Their Bios + Notable Works

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There’s no higher time to get into manga than now. Titles like My Hero Academia dominate the bestseller charts. New collection launch each month, with much more licensing bulletins being made often. But when there’s one factor I’ve observed, it’s that we often discuss manga by way of collection: one of the best collection to learn, the best shonen manga to choose up, or the best romance manga to swoon over. We don’t speak as a lot the creators: who’re essentially the most influential mangaka, who’re essentially the most well-known mangaka, and who’re one of the best mangaka?

Compiling a listing of well-known mangaka may be tough. What are the factors? Is it fame? The variety of works of their again catalog? Their legacy? Holding these questions in thoughts, I regarded throughout all genres, all classes, and all time intervals. I received’t lie. I didn’t embrace each important manga creator right here, however I made some extent to cowl names we must always acknowledge and acknowledge, and whose works are available in English.

Osamu Tezuka

Astro Boy volume 1 cover. Art by Osamu Tezuka. Dark Horse.

No record of well-known mangaka could be full with out the God of Manga. Osamu Tezuka was so influential that he was also called the Father of Manga and the Godfather of Manga. We can’t overemphasize his legacy. A descendant of Hattori Hanzo — a well-known ninja whose title must be recognizable to aficionados of Japanese historical past — Tezuka turned a mangaka after acquiring a medical diploma. That instructional effort didn’t go to waste, nevertheless. His medical data knowledgeable a few of his works together with Black Jack and Dororo. Prolific past perception, he was thought-about by many to be the Japanese counterpart to Walt Disney. American movie director Stanley Kubrick was a fan of Tezuka’s seminal work, Astro Boy, and had needed him to be the artwork director of 2001: A House Odyssey. Alas, Tezuka couldn’t settle for the job, however are you able to think about if he had been in a position to?

Notable works: Astro Boy, Black Jack

Go Nagai

Many mangaka get their begin working as assistants to different creators. Go Nagai is not any completely different. He started his profession because the assistant to Shotaro Ishinomori. (Ishinomori is one other well-known mangaka, and the one motive he’s not on this record is as a result of the majority of his work isn’t legally accessible in English. But. Search for the long-lasting, genre-launching Kamen Rider in December 2021.) Nagai honed his work below Ishinomori’s tutelage and debuted as knowledgeable mangaka within the late Nineteen Sixties. He’d go on to be one of many first mangaka serialized in a newly launched anthology journal known as Weekly Shonen Soar. You might need heard of it. It’s the present residence of My Hero Academia, One Piece, and Jujutsu Kaisen. Credited with pioneering the tremendous robotic, magical lady, and post-apocalyptic manga and anime genres, Nagai turned notorious as a result of his works included eroticism. Thought-about scandalous on the time, most individuals wouldn’t even bat an eye fixed at present. However, he influenced many creators together with Kentaro Miura, the mangaka of Berserk, and CLAMP, who you’ll meet afterward this record.

Notable works: Devilman, Cutie Honey

Moto Hagio

The Poe Clan Vol 1 cover

Extensively often called the founding mom of shojo manga as we all know it at present, Moto Hagio additionally helped to pioneer BL manga. A member of the extremely influential Year 24 Group, she pushed shojo manga to discover themes and subjects past the simplistic storylines that dominated the style earlier than the Seventies. Maybe her most well-known work is Coronary heart of Thomas, which exemplified the kind of BL tales informed on the time: lovely boys who fell in love at boarding faculty however typically met tragic ends. A giant science fiction fan, she cites Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Heinlein as main influences on her work. And in the event you’re questioning what impressed her to grow to be a mangaka? A manga by Osamu Tezuka.

Notable works: The Poe Clan, They Have been 11

Riyoko Ikeda

One other member of the Yr 24 Group, Riyoko Ikeda was one of the well-known mangaka in the course of the Seventies. Her shojo manga featured historic settings and explored themes of gender and sexuality. Though she nonetheless works as a mangaka, she attended music faculty in recent times and have become a singer. An excellent reminder that it’s by no means too late to study one thing new and launch a brand new profession.

Notable work: The Rose of Versailles

Kazuo Koike

Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus, vol. 1 cover

The general public included on this record are each manga writers and illustrators. Generally they did each on a particular title. Generally they assumed just one function. Kazuo Koike was a manga author, and solely a manga author. We are able to cut up hairs about whether or not that really makes him a mangaka based on the normal definition of the time period, however I included him right here as a result of he’s labored on some foundational collection. Whereas he’s greatest recognized for his artistically violent works, Koike additionally was once knowledgeable mahjong participant. He was enthusiastic about instructing the subsequent technology of manga creators, and he based an academic course for this sole objective. Graduates of the course embrace Hideyuki Kikuchi of Vampire Hunter D fame, Tetsuo Hara of Fist of the North Star fame, and Rumiko Takahashi, who’s subsequent on this record.

