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.
I’ve been writing about shonen for the past 2 weeks of this competition, and Keima only knows if I’ll make it out of the first round, so I might as well use the freedom I’ve got to coin a term that’s been percolating in my head for a while and talk about seinen (and some shonen, as well) while people are listening. I’ve taken to calling some manga Mid-Major because they’re great in a way that screams “improbable” and “unsustainable”, but because of that are even more fun to watch than consistently great ones. Clearly not top-tier, but clearly blessed with enough potential to make a little legend, like Dunk City FGCU demolishing Georgetown in this year’s NCAA Tourney.* There’s an appeal to watching the little engine that could suddenly transform into a giant robot and dropkick a galaxy, and nowhere (other than sports) does this phenomenon happen more often than in the world of monthly manga.
Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son is a fantastically tasteful and insightful work whose main character is a boy who wants to become a girl (Shuuichi Nitori). Wandering Son and Takako Shimura’s other works (most notably Aoi Hana) stand out in a landscape of anime and manga featuring LGBT characters for making said characters something more than a running gags or sexual fantasies. And also for being great manga that explore personal growth on a long-term basis.* For example, Wandering Son started out with the main characters in fourth grade, followed the characters through middle school and high school, and, as of this chapter, moved on to the beginning of the Nitori’s career. Typical of Takako Shimura, this stitch was accomplished with both the finesse of a tailor and the speed of a sewing machine.
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.