Mangaka of the Week: Hitoshi Iwaaki
The highly decorated Hitoshi Iwaaki-sensei is the author and artist of notable works such as Kodansha Manga Award winner Parasyte and 2005 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize finalist and 2010 Japan Media Arts Festival grand prize winner Historie.
His works, aimed at adult males, often explore the human psyche. Although many of his works are short, they have strong and lasting impacts on the reader such as the one shot, Me wo Mite Hanase.
A veteran mangaka, Iwaaki-sensei debuted with his work, Fuuko no Iru Mise, in 1985. He has since created nine other works, with only one being a oneshot and another being a collection of short stories. Included in his repertoire of works is his collaboration in the Neo Devilman anthology, a collection of works done by numerous mangaka that build off of the famous Devilman universe. In short, Iwaaki-sensei has published seven serialized works. Unfortunately, two of these works have not been translated to English by either fans or professionals.
Iwaaki-sensei’s works include:
Fuuko no Iru Mise
“Fuuko is a shy girl—so shy that she has trouble talking to strangers. Determined to change herself, she starts working as a waitress at Café Rhodos. The people she meets on and off the job will lead her through the often frightful world of adolescence, and beyond.” -Mangaupdates.com
Tanabata no Kuni
“Basically, some humans have the ability to negate a sphere of reality, neatly removing it from existence. This gradually alters their appearance until they become a hideous alien, with a giant eye in their forehead.” -Mangaupdates.com
Black Jack – Aoki Mirai
“Heureka is a manga set in antiquity, during the Second Punic War between the small city state of Syracuse and the Roman Empire. The comic is based around the life and times of the famous mathematician Archimedes.
Archimedes was not only a gifted mathematician but also an engineer of repute. During the conflict with the Romans, Archimedes was supposedly responsible for creating a number of war machines that devastated the Roman legions before they eventually got the upper hand. The exact nature and use of these devices is controversial, and exists more in the realm of legend than actual historical fact.” – Mangaupdates.com
“Historie follows the life of Eumenes, a boy with strategic talent who grows up to serve as a secretary and general under Alexander the Great (says real history). Historie includes characters such as Aristotle and King Philip II of Macedon and begins around 343 BC, which was a time of Macedonian expansion.
Historie has won the 14th Media Arts Awards 2010 Grand Prize in Manga Division, and was also a finalist for Osamu Tezuka Culture Award in 9th and 10th.” – Mangaupdates.com
Hone no Oto
“A selection of short stories. The stories deal with the same themes as Parasyte and his other work, and in only one of them is his art style noticeably more primitive.” – Mangaupdates.com
Even in real life, humans are slowly destroying the planet. However, in Parasyte, Earth may have a chance due to alien invaders. These aliens are parasitic, sometimes symbiotic, creatures that attempted to take over human bodies when they first invaded. Most Parasites succeeded and took control over human brains. Others failed to take over humans but succeed in controlling other animals, although this is considered a failure by the Parasite population. These Parasites develop a need to eat others of the same species as their host. Thus, Parasites in human hosts eat other humans.
Me wo Mite Hanase
“After getting beaten up by a bunch of thugs, an apathetic man who is afraid of looking other people in the eyes wakes up in the hospital, only to discover to his horror that he literally can’t see other people’s eyes.” - Kotonoha
“These are different stories involving Devilman’s world. Some are about Devilman and add to the mythology some are separate stories that don’t involve Devilman but take place the same time as the events in the original Devilman manga. They are illustrated by various artists. There are some color pages in the start middle and toward the end. There are some truly amazing art and stories in these volumes.
Number one is written and illustrated by Lazy Hagawari, Tatsuya Egawa, Katsuya Terada, Ken Ishikawa, Go Nagai and Shinichi Hiromoto.
Number two is written and illustrated by Hitoshi Iwaaki, Noriko Nagano, Go Nagai, Akihiko Takadera and Kazuko Yumeno.
Number three is written and illustrated by Noburu Miyama, Miki Toro, Shinobu Kaze, Sho-u Tajima, Masaomi Kanzaki, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Iou Kuroda.” – Mangaupdates.com
Yuki no Touge Tsurugi no Mai