It’s always tragic when so many fans of a medium choose to only experience the newest incarnations and ignore many of the classics. Of course, this pretty much applies to all media as I’ve noticed that numerous people that I know don’t watch older movies and TV series and they don’t read older literature or play older video games. This certainly applies to the medium of manga and, while I’ve highlighted classic mangaka like Osamu Tezuka and Shotaro Ishinomori, another important mangaka that is arguably less known than them in the West is Mitsuteru Yokoyama. Therefore, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of his works and the impact that he has had.
Born on June 18th, 1934, he ended up becoming inspired to become a mangaka at the age of 15 after reading Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis. After a few jobs, he eventually managed to turn his career as a mangaka into a full-time job and he continued to have success until 2004 when, after a fire broke out in his house, he died in hospital.
His first major success was Tetsujin 28, a manga series about a giant robot called Tetsujin 28 that was developed by the Japanese military in the final days of World War II. However, Japan surrendered before the completion of Tetsujin 28 so the robot ends up in the possession of Shotaro Kaneda, a child detective who can control him using a remote. The manga proved to be very popular and was adapted into an anime series that ended up airing in the United States under the name Gigantor. This series also has the dubious honour of being the namesake for shotacon, short for Shotaro complex, which describes media that focuses on attractive underaged boys.
Another important manga that Mitsuteru Yokoyama developed was Sally the Witch, a series about a witch called Sally who ends up on Earth and befriends two other kids. The series was inspired by the American sitcom Bewitched and, while the manga only ran a single volume, the anime adaptation proved to be very successful and it’s often considered to be one of the series that helped to establish the now popular magical girl genre.
Alongside many other popular series such as Giant Robo and Babel II, perhaps one of Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s most popular manga is Sangokushi which adapts and tells the story of the Chinese literary classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The manga ended up being released across 60 volumes and ended up being both a critical and financial success, winning the 1991 prize for excellence from the Japan Cartoonist Association and selling more than 80 million copies which makes it one of the best-selling manga of all time.
The impact that Mitsuteru Yokoyama has had on the medium of manga and anime is truly incredible and it’s a shame that practically none of his manga catalogue has been released in English. Let me know your thoughts on the important mangaka Mitsuteru Yokoyama, if you’ve heard of him before this article, whether you’ve experienced any of his works and, if so, what you thought of them, his impact on modern manga and anime and any additional information you might have on the topic.
Hopefully you have found this article interesting and informative and, if you wish to seek any of the works I mentioned, don’t hesitate to use amazon.co.uk or amazon.com for all of your needs!