Pen name: Takaya Natsuki
Real name: Hatake Naka
Date of Birth: July 07, 1973
Home-town: Shizuoka, Japan
Since her debut one-shot in Bessatsu HanaYume magazine in 1991, Takaya Natsuki has grown from strength to strength. First establishing herself in the now defunct magazine, HanaYume Planet, her body of work has emerged to become one of the most successful shojo manga artists in the world with her most acclaimed work, Fruit’s Basket. She is known for her melancholy mood in her stories, with positive twists and distinctive simple and delicate art style. Fruit’s Basket became the 2nd best selling shojo manga ever in Japan; and eventually took over the US market as well as being the best-selling manga in the world at one point in time. The manga artist herself is left-handed and enjoys playing video games, particularly of the Final Fantasy family.
Kodansha Manga Award for Fruit’s Basket 2001
Long Range! (HanaYume Planet 1991)
Born Free (HanaYume Planet 1992)
Knockin’on the Wall (HanaYume Planet 1992)
Ding Dong (HanaYume Planet 1993)
Voice of mine (Bessatsu HanaYume 1993)
DOUBLE FLOWER (Bessatsu HanaYume 1994)
緑の祭壇 /Midori no Saidan (HanaYume 1995)
僕が唄うと君は笑うから / Boku ga Utau to Kimi wa Warau kara / Because You Smile When I Sing (HanaYume 1998)
暗黒姫 / Dark Princess (HanaYume Step 1998)
翼を持つ者 / Tsubasa o Motsu Mono / Tsubasa: Those with Wings (HanaYume 1995-1998)
フルーツバスケット / Fruits Basket (HanaYume 1998 – 2006)
星は歌う / Hoshi wa Utau / Twinkle Stars Like Singing a Song (HanaYume 2007 – 2011)
リーゼロッテと魔女の森 /Liselotte to Majo no Mori / Liselotte and Witch’s Forest (HanaYume 2011 – present)
Hello dear peepz. While Arawr being busy with life, it seems that will be running the blog solo in the next month or so. Therefore, rejoice, for resisting will be futile.
When you have a manga entitled ‘Fruit’s Basket in your portfolio, it maybe likely that you’ll never have to worry ever again about whether you’ll be published. I chose Takaya Natsuki as this month’s manga artist of the month because she is no one-hit wonder as she continues to feed her fans with her stories constantly ever since her debut. A percentage of successful manga artists tend to disappear for a while after their rock-star periods. Takaya-sensei continues after Hoshi wa Utau with Liselotte and Witch’s Forest which started serialising in May this year, one of which I’m following very carefully.
Of all her works, I’ve only actually gone through Fruit’s Basket and it began all happy and fun then made me sickfully depressed in a good way. That sounds positively impossble but it did, it was melancholic but very thought-provoking. I never visited her other works but Liselotte caught my eye because:
No.1 – Liselotte is a wicked name.
& No.2 – I absolutely love fairy-tale inspired stories and the whole name delivers that theme so I had to check it out.
Here’s to Liselotte and Witch’s Forest becoming another great story for Takaya-sensei.
Here’s a snippet from her TIME’s interview in 2006 entitled “Something About Shojo,” click here for the full content. In part of her interview, she mentioned that she is happy as someone who loves manga as it could be “recognized for its merit as a medium capable of expression.” I think that is a great quote as agree 100%! I’ve written a post about anime and manga being mediums of expression which you can find here.
TIME: Have you ever drawn “dojinshi” [self-published manga] or worked as a mangaka assistant?
NT: Before and after my debut, I’ve helped out other manga artists from time to time, but I have no experience of being exclusively an assistant. Nor have I done individual or self-published manga.
TIME: What kinds of books and manga do you read, and from which do you find your inspiration?
NT: I like looking at work that I could never draw myself. I really like the CSI series, Las Vegas in particular. It’s really interesting. I’m at the point where I’m considering buying every episode on DVD. I’m the sort of person that doesn’t really have specific “inspiration.” It probably comes more from my doubts and my desires.
TIME: What do you want your readers to feel or understand from reading your manga?
NT: Above and beyond drawing my creations, I try to incorporate some kind of message. I try not to end as merely a question but try to provide a conclusion within the work. Furthermore, I try not to supplement this understanding outside of the work. This is because I believe that readers are free to respond to the work in their own way and that this is part of the pleasure… Of course, there are unintended misunderstandings and the occasional thing that completely confuses, but as much as possible, I want to value the sensitivity of all readers.
Well, that’s all for our mangaka of the month post! Hope you enjoyed this post and stick with us til’ the next! Whether Takaya-sensei starts a new work now or five years from now, she has loyal fans waiting eagerly with oogly big eyes.