The Always Striking And Ever-Evolving Art Of Takeshi Obata

The Always Striking And Ever-Evolving Art Of Takeshi Obata

Manga artists who have technical ability are valuable but so are those who can infuse their art with personality and style. Takeshi Obata is the rare kind of manga illustrator who can do both. Over his multi decade-spanning career, he’s grown to become one of the most talented artists in the game. He’s great at coming up with distinct stand out character designs as well as being a master of ink and contrast. 

More than just coming up with great designs and extremely solid line-art, Takeshi Obata can tailor his style from comic to comic to suit whatever feeling his manga needs to have. He can go edgy and dark in his art when he needs to, like in Death Note, while equally capable of going for looser and goofier feel, like in Bakuman.

Takeshi Obata Manga Worth Buying Books Of

Takeshi Obata is a 35 year veteran of the manga game and at this point in his career has illustrated over a dozen series of manga. Not all of his early works, like Cyborg Jii-Chan G a gag manga about a robot grandpa, are available in English but most of them from the late 90s on are. Here’s a little guide to which titles in the Takeshi Obata bibliography are best with your time and your money if you’re so inclined to support the arts.

Hikaru No Go

Perhaps only the great Takeshi Obata could have turned a manga about the traditional board game Go into a great Shonen Jump comic. Centering around a boy named Hikaru who becomes possessed by a Go loving spirit from ancient Japan named Sai, the two pair up to take on the professional Go world. Lasting four years with 23 volumes complete with an anime adaptation, Hikaru No Go was, by all means, a success. 

If you haven’t read this classic late 90s Jump series, we recommend putting your it being a board game manga-based reservations aside and giving this one a go.

Death Note

Death Note was one of the biggest anime and manga series of the 2000s, maybe only second to Naruto. Remarkably dark for a Shonen Jump comic, the now-classic series marked the first time Takeshi Obata would team up with the elusive writer Tsugumi Ohba. 

We’re pretty sure you’re already familiar with Death Note but just in case you’ve either suffered from amnesia or just woke up from a 15-year coma, this is a classic tale about a boy named Light who finds a notebook that has the power to kill people. He sets off to rid the world of all criminals but when he starts to execute them en masse, the world’s greatest detective L begins to chase him down. 

An anime adaptation, four Japanese live-action movies, a TV drama, and even the Hollywood Netflix movie, Death Note has become a household name all over the world.


If you ever wanted a behind the scenes look at how manga is made at the world-famous Weekly Shonen Jump, you need to read Bakuman. 

Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba decided to follow up their hugely successful Death Note with something in the opposite vein. Bakuman is a rather comedic look into manga production that follows two adolescent boys who decide to start making manga for Shonen Jump. You learn about the editorial process, how the weekly reading rankings affect the magazine, and what it takes to create a successful series. 

However Bakuman is more than its gimmick; Obata changes up his art to give this manga a more animated feel and Ohba introduced tons of colorful characters, keeping the story fresh throughout its 30 volume run. 

Platinum End

The third title by the winning Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba. It centers around a small group of people who are paired up with angels to duke each other out until one last person stands.  

Whoever becomes the winner of this battle royal literally becomes god so the stakes are pretty high. Unfortunately, their newest title hasn’t reached the level of acclaim of either the internationally renowned Death Note nor the beloved in Japan Bakuman, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. 

Having decades of experience under his belt at this point, Takeshi Obata pens the best art of his career in Platinum End. Each page of this comic stuns the eyes, indulging in heavy blacks and a lush gothic style that makes each page visually captivating.

Death Note
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