Rumiko Takahashi (高橋 留美子 Takahashi Rumiko, born October 10, 1957) is a Japanese manga artist. With a career of several commercially successful works, beginning with Urusei Yatsura in 1978, Takahashi is one of Japan's most affluent manga artists. Her works are popular worldwide, where they have been translated into a variety of languages, with over 200 million copies in circulation. She has won the Shogakukan Manga Award twice: once in 1980 for Urusei Yatsura, and again in 2001 for Inuyasha. She has also won the Seiun Award twice: 1987 for Urusei Yatsura, and 1989 for Mermaid Saga  and the grand prize at the Angouleme Comics Festival in 2019, the second women and Japanese person to win the prize.
|Born||October 10, 1957|
|Area(s)||Cartoonist, Writer, Penciller, Inker|
|Awards||Shogakukan Manga Award (1980, 2001)|
Seiun Award (1987, 1989)
Inkpot Award (1994)
Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême (2019)
Rumiko Takahashi was born in Niigata, Japan. Although she showed little interest in manga during her childhood, she was said to occasionally doodle in the margins of her papers while attending Niigata Chūō High School. Takahashi's interest in manga did not start until later. In an interview in 2000, Takahashi said that she had always wanted to become a professional comic author since she was a child. During her university years, she enrolled in Gekiga Sonjuku, a manga school founded by Kazuo Koike, author of Crying Freeman and Lone Wolf and Cub. Under his guidance Takahashi began to publish her first dōjinshi creations in 1975, such as Bye-Bye Road and Star of Futile Dust. Koike often urged his students to create well-thought out, interesting characters, and this influence would greatly impact Rumiko Takahashi's works throughout her career.
Takahashi's professional career began in 1978. Her first published work was the one-shot Katte na Yatsura (Those Selfish Aliens), which garnered her an honorable mention at that year's Shogakkan New Comics Contest. Later that same year, she began her first serialized story in Weekly Shōnen Sunday; Urusei Yatsura, a comedic science fiction story. She had difficulty meeting deadlines to begin with, so chapters were published sporadically until 1980. During the run of the series, she shared a small apartment with two assistants, and often slept in a closet due to a lack of space. During the same year, she published Time Warp Trouble, Shake Your Buddha, and the Golden Gods of Poverty in Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine, which would remain the home to most of her major works for the next twenty years.
During 1980, Takahashi started her second major series, Maison Ikkoku, in Big Comic Spirits magazine. Written for an older audience, Maison Ikkoku is a romantic comedy, and Takahashi used her own experience living in an apartment complex to create the series. Takahashi managed to work on the series on and off simultaneously with Urusei Yatsura. She concluded both series in 1987, with Urusei Yatsura ending at 34 volumes, and Maison Ikkoku at 15.
During the 1980s, Takahashi became a prolific writer of short story manga. Her stories Laughing Target, Maris the Chojo, and Fire Tripper all were adapted into original video animations (OVAs). In 1984, during the writing of Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku, Takahashi took a different approach to storytelling and began the dark, macabre Mermaid Saga. This series of short segments was published sporadically until 1994.
Another short work of Takahashi's to be published sporadically was One-Pound Gospel. Takahashi concluded the series in 2007 after publishing chapters in 1998, 2001 and 2006. One-Pound Gospel was adapted into a live-action TV drama.
Later, in 1987, Takahashi began her third major series, Ranma ½. Following the late 1980s and early 1990s trend of shōnen martial arts manga, Ranma ½ features a gender-bending twist. The series continued for nearly a decade until 1996, when it ended at 38 volumes. Ranma ½ and its anime adaption are cited as some of the first of their mediums to have become popular in the United States.
During the latter half of the 1990s, Rumiko Takahashi continued with short stories and her installments of Mermaid Saga and One-Pound Gospel until beginning her fourth major work, Inuyasha. Unlike the majority of her works, Inuyasha has a darker tone more akin to Mermaid Saga and, having been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 1996 to 2008, is her longest to date. On March 5, 2009, Rumiko Takahashi released her one-shot Unmei No Tori. On March 16, 2009, she collaborated with Mitsuru Adachi, creator of Touch and Cross Game, to release a one-shot called My Sweet Sunday. Her latest manga series, Kyōkai no Rinne started on April 22, 2009. This is Rumiko Takahashi's first new manga series since her previous manga series Inuyasha ended in June 2008.
Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, Ranma ½, and Inuyasha manga were all published in English in the United States by Viz Comics. Their 1989 release of Urusei Yatsura halted after only a few volumes were translated, but will see a re-print in 2019.
