We spoke with legendary manga artist and notorious hermit Yoshihiro Togashi, the creator of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter × Hunter, to discuss his approach towards creativity and how that impacts his work ethic.
First of all, we just gotta know: is it ‘Hunter ECKS Hunter’ or ‘Hunter … Hunter’?
“It’s Hunter cross Hunter, actually. Just to spite everyone.”
Who is your favorite character in Yu Yu Hakusho?
“Kuwabara, obviously. I still resent my editors to this day for not letting me include him in the final story arc. Hunter × Hunter is a response to them, which is to say, ‘I do what I want, when I want, how I want it. Got that suckers?’”
We saw that you finally made a twitter account– with almost 3 million followers! Any chance we could get a follow back?
“I’m trying to keep my ‘following’ count kinda low. You know, at zero. Plus, I don’t really like satire very much.”
You’re married to Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi– how did you two meet?
“We were both workaholics when it came to making manga (laughter). We met at a workaholics anonymous meeting, actually.”
There’s an infamous photo out there of your living room. Is it still that messy?
“I did clean up, but then it got messy again. What’s the point of cleaning if it’s going to get messy again? Really makes ya think, huh?”
Are there any other manga authors out there who you are close with?
“A few, yeah. Like Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto. I let him steal a bunch of ideas from me every now and then, nobody seems to bat an eye so it’s all good.”
If you could choose any career in the world besides drawing manga, what would it be?
“I would be streaming video games online with the camera off, but that technology wasn’t available at the right time for me. It’s like that old saying goes: ‘Born too late to explore earth, born too early to explore space.’ This more or less applies to what I’m trying to say.”
There was recently a tribute exhibit honoring your legacy of work. Did you attend?
You’re very notorious for going on hiatus a lot. Hunter × Hunter has been running for many years, but you’ve oftentimes stepped away from publication for years at a time. Why is that?
“A number of reasons, actually. Sometimes I have intense backpain, sometimes I want to play a new video game, and sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Don’t you ever get tired of writing bullshit satire articles like ‘what if Mario was real and he had a gun?'”
Fair point. How do you feel about your manga becoming worldwide sensations?
“People like my shit? Tight.”
A live-action adaptation of Yu Yu Hakusho has been announced by Netflix. One Piece was a success thanks to the creator’s involvement– will you be involved with production of the live-action Yu Yu Hakusho?
“Man, what do you think? Of course not. There’s a new Dragon Quest game coming out in the not too distant future and I need to have some time set aside for that. …And my family.”
So I think it’s pretty safe to say that you consider yourself to be an otaku?
“What? Ew, god no. I’m not an otaku, I’m simply an impassioned enthusiast of things that otaku also tend to enjoy. But no, I am not an otaku.”
Many have praised your use of worldbuilding in your stories. Would you consider yourself to be well-traveled?
“Yeah, well-traveled from my couch to the refrigerator! High five!”
When it comes to your work ethic, what inspires you to pick up the pen and draw?
“My editors blowing up my phone.”
How do you feel looking back on your more forgotten, shorter-lived series Level E? Someone out there would probably be upset if we didn’t mention it.
“Level E? What the hell are you talking about?”
Are there any manga artists that you are not a fan of?
“Yeah, that bastard Bill Watterson. I loved Calvin and Hobbes. Why did he have to end it? Why couldn’t he have have just gone on an ambiguous years-long hiatus?”
Hunter × Hunter came back from hiatus last year to much anticipation, and then it disappeared shortly after. Even Mr. Beast was in your corner responding to you on twitter. Is it over? Cancelled? Will it ever come back?
“I’ll uh… be right back.”