Our guests today are a mangaka duo from Paris: Loiki Nihon, writer, and Shaos, illustrator, who have published their manga O.S.E. with Tartamudo Editions!

You are working on your manga “O.S.E”, respectively as a scriptwriter and artist. How did you meet and how did you set up this beautiful project?

We met in a place gathering fans of Japan and everything that revolves around it. We satnext to each other by chance. From there, an exchange took place and we realized that we had a lot in common. From then on we stayed in touch and a sincere friendship was created and developed over the years. In 2016, Shaos and I contacted each other and we talked about O.S.E. We then took the decision together to start this Story/Adventure, but we never imagined for a moment all the fabulous things that would happen during this one…
: O.S.E means “dare” in French, which is often used as a wordplay by the authors – “O.S.E.R cette histoire” = “daring to take this adventure” 😉

What is your workflow to create a manga volume together?

As you said so well, we are co-authors. Shaos is mainly the drawing master, but that doesn’t prevent him from having an eye on the scenario and the written storyboard (by Excel software) that I prepare for him beforehand. (A kind of first draft). I first send it to our publisher to get his agreement, so that we can move forward freely, Mr. José Jover of the Tartamudo Edition is a great person, he trusts us, he does that with all his authors and that’s why we can move forward in total freedom.

Let’s go back to the first draft, once it is done, Shaos makes me go through an interrogation (for questions such as: coherence, secret, other details and information for the next volumes in order to ensure links with the one being written). Shaos then gets to work (using a tablet and “Manga Studio” software) focusing on the rearranged and re-imagined storyboard layout. Then comes the phase of the potato men with arrows for names, or if there is a background or a particular screening in the boxes. As Shaos is a precise, meticulous and perfectionist person, he even happens to make well detailed characters which saves a maximum of time for the next phase.

Once the “pre-made” manuscript is finished, it’s Shaos’ turn to be interrogated (laughs), I check everything visually (for coherence, clothes, dialogues, creation of onomatopoeia, scenery, etc.) and it’s then that we move on to the third step: the “U.G.O.P.” (Uderzo/Goscinny/One Piece) Alchemy step!! That means reading together the entire manuscript that has been created until then to make a maximum of additions or deletions in order to have a third and semi last version.

At this moment, we attack the project in Pro mode for the drawing and the scenario. When we reach 90%, we send this third manuscript to our publisher who starts reading and correcting spelling mistakes/ onomatopoeias with us. This takes about two to three evenings by video through “Messenger” / but also orally by “phone”.

Once all this is done, we start again on the drawing of the manga (for Shaos) and the constant corrections of it (for me) until its finality.

O.S.E is published by Editions Tartamudo. Was it difficult to find a publisher and what is his role now?

Indeed, we had to fight to get there, the big publishing houses didn’t take the time to look into O.S.E, some of them didn’t even believe in it, being even borderline in their remarks, I’m obviously talking only about the French and not the Japanese editions. The Tartamudo edition offered us our chance by not underestimating the project but having seen the values and the human interest that it represents. (It looks kinda like the same story as for Harry Potter or Freddy Mercury, ahaha).

You have run two successful campaigns on Ulule to finance the first two volumes. Why this choice?

We tried the Ulule step to have a realistic vision of the public and what they want, because publishers are one thing, but people are another… Making a project that brings people together is the very basis of the O.S.E. concept, so it was logical to go through this step.

What was the biggest challenge for this project?

First of all, communication, something I have learned and developed so far. The Facebook page illustrates it very well with more than 8500 people on it with only one volume and this in two and a half years since its release (there is also the presence on book fairs and conventions, which does not cease to demand O.S.E).

So we come to the second challenge, which makes the success of this project (in addition to the visual and scripted quality of the book), the values and purpose of it: a project of solidarity and interaction, the proximity between its creators and the public. This is proved by the Facebook page (the Lives), the Youtube channel, the Website, the Ulule of O.S.E, the interactive conferences or the Manga Workshops in Virtual or Real Salons (school environment, media library, etc.) and a lot of other things (some of which are still secret for the moment…) O.S.E is a commercial product, but before all it is a Human project, made by Human people, for Human people of any generation.

Loiki: Tell us a little about yourself. Is this your first big project? Where does your passion for writing come from, and what is the motivation that pushed you to create O.S.E?

To present myself once again, my name is Loiki Nihon, I am the creator of the universe of “O.S.E” and the scriptwriter of this manga. I imagined this story in 2003 and developed it over time, finally completing it in 2017. I am a simple person, French and Parisian since my childhood, open-minded and accessible. I’m passionate about everything related to Asian culture, Japan, video games, manga and Japanese Drama. I am also a gamer, creator of amateur games of all kinds (from universes such as: “Battle Royale”, “Liar Game” or from my own imagination), and finally, scriptwriter, in my spare time.

I created O.S.E. for many good reasons, but the most obvious reason is to create a World that could: Gather and unite people despite their differences, help them to move forward and fight their fears, finally allow them to escape from everyday life, to dream and to awaken again.

It is therefore with confidence that I am moving forward with this project, because I believe in the strength of “O.S.E.”. But to succeed, it will need to be given a chance and I am counting on your support to carry out my mission.

Shaos: Tell us a little about yourself. What has been your illustrator’s career? What do you particularly like about working on O.S.E?

Being self-taught in drawing, I did not follow any training to learn how to draw. Before the arrival of manga in France, I used to draw characters inspired by comics and French-Belgian BDs. Everything was turned upside down with the discovery of the Akira manga and since then, my drawing style is clearly influenced by the manga style. But at the beginning, getting a French manga published in France was an obstacle course because no publisher wanted to take this risk. Finally, the publisher Les Humanoïdes Associés gave their chance to a handful of French mangakas, including me. From this collaboration came out “Holy Wars” in 2007 with Iron D. at the script. After a long break, I decided to throw myself into the O.S.E adventure with Loiki.

With the time, my reading tastes evolved and went from shonen to seinen. And this is exactly what I find in O.S.E, namely a non-manichean story, complex relationships between characters, a mosaic of characters, topics and values that echo our current events, Cornelian choices to make. All these ingredients make O.S.E an explosive cocktail!

Any advice for apprentice mangaka who want to get started?

Personally, I would say and I’m sure that Shaos will also agree with me on that, that you have to fight for your dreams and go to the end of them even if it’s very difficult. But, above all, know why you do your project (manga, etc)… Then, have courage and especially as we always say it, “O.S.E.rez-Vous” – will you dare it?

Did you like this interview?
Discover more about O.S.E manga ♥

O.S.E is a Seinen manga, telling the story in 2022, (In France, in Paris) of the release in the whole world of a Next-Gen video game of a very new kind named: O.S.E. This one is a virtual program allowing the player equipped with a virtual helmet to fight his fears in a playful way, through various psychological and/or physical tests, quizzes and other mini-games related to his phobia. These tests take place under the supervision of one or more of the 16 “V.A.I.” (Virtual Artificial Intelligence) imposed in the game. They are called “Shiina” (girls) and “Shiino” (boys). However, during the inauguration session of the game O.S.E, at the Asian Virtual Expo 2022 video game show in Paris, nothing happens as planned for the fifteen people who have to participate…