In 1981, Urusei Yatsura became the first of Takahashi's works to be animated. This series first aired on Japanese television on October 14, and went through multiple director changes during its run. Though the 195-episode TV series ended in March 1986, Urusei Yatsura was kept alive in anime form through OVA and movie releases through 1991. Most notable of the series directors was Mamoru Oshii, who made Beautiful Dreamer, the second Urusei Yatsura movie. AnimEigo has released the entire TV series and all of the OVAs and movies except for Beautiful Dreamer (which was released by Central Park Media in the U.S.) in the United States in English-subtitled format, with English dubs also made for the first two TV episodes (as Those Obnoxious Aliens) and for all of the movies.
Kitty Animation, the studio that produced Urusei Yatsura with animation assistance from Studio Pierrot and then Studio Deen, continued their cooperation and adapted Rumiko Takahashi's second work, Maison Ikkoku in 1986; it debuted the week after the final TV episode of UY. The TV series ran for 96 episodes, 3 OVAs, a movie and also a live-action movie. Studio Deen also provided animation duties on Maison Ikkoku and Ranma.
Maris the Chojo, Fire Tripper, and Laughing Target were all made into OVAs during the mid-80s. Her stories Mermaid's Forest and Mermaid's Scar were also made as OVAs in Japan on 1991. They were all released, subtitled in English, in the U.S.
In 1989, Kitty Animation produced its last major series, Ranma ½. The series went through ups and downs in ratings until Kitty Animation finally went out of business. Ranma ½ was never concluded in animated form despite being 161 episodes and two movies in length. The TV series ended in 1992 amid internal turmoil within Kitty; Kitty and Studio Deen continued to produce Ranma OVAs until 1996.
Sunrise was the first studio after Kitty Animation to adapt a major Rumiko Takahashi series. Inuyasha debuted in 2000 and ended in 2004. The TV series went on for 167 episodes and spawned four major films. The first anime ended before the manga did, thus wrapping up inconclusively. However, a second Inuyasha anime series called Inuyasha the Final Act debuted in Japan in the fall of 2009 and ended in March 2010, finishing the series.
Viz Communications has released the anime of Maison Ikkoku, Ranma and Inuyasha in English, in both subtitled and dubbed formats.
The year 2008 marked the 50th anniversary of Weekly Shōnen Sunday and the 30th anniversary of the first publication of Urusei Yatsura, and Rumiko Takahashi's manga work was honoured in It's a Rumic World, a special exhibition held from July 30 to August 11 at the Matsuya Ginza department store in Tokyo. Several new pieces of animation accompanied the exhibit, including new half-hour Ranma ½ and Inuyasha (Black Tetsusaiga) OVAs and an introductory sequence featuring characters from Urusei Yatsura, Ranma and Inuyasha (starring the characters' original anime voice talents), which has become a popular video on YouTube. The It's a Rumic World exhibit was scheduled to re-open in Sendai in December 2008, at which time a new half-hour Urusei Yatsura OVA was scheduled to premiere. A special DVD release containing all three new OVAs was announced as coming out on January 29, 2010, with a trailer posted in September 2009. However, it is not known whether any of the new episodes will ever be released outside Japan.
Rumiko Takahashi Anthology, animated by TMS Entertainment adapts many of her short stories from the 80s. It features her stories The Tragedy of P, The Merchant of Romance, Middle-Aged Teen, Hidden in the Pottery, Aberrant Family F, As Long As You Are Here, One Hundred Years of Love, In Lieu of Thanks, Living Room Lovesong, House of Garbage, One Day Dream, Extra-Large Size Happiness, and The Executive's Dog. Also, a TV series of Mermaid Saga was produced in 2003, animating 13 of her stories.
Many of Takahashi's works have been translated into English, as well as other European languages. Takahashi said that she did not know why her works are relatively popular with English speakers. Takahashi said "Sure, there are cultural differences in my work. When I see an American comedy, even though the jokes are translated, there's always a moment when I feel puzzled and think, 'Ah, Americans would probably laugh at this more'. I suppose the same thing must happen with my books. It's inevitable. And yet, that doesn't mean my books can't be enjoyed by English-speaking readers. I feel confident that there's enough substance to them that people from a variety of cultural backgrounds can have a lot of fun reading them."
Artists that have cited Takahashi and her work as an influence include Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley on his series Scott Pilgrim, American Colleen Coover on her erotic series Small Favors, Japanese Chihiro Tamaki on her manga Walkin' Butterfly, Chinese-Australian Queenie Chan, and Thai Wisut Ponnimit. Scottish rock band Urusei Yatsura named themselves after her first work. Matt Bozon, creator of the Shantae video game series, cited Ranma ½ as a big influence on his work.
