What is the point of a Manga 101? If you are into manga you probably already know it, and if you aren’t you probably think it’s all codswallop anyway.
Anyhoo, over at the Del Rey blog, Tricia Narwani explains a fun piece of essential manga history that you can use to amaze your non-Mangatized pals. Why does Hiro Mashima’s FAIRY TAIL remind so many people of Eiichiro Oda’s ONE PIECE? Is it because Mashima was once Oda’s assistant?
Rather, they were both influenced by the great Akira Toriyama, who created Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball Z among other things:
According to Mashima’s publisher, Hiro Mashima was not only never Eiichiro Oda’s assistant–he has never served as an assistant to any artist at all. Mashima has pretty much been a superstar from the beginning–and from a startlingly young age. Born in 1977, Mashima has already crammed several careers of comics creation into a short period: 35 volumes of his first blockbuster, Rave Master, the new sensation Fairy Tail, simultaneous with a new series for Kodansha’s Shonen Rival , Monster Hunter.
As it turns out, there’s a much simpler explanation for the resemblance, and it’s one of the biggest forces in manga ever: Akira Toriyama. Eiichiro Oda and Hiro Mashima are both members of a generation who grew up obsessed with Toriyama and all things Dragon Ball , and whose styles were forged by Toriyama worship. Another reminder that even masters like Mashima and Oda started out as the same thing: fans.
If you read Toriyama you will see what Oda and Mashima got from the master: an exaggeratedly comic style for adventures; likewise adventures that include as much slapstick as action. But even more they all engage in what Scott McCloud calls “World building.” All three create a complete mythos with richness of character and background.
That ends our Manga minute for today.