it!