As a young teenager, I continued watching Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball and many other anime series. Back then, in Spain we were lucky enough to have TV stations that broadcasted these series. Captain Tsubasa, Yawara!, Saint Seiya, Ranma 1/2... They were all broadcasted in the early 90s and deeply marked a whole generation.
Of course, when Dragon Ball comics were finally released in Spanish and Catalan, in 1992, I became an avid reader and, through them, I got to know manga, Japanese comics. At that point, I discovered the Japanese language and decided that one day I’d try and learn it.
I started doing so in 1996, when I enrolled in a Japanese class while studying a degree on Translation and Interpreting. In 1999, I received a scholarship to go to Kyoto as an exchange student for a year. In Kyoto, I discovered paradise: huge second-hand bookstores where you could get manga at really good prices! At that time, I had left aside my passion for comics because –of course– I didn’t have enough money, but alas! Those bookstores in Kyoto changed everything.
I became passionate again. I began reading manga in Japanese, partly because I had started writing in a manga magazine where I had been assigned to create a Japanese language course through manga, which would later become the book Japanese in MangaLand and would spawn a whole series of 7 books that have been translated so far into 7 languages.
At the same time, I became interested in the great manga works of the past and began collecting them. In 2000, once in Spain again, I started my career as a translator. Since then, I’ve translated hundreds of tankōbon into Spanish and Catalan.
In 2001 I had the privilege of working at the Yokohama city council for a year during the 2002 Soccer World Cup, and in 2002 I got lucky again and received another scholarship for higher education. I spent 3 more years in Osaka working on my master thesis. This precious time in Japan enabled me to broaden my knowledge about manga, not only about the latest, breakthrough works, but also about the works that have shaped manga as we know it today, milestones in the history of Japanese comics. I’ve got thousands of tankōbon now invading my house and I cannot help getting more and more every time I visit Japan (twice a year or so).
One of my other passions is writing. I’ve always wanted to write something about manga, a good, comprehensive piece of work which can make a difference. In 2007 I decided to open my blog MangaLand (in Spanish only), where I present my views and thoughts about works of manga I’m reading. I’m lucky to have loyal readers who are themselves passionate about manga or anime but even so… I still miss writing books! A blog is simply not enough for me.
A book! It has to be a book about manga, right? But… I’m very aware that Frederik L. Schodt’s Manga! Manga! The world of Japanese comics, as “old” as it is (written in 1983), is unsurpassable. Schodt did an amazing work there and I (or anyone, for that matter) cannot possibly do it better. This has always been a deterrent for me.
But still… I want to make a difference. I want to write *something*. I want to do something to share my passion about manga. How? How can I present a different view, make a work that *lasts*?
This is how I had the idea of making a book based on interviews to mangaka, manga editors and industry people. Write a real overview of manga, its history, its industry, its people. I still haven’t decided the specifics: what kind of book will it be, when or how will it be published, whether it will include audio-visual content (I am filming all interviews)… I don’t even know if any publishing house will be interested in the project. This is why I think you can help: please send your comments on the posts and share your ideas, they will be certainly valuable. You can also e-mail me at
I have recently spent a few months (March-June 2010) in Japan conducting the first interviews. My idea is to make further trips in a span of, say, two years or so, to continue working on this project. and try to get interviews with the hottest mangaka of today, but also with the mangaka that shaped the history of Japanese comics yesterday.
I already got a bunch of interviews, a truck-load of information I need to process, and I’ve decided to share some of this information with you (which makes it all more fun and gives me motivation to go on!). In this blog I’ll be talking about the work progress and uploading some materials such as short clips of the mangaka talking about their work. You’ll see their work places and you’ll see them at what they do best: drawing.
By the way, as I said before, I’m Spanish but I decided to write this blog not only in Spanish, but also in English to reach a broader audience. I know I have priceless information here and I want to share it with as many people as possible. However, as you must have noticed, I’m not a native English speaker. I hope you can overlook my mistakes, and possibly help me correct it or even translate some contents from Spanish. Any help will be welcome!
From now on, you’ll be seeing information about my project and clips and posts about mangaka and industry people I’ve already interviewed such as:
- AKAMATSU Ken (Love Hina, Negima!)
- AOYAMA Gōshō (Detective Conan -Case Closed-, Yaiba)
- CHIBA Tetsuya (Tomorrow’s Joe, Notari Matsutarō)
- CHIYOJI (Miss 130)
- FELIPE SMITH (Peepo Choo, MBQ)
- HAGIO Moto (The Heart of Thomas, The Poe Clan, They Were Eleven)
- HINO HIDESHI (Panorama of Hell, Hell Baby…)
- HIRATA Hiroshi (Satsuma gishiden, Samurai manga/gekiga master)
- HIROKANE Kenshi (Shima Kōsaku series, Human Crossing, Like Shooting Stars in the Twilight)
- KAWAGUCHI Kaiji (The Silent Service, Eagle, Zipang)
- KISHIRO Yukito (Gunnm -Battle Angel Alita-)
- MAKI Miyako (shōjo and josei manga pioneer)
- MARUYAMA Akira (Editor in charge of Osamu Tezuka, Shōtarō Ishinomori, etc. in the 1950s)
- MATSUMOTO Izumi (Kimagure Orange Road)
- MATSUMOTO Leiji (Captain Herlock, Galaxy Express 999, Starblazers)
- MATSUMOTO Taiyō (Tekkonkinkreet, Number 5, Takemitsu Zamurai)
- MIZUNO Hideko (Fire!, Honey Honey no suteki-na bōken)
- NAGAI GŌ (Mazinger Z, Devilman, Grendizer, Harenchi Gakuen)
- NAGATANI Kunio (mastermind behind Fujio Akatsuka and parody manga master)
- OHWADA Hideki (Legend of Koizumi, Mobile Suit Gundam-san, UnP-sensei)
- SAITŌ Takao (Golgo 13, Survivor, Onihei Hankachō)
- SATO Shuho (Say Hello to Black Jack, Umizaru)
- SUZUKI Shinichi (anime pioneer, member of the Tokiwa-sō group)
- TAKEMIYA Keiko (Kaze to ki no uta, Pharao no haka, Terra e…)
- TATSUMI Yoshihiro (A Drifting Life)
- TSUNODA Jirō (Kyōfu Shinbun, Karate Baka Ichidai, Bōrei Gakkyū)
- UMEZU Kazuo (The Drifting Classroom, Orochi, Makoto-chan)
- URASAWA Naoki (Monster, 20th Century Boys, Yawara!, Pluto, Billy Bat)
- YASUHIKO Yoshikazu (Gundam The Origin)
- YOKOTA Tokuo (Margaret-chan)
- YOSHIZAKI Seimu (Kingyo Used Books)
I hope you enjoy it!
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