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Creator / Rumiko Takahashi

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Rumiko Takahashi (born October 10, 1957) is the best-selling female comic artist of all time, selling more than 170 million copies of her work in Japan alone, and one of the names by which to reckon the evolution of anime. She is one of the wealthiest women in Japan, all of her longer running manga have become TV series, and nearly everything she has written has been adapted into animation (OVA or TV). Perhaps more importantly, her influence and the nature of her series since 1980 have been cited as large contributors to the perception and acceptance of anime as a medium today. Of course, every master was once an apprentice; Takahashi was a graduate of the Gekika Sonjuku program, a college course by Kazuo Koike, meant to teach people how to be a manga artist.

The animated adaptations for her longer series have an unfortunate tendency to end well before their source comics do the Inuyasha manga ran for nearly four years beyond the anime's end (to put it in perspective, IY's English dub had been completed for almost two years at that point); Ranma barely got two-thirds of the way through its story and was heavily laden with filler, to boot; and Urusei Yatsura's anime likewise ended early, although some of its later arcs were adapted as OAVs, and its proper conclusion was the subject of the fifth movie. Maison Ikkoku is her only major series whose animated adaptation spans the whole story. Inuyasha received a second TV series after the manga concluded titled The Final Act, it picks up where the first TV series stopped and follows the manga to its conclusion (but heavily compressed).

She is noted for a distinctive stylized rounded style, sometimes to an excessive degree, intricate relationships among the characters, happy-ending weddings, barefoot characters, lots of Belligerent Sexual Tension, and an ability with puns and allusions on both visual and verbal levels. One example would be a character from Ranma whose name, depending on whether the reading is Chinese, Japanese, or English (not to mention which kanji you're using), means "hair care product", "unpolished gem", "mountain girl", "she whose breasts are as mountains" all of which describe the character in some way. (Oh, and she also happens to be a master of What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs? when it comes to certain elements in her mangas).

In stark contrast to her better-known comedic works, Takahashi has also written a number of shorter dramatic manga, many of which are grouped together under the collective name "Rumic World". She has also ventured into the macabre and outright horror with her Mermaid Saga.

In December of 2017, she completed Kyoukai no Rinne (or RIN-NE, in English) in Shonen Sunday, which has carried all her major works to date.  May 8th, 2019, saw the premiere of her newest work, Mao.

Working non-stop since 1978, Takahashi has been given quite an impressive list of awards commemorating her service in the field, particularly in The New '10s: in 2016, she was inducted into the American Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. By 2018, she had been granted recognition in the Will Eisner Comics Award Hall of Fame (having been nominated three times prior). And by 2019, the International Angoulême Comics Festival bestowed to her the Grand Prix de la ville lifetime achievement award. Thus far, she is the second woman and second Japanese person ever to win the almost-exclusively Franco-Belgian award. In April 2023, she was additionally made a chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

In June 2021, Takahashi opened her official Twitter account wherein she sometimes talks about the background of her characters. An English translation of her character-related tweets can be read here.

Works by Rumiko Takahashi:

