See 50 of Your Favorite Manga Artists Take on the History of Japan

Weekly Manga History of Japan is a magazine that launched in 2009, giving full-color comics of famous figures in Japanese history, from Kamui to MacArthur. This October, they’re set to continue the series with NEW Weekly Manga History of Japan, and when you see the list of manga artists they have doing each story, you might just flip. Though the list isn’t totally complete yet, see if you can spot your favorites!

The series begins on October 12th.

01. “Yamatotakeru” by Watsuki Nobuhiro (Rurouni Kenshin)

02. “Emperor Nintoku” by Akana Shuu (Yuugo the Negotiator)

03. “Soga no Umako” by Tateo Retsu (Full Metal Panic!)

04. “Princess Nukata” by Ninomiya Tomoko (Nodame Cantabile)

05. “Gyouki” by ???

06. “Abe no Nakamaro” by Syubuka Masamune (Neriyakanaya)

07. “Sakanoue no Tamuramaro” by Sasameyuki Jun (ZZ)

08. “Ono no Kamachi” by ???

09. “Taira no Masakado” by ???

10. “Abe no Seimei” by Sarachi Yomi (Steins’ Gate)

11. “Minamoto no Yoshinaka” by Shimotsuki Kairi (Sengoku Basara)

12. “Houjou Masako” by Shihira Tatsuya (13Club)

13. “Unkei & Kaikei” by ???

14. “Shinran” by Yoshida Satoshi (Shounan Bakusouzoku)

15. “Kusunoki Masashige” by Minamoto Yuu (Asu no Yoichi!)

16. “Yoshida Kenkou” by ???

17. “Kan’ami Kiyotsugu & Zeami Motokiyo” by ???

18. “Ikkyuu Soujun” by ???

19. “Saitou Dousan” by ???

20. “Uesugi Kenshin” by Yamada Koutarou (Fire Emblem: Champion’s Sword)

21. “Hattori Hanzou” by ???

22. “Sen no Rikyuu” by ???

23. “Hosokawa Garasha” by Amano Sakuya (Princess Arakami)

24. “Date Masamune” by Shimizu Eiichi & Shimoguchi Tomuhiro (Linebarrels of Iron)

25. “Kuroda Kanbei” by Ikegami Ryouichi (Sanctuary, Crying Freeman)

26. “Sanada Yukimura” by ???

27. “Izumo no Okuni” by Kakinouchi Narumi (Vampire Princess Miyu, Animation Director for Megazone 23)

28. “Yagyuu Munenori” by ???

29. “Kasuga no Tsubone” by ???

30. “Amakusa Shirou” by Kusaba Michiteru (Fantasista)

31. “Matsuo Bashou” by ???

32. “Kinokuniya Bunzaemon” by ???

33. “Tokugawa Yoshimune” by ???

34. “Hiraga Gennai” by ???

35. “Raiden Tameemon” by Arakawa Hiromu (Fullmetal Alchemist)

36. “Kumazawa Banzan” by Hosono Fujihiko (Crusher Joe, Gallery Fake)

37. “Takasugi Shinsaku” by Takahashi Tsutomu (Jiraishin, SIDOOH)

38. “Kondou Isami” by ???

39. “Byakkotai” by ???

40. “Atsuhime” by Ikeda Riyoko (Rose of Versailles, Oniisama e…)

41. Tokugawa Yoshinobu” by ???

42. “Ookubo Toshimichi” by ???

43. “Natsume Souseki” by Sugimoto Ikura (Variante)

44. “Nogi Maresuke” by ???

45. “Tsuda Umeko” by Mikimoto Haruhiko (Mobile Suit Gundam: École du Ciel, character designer of Macross, Gunbuster)

46. “Shibusawa Eiichi” by ???

47. “Minakata Kumagusu” by ???

48. “Takahashi Korekiyo” by ???

49. “Yamamoto Isoroku” by Ark-Performance (Blue Steel Arpeggio)

50. “Shirasu Jirou” by Oh Great! (Tenjou Tenge, Air Gear)

You can see sample illustrations here.

The Strength of Manga in Clearly Describing Deeper Concepts

Sometimes I’ll see people say that western comics beat out manga because when they actually are written to be sophisticated they do so in a much more mature and literary fashion. Granted, Miyazaki’s Nausicaa is richly dense in this respect but he’s the exception that sort of proves the rule as he’s greatly influenced by European comics.

However, I think that the greater strength of manga in general is that it manages to marry strong ideas and deeper philosophy with a very clear, conventional story-telling style often meant for young readers. While Naruto is indeed a children’s comic, no one should be ashamed of reading it while they’re above the age of 10 as it carries (and sometimes loses) interesting themes of redemption and friendship. You don’t have to dig deep to find out that Naruto is trying to fight 12 years of neglect and depression throughout his own series, or to know that Oscar from Rose of Versailles has to struggle with the conflict that arises from her trying to understand her own gender. This is not a bad thing.

I already have an exception, as I think this may be why Avatar: The Last Airbender is so appealing to its fans (which includes myself) as well. While it still feels very western, it is similar to manga in the sense that there are many themes running throughout the show but they are not obscured and require multiple viewings to get most of them.

Sure, they’re not Grant Morrison or Alan Moore, but they don’t need to be.

Put the all-character splash image at the end of openings to bed

They appear to be some unusual obligation, and more often than not I feel like they make openings worse than they could have been if they had only ended the video prior to it. The number of shows that I could describe in this regard are probably more than I can count.

As an example of an opening which ends on a NOT-Splash Image and ends up being better for it, I present Rose of Versailles: