Asano Inio might be known for his seinen manga such as Goodnight Punpun and Solanin, but it may surprise you to hear that he has a literary side too – with his first essay collection launching last week.
Titled ‘Mangaka Manual (Mangaka Nyuumon),’ Asano Inio’s first essay collection brings together a year’s worth of material from his column on publisher Chikumashobo’s website, where he regularly shares his musings on everyday life alongside other contributors.
As you might expect from Asano, however, these musings are far from ordinary. Asano’s unique disposition transforms such ordinary situations as taking driving lessons and applying for a loan and transforms them into the extraordinary, showing off his prowess, not just an artist, but as a writer as well.
The ‘Mangaka Manual’ essay collection also acts, by virtue of its length, as a window into how the mangaka’s own circumstances have changed drastically in the past couple of years, marked by such life-changing events as his marriage to Torikai Akane and buying his own house.
Of course, the essay collection also includes Asano’s musings on manga, including some reflections on his past work, his creative method, as well as where the manga industry as a whole is right now and where it will be in the future.
Getting to hear some of Asano’s thoughts more directly through his essays is a valuable opportunity for anyone wanting to understand one of the most important creators in the industry right now, who has managed to become a true ‘voice of a generation’ by capturing the ennui and isolation felt by many young people today not just in Japan, but across the entire world.
Given how expertly crafted some of Asano’s best work is, I always assumed that Asano’s writing simply wouldn’t work in any other medium. Yet, reading some of the material available online and some of the ‘Mangaka Manual’ essay collection only goes to show how talented the creator is both as a mangaka and as a writer, which is an experience I’d implore others to give a go.
Asano Inio’s ‘Mangaka Manual’ essay collection is on sale now.