It has been a good while since the finale of WcDonald’s THE MANGA, a short series of Manga chapters set in the fictional universe of WcDonald’s, inspired by the anime trend of skirting around copyright and IP laws while still keeping it obvious what the fictional brand is supposed to represent or be based off of. It ran from February 26th with a total of four chapters released each week until its conclusion in March 18th. All four chapters are free to read now on the official WcDonald’s site.

I’ve been having a lot of fun reading each chapter as it released week to week and writing my reviews and breakdowns of each chapter. To my surprise, I never expected the reviews to be read by many especially as the Manga was poorly marketed by McDonald’s compared to the Anime Minisodes. But one of the readers of my reviews is none other than the Illustrator behind WcDonald’s THE MANGA, Acky Bright

So with many thanks to his wonderful manager/partner, Yasu Kutami, for reaching out to me and giving me the opportunity to interview the artist behind the manga from the creation process, to the history behind the manga’s inception, and more! 

JUSTIN GUERRERO: What brought McDonald’s attention to you to be the illustrator for their WcDonald’s Manga?

ACKY BRIGHT: My understanding is that drawing for DC Comics, working on various types of manga-style art in the US, and attending AX and Anime NYC as a guest of honor in 2023, were the reasons I caught their attention for this project.

GUERRERO: Curious if the story of each chapter of the WcDonald’s manga was written by you? Studio Pierrot? or was it written by the writers from the McDonald’s team?

BRIGHT: It is based on the anime’s storyboards. However, recognizing the differences between manga and anime formats, I’ve arranged the stories to better suit manga-style reading.

Storyboards of the 4th WcDonald’s Minisode animated by Studio Pierrot.

GUERRERO: When it comes to the character designs. Did you come up with those designs? Was it Pierrot? or a collaborative effort between you and the studio behind those designs?

BRIGHT: I designed the 10 characters of the crew (in the photo below). The anime-specific designs were created by the animators.

lineup of characters illustrated and designed by Acky Bright for the WcDonald's campaign (left to right): Mia, Carm, J, Flurry, Mr.Bev, Wicke, Burg, Midnight, Quart Sr, and the WcDizer 3000.
Characters Designed by Acky Bright (Left to Right): Mia, Carm, J, Flurry, Mr.Bev, Wicke, Burg, Midnight, Quart Sr, and the WcDizer 3000.

GUERRERO: Do you have any personal favorite character from the WcDonald’s Manga? Any character from the Manga you’ve had the most fun illustrating?

BRIGHT: Without saying, I think Burg is everyone’s favorite. Also, I enjoy drawing Mr. BEV. I also enjoy J (the psychic) because his character stands out.

GUERRERO: Do you have any assistants that helped you with the creation of the manga? Would love to give them a shoutout if there were.

BRIGHT: Yes, my assistants at my studio helped me again. They too enjoyed this project very much. I will pass on your words.

GUERRERO: What were the highs and lows in making the WcDonald’s Manga?

BRIGHT: Producing 22 pages every week was extremely challenging, especially since we were simultaneously working on the anime, so we had to figure out the art designs concurrently. It was a constant race against time. Additionally, I intentionally varied the rhythm and style for each chapter, which, while enjoyable, was sometimes difficult.

GUERRERO: How long did it take to get all four chapters completed?

BRIGHT: It took 3-5 days for each chapter to layout the panels and create the story in the “name” process. The inking took about seven days, and one day for finishing and revisions. So, in total, about one and a half months.

GUERRERO: Were there any challenges when it came to the creation of the Manga?

BRIGHT: Time. It is a common struggle for many manga artists, to maintain the highest quality within a given amount of time. However, there’s no doubt that pressure can lead to unique ideas, so while it’s a challenge, it’s not entirely negative. It also made the manga feel more authentic, as we produced it within the same timeline as a typical manga series would be created.

GUERRERO: What were your favorite chapters to work on from the WcDonald’s Manga and why?

BRIGHT: Personally, I like Chapters 1 and 3. Chapter 1 was drawn in the traditional Japanese shonen manga style, one of my favorites, reminiscent of series like DRAGON BALL. For Chapter 3, I was able to incorporate the crew characters into the storyline, with the overall detail in the drawings and the tone mirroring some of my own original work. Of course, I also like Chapters 2 and 4 too.

Acky Bright illustrating a panel from Chapter 1 of WcDonald’s THE MANGA titled “The Race for WcDonald’s”

GUERRERO: Did you enjoy your time creating the illustrations for the WcDonald’s Manga?

BRIGHT: Yes. After all, I got to be the first person in the world to draw the WcDonald’s world.

GUERRERO: Did you feel like you had enough time to work on these chapters?

BRIGHT: I believe that as a professional, it’s important to work within the
given timeframe. So, the answer is “Yes.”

GUERRERO: Was there anything you felt you would go back and expand upon or add that didn’t make the cut in the manga if any?

BRIGHT: The answer is also “Yes.” In Japan, manga printed in magazines and those later printed for comic books differ because they often undergo revisions in between.

GUERRERO: Do you think there is more to the WcDonald’s-Verse that has yet to be explored?

BRIGHT: Yes, I think there are a lot of possibilities. I already have several ideas in my head.

Panels illustrated by Acky Bright for Chapter 3 of WcDonald’s THE MANGA, WcNuggets Space Frontier 3000.

GUERRERO: Do you think we will ever return to the WcDonald’s universe someday? 

BRIGHT: In a sense, WcDonald’s will continue to “pop-up” in various IPs, just as it has in the past. I think it’s possible they will come back in the real world just like they did this time. There are characters from the crew that have not yet appeared, presenting many possibilities.

WcDonald’s signs from a pop up event.

GUERRERO: Lastly, Have you ever had the chance to try the Savory WcDonald’s sauce promoted heavily throughout the Manga?

BRIGHT: Yes, I’ve eaten it multiple times. I liked it so much that I wish it could become a staple of the regular menu.

Thank you for reviewing the manga with such depth and thoughtfulness. As an artist yourself, I felt that you read it with great understanding. Thank you.

Thank you, Acky Bright! It’s such an honor to ask these questions about WcDonald’s THE MANGA with you and for sending the wonderful illustration you created of the WcDonald’s crew you had a hand in designing. Wish you and your assistants the best in whichever projects you and you team will do next. Also Special thanks to Yasu Kutami for reaching out to me and giving me the opportunity to interview Acky Bright, this would not have been possible without you!

And that wraps up this amazing interview with Acky Bright, the illustrator behind the WcDonald’s Manga and one of the Character designers involved in the project. I do hope that for those interested in the creation of WcDonald’s THE MANGA, that you learned a lot reading this!

For those interested in reading the manga chapters. As of now, All four chapters are available to read for FREE on the official WcDonald’s Website. Which also includes character cards that include additional bits of lore to take in. You can also watch all Minisodes animated by Studio Pierrot on the McDonald’s YouTube channel here!

While you’re at it and want to know my thoughts on each WcDonald’s Manga chapter and on the series overall, you can check out the WcDonald’s archives on The Beat to read any of the reviews and future articles centered around WcDonald’s.

Lastly, feel free to give Acky Bright a follow on X/Twitter for the amazing art and projects he is involved in. 

Until Next time, been fun to be on this savory journey with you all!