Exclusive: Shu Sakuratani Talks About Rooster Fighter Manga, Western Influence & Life As Mangaka

Shu Sakuratani Rooster Fighter

Rooster Fighter manga captured the attention of readers with its unique (and totally bizarre) concept. With Viz releasing the manga in English, overseas fans too got a taste of the manga. Not just was it good for the laughs, the art and also the action sequences were good enough to keep people hooked.

Intrigued by the idea behind Rooster Fighter, Animehunch Team decided to discuss the nuances of the manga with author Shu Sakuratani.

Read on to know why Sakuratani chose a Rooster as the protagonist and who he took inspiration from to make the character.

Can you tell us something about yourself? What inspired you to become a manga artist?

I was working for a company, but quit, and the part-time work I took on after that was incredibly draining. Right around the time I was desperate to make a change, I encountered a manga called Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoi yo!! Masaru-san, and was amazed that such a manga could exist, which inspired me to become a manga artist. I would draw for fun as a student, but I had no idea that I would later become a manga artist.

Rooster Fighter has quite the unique plot. It has managed to capture the attention of a lot of readers, including us. Could you tell us how you got the idea for Rooster Fighter and the reason you chose a rooster to be the protagonist?

To be honest, I was actually in a bit of a rut trying to come up with ideas until I came up with a rooster. I had gone through several other types of living beings, but a rooster felt like the perfect fit. When I was little, I actually had a rooster as a pet, so that may have influenced me. Once I had a rooster set as my protagonist, everything else came together quickly from there.

Did the personality of the protagonist, Keiji, evolve, from the time you came up with the story, to the time you were done with its final draft?

At the beginning of the story, Keiji dislikes children, but as his bond with Piyoko develops, his dislike of her begins to fade, and he puts his all into saving her. I think that shows how he evolves as a character over time.

Is Keiji’s personality inspired by any person or character in particular?

I think I may have been influenced by the late, great actor Ken Takakura’s overwhelming yet taciturn presence. I also love Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, so it may have influenced this series as well.

Despite being labelled as an action comedy, Rooster Fighter has a fair share of its slice of life, and even sad moments. How do you balance the elements of humor and the other emotions in the story?

I want to keep the primary focus of the series as being an action manga, so my first priority is the action scenes, and then I work backward from there to work in the drama and the comedy if there’s room for it. Occasionally, my priorities will shift, but my primary goal is building up Keiji as a character. It sounds like there may be plans for a video game as well.

Is there any character in the manga to whom you could relate a lot?

Elizabeth, I think. I like how she can’t quite be forthcoming with the person she likes, and gets jealous, just like a normal human girl. Perhaps it’s more that I feel a sense of familiarity from her and less that I can directly relate.

Finally, do you have any message that you’d like to give the overseas fans?

I’m so thankful for all of the support I receive from places all over the world. I look at every message I receive on Twitter. I had no idea this series would be so beloved. As a manga artist, there’s no greater joy than that. Thank you so much!

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