I thought it’d be a fun little exercise to try and pull out as many mangaka names as I could without relying on references. This is that list, written on lockdown mode and complete with the reasons why I remember them.
Yoshida Motoi is an irregular manga artist who makes up for his bi-quarterly release pace with the best aesthetic concepts this side of Yusuke Murata and a detail-fixated, thorough art style.* It’s fitting, then, that the manga he’s currently drawing, Natsu no Zenjitsu, deals with art itself.
As the title suggests, this particular chapter focuses on the male lead’s sense of touch, and aims to convey how it factors into both his life and his paintings to the readers. Part of that goal is accomplished in conventional means via the script, but the chapter also provides a clinic of how to incorporate the sense of touch into seemingly flat pages of manga. Nor does it just run an art clinic; these depictions are intimately related to a growing and somewhat contradictory set of emotions in the manga’s male lead.
Ten-Tenna Toori no Kaidanji (hereafter referred to as Ten) is a manga that ran in Monthly Kindai Mahjong for a 14-year period from 1989 to 2002, and the work that catapulted the award-winning mangaka Nobuyuki Fukumoto into the Japanese spotlight. Though it is less well-known in western circles than the author’s other works (Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji, Akagi), it is by no means an inferior product. Indeed, it is in many ways his best work, a sublime combination of the author’s trademark gritty, greasy yakuza storylines with dynamic storyboarding and a quasi-religious journey through the author’s philosophy on life.