Hiromu Arakawa (荒川 弘 Arakawa Hiromu, born May 8, 1973) is a Japanese manga artist from Hokkaidō mainly known for Fullmetal Alchemist. Born and raised on a dairy farm, Arakawa spent several years helping out her family farm while taking painting lessons after graduating high school before moving to Tokyo to become a manga assistant. Before Fullmetal Alchemist, she made the short series Shanghai Youma Kikai and Stray Dog, and she currently works on Silver Spoon, a Slice of Life manga focused on agricultural school life.
Tropes applying to Arakawa or her works:
- Art Shift: She'll use any style to make a point... or a point-of-view scene make a statement. From Gag to stock-Shojo and/or Josei to realistic-Seinen to Sport to Bara-esque — anything goes. In a normally very-much-a-Shonin style.
- Author Appeal: Now memetic. "Men should be buff! Women should be vavoom!"
- Author Avatar: She usually appears as a bespectacled cow.
- Darker and Edgier: Souten no Koumori (a one-shot about a female Ninja) is just as tragic and bittersweet as Fullmetal Alchemist and Stray Dog, but has the least humor and slapstick of all of her works. Her rendition of The Heroic Legend of Arslan is noticeably more intense than the original manga.
- Genre Adultery: Most of her works are action/fantasy with brutal fight scenes. Silver Spoon, however, is a Slice of Life, with animals dying instead of humans. Despite this, Silver Spoon is now her second most popular work.
- Gorn: It says a lot when Silver Spoon, a Slice of Life manga, depicts nauseatingly realistic gore.
- Mistaken Identity: If you do an image search for "Hiromu Arakawa", you will get a lot of pictures of Romi Park, the voice of Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist. This is due to some past misidentification that the internet won't forget.
- Mood Whiplash: Nobody else does it quite like she does... You'll frequently find several swinging moods in the same scene, let alone the same chapter, yet she makes it all work. She often includes the use of Super-Deformed or otherwise Art Shifted caricatures for emphasis: it's a trademark. And, beware all ye the Bishie Sparkle and Wingding Eyes: the uses are many and various... and, not all of them are uniquely humorous.
- Moustache de Plume: Her real name is Hiromi, but she writes under the more androgynous version "Hiromu".
- Reclusive Artist: To a degree; it is really hard to find her actual image, as opposed to her bespectacled cow form.
- She's an unusual example because while she's reclusive about her appearence she's quite willing to talk about herself. Heck, Noble Farmer is basically her autobiography!
- The Remake: Made her own rendition of The Heroic Legend of Arslan that has recently gotten an anime adaptation.
- Shōnen: Most of her works are this, though they have more mature themes and are Bloodier and Gorier than most.
- Shown Their Work: Fullmetal Alchemist shows that she did a lot of research on both alchemy (famous alchemists, theoretical alchemic laws, uses for Philosopher's Stone) and chemistry (human composition, conservation of matter). Any breaks from them seem to be either Rule of Cool, Rule of Funny, or the alchemists in question knowing what they're doing (more so than can be shown with just a few images and some relatively small speech bubbles).
- Write What You Know: Silver Spoon takes place in Hokkaido, and features the life and times of Agricultural high school students. Arakawa was herself born from a farming family and attended such a school. Naturally, the depiction of the life there is very accurate. Noble Farmer describes her life on her parents' farm; the protagonists of Fullmetal Alchemist have their adventures all over the place, but they're from a small town in the country.