About Yoshihiro Togashi, who’s the best btw

Whenever the conversation turns to Yoshihiro Togashi, English-language anime/manga fandom becomes completely insufferable. Hey, we all miss Hunter X Hunter and we’d rather have a steady release schedule. But Togashi is telling the story the only way that workd for him, and no amount of whining is going to change this. I see any number of stupid suggestions how to “fix” Togashi’s inability to produce 19 pages of good manga per week and stay happy/healthy.

“Why doesn’t he just get more assistants?”, “Why doesn’t he just switch to a monthly schedule / switch publishers / go freelance?”, “Why doesn’t his wife just help him look at my inside knowledge did you know the chick who drew Sailor Moon is Togashi’s wife betcha didn’t know that don’t I look smart such obscure trivia, I’m so awesome no one ever heard of this before ?”, “Why doesn’t he get someone else to draw manga?”, “Why did he even start another shonen manga if he had a burnout before?”

But … regardless of how smart you think you are, no matter how much you think you learned about manga publishing from Bakuman: Togashi has been successfully drawing manga for a pretty long time and Shueisha actually know a teeny tiny thing or two about manga publishing. They don’t need your “expert” advice. (Do you think simple ideas like “monthly schedule” didn’t cross their mind at all, ever? That’s naive.)

Togashi is still making them money, so they don’t have an interest in pushing him back into a schedule that is likely to lead to a burnout and a premature end to HxH. This is working for them, it’s working for Togashi, and it works for me. It’s not ideal, but I actually prefer my manga – or books – to be written by human beings, and for them to feel personal. Even if it comes at a small price.

Of all the whiny “arguments”, the thing that annoys me the most is “Why is he still writing manga at all [if he can’t produce it at a certain pace]?”

He’s a mangaka! A storyteller! A writer! An artist! How could he just stop drawing manga? This is what he wants to do, and it is what he’s good at!

There’s so little appreciation for the mangaka within anime/manga fandom, it’s absurd. Is it because they care mostly about anime, and treat manga as little more than a storyboard, not a finished product but something incomplete that’s only finalized when/if it becomes an anime? In such a worldview, what is a mangaka worth? There is such a puzzling amount of people who seem to think that Togashi could just be replaced and it wouldn’t affect the story at all. Even “just” the drawings … As if an artist doesn’t express themself through their artwork as much as through the plot. Togashi’s style is particularly dynamic and fluid, switching from flighty sketches to elaborate, realistic portraits as it pleases him. And there’s meaning conveyed through that, too. Togashi’s artwork is shaped by his mood and his interests, I would not want to miss it for the world!

I think that Togashi’s manga are really interesting because they so clearly reflect his imperfections and his strengths, you can tell when he’s in a funk and when he’s excited or fascinated by a cool new idea or character. I cannot for the life of me imagine a “Hunter X Hunter” that is drawn by someone else, even under Togashi’s guidance. Because omfg a manga is more than a template for an anime, a mangaka is more than a menial worker!

If you accept that mangaka are artists and human beings, not mindless machines, it should be possible to just accept Togashi’s idiosyncrasies. It’s OK to wish he were different in that regard, but it’s not OK to angrily demand that he should change, for you.

For what it is worth, I’ll never understand why it is Togashi who is attracting this level of contempt, when there are actually plenty of mangaka who go on long hiatuses. Or who just abandon a series. I’m glad Togashi hasn’t abandoned HxH …


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