Notable works: Lone Wolf and Cub, Lady Snowblood, Crying Freeman

Rumiko Takahashi

Rumiko Takahashi is likely one of the most well-known and commercially profitable mangaka of all time — each in Japan and worldwide. She has received many awards, together with the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, and has been inducted into the Eisner Corridor of Fame. Her works have loved nice reputation amongst English-language readers and have been broadly accessible since even earlier than the primary manga growth of the early 2000s. We’re speaking again within the day, when manga was nonetheless mirror-imaged for North American readers versus preserving the acquainted right-to-left format at present.

Notable works: Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha

Akira Toriyama

Dragon Ball cover

Akira Toriyama wasn’t at all times a mangaka. He used to work at an promoting company. After he give up, he entered a contest for aspiring mangaka. Whereas he didn’t win, Toriyama obtained encouraging suggestions from the judges, and he quickly made his skilled debut as a mangaka. He wasn’t an instantaneous success, however he stored at it. Ultimately, he discovered his stride with Dr. Slump after which, in fact, Dragon Ball. The Dragon Ball manga was ridiculously in style, happening to grow to be the top-selling manga on the time. Even at present, virtually three a long time after it ended, it’s nonetheless the third bestselling manga of all time. The anime adaptation of Dragon Ball turned much more well-known than the supply materials, particularly exterior of Japan, and is broadly credited for catapulting anime to grow to be the worldwide sensation it’s at present.

Notable works: Dr. Stoop, Dragon Ball

Naoko Takeuchi

Naoko Takeuchi has had many ups and downs throughout her profession. Previous to turning into a manga creator, Takeuchi used to work as a shrine miko, her experiences later informing a sure character from Sailor Moon. She started her profession as a mangaka with a collection of oneshots and shorter works, however she finally got here up with the concept that would later grow to be Codename: Sailor V. When a studio needed to make an anime adaptation, she reworked the concept by including 4 extra ladies and Sailor Moon was born. And good factor, too! Megumi Ogata, the voice actress for Sailor Uranus, helped launched her to Yoshihiro Togashi, the well-known mangaka behind YuYu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter. The 2 would later marry and have two children. A mangaka meet-cute!

Notable works: Sailor Moon

Naoki Urasawa

Cover of 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

Some mangaka labored different jobs earlier than discovering their life’s calling. Others, like Naoki Urasawa, have been creating manga their whole lives. What do I imply by that? Urasawa started drawing manga when he was 4 years previous. Generally you understand early. A pair a long time later, Urasawa would make his skilled debut. He has created among the most famous manga ever printed. When you needed to decide one seinen manga to learn, you’ll be able to’t go unsuitable with an Urasawa work. He’s additionally a musician and believes that creating manga and creating rock music have rather a lot in widespread. That stated, in the event you’ve ever questioned why most Urasawa manga isn’t (legally) accessible in digital format, that’s as a result of he prefers print.

Notable works: Monster, 20th Century Boys


CLAMP isn’t a single mangaka, however reasonably an all-woman staff of creators. Shaped in highschool between a gaggle of 11 associates, the membership dwindled till the 4 members we all know at present remained: one author, Nanase Ohkawa, and three artists, Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi. The group initially began creating doujinshi, or newbie fan comics. In reality, RG Veda, their first skilled collection, began out as a fan comedian. It was that newbie work that bought the eye of a manga editor at Shinshokan. Well-known for his or her fashionable art work, they’re additionally equally notorious for leaving collection incomplete.

Notable works: X, Cardcaptor Sakura, xxxHolic

Hiromu Arakawa

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol 1

In comparison with the opposite mangaka on this record, Hiromu Arakawa had a later begin within the trade. Born and raised on a dairy farm, she helped with the household enterprise for a number of years after graduating highschool. However if in case you have a dream, by no means let it die. At the same time as she labored on the household dairy farm, she took classes in oil portray. Ultimately, although, she moved to Tokyo and began working as a manga assistant at Sq. Enix. She printed a pair one-shots earlier than starting work on Fullmetal Alchemist, thought-about by many — together with yours actually — to be the most effective manga collection of all time.

Notable works: Fullmetal Alchemist, Silver Spoon

Eiichiro Oda

Eiichiro Oda is the creator of the swashbuckling pirate saga, One Piece — which additionally occurs to be the #1 bestselling manga collection of all time. And will probably be a really very long time earlier than one other manga even comes near taking that title away. In reality, it’s the top-selling comedian collection in the whole world. Oda at all times needed to grow to be a manga artist and submitted his first work on the ripe previous age of 17. This work received many awards and landed him a job at Weekly Shonen Soar as, you guessed it, a manga assistant. He drew a pair one-shots earlier than One Piece started serialization in 1997, which continues to be ongoing to at the present time. The opposite mangaka on this record have a number of titles of their bibliography, even when they might solely be recognized for one. However Oda reveals us you could strike gold contemporary out of the gate. It’s uncommon, however it occurs.

Notable work: One Piece

As I stated initially, this isn’t a complete record of well-known mangaka. I aimed for selection versus overlaying the entire juggernauts of shonen manga, of which there are lots of. However, it does cowl some main names you need to know, and I encourage you to look additional into the mangaka who impressed them, who’re their friends, and who’re their rivals.

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