Tomonobu Itagaki Talks To The Creator Of Captain Harlock

By Ishaan . February 13, 2011 . 3:29pm

Former Team Ninja lead and head of Valhalla Studios, Tomonobu Itagaki, has a role model you may not know about — Leiji Matsumoto, author of manga series such as Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock.


A few months ago, Matsumoto visited Itagaki and his team at the Valhalla offices, for an interesting chat that covers everything from his childhood to his early works to what he’s been up to in recent years. Part 1 of the chat is up on Itagaki’s Valhalla blog.


It’s an interesting read if you’re curious to learn more about both men and even more so if you’re into absurd stories. Early in the conversation, Matsumoto mentions peeing on his watch (I won’t ruin the surprise) and later, how he once tore his Achilles’ tendon and swung his loose foot around in a circle to show it off.


In case you haven’t kept up with news of Itagaki, his next game is Devil’s Third, an upcoming third-person shooter to be published by THQ on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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  • joesz

    Whaaaaaaat? he is still alive!
    I thought he accidentally fell from the ship months ago.
    It seems that I’ve got the wrong guy.

    • Aoshi00

      I thought he was in a wheelchair when I first looked at the pic *.*…

      Itagaki looks like an eager student in front of the venerable master, looks like he’s been reborn (I hope he’s more humble now). Looking forward to his new game too.

      • Funny, isn’t it…Itagaki being a former “ninja” and Matsumoto looking like Mr. Miyagi. :P

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Do you think Matsumoto challenged him to a game of Tekken afterwards?

  • M’iau M’iaut

    Come on Leiji, give us the final arc of your multiverse you’ve been promising forever.

  • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

    Wow, Itagaki-san looks nowhere near as cool without his trademark shades

  • PrinceHeir

    woosh the guy actually did Space Battleship Yamato? i must see that anime and the live action one :)

    • MisterDandylion

      Believe me dude it’s totally worth it :D A true classic!

  • RupanIII

    Nice, Galaxy Express 999 was one of the first anime I ever saw and still a favorite

  • I can’t wait to play Devil’s Third. Itagaki and his crew makes some fine games.

    Chat was quite interesting as well.

    • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

      I don’t think it’s his same crew, though, since he left Team Ninja. But it should still be a fun game

  • Aiddon

    so, we got two awesome dudes in one room. I’m surprised that the camera didn’t explode from their sheer epicness

  • people should stop mentioning Itagaki former leader of Team NINJA.
    Come on now man, this is 2 years old!

    everyone wants to forget about it, even Tecmo & Itagaki

    • He hasn’t done anything since then, so his days at Team Ninja are what people remember him by. Once Devil’s Third is out and more people know about it, we can start calling him designer of that game. :)

  • gatotsu911

    Well there’s something I never, ever expected to see. Or would have even thought of.

  • He’s not wearing sunglasses!!

  • mirumu

    The story about Matsumoto’s Achilles’ tendon was gold.

  • Zefiro Torna

    Read this interview when it made available awhile back, still glad to see it brought up here for others to read. Even if his works don’t catch on much here in North America, Matsumoto is one of those storytellers whom I still actively follow due to the Galaxy Express 999 films spurring my interest in anime and manga.

    With that said, this year should be special to me as the two Galaxy Express movies are finally getting a region 1 DVD release, something I’ve patiently waited for over a decade to happen. Meanwhile I’ve done all I could to support “Leijiverse” releases here, from buying dull stuff like Harlock Saga and Maetel Legend to pleasant surprises like Galaxy Railways.

    Insert here a terrible attempt at segueing topics back to the interview presented here. It’s late at night after all…

    Machu Picchu was one of those places I’ve wanted to visit since I was a kid (this is what happens when parents get their kids a subscription to National Geographic), and I can certainly say that the experience which Matsumoto shares in the interview makes me want to travel there moreso than ever. Sure, I can also try to experience gold vision by climbing any tall mountain, but it’s friggin’ Machu Picchu!

    • RupanIII

      I’ve been waiting for GE999 DVDs too! Actually after I saw this article I went to the Discotek site to see if there were any updates since I haven’t heard anything on them for a long time now. I was afraid that maybe since Discotek is pretty small/new maybe something had derailed them. Luckily they’re still on track for June, complete with sub and dub. :D

  • z_merquise

    Wow, Mr. Itagaki looked like a nice and gentle guy without his trademark shades and black biker jacket. Also, nice interview. Even though it was posted in their site a long time ago, thank you for sharing it.

    Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of his previous games but after browsing the Valhalla Studios website and reading some of their interviews, Itagaki really seems to be a cool, funny and energetic guy (and he really like to hang out in a bar for a drink with his friends and colleagues). I’m starting to respect him and now looking forward to their game, Devil’s Third. Hope it won’t disappoint me.

    I suggest you try reading the staff interview in the site. It’s a fun read and at the same time informative. It really proves that having a good leadership great work environment and freedom in creativity would result in a quality product. No matter how talented you are, if the people around you won’t treat you well, it would greatly affect the outcome of the product you were developing.

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