Mangaka and sculptor Eldo Yoshimizu will have his work officially published in English for the first time this summer with the release of the first volume of Ryuko on July 9th. The series will also be the first manga included in Titan Comics’ Hard Case Crime line, a brand focused on hard-boiled crime fiction. This pairing will provide an opportunity for both the creator and publisher as they expand their distinctive audiences.
Ryuko certainly fits the mold for publications under the Hard Case Crime heading. The two-part story focuses on Ryuko, the young heiress and leader of a Yakuza crime family. It’s a story filled with intrigue and conspiracy on almost every side. Ryuko’s kidnapped mother serves as a throughline as the narrative delves into crime dealings in the Middle East, China, and with an unknown terrorist organization. Throughout it all there are plenty of guns and motorcycles as Ryuko carves a bloody trail through her enemies.
Yoshimizu will join other modern masters of the crime genre, like Stephen King and Donald E. Westlake, under the banner. However, his work still stands out from everything else with the Hard Case Crime heading. Ryuko is a manga that is as sensuous as it is violent, moving with speed rarely captured in American comics and filled with detailed inks. It is a work that is often beautiful, even as bullets fly and bodies drop.
ComicBook.com interviewed Yoshimizu via email about the upcoming translation and release of Ryuko, discussing the manga’s new audience, Yoshimizu’s approach to comics, and what may be next for the multi-talented creator.
ComicBook.com: Ryuko will makes its first ever appearance in English this summer. How are you feeling about the story gaining a new audience?
Eldo Yoshimizu: Ryuko is a maniac work, full of energy - it may not appeal to everyone but there are many people who read in English, and these readers are very diverse. I hope to reach the hearts of readers who like maniac works.
Given the time that has passed since Ryuko was first completed, has the energy surrounding a new translation caused you to revisit your own feelings on the story?
Ryuko is my first work and it was interesting to re-read it for the translation – the first volume is jagged and exploding with passion. Volume 2 is more considered with a higher degree of resolution. I think the end is surprising for readers.
One of the first things I noticed when reading Ryuko was the fluidity of the human form on these pages, especially the women. How has your career as a sculptor influenced your approach to interpreting human beings on the page?
I wanted to draw a strong woman, but not one with a macho body. I wanted to express, not the strength of the muscles, but the strength of the mind. So, I made Ryuko's body into a slender shape. There is no connection between Ryuko and past artworks.
By a similar virtue, there’s an incredible dynamism and movement contained in each panel. How do you approach making static objects and moments appear so lively?
My past artwork has been minimalist with emotional elements cut off. So, reacting against this, I chose forms which violently exploded with emotional and passionate expressions.
Another element that stood out to me was the design of manufactured objects, like vehicles and handguns. What was your approach when selecting and modeling these items from so many different eras and origins?
I collect gadgets which appeal to me – especially Japanese old cars and motorcycles, which are very much my aesthetic.
Each page is so detailed and many have been shown in a gallery before. Are there any plans for an American gallery presentation depending on the reception of Ryuko this summer?
Yoshimizu: If I have a chance, I hope to open an exhibition in the United States someday.
There’s a strong generational aspect to Ryuko with the titular character standing between the father who raised her and the orphan she helped to raise, Valer. Do you see Ryuko as a story about how families repeat cycles or change across generations?
The relationship between Father and daughter is one of the themes of Ryuko. This is explored further in Volume 2.
ComicBook: With Ryuko completed (and finally coming to English), what are you looking to do next as an artist who is both an accomplished sculptor and mangaka? Is there another media calling to you?
Currently, I am working on a new work with a French scriptwriter. At the same time, I am also drawing a story I thought of myself. Also, I want to do public art work all over the world.1comments
The first volume of Ryuko will be released in the United States on July 9th, and is available for pre-order now through Titan Comics.