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6 Series Starring Aspiring Mangaka

by Lynzee Loveridge, Aug 30th 2014

The dream of being a manga artist is a common one in the anime fandom. Semi-active publisher Tokyopop once launched its "Rising Star of Manga" program purely to entice that set of fans wanting to make that dream become a reality. Results varied, with the extra lucky, like Felipe Smith, heading off into Japan. Every once and awhile, an anime series will set its focus on the manga industry and offer a few hints of what it's really like.

6. Comic Party Before there was Dojin Work or Genshiken, there was Comic Party's wacky cast of otaku girls and straight-laced Kazuki dragged into the middle of it. Based on an visual novel by Leaf, the anime series ditches most of the dating aspect to instead focus on Kazuki discovering his inner otaku destiny to create dojin. This creates conflict with his childhood friend who very much believes in the social stigma surrounding otaku. The series doesn't get into a lot of the nitty gritty about comic book creation, but offers a backdrop not often seen in dating-sim adaptations.

5. Mangirl!
Mangirl! (manga and girl, not man and girl) is a short and thinly-veiled comedic retelling of how the Comic Earth Star magazine was launched. The magazine itself launched in 2011 and soon found several of its properties adapted into anime, including Nobunagun, Pupa, Teekyū and Encouragement of Climb. The series follows four editors, of various competency, as they try to launch a new magazine, wrangle talented artists, and of course, get an anime adaptation.

4. Dojin Work On the other side of professional manga publishing is the giant world of self-published comics (dojin) featuring original characters or more commonly characters from established properties. Super popular series will get their own events with "circles" selling their stories. The mecca for dojin, though, is definitely the twice-yearly Comiket event. Najimi Osana decides to make her own debut after she realizes there's good money to be made—if only she could draw. The series follows the difficulty, and sometimes embarrassment, of starting a publishing circle focuses on erotic content.

3. Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun Nozaki-kun is a mix of high school hijinks and and the comedic situations the main character and his friends-turned-assistants get into to for inspiration. The anime dedicates some early segments to assistant work, going over how exactly backgrounds and screen tone are applied. The series never shies away from detailed shots of the many, many pens and tools used to create a good-looking shojo manga page. It always looks so easy in the tablet sketch videos!

2. Bakuman. Bakuman. is an interesting 180 from the duo that created Death Note. The story follows natural artist and junior high school student Moritaka and his writer and best friend Takagi as they attempt to break into the world of manga. The series touches on one of the major pitfalls in the industry: potential death from overwork while also giving an unapologetic view of industry's so-called "tricks of the trade" for anyone interested in breaking out of dojin into the mainstream, whether it's how to draw or how to ensnare an editor.

1. Tatsumi Yoshihiro Tatsumi is hailed as the father of "gekiga" ("dramatic") manga thus ushering in manga series with serious plots aimed at teens and adults instead of earlier, kid-friendly series. The Tatsumi film is an adaptation of his semi-autobiographical manga, A Drifting Life, and follows protagonist Hiroshi's hardships trying to publish stories in a medium seen as childish in a post-war environment. The film covers 15 years of Hiroshi's life as he chases his idol, God of Manga Osamu Tezuka, and seeks to establish himself as a figure in his own right.

The new poll: What's your experience in the manga industry?

The old poll: What's your favorite musical manga? So, I think that experiment has had its run. Got a lot of answers that had nothing to do with music, or were anime titles, or were already listed. Going forward, I'll just have to put as many answers I can come up with instead of having a free input box. Sorry, guys! (all answers under 1% are omitted):

  1. K-ON! (kakifly) 17.8%
  2. Beck (Harold Sakuishi) 13.0%
  3. Nodame Cantabile (Tomoko Ninomiya) 10.7%
  4. NANA (Ai Yazawa) 10.2%
  5. Kids on the slope (Yuki Kodama) 7.9%
  6. Full Moon O Sagashite (Arina Tanemura) 7.5%
  7. Gravitation (Maki Murakami) 5.0%
  8. Detroit Metal City (Kiminori Wakasugi) 4.4%
  9. Uta no Prince-sama (Utako Yukihiro/Kanon Kunozuki) 3.6%
  10. Violinist of Hameln (Michiaki Watanabe) 1.8%
  11. Solanin (Inio Asano) 1.6%
  12. La Corda d'Oro (Yuki Kure) 1.6%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Associate Editor for Anime News Network, blogs about women and LBGT topics in anime and manga on her blog Engendered Dilemma, and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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