New York Comic Con 2022 has been a blast so far and the VIZ Media panel today was certainly one of the reasons why. The featured panelists were ULTRAMAN manga artists Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi and they had plenty to say about their experience working on the franchise.
The camaraderie between the co-artists was heartwarming, and noticeable even to those of us who don’t speak Japanese, even when they were just speaking amongst themselves. VIZ host, Urian Brown, maintained that energy and asked some great questions.
Both artists claimed the other has the hardest job, laughing as they tried to rationalize why—Shimoguchi tending to be the master storyteller who can also create striking designs, while Shimizu is more the illustrator, taking all his partner’s parts and assembling them.
They also bonded over sharing the same favorite Ultraman series, which was Ultraseven of course. They did differ, however, when asked who their favorite Kaiju were, with Shimizu claiming Eleking while Shimoguchi said his was King Joe.
When asked what makes Ultraman such a popular hero, Shimizu gave us the realest answer: People want a hero. That’s also part of the secret to the success of the ULTRAMAN manga, along with the fan dedication and the fact that both artists took their work seriously from the very beginning. I mean hey, that’s why they’ve sold 17 volumes and over 5 million copies worldwide! (An 18th volume is on the way!)
The two emphasized the importance of fan engagement, identifying their favorite part of the job being the fan feedback… And the suit designs, some of which are so easy they can be finalized in 15 minutes, others of which require months of consideration. They also hinted that, although the ULTRAMAN anime is mostly in the hands of Netflix, they were much more involved in the designs that will have been featured in both seasons so far, as well as the upcoming season, so keep a lookout for parallels!
The best part of the panel? The whole time, Shimoguchi was doing a live drawing session, illustrating the most hardcore rendering of anime ULTRAMAN you’ve ever seen done in less than 20 minutes.
Not to mention the fan participation during the Ultraman trivia session in which Urian Brown asked questions and fans lined up to win T-shirts, signed Ultraman figures, and ultimately, Shimoguchi’s live drawing!
And of course, it wouldn’t have been an Ultraman panel if not for a visit from Suit Ultraman himself, along with the iconic Suit Taro! The crowd went wild as the two joined the very men that designed them onstage, posing behind them for the coolest photo-op ever.
Shimizu and Shimoguchi shared their gratitude for the ability to connect with the fans and their eagerness to keep drawing. In their own words, they want to continue working hard so they can come back and see everyone again and they hope everyone enjoys the manga and the anime!