If mangakas are sometimes inspired by major pop culture works or historical events, sometimes some inspirations are more unusual. Here are five!
1/ Berserker: Kentaro Miura was inspired by his own life
Kentaro Miura, who passed away last May, is the legendary mangaka of Berserk, often considered (rightfully) to be the best manga in his history. Very discreetly, the author of this visceral manga lived mainly at night, almost in seclusion. If his work testifies to his great erudition through its various inspirations, Kentaro Miura was also inspired by his own life for certain elements of his plot. Thus, the very complex relationship between Guts and Griffith, leader of the Falcon Troupe, is inspired by what Kentaro Miura linked to another mangaka: Koji Mori (Suicide Island).
The two artists met in high school and were surrounded by a group of friends who were into manga. Speaking about their relationship, Kentaro Miura said in an interview on Crunchyroll:
It was difficult to be friends with him. He was so impressive that if I stayed too close to him he would outshine me. I didn’t like the options I had, so I decided to compete the only way I could: by working on my manga. […] This is where the inspiration for the relationship between these two characters came from. Sometimes I was Guts and sometimes Griffith.
Despite this rivalry, Koji Mori has paid a lively tribute to Kentaro Miura after his friend’s death. He has actually written and drawn a very moving manga titled Mori-chan Ken-chan, which returns to the story of their friendship.
2/ The origin of the approach of the titans in SNK
A true phenomenon of the last decade, Attack on Titan is one of the most popular manga and anime in the world. As the anime series comes to an end with its final season that has just begun (making fans shudder), we return to an important detail of Hajime Isayama’s manga: the titans.
These gigantic deformed and cannibalistic beings have been terrorizing the residents of Paradise Island for several decades. But do you know where their signature gait comes from? Well, Isayama was inspired by the approach of heavily alcoholic people. He often came into contact with them while working in an internet cafe.
3/ Akira Toriyama, a vengeful mangaka
As Dragon Ball fans know, Akira Toriyama is a mangaka with a great sense of humor. And its editorial heads have often paid the price, as the mangaka took inspiration from their physiognomy to draw Dragon Ball’s main villains. He would have been inspired by publisher Kazuhiko Torishima for the demon Piccolo, Yu Kondo for Frieza and Cell; At Majin Boo we clearly feel the inspiration of Fuyuto Takeda.
Although Akira Toriyama denied these inspirations, certain facts betray him. Kazuhiko Torishima recognized himself in the Demon Piccolo. He also had dr. Mashirito inspires the main villain of Dr. Slump, the first success of Akira Toriyama, and whose name is an anagram of Kazuhiko Torishima.
4/ Masashi Kishimoto’s Nindo
Even though Masashi Kishimoto took a lot of inspiration from his elders when creating Naruto, specifically Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), and Hiroaki Samura (The Inhabitant of Infinite), his main character also looks a lot like him. In fact, like Naruto Uzumaki, Masashi Kishimoto wasn’t exactly brilliant from an academic point of view. However, to achieve his goals, particularly to become an acclaimed mangaka, he trained tremendously and bounced back from every failure. By his own admission, he projected his “powerful desire to be recognized” into Naruto. This is his nindo!
5/ The humble inspiration for the mightiest of pirates
Eiichiro Oda has been inspired many times by big names in popular culture to create his character designs. So the God Ener is inspired by legendary rapper Eminem; Actress Uma Thurman inspired Oda for Silvers Rayleigh’s wife Shakky. Still, some unknowns left such a deep imprint on Eiichiro Oda that he drew inspiration from them for characters. So it’s an old man who was always standing at the back of a bar frequented by mangaka, drinking heavily and hooked up to a noisy breathing apparatus that inspired One Piece’s most powerful pirate in the world, Whitebeard. .