Being a mangaka—a Japanese comic artist—is a prestige. But the competition is tough and the crowd is hard to please. In the last decade, the number of aspiring mangaka has grown exponentially. The number of anime aired each season has doubled. Yet, one will argue that the number of quality manga stayed relatively the same.
To be blunt, I find that some of the best manga are the ones that is written not by the comic artist. But rather the ones which was written by someone else; ones that was penned by a story writer and adapted to a graphic novel by a mangaka. Consider the likes of One Punch Man and Death Note. Both are collaboration works and both are among the greatest manga ever published.
There are a lot of achieved mangaka, but I got to say—and you should admit—that they are suck at writing stories.
But “Why?” you might ask. I have answered the question in the first paragraph. It’s simply because of the competition. Manga magazines in Japan accounts the readers’ rating to decide the length of a serial. If many readers deem the serial to be bad, the manga might get discontinued. Hence it should always be ready to be terminated at all time. Which is sometime infuriating to the fans because the story ended so abruptly.
Even a popular, long-running serial can fall to this. Remember Bleach? It ranked low three months in a row before Weekly Shonen Jump decided to cancel it.
So, in this article, I want to make a list of several mangaka who are talented as fuck, yet can’t write good stories for shit.
Mashima Hiro is renowned for his work on his longest running series, Fairy Tail. The problem with it is that it’s bad. In my opinion, the reason why Fairy Tail managed to survive for so long is because the fans are invested in the relationship between their favoured characters. The series survived because the fans yearned to see two of their favourite characters to get paired canonically. The story have a purpose, but it never mattered if the purpose is achieved or not. Also, time skipping the story doesn’t mean instant story progression.
I mentioned this above as an example. Bleach was good. Soul Society arc might be one of the best story arc in the WSJ, but everything fell apart after that. Sure, the Gueco Mundo is memorable. But everything beyond that is plain awful. Almost as if he only planned to have one great arc and then his editor forced him to continue the story because the rating was so good. Kubo tried to add depth to his story by making it a full circle, by making every character meaningful but failed miserably.
Sure, he said he have a great plan for Bleach but his assistant lost the draft. But I don’t believe it.
Hiroya Oku’s case is unique. In my opinion, he is a severe case of an author running out of idea yet he keep on the facade. He is known for GANTZ, a 13 years long running manga series. The problem with GANTZ is that it only have a premise, that’s it. The substance is so raw that supporting characters never mattered until half way of the whole story. That panda was memorable and they killed it off-screen—and never mentioned again.
After GANTZ finished, Oku wrote a meta—self-reflective—story titled Inuyashiki. And again, same as before, same mistake got repeated. It only have premise. But at least this one is partly about him and how he’s losing to the age, so I kind of can symphatise to that.
Let’s not talk about Gigant, shall we?
I am so getting burned for this. To put it bluntly, Boku no Hero Academia is not good. There, I said it. It have the same problem with Fairy Tail from above; it relied too much on the fans being invested on the relationship of the characters. While the conflict is perhaps properly written, my problem with it is that the concept is too raw. It’s good as a small story, but in a wider scope of worldbuilding it failed. Some of the characters are also seemed both unnecessary and out-of-place, which is why I bet that there will never be any arc for characters such as Mineta and Mina. Compared to Matsui Yuusei’s Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, Boku no Hero Academia felt like a bad taste—at least for now.
So what’s the point of this list? What’s the solution to my complaint? Well, I strongly suggest that the mangaka I mentioned in this list to stop writing story on their own for now, and try to adapt the story someone else wrote. I don’t know the policy of doing collaboration on long running manga series, but it works great for ONE and Murata Yuusuke. So why not?