Attention, otaku of all ages! Rumiko Takahashi has just been nominated for the Will Eisner Hall of Fame for 2016. The San Diego Comic Convention’s official website has a full list of the nominees, with the following description for Takahashi-sensei:
Popular manga creator Rumiko Takahashi is said to be the bestselling female comics artist in history, with hundreds of millions of her books sold around the world. Takahashi’s first published work was the one-shot Katte na Yatsura in 1978. Later that year her first major work began being serialized, Urusei Yatsura. She went on to create such classic works as Maison Ikkoku, Ranma ½, InuYasha, One Pound Gospel, Mermaid Saga, and Rumic Theater. Several of her works have been animated.
She has the chance to be one of four new inductees out of a total pool of fourteen nominees. This is, interestingly enough, not the first time that she’s been nominated. She was included in the list back in 2014, but voters ultimately chose Hayao Miyazaki for the award.
Japanese manga artists are well represented in the Eisner Hall of Fame. If she receives the reward, she won’t just be right up there with Miyazaki. She will also be joining the likes of Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Black Jack), Kazuo Koike (Crying Freeman, writer of Lone Wolf and Cub), Goseki Kojima (artist of Lone Wolf and Cub), Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), and Shigeru Mizuki (GeGeGe no Kitaro). There are, of course, plenty of OTHER big names in manga that we’d like to see up there in the future, especially female manga artists like Naoko Takeuchi (Sailor Moon), or the ladies of CLAMP (Card Captor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth, X/1999).
“Sure, there are cultural differences in my work. When I see an American comedy, even though the jokes are translated, there’s always a moment when I feel puzzled and think, ‘Ah, Americans would probably laugh at this more.’ I suppose the same thing must happen with my books. It’s inevitable. And yet, that doesn’t mean my books can’t be enjoyed by English-speaking readers. I feel confident that there’s enough substance to them that people from a variety of cultural backgrounds can have a lot of fun reading them.” – Rumiko Takahashi, in a 2002 Viz Interview
Us Filipino fans have really found memories of Ranma ½ and its endless reruns on RPN, and InuYasha‘s run on ABS-CBN. Many of us are also familiar with Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku. Those were some damned good times. Outside of our personal feelings on the matter, however, Rumiko Takahashi is one of the most significant creators in Japanese manga, and in comic history as a whole.
For two years Takahashi trained under Koike, who stressed the importance of interesting characters in one’s stories. Takahashi’s fascinating characters can be linked to lessons she learned during this time. […] Her characters break the mold established for most anime and manga archetypes. She takes care to portray women as very strong characters who break away from the traditional view of the demure, Japanese, female. Her females match her male characters in toughness and intelligence.
Almost all of her characters though are not good or evil – only human.
Beyond her style as a comic book artist and her writing, she is especially important in relation to localizing Japanese anime and manga for a Western audience. Her works were among the first to hit international shores, and helped form our contemporary sensibilities towards anime and manga. In one sense, her works – along with the works of many within her generation – were the litmus test for translators and comic book companies. The treatment of her creations was instrumental in raising many helpful questions with regard to the proper ways of translating foreign comics without losing the cultural context that they came from.
The inductees will be revealed on July 22. Good luck, Takahashi-sensei!