Book Review: Manga in Theory and Practice – The Craft of Creating Manga by Hirohiko Araki

In a surprise twist of events, I’m going to cover a book for this post. One of my favorite authors has released a book on how he became successful as a manga artist. Hirohiko Araki, creator of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure details his formula on how to create an intriguing story, character and art style, as well as everything in between.


The cover for the American edition of the book. The self-portrait from the Japanese edition of Hirohiko Araki and Kishibe Rohan, respectively, can be seen in artwork above. 

Araki begins by instructing that the road to becoming a proper mangaka (Japanese comic artist) is full of trial, error, and a bit of luck. He does give hope, however, in stating that determination, talent and an awareness of what the readers want will lead a mangaka to become successful. He uses his personal experiences to describe the struggle simply to get the foot in the door, as Araki did when he won the Tezuka award, and the years of practice it took in order to achieve that pivotal point.

The book uses multiple examples from Hirohiko Araki’s own work in order to detail what can make a manga successful. This includes sketches, scripts from his office, and pages from Poker Under Arms, Stardust Crusaders, and the first official pages of JoJolion.

As the book continues, Araki is careful to tell the reader what is mandatory for a successful mangaka and to remind the reader that their imagination will be the real key to their success. Ultimately, it is the artist’s mission to create a detailed, yet unique style which fans can notice from a distance. The mangaka must always consider the reader, and how to adapt to the times to maximize popularity.

The book is geared towards those who wish to create Shonen/Seinen manga, as that’s the primary experience which Hirohiko Araki has to offer. It can be argued, however, that those who wish to acquire experience from Araki are already aware that they want to focus on these particular demographics for themselves.

Hirohiko Araki’s blunt, yet honest instruction serve as inspiration and a warning to anyone who is interested in becoming a manga artist. The book makes it clear that many of the techniques mentioned within aren’t limited to the world of manga, so prospective filmmakers, written word authors and other artists can find plenty of useful information within the book. The book provides a plethora of advice and examples to kickstart a prospective artist’s career as a mangaka.

External Links:

Amazon US page for the book


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