Hajime No Ippo creator George Morikawa offers tribute to Berserk’s Kentaro Miura
The passing of Berserk creator Kentaro Miura has impacted the manga community and one of those affected was Hajime No Ippo creator George Morikawa.
He posted a very long post on his Twitter account about the paaaing of his fellow creator. And to top it all off, he even drew one of the characters from Hajime no Ippo in honor of Miura. And that would be the heavyweight boxer Takemura.
Back in college, I worked with you as a short-term assistant, and I was worried my lack of skill would hold you back. I learned many things, and this is both an apology and a thank you!
I’m going to be a bit emotional, but let me reminisce a little bit. When I started my first weekly serialization without even a single assistant, he came to help me. He was 18 and I was 19. We were at some art college, and he came up after a lecture with sketchbook in hand. I didn’t know how extensive his drawing skills were, so I showed him some of my work and told him to get as close to this as he could. What he showed me was astounding, and definitely belied his age.
After he drew more, I had already become deeply interested in him, and we only stopped drawing to talk about manga. When I asked him to show me some of his drawings in his sketchbook, and it stopped my heart and gave me goosebumps. Within were drawings of fairies, a certain brand, a swordsman wielding a huge sword; the beginnings of what would later be Puck and Guts, all drawn in thick lines. It was too much. “What is all this?” I asked him. “They’re what’s inside my head,” he answered. “I want to get better, so I thought I should draw them.” How long had he been saving this up in his head?, I wondered. Berserk was already there, in those drawings.
The months passed by, and I started serializing Hajime no Ippo, and it wasn’t long after that Berserk started. Miura shared some stories of difficulty with me, but I was confident that his manga would be a hit. Kentarou-kun had poured his strength and confidence into this long-awaited serialization, after all. The world would soon be as astonished as I was when I first saw his drawings. He had a completely refined artistic skill and drew with all his soul, and I had nothing but the deepest respect for every new chapter of Berserk.
We only worked in that short time, but it was my pride and honor to have met him. Forgive me for speaking so much, Kentarou-kun. One day, I’ll go and read that last chapter of yours.
Miura died on May 6 and his passing was only announced some time after. He started the serialization of Berserk in 1989 and has continued to tell the story of the Black Swordsman Guts until recently.