Common Tropes in her work:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Many characters in her work have unrequited love interests that are either extremely ugly or have an Incompatible Orientation (or both).
  • Absurd Phobia: Many characters have some form of this. For example, Ranma from Ranma is afraid of cats, Shun Mitaka from Maison Ikkoku is afraid of dogs, etc... It also gets downplayed with characters fearing ghosts or snakes, which is not so absurd.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Downplayed and/or Played for Laughs in most of her works, but her father characters are rarely shown in a good light.
  • Art Evolution: Her style ranged from being rounded and cartoony (Both Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku, to various extents), to less-cartoony rounded (Ranma ), to more angular looking (Inuyasha onward)
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Former Trope Namer, since couples formed by a tsundere and a kind-hearted jerkass who are constantly bickering are very ubiquitous in her stories.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Several of her works feature characters defined by both their lustful desires and their inability to succeed in sating these desires, with such failures being played for comedy, but not necessarily without sympathy.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Much of her comedy relies on how many hardships her characters can endure.
  • Gender-Blending Tropes in general: As a blog puts it, "For Takahashi, gender is something like a soft ball which can be squeezed into the shape of gourd that has both a male end and a female end". This was mostly apparent in her early work, though. For example, Urusei Yatsura has Ryuunosuke, a girl raised as boy by her father, and Ranma from Ranma is a Sex Shifter.
  • Handsome Lech: Works featuring a Casanova Wannabe may also include other lustful characters who are much more successful with the women, to the point of their attentions being seen as actively desirable. These characters tend to be the antagonists to some level, contrasting the usually more sympathetic treatment of the Casanova Wannabe.
  • Historical Fantasy: As a sub-genre of Urban Fantasy, a common theme for Takahashi's works, several of her stories involve versions of historical Japan where magic and/or youkai are real. Time Travel is a common plot for these, usually bringing a female protagonist from the modern world to the past; see Fire Tripper, Inuyasha and Mao.
  • Karma Houdini: Many of her works will feature one Jerkass who gets away with almost anything (Ryoko Mendo, Yotsuya, Nabiki Tendo, Sabato Rokudo...).
  • Love Dodecahedron: Most of her long-runners feature one of these, ranging from being pretty simple arrangements of love triangles (Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku) to being a defining feature (Ranma ).
  • Magic Mushroom: Ranma alone has several instances of this trope. There's also the giant mushrooms from Urusei Yatsura and examples in both Inuyasha and RIN-NE.
  • Mega Neko: Appear in several of her works, mostly as Youkai.
  • Miko: Many of her female characters are either miko or sometimes dressed like one.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: They exist in practically all her series: Cherry, Yukari Godai, Happosai, Cologne, Miyoga...
  • Missing Mom: Many characters have mothers who either died long ago or otherwise didn't raise them.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Despite being a Shounen writer, she also has a lot of female fans due to the huge number of romantic plotlines through her works. Also, her younger fans will be more drawn to things like slapstick, gag comedy, surreal/cartoony nonsense and animal characters (or transformations), while her older fans will be more drawn to things like Fanservice, serious romances, drama, historical context and (possibly accidental) reflections on gender and sexuality.
  • Only Six Faces: Due to her rounded style, the faces of her characters tend to look almost identical. Inuyasha and Rokudo look like Ranma with different hair colors and styles. Kyoko looks like UY's Sakura with different eyes. Sakura Mamiya is identical to female Ranma...
  • Poor Communication Kills: Usually Played for Laughs, the various comical misunderstandings being a staple of her romantic comedies.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Eventually, the background characters of her most surrealistic series come to the realization and acceptance that their world makes very little sense, becoming inured to the weirdness. Ataru's classmates will not even blink at alien dumplings who turn people into dumplings. Ranma and Akane's friends see nothing strange about their life energy-absorbing, size-changing English teacher. Sakura's schoolmates are barely surprised when they are attacked by haunted theater props.
  • Urban Fantasy: Whilst she has done purely mundane slice-of-life stories like Maison Ikkoku and One Pound Gospel, her works generally take the real world and add fantasy, science fiction, or both to it. This started with Katte na Yatsura, or "Those Selfish Aliens", her first published work, a one-shot about an ordinary guy who ends up being kidnapped and turned into a human bomb by aliens, fish-people and a secret government conspiracy.
  • Warding Gestures: Most notably in Ranma , but they also appear in some of her other works, including Inuyasha, Maison Ikkoku and Urusei Yatsura.
  • Wingding Eyes: Occasionally show up in her work, most often as starry eyes.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: She never thinks about the ending when she starts a series.
  • Youkai: Takahashi is a big fan of traditional Japanese myths, legends and monsters, and whilst perfectly happy to both invent her own critters (especially in her earlier science fiction stories) or to put unusal spins on the myths for Rule of Cool or Rule of Funny, she usually bases her fantastical elements on youkai myths. Urusei Yatsura includes both traditional youkai and Ancient Astronauts versions of the Oni and Yuki Onna, and Ranma has a depiction of the Yamato-no-Orochi as a giant disembodied dragon's head with seven smaller dragon's heads sprouting from it, for example.