Manga-ka of the Month – Yabuki Kentarou


(矢吹 健太朗)



Pen Name: Yabuki Kentarou (矢吹健太朗)

Hometown: Kochi, Shikoku, Japan

Date of Birth: 4February 1980

Yabuki is best known for the series Black Cat which ran 20 volumes and has finished publishing in the U.S. He is also notable as the artist and collaborator on the series To Love-Ru alongside former assistant Saki Hasemi. Three of his serialised works were adapted into an animated series, namely Black Cat, To-Love-Ru and Mayoi Neko Overrun!

His mentor is the illustrator Obata Takeshi, who is famous for his works Death Note, Hikaru no Go and Bakuman to name a few.


Yamato Gensōki (邪馬台幻想記) (1998 Shueisha)

Jigen Bakuju (時限爆呪) (1999 Shueisha)

Black Cat (ブラックキャット) (2000 Shueisha), Illustrator

Trans Boy (One-shot, 2004) No. 37-38 on Shounen Jump

To Love-Ru -Trouble- (To LOVEる -とらぶる- Toraburu) (2006 Shueisha), Illustrator

Mayoi Neko Overrun! (迷い猫オーバーラン!, Stray Cats Overrun!) (2010 Shueisha), Illustrator

Futagami Double (One-shot, 2009) Shounen Jump

To Love-Ru Darkness (To LOVEる -とらぶる- ダークネス) (2010 Shueisha), Illustrator

This June, I decided that our manga-ka for the month would be Yabuki Kentarou. As usual, me and chungky were throwing names back and forth, but we agreed to settle on him. I am going to argue here that we must be kindred spirits since he seems to be drawing his signature cats on every other panel of his manga. That’s an awesome enough reason to choose him this month.

Most of you might know him as the illustrator for the infamous ecchi series, To Love-Ru. Others may remember him as the mastermind behind Black Cat, the story of an assassin turned bounty hunter. I remember watching and reading Black Cat when I was a tween – it was one of my favourites. So I decided to look him up a couple of months ago, and (finally) started reading To Love-Ru.

Yes, TLR was probably one of the most ecchi things I’ve ever read but holy crapz it was so hilarious I didn’t really care. In the end, his illustrations and character designs are still one of my favourites – and for those of you who want to indulge in some eye candy, go ahead and get the To Love-Ru Illustrations Love Color – there’s a nice entry on it at nattoli, so go take some time off to look. It’s really pretty, even if you’re not into ecchi lol

Anyway if you want to relive some of the characters in Black Cat, you can find them in TLR – particularly Eve and Kyoko. They’ve been converted into aliens though.

If you go digging around for Yabuki Kentarou you keep stumbling upon his wife, Shiho, who was apparently the model for one of the main love interests early on in the story, Haruna.

When things got bad with his marriage, Haruna also took a backstage and was replaced by the tsundere Yui. But it doesn’t matter since in the end it’s a harem manga and we all know that Rito’s gonna get the girls – all of them (which is pretty much what TLR Darkness is all about).

It’s a  pretty sad story that I’m gonna share, actually. It’s pretty old news, but it’s all over the forums and you can read the cited articled from here. Anyway, the apparent reason for TLR’s pretty abrupt end was because Yabuki had to start taking care of his 3 year old daughter after he split up with his wife so he wouldn’t have been able to cope with the weekly deadlines. He mentions once during this incident that;

“While I was working hard on a manga that was focused on taking young girls’ panties off, another man was taking my wife’s panties off,”

Not a really pretty divorce since she cheated on him, leeched off his credit cards and just took his kid away from him… maybe she has a reason for making him go through all that. Or maybe she just likes being a biatch. Whatever it is, she’s gone now and we have To Love-Ru Darkness. Somehow it got even more ecchi than TLR and I kinda find it awkward to read. Shame, seeing as it’s still as funny.

Anyway, I suppose it just comes to show that even if they make the stuff of dreams, manga-ka are really just human.


Have a nice summer ahead (or winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere =P)!!!

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Filed under Anime Related, Art, Featured, Manga Related, Manga-ka

0 responses to “Manga-ka of the Month – Yabuki Kentarou

  1. I want a second season of Black cat ………………

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