Connect with us

manga

redjuice Interview | Featured News

Avatar

Published

on

 

The characters exude distinct personalities, ranging from delicate beings on the verge of disappearing softly to fierce and beautiful beasts unleashing their wild nature. Many fans appreciate the futuristic and stylish mecha designs and cyber typography.

Redjuice is a character designer and illustrator, known for bringing characters to life in works like Hatsune Miku and Guilty Crown. In February 2024, just before their solo exhibition REDBOX under the name of their own company, they answered questions about their daily life, the exhibition, and inquiries collected by TOM from overseas fans.

Through this, we catch glimpses of their artistic stance and their constant commitment to self-improvement.

This interview was recorded in February 2024

More info on redjuice merch & the REDBOX exhibition

THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN / GIRLS FROM HELL (2024)

Regarding Recent Developments

Tokyo Otaku Mode: First, could you update us on what you’ve been up to lately, redjuice-san?

redjuice: Let’s see. If we’re talking about last year, I worked on projects like IRyS1 and Proseka2, and there are still a few unreleased ones in the pipeline. So, yeah, those kinds of jobs kept me busy. Also, I got back into doujin activities after a while, so I’d say it was a pretty fulfilling year overall.

This year, starting in March, I’ve been caught up in preparations for my solo exhibition, so that’s been keeping me occupied.

TOM: Reflecting on these past few years, including these recent developments, have there been any significant changes for you as an artist?

redjuice: Hmm, over these past few years, I can’t say there’s been any specific milestone or a complete transformation in my life as an artist… It feels more like I’m constantly updating myself day by day.

TOM: Well then, have there been any changes in your personal life during that time?

redjuice: Over the past 10 years or so, there have certainly been changes. Back when I was working on Guilty Crown3, for example, I was living in Odaiba at the time. However, during the production of Guilty Crown, I moved to Mitaka, near the studio, and then moved back to Harajuku after Guilty Crown ended.

Harajuku is a pretty nice place, but living there can be tough (laughs).
After that, I moved to Kugenuma Beach in Kanagawa Prefecture when the company relocated.

That was around the time when I started getting various job offers as a creator. I was working on anime, and there was a surge in demand for illustrators due to the rise of social games, and there was a period where I was literally getting so much work every day that I had to turn some of it down.
Now, the overwhelming workload has been sorted out, and I feel like I have work that suits me better.

TOM: Since there may be those who are hearing about you for the first time in this interview, I’d like to hear a bit about your past. At what age did you start drawing?

redjuice: I really started drawing when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I would take a drawing board and go out to the river to draw, or I would copy illustrations from picture books. Also, an acquaintance of mine gave me office copy paper, which was quite valuable at the time, and I used it for doodling. That’s from around the time I was in preschool to early elementary school.

I developed asthma around the time I was in early elementary school, so there was a period when I couldn’t go out much, but I continued drawing during that time.

It was around the time when the Famicom was released, but my family had banned video games. I bought my first game for myself when I became an adult, haha

TOM: What was the first game you bought at that time?

redjuice: My first game was on PlayStation. I bought various games like Ridge Racer.

Going back to my childhood, I was drawing a lot, especially during elementary school. So, I was pretty good at drawing. I didn’t particularly receive lessons from teachers or anything, but my art grades at school were always top-notch.

TOM: What kind of things were you drawing at that time?

redjuice: Hmm, let’s see. I was drawing things like superheroes, manga drawings like Dragon Ball, vehicles, animals. I’m not exactly sure, but those are the things I remember drawing.

TOM: After that, how did you arrive at your own style and artistic direction?

redjuice: Well, it didn’t happen at once, but I subsequently became who I am now. First, when I was in junior high school, I encountered the work of Mamoru Nagano in The Five Star Stories. He’s one of the authors who influenced me.

However, at that time, I wasn’t drawing much. I would doodle on notebooks or loose leaf paper during breaks, but I wasn’t particularly part of a manga club or anything like that. I hadn’t even thought about becoming an artist in the future.
But through reading works by Mamoru Nagano and various other manga, I started to develop a longing for creativity around the time I was in high school. However, my potential wasn’t fully realized at that point.

I started drawing seriously after I started working. My first job was at a machinery company, and I was doing a completely different job, but I wanted to try my hand at visual work, so I moved to Tokyo. Around that time, I got hooked on drawing on online drawing boards, sharing my drawings with others, receiving critiques, and participating in contests. Through all that, I gradually transitioned into doing art as a profession.

However, I don’t think I’ve established my own style. Objectively, there might be something like Guilty Crown, but I focus on what I want to draw at the time and continue to study and update my skills to be able to draw it. That, I believe, is my style.

A memo redjuice made while creating a doujinshi

TOM: Thank you very much. Among the various projects you’ve been involved in, such as Hatsune Miku, EGOIST4, and IRyS, could you tell us about a project that served as a turning point in your career?

redjuice: There are many, but in terms of Hatsune Miku-related projects, meeting with supercell5 and livetune6 and collaborating with them were significant turning points. Moreover, the emergence of Hatsune Miku herself had a huge impact on creators. The environment where musical and illustrative collaborations could happen on Nico Nico Douga blossomed overnight, and I was able to ride on that movement and take flight.

Another turning point was Pixiv7. Although Twitter (now X) existed at that time, Pixiv was the main platform for sharing illustrations. After gaining visibility there and becoming conscious of being seen by many people, I was able to continuously update myself, which was a crucial aspect in terms of transitioning into work.

