Queenie Chan, a professional manga artist from the West (best known for The Dreaming), took a break from her exceptional series of essays on her career so far (seriously, read all the parts) to write about the importance of Rumiko Takahashi.
Takahashi has been called the best-known manga artist in the west as well as the best-selling in Japan. Her works include Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2 (currently being re-issued in the US), Inuyasha, Rumic World, Lum Urusei Yatsura, and Rin-Ne. Chan makes the excellent points that Takahashi is something of a rarity in being a woman who draws for male readers and who works mostly in comedy. Chan continues:
As a manga artist who started in the 70s in a magazine aimed at teenage boys, I imagine she must have gotten her fair share of pressure from the editors to make her female characters sexually-appealing. There’s no doubt Rumiko’s women are that, but they’re also slyly subversive in their personalities and the way they’re depicted. For a country that is known for its shy, submissive women (at least in manga and anime), Takahashi’s women are frequently loud, violent and filled with character flaws. All of them are as interesting as her male characters, and while everyone’s character defects are played for laughs, it’s wonderful to see such gender parity — and they’ve been depicted that way right from the start.
It’s a great essay, and it’s always insightful to hear one artist praise another.