If Osamu Tezuka
is the father of manga, Go Nagai is the cool uncle who lets you sneak sips of his beer and always tells the funniest dirty stories.Go Nagai
(永井 豪, Nagai Gō
, born 1945) is a famous Japanese writer and artist, active since 1967. Highly influential in the world of Manga
and Anime; he effectively created many of their tropes, such as the Super Robot Genre
. While best known for his Mecha
series, Nagai has also created a lot of comedy and erotic material, and even one Magical Girl
series aimed at children.
Nagai began his career after he fell sick in college and believed he had colon cancer; he wanted to leave something to be remembered for. By the time he found out he did not have cancer, he was set on his career. Ironically his first efforts at getting published were sabotaged by his own mother! Fortunately, he caught the attention of Shotaro Ishinomori
, (creator of Cyborg009
) who helped him get started. Nagai eventually funded his own company, Dynamic Productions
. A 1980s OVA
series, CB Chara Go Nagai World
, was an Affectionate Parody
of Nagai's works, with Super Deformed versions of his most famous characters interacting with each other.
Nagai is known for intentionally breaking taboos, and even his milder material
has a humorously deranged quality to it. His early works got him in trouble with the PTA, and even today some of them can contain controversial material. Nevertheless, most of his TV work is technically safe in the interest of placating censors even in Latin America and Europe (though not the US).
See also: Ken Ishikawa
Contrary to popular belief, Go Nagai merely pitched
the idea for a Combining Mecha
story that became Ken Ishikawa
's Getter Robo
rather than being actual creator.
Tropes common to Go Nagai's works include:
- Body Horror: A lot of his works have this at spades, from the demons from Devilman (they can be a blob with tendrils, mouth, fangs and eyes... or a giant head with arms and legs attached to them... and the humans possessed by a demon are even worse: one of them was a normal-looking woman. Then her arms grew into tentacles, and two heads sprouted from each breast) to the villains and Mooks from his Humongous Mecha series (Baron Ashura is half male, half female; Archduke Gorgon's lower half is a tiger; Pygman has two bodies, one of them sprouting from his bigger body's neck; Gandal has another being inside his head, and every time she wants to speak up, his face splits...)
- Canon Welding: Used to link apparently unrelated works such like Devilman, Violence Jack... and with several crossovers such like Getter Robo vs Devilman.
- Chest Blaster: Introduced the concept in Humongous Mecha anime with Mazinger-Z's Breast Fire
- Combining Mecha: He created the trope. At a time he was staring at a traffic jam (he seems having a lot of his ideas from them), and he saw a car's frontside had crashed into another one's rear. Then he wondered what it would be like if two machines merged into another.
- Crapsack World: The Devilman and Violence Jack settings especially stand out. If you live in those worlds, your life will be horrible and miserable, and your death will be even worse.
- Creator Cameo / Descended Creator: Made a cameo appearance in the Cutey Honey live-action movie, and played the role of Dr. Kisaragi in episode 26 of Cutey Honey The Live.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: He has spoken against it, and he has made some measures against webpages that reproduce his work without permission. His last measure, in company of some famous artists such as Buronson, is to sue seven book-digitizing shops beacuse they're accomplices of all of the works that are circulating on the Internet without the author's permission.
- Dirty Old Man: Show up in several works, such like Cutey Honey.
- Doing It for the Art: Nagai wrote a manga version of The Inferno from The Divine Comedy, which is surprisingly faithful to the source material, and probably wouldn't have been very popular in a country which is predominantly Buddhist and Shinto were it not penned by him.
- Downer Ending: Everyone -or almost everyone- dying, the world -or universe- being destroyed or the bad guys winning often happens in his works. See Devilman.
- Gorn: When Go Nagai wasn't wowing us with his Hot-Blooded heroes, he was delivering incredibly gory violence.
- Self-Parody: Kekko Kamen is a parody of Magical Girl series... a type of series Go Nagai essentially invented.
- Serial Escalation: Since Go Nagai runs his own publishing company, he's been essentially free to create whatever he wants for most of his career. While a few of his mainstream titles are known for their sexuality and violence, some of his more obscure, non-commercial works are amongst the most unrestrained, shameless and bizarre works to come out of Japan, and that's saying something.
- Slasher Smile: His protagonists tend to sport one as a sign of Hot Blood and not just bloodlust.
- Super Robot: Though Misuteru Yokoyama launched the genre with Gigantor, Go Nagai's series featured the first Super Robots to be piloted by humans and created or codified many of the tropes that would come to define the genre. Mazinger Z itself (or rather, its Anime Theme Song) is even the Trope Namer.