TOM: Now, please tell me about your solo exhibition, REDBOX.

redjuice: Last year, I established a company called REDBOX, and I felt that I wanted to summarize my past experiences under that name, which is why I decided to hold this exhibition. Additionally, it’s also a milestone after establishing the company. I felt the need to reflect on and organize what I’ve done so far, in order to continue pursuing the career of an illustrator, which I’ve been able to do somewhat casually through various offers, with a firm resolve for the future.

World is Mine 2024

TOM: The main graphic of this exhibition, “World is Mine 2024,” is a new piece inspired by the illustration provided for the Hatsune Miku song “World is Mine,” released in 2008. Why did you choose to remake this particular piece among your many works?

redjuice: The reason I chose Hatsune Miku as the main graphic is because, as I mentioned earlier, I saw her as the origin of my career as an illustrator. When summarizing my past experiences for this exhibition, I felt that “World is Mine,” as one of those experiences, was the most appropriate motif.

World is Mine (2008)

TOM: Actually, I got to know you through Hatsune Miku’s music back then, so “World is Mine” remains strongly in my memory. Regarding the creation of the new version, “World is Mine 2024,” I’d like to hear about any differences from the original and any creative innovations you’ve implemented.

redjuice: Basically, I haven’t changed the design itself. I approached it from the perspective of “What would the illustration look like if I were to draw it now, using the same design from back then?” So, I think there’s a difference in the artwork that reflects how I’ve grown since then. After all, back in 2008 when I drew “World is Mine,” I wasn’t yet active as a professional. It’s subjective, of course, but I do think I’ve improved since then, haha.

TOM: This might be a strange question, but could you tell us what Hatsune Miku represents for you?

redjuice: She’s a connection to the world of creativity for me. Her character design is catchy, and the VOCALOID system was groundbreaking. At that time, everyone was eager to create something, but there weren’t many platforms where everyone could enjoy themselves. Hatsune Miku emerged, providing that platform and connecting musicians, visual creators, and illustrators through collaboration.

TOM: Do you remember the first time you drew Hatsune Miku?

redjuice: Hmm, I think there are drawings I haven’t posted on Pixiv, but the first proper one was for livetune’s music. Livetune on Nico Nico Douga was quite impactful for me, so that’s when I started drawing. After that, it was for supercell.

TOM: It’s likely that besides Hatsune Miku, other works will be exhibited at this solo exhibition. How were these selected, and could you also tell us how you’d like viewers to enjoy them?

redjuice: Since I had an exhibition last year as well, I have a good grasp of my portfolio. This time, I selected works that I have particular confidence in.
Apart from Hatsune Miku, there will be mainly setting drawings and key visual exhibits from anime works like Guilty Crown. Additionally, I’ll showcase my recent original series GIRLS FROM HELL, and I also plan to sell merchandise.
Furthermore, there will be live painting sessions during the exhibition period, and I hope visitors will enjoy these activities as well.

Latest sketch of 「Beatrice」from「GIRLS FROM HELL」

I realized something during my solo exhibition before establishing my company. Initially, I thought that illustrations were something to be passively enjoyed once completed. However, I found that many people actively enjoy my work. In the creative process, there are rough sketches and idea generation before the actual drawing, and I believe these parts are just as important if not more so. I wanted to experiment with the possibility of providing the creative process as content. Also, as an illustrator, I often work in areas beyond illustration, such as character design. Since there’s quite a bit of that in my work, I wanted to explore the potential of offering the exhibition as an opportunity to showcase these aspects.

TOM: Could you tell us about the inspiration behind launching your company, REDBOX, in 2023?

redjuice: Originally, there was a company that served as the foundation for REDBOX, and it was through renaming that company that REDBOX was established. As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons was to have a clear determination to continue working as an illustrator in the future, so I wanted to sort things out once.

REDBOX Logo

TOM: What are your aspirations for REDBOX?

redjuice: I wouldn’t say I have specific aspirations, but I want to focus properly on each project and work more efficiently.

TOM: How did you come up with the name “REDBOX” for your company? Can you share the backstory?

redjuice: We took it from the keyword that appeared in the work BEATLESS8, which I collaborated on with Satoshi Hase. In contrast to the “black box” as something whose contents are unknown, “red box” refers to a “product not yet reached by humanity” beyond the singularity that humanity cannot understand. Also, since my name is redjuice, and my first art book was named REDBOX, I decided to name the company REDBOX following that trend.

 

TOM: Finally, do you have any message that you’d like to convey to your long-time fans and followers?

redjuice: I’ve grown up in an environment where it’s not just about the creator’s ego but about enjoying things together, so I’m incredibly encouraged by the support from fans and the feedback on my doujinshi written on social media. It’s also been motivating to see more people subscribing to my pixivFANBOX9, providing encouragement for my creations. I’d be delighted if those who continue to support me and those who are becoming new fans would subscribe to Fanbox or my YouTube channel.

Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to attend overseas events in recent years, but last year, I had a great time participating in an event in Melbourne. I hope to visit various cities around the world again in the future. I would be very happy if you could attend events when I’m there.

There’s more from redjuice on next page! Find out what questions overseas fans asked him! Some of the answers may surprise you!

More info on the REDBOX exhibition & redjuice related products

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article translated by K Riley.
Interview conducted by A. Morris, T. Morisawa

© REDBOX

Source link

1 Comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Erna Kessler
21 days ago

Thanks I have just been looking for information about this subject for a long time and yours is the best Ive discovered till now However what in regards to the bottom line Are you certain in regards to the supply

Trending