VAXEE PA “Pcute” Creator “imi” Interview

Oct, 04 ,2023

1. Please introduce yourself first.
My name is imi and I am a manga artist, and I have an ongoing manga series titled "Forbidden Zone X-Level(監禁区域レベルX)”.

2. When did you start creating? Do you have any special stories to share with us?
I started creating manga in the third year of middle school. I have a cousin who wanted to become a manga artist even earlier than I did. I greatly admire him because he is a talented artist. My cousin appreciated my drawings a lot, and from that moment on, I became determined to become a manga artist myself.

I still remember the drawing I made back then. It was quite poor, and I couldn't even call it an illustration because I struggled to fit an entire girl's body on one side of an A4 paper. It was thanks to my cousin's praise that I am where I am today.

3. Please share the creative inspiration and process behind your Winter23 submission.
Because I'm not a designer, I felt it would be challenging to compete with others in design contests within my industry. I decided to bring my strength, which is drawing girls' illustrations, to the forefront. Additionally, I had never seen entries that challenged the VAXEE PA competition with an illustrative style.

The first round of judging was conducted by VAXEE, and my work passed. I thought that if my work made it through the initial round and was selected for online voting, perhaps I would have a chance to stand out among the other entries.

However, initially, I had envisioned a "a girl with eagle eyes dressed in winter military attire battling a snowstorm." I held onto this idea until just two days before the deadline.

However, there are people who don't like using primarily white colors, such as for a snowstorm. I lacked confidence in terms of quality in that direction. Even if it was produced by VAXEE, I wouldn't have bought it myself. So, I changed my direction and decided to compete with my own style, using pink and bright colors, which is where my confidence lies.

What I wanted didn't look like VAXEE, but if it came from VAXEE, I would still want it. This became a concept. This time, the theme of "freedom" was a great help to me.

Two days before the deadline, I made a sudden change in direction, and I found myself in a dilemma because I hadn't decided on the character design for the girl. So, I decided to use an original character that I had previously used as an icon on social media. This character was well-liked by those around me, so I decided to incorporate it into the design.

I chose to use an original character that I had used as an icon on social media, and that's how this piece came together. In fact, I believe that if I had stuck with my initial design concept, I wouldn't have received as many votes.

Additionally, the colorful artwork on the back, featuring shades of pink and light blue, is eye-catching. Just 30 minutes before the deadline, it was still in plain gray. When I uploaded the data and clicked the confirmation button, I thought, "Something's not right; it looks too ordinary," so I decided not to submit it. I quickly changed the design to the colorful pink and light blue illustration, and I submitted it just five minutes before the deadline.

I'm grateful that I persevered until the very last moment. I believe that intuition is essential.

4. For friends who enjoy your work, how can they find you?
You can mainly find my work on my Twitter account:

I'm just an APEX competition enthusiast, so I'm very particular about my posts. I would be delighted if you'd like to join in.

As for the manga "Forbidden Zone X-Level," you can read it on websites like Piccoma and LINE Manga. If you enjoy it, you can find it there.

5. Is there anything else you would like to say to everyone?
First and foremost, I really want to thank the many people who voted. I didn't expect to receive this many responses. To be honest, I'm truly amazed. Thank you all very much.

When you receive the PA Pcute, if you can share information about your office setup, including #Pcute, on social media, I would be very happy.

To all VAXEE members, the opportunity to participate in this challenge is thanks to VAXEE's spirit of challenge with the theme of "freedom."

This is a challenge for me, but I believe it's an even bigger challenge for VAXEE. I'm just a participant in the spirit of challenge. I want to express my respect and gratitude to VAXEE, which has always been a challenger. Thank you very much for giving me this excellent opportunity.

I'm already looking forward to the next competition. I'm thinking about what kind of design I'd like to try next time.

I believe we'll receive even more entries next time, so whether I participate or not, I'm looking forward to the next competition. I look forward to it coming soon.

Lastly, thank you very much. VAXEE is the best!


Extended reading

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