Interview with Ootori Mahiro (Part 2)
Welcome to Part 2 of Ootori Mahiro's interview. In this section, we talk about why a lot of Mahiro's works are "harem" titles, and we also delve into his friendship with Tachibana Omina.
In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 here!
On (Q): You’re kinda known as the “harem” guy. Is there a reason as to why you always make works in that genre?
Ootori Mahiro (OM): It all has to do with the rise of “Isekai” works. That’s been the “go-to” theme for the past decade and it still remains a very popular trope. So with Isekai stories popping up left and right, I thought “What if we had an Isekai story, but with lots of sex mixed in?”, and that’s how “My Harem in Another World” came to be. The story has lots and lots of sexy babes. It’s every dude’s dream.
Q: Other than “Tickle my Nipple”, most of your doujinshi works are “Harem” works. Do you have plans to make a doujinshi just between two people?
OM: As you may have realized, it’s not exactly easy to draw harem works since there’s so many girls you have to squeeze into the pages. If it’s just two people in a story, you can use the page a lot more creatively. I would like to work on something which focuses on one girl, and focuses on building up her character, but I have so many series running concurrently that I don’t think I have the time to work on something new. Hopefully one day, I’ll have the time to work on a non-harem title.
Q: You have a long-running series “My Harem in Another World”. Right now, Season 3 has started. When you first started the series, how far ahead did you plan the story? And is there an end in sight for this series?
OM: It’s all thanks to my fans who have been supporting me. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to continue for so long. In fact, when I first released it, it didn’t sell at all, so I was thinking of giving it up. I actually had the ending of the series in my mind when I first started it. The story is about traveling the world and meeting and fucking many different girls. Each season has a specific theme so I just release each new volume to keep extending the story, while fleshing out the characters and building up on the world. Hopefully, this is a winning recipe I can keep using for the foreseeable future.
Q: You’re good friends with Tachibana Omina, another Harem Author. How did you meet and what brought you two together?
OM: Years ago, Tachibana Omina came to say hi to me at Comiket and we’ve been good friends since then. I wasn’t writing any harem stories back then, but we were both working with the same publisher, so we had ample opportunity to get to know each other. We’re both pretty chill and like to hang out together. Often in Japanese culture, artists will say “We should get a drink next time”, but that’s just pleasantries and most people don't actually follow up on it. But in our case, when we made plans to hang out, we actually did.
We both enjoy playing games, so I feel like we’re back in middle school or something, since I’m always at his house just eating snacks and playing Dark Souls. So it wasn’t us working on harem works that brought us together, but he has had a big influence on me for my move to pursue a harem series of my own. I actually remember the exact moment we both decided to start our own Isekai harem series. It was when we were discussing “In Another World With My Smartphone” and we just kinda agreed to make Isekai Hentai.
Q: Your harem works have a lot of different girls. Do you have a “Best Waifu” among your characters, or do you love all the characters you design equally?
OM: Readers of the “My Harem in Another World” series, probably know this, but each “story arc” has a “main girl” that I focus on. So far that has been Maple, Charlotte, and Yama. So for those three, I designed them in a way where I crammed in my fetishes and preferences. That being said, those girls truly shine when they have supporting characters and other girls with them, so it’s a lot of work to draw so many beautiful girls. But if I have to pick one girl as my favorite, I’ll choose Maple. I just love cheerful girls.
Q: “Slutty Elf Sisters”, “Smells Like Harem”, and recent chapters in “My Harem in Another World” all have fetishes like “peeing” and “sweat / smell”. It’s not exactly a common fetish, but what made you interested in putting these into your works?
OM: I actually never thought of it like that. In an industry where we have content like Ryona and Guro, it’s hard to gauge whether what you’re drawing is “pushing the envelope”. But the great thing about fiction is that, no one gets hurt in the real world, when authors make their manga. There are probably people out there with fetishes they will take to their grave, because they don’t want to be shamed or humiliated in public for their preferences. I hope those people can find hentai manga that caters to their needs. As long as your sexual preferences don’t harm other people, you’re free to enjoy what you want. Genres and preferences shouldn’t be written off as worthless just because it isn’t understood by everybody.
Q: You recently did a 10 Yen (0.10 USD) sale for your work in Japan. What made you try out such a ballsy move? We’ve heard of 99 Yen sales before but not much of 10 Yen.
OM: I just wanted a lot of people to read my work. It’s not really easy to do price discounts for physical books, but there’s a lot more flexibility in setting prices for digital works.
There’s just so much manga out there. And most of the time, people flock to what is popular. There are even works and authors who are famous for being famous.
Doujinshi isn’t always cheap. People might have second or third thoughts when forking out $10 to buy a work, but if it was available for 10 cents, they might not hesitate at all to check it out. It’s not easy to get people to pay for porn, or to get them to try out a new author. It’s much easier to get an existing fan to buy more of your works, than it is to get someone to buy your work for the first time. I hope that by making it available for 10 cents, many people try to give my work a try and get to know what kind of works I create.
I’m also very happy that Irodori Comics agreed to my request to make the English version of My Harem in Another World Volume 1 available for 10 cents as well. I don’t think official English doujinshi has ever been priced this low. This is a permanent price discount so it’s always going to be available for 10 cents!
Q: Irodori Comics involves you in the localization process of your work, and sends you your localized work for you to check before we start selling them. How does it feel to see your own work in a different language?
OM: It’s great studying material to improve my English. I’m always fascinated by the different ways you can phrase things. If English was taught via manga in Japanese schools, I think Japanese people would be a lot more proficient with the language.
Q: We’ve been sending royalties back to you from the sales of your officially published English works. If we may ask, how have you spent that money?
OM: I bought a sports car! That Mazda MX-5 Miata I was talking about earlier. It’s a used car, but I pooled in my royalties and bought it off my friend. I actually drew that car in “Black Lily and White Lily”, and always wanted to own and drive it. I’m so happy that I can now drive around in it thanks to all of you guys who have supported me.
Q: For your foreign fans who might want to come to Japan in the future, what would you recommend they do, when they eventually get here?
OM: You have to go for a night drive on the Metropolitan Expressway. The scenery is just beautiful at night with all the lights. There are even car rentals that rent out sports cars, so you can drive in style. I’ve seen a lot of foreign Initial D fans rent out sports cars and go drive around Hakone, which is not too far from Tokyo. You should definitely also visit hot springs and relax there.
Q: Any final messages for foreign fans?
OM: Thank you for always supporting me! It’s thanks to all my fans that I’m able to continue doing what I do. I can’t speak English at all, but I’ve always enjoyed watching foreign movies. I cleared dungeons with foreign players in Dark Souls, and I duked it out with a lot of foreign gamers in COD. Language isn’t too big a hurdle for us to enjoy entertainment. Fun things are fun, no matter where you’re from. And as a guy, I’m pretty sure all guys love boobs, no matter what language they speak. I sure do love titties.
There’s nothing more enjoyable than seeing people all over the world come together and appreciate entertainment. Not just my work, but creative works from all over the world, and from many different industries. I hope I can connect with you all through all the fantastic creative media out there.
See you next time,
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We hope to do more of these interviews with different authors so you can get to know the artists themselves behind some of your favorite works.
If you’re interested in Ootori Mahiro’s works, check them out here!
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