Hiro Mashima draws Fairy Tail's Natsu at New York Comic Con
Over 300 fans of Hiro Mashima's Fairy Tail packed the panel room at New York Comic Con evening to hear an interview with the manga creator—and watch him draw.
The crowd was testimony to Mashima's popularity in the U.S.: The line to get into the panel stretched along an entire hallway of the Javits, doubled over, and continued down another concourse. Mashima, who is also the creator of Rave Master and Monster Hunter Orage, greeted the crowd with a brief message in English, saying, "As you know, Japan was hit by one of the worst natural disasters in history. I would like this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to Americans for all the support and generosity during that difficult time we had. I still believe that the world is connected."
After that, he settled down with pens to draw Natsu, the main character in Fairy Tail, beginning with Natsu's hair and working his way downward as the crowd shouted encouragement.
Fairy Tail's Hiro Mashima at New York Comic Con
When the drawing was over, Kodansha Comics editor Dallas Middaugh interviewed Mashima, who answered most of the questions through a translator. Mashima said the manga that inspired him most was Dragon Ball, and that he has been drawing ever since he can remember. "It was my passion, and soon my passion became my profession," he said.
Mashima said he usually works six days a week for about 17 hours a day. "In order to come here to New York, I had to write a story in advance, so I worked 18 to 19 hours a day," he said. The statement drew a huge cheer from the crowd.
Middaugh also asked whether Mashima was a fan of the Monster Hunter games. “Yes, I have been a very big fan of the original game, and it has a very particular world that I liked, so I asked for the rights and I was successful,” Mashima responded.
“Are there any other games you are a fan of?” Middaugh asked.
“Gears of War 3 and Assassins Creed,” Mashima said in English, again drawing a big cheer from the audience.
In response to Middaugh’s question about what he expected from the anime version of Fairy Tail, Mashima said, “A significant difference between the American and Japanese versions is the cast members. The cast members of the anime are very passionate people. They match my image of the anime. I have great expectation of the characters in the American version. I hope they match the Japanese version, but if they don't, that's OK.”
When Middaugh asked “Can you share an idea of what is coming up in Fairy Tail and if you have any idea how it might end?” the audience groaned, and he added, “I think the audience is asking you not to answer the question.”
“Secret,” Mashima said in English.
There were more spoilers in the Q&A period, however. We won’t repeat any here, but Middaugh actually took the mike twice to ask readers to restrict their questions to the 16 volumes of Fairy Tail that have been legally released in the U.S. Mashima did say that he likes to draw the guild members together in the bar, getting rowdy and loud, and that his favorite character is Natsu. When a fan asked “Are there going to be any more dragon slayers in the future,” Masima reeled in mock shock and then answered, “I would love to give you the answer but my editor over there is glaring at me.”
As for what inspired him to create Fairy Tail, Mashima said, “This genre of magic of course is full of dreams. Ever since I was little, I wanted to use magic. I just wanted to depict a world that was full of magic.”