In 2016, ComicsAlliance listed Takahashi as one of twelve women cartoonists deserving of lifetime achievement recognition, stating that "Any one of her projects would be the career highlight of another talent." In 2017, Takahashi was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame as part of the 2016 class.
|Years||Name||Total number of volumes||Circulation in Japan||Japanese publisher||Original USA/English publisher|
|1978–1987||Urusei Yatsura (うる星やつら)||34||26 million||Shōgakukan||Viz Media|
|1980–1987||Maison Ikkoku (めぞん一刻)||15||25 million|
|1984–1994||Mermaid Saga (人魚シリーズ)||3|
|1987–1996||Ranma ½ (らんま1/2)||38||53 million|
|1987–2007||One-pound Gospel (1ポンドの福音)||4|
|1987–ongoing||Rumic Theater (高橋留美子劇場)||5|
|1994–1995||Rumic World (るーみっくわーるど)||4|
|1996–2008||Inuyasha (犬夜叉)||56||45 million|
|2009–2017||Rin-ne (境界のRINNE)||40||3 million|
CoCo was a Japanese pop group which consist of Mikiyo Ohno, Azusa Senou, Rieko Miura, Erika Haneda, and Maki Miyamae.Fire Tripper
Fire Tripper (炎トリッパー, Honoo Torippā, literally meaning "Flame Tripper") is a Japanese manga by Rumiko Takahashi published in August 1983 issue of Weekly Shōnen Sunday. The manga was later compiled in Rumic World books, which are available in English from Viz Media. It was adapted into an anime OVA. In North America, this was released on VHS by Central Park Media under the Rumik World series (which also included OVAs Laughing Target, Maris the Chojo, and Mermaid Forest). Fans of Inuyasha will see a similarity between this one-shot story and the plot of Inuyasha as both feature a Japanese schoolgirl who's magically transported back in time and who meets and falls in love with a rough but lovable boy who becomes her protector during the Japanese "Warring States" era.Florence Cestac
Florence Cestac (born 18 July 1949) is a French cartoonist and former publisher. She is the first woman to have won the prestigious Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême, in 2000, and was the only one until Rumiko Takahashi in 2019.Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême
The Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême is a lifetime achievement award given annually during the Angoulême International Comics Festival to a comics author. Although not a monetary award, it is considered the most prestigious award in Franco-Belgian comics.
It has been awarded mainly to French and Belgian authors, but also to ten people of other nationalities. Recipients are, on average, 50 years old. Only two women, Florence Cestac and Rumiko Takahashi, have ever won the prize.Laughing Target
The Laughing Target (笑う標的, Warau Hyōteki) is a Japanese manga by Rumiko Takahashi published in February 1983 issue of Weekly Shōnen Sunday. The manga was later compiled in Rumic World books, which are available in English from Viz Media. It was adapted into an anime OVA released in 1987. A subtitled VHS release was published in North America by US Manga Corps on April 7, 1993.Maison Ikkoku
Maison Ikkoku (Japanese: めぞん一刻, Hepburn: Mezon Ikkoku) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It was serialized in Big Comic Spirits from November 1980 to April 1987, with the chapters collected into 15 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. Maison Ikkoku is a bitter-sweet romantic comedy involving a group of madcap people who live in a boarding house in 1980s Tokyo. The story focuses primarily on the gradually developing relationships between Yusaku Godai, a poor student down on his luck, and Kyoko Otonashi, a young, recently widowed boarding house manager.
The manga was adapted into a ninety-six-episode anime television series created by Studio Deen that ran on Fuji TV from March 26, 1986 to March 2, 1988. A Final Chapter movie, three OVAs, and a music special were also produced, with a live-action movie made by Toei in 1986. A live-action TV special aired in May 2007 on TV Asahi, with a finale aired in July 2008. Both the manga and anime have been released in North America by Viz Media. Maison Ikkoku has been both critically and commercially successful, with over 25 million copies in circulation.Maris the Chojo
Maris the Chojo (ザ・超女 (スーパーギャル), Za Sūpāgyaru), literally translated as "The Supergal", and originally titled Supergal in U.S. markets, is a one shot manga story by Rumiko Takahashi. It ran in the October 1980 special edition of Shōnen Sunday and was later made into an anime OVA. The manga was later compiled in the Rumic World collection, which is available in English from Viz Media.
In North America, it was released on VHS and laserdisc by Central Park Media under the Rumik World series (which also included OVAs Laughing Target, Fire Tripper, and Mermaid Forest). It was originally released under the title "Supergal", but this was changed to Maris the Chojo to avoid potential copyright issues with Warner Bros.One-pound Gospel
One-Pound Gospel (1ポンドの福音, Ichi-Pondo no Fukuin) is a manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. Beginning in Weekly Young Sunday issue 9 of 1987, it was published sporadically until finishing in issue 3/4 of 2007 with the chapters collected into four tankōbon volumes. The story is a fusion of the sports (specifically, boxing) and romantic comedy genres.
Studio Gallop produced an anime original video animation adaptation in 1988. A live-action television drama adaptation starring Kazuya Kamenashi from KAT-TUN and Meisa Kuroki aired for nine episodes in 2008. Viz Media licensed and released the manga and OVA in North America.Ranma ½
Ranma ½ (Japanese: らんま 1/2, Hepburn