Montblanc Collaborates With Naruto To Celebrate The Art of Storytelling

The cross-category collection you didn’t know you needed.

This feature appears in the pages of MINI V: The Premiere issuenow available to order online!

In celebration of Naruto’s 20th anniversary (the ever-popular Japanese manga series by Masashi Kishimoto that follows the life and adventures of kid ninja Naruto Uzumaki who dreams of becoming the leader of his village), Montblanc, the German luxury goods Maison, has created an authentic and playful cross-category collection of writing instruments, leather goods, watches, and accessories—highlighting writing both as an art and the relationship between the characters Naruto and Jiraiya.

To get more insight into the one-of-a-kind partnership, V’s Kevin Ponce caught up with Montblanc’s creative director Marco Tomasetta to chat about all things anime and how storytelling is one of the world’s greatest art forms.

V: How did the idea of doing a collaboration with Naruto come about?

Marco Tomasetta: The collaboration was born out of the idea of transmission of wisdom and knowledge, like the transmission Naruto receives from his master through writing, a theme that is also core to Montblanc writing instruments and the stories and ideas that are transmitted with them as they are passed on through generations. I also really liked the idea of being close to Japan after a time of closure during the pandemic when we could not visit, and reconnect with its culture and its tradition of writing in a creative way. I wanted to give a sense of quality to a manga collaboration, adding Naruto designs to our newly elevated leather goods. As with any Montblanc collaboration, I really wanted to make sure it was of the highest quality with a clear and meaningful connection to writing culture.

V: Having debuted 20 years ago and amassed a much loyal fan base, was there already a storied admiration for the Manga series with both of you? What are some of your earliest memories with Naruto?

MT: 20 years means that a whole generation fell in love with Manga, including mine. I did a lot of drawings inspired by Japanese Manga when I was 7 or 8 years old. I always loved Naruto because his stories really address important life lessons and mirror profound moments, and they have that connection with writing. I was always fascinated by the depth of Japanese culture that I discovered through manga, and the influence it had on other countries around the world. It has always inspired me and I genuinely love it.

V: Both houses and their respective countries of origin have very different standards so it’s interesting to see this pairing come together. What would you say are some of the main factors that invite room for creative connectivity between the German and Japanese houses of Montblanc and Naruto?

MT: The collection is connected through writing. Writing really has the power to connect different cultures, creativity with a powerful reality, an intimate strength. That was the central intersection point between these two houses but then there was also creative storytelling, artistry and imagination that both share—when Montblanc develops products and the stories they hold, and when Naruto comes up with a storyline and drawing. Montblanc craftsmanship helps bind the final products together with our focus on quality, durability, and balanced aesthetics that was authentic to both brands.

V: With Naruto’s roots centered around the impact of writing, Montblanc’s iconic writing instrument Meisterstück for this collaboration is one of (if not, THE) most important piece in the collection. How did the brand approach revitalizing its classic pen, beyond just adding the character?

MT: The strength of this object is its iconic status. It changed the way we write many years ago, but it remains largely unchanged. The writing instrument is truly timeless even if we occasionally give it a “costume”. It never changes its personality and character because the codes always stay the same. It’s what makes it recognizable even if it has been enhanced through a partnership like this one.

V: What was the experience like when creating the short films attached to this partnership? Was there a mutual understanding of brand ideals and collaborative narratives when coming together?

MT: As a brand rooted in the culture of writing that values authentic storytelling, we didn’t want to create content that felt orchestrated or commercial. It had to be truly authentic to Naruto and the way stories are told. The only guidance we gave their team was thinking about how they might incorporate handwriting and the idea of transmission. It was very important to us that this was their vision and their approach to storytelling, and we were so excited to see the outcome.

V: The stories we create in life know no bounds and can appeal to many others. After 116 years with Montblanc as Naruto completes 20, how has the storytelling ethos of Montblanc evolved throughout the years?

MT: There is no doubt that handwriting plays an important role in humanity. Montblanc created a writing instrument that was totally revolutionary at the time. It was great provocation to humanity and the way in which we wrote and communicated. I feel I have a responsibility to this brand, because it was courageous, pushing technology innovation. the Montblanc writing instrument as an object became iconic because it was born to change something not just in one country, but universally. I really that dimension of handwriting and the potential to create so many new products in other categories, applying the ethos. Even though this is not a fashion brand where things become redundant after a few months, Montblanc storytelling keeps evolving. You can keep building design codes, and using those codes to keep creating new things. I feel this mission to design new iconic objects. But while things may be customized to mirror the movement we live in, at the end of the day, they always remain timeless. That’s the power of Montblanc.

This feature appears in the pages of MINI V: The Premiere issuenow available to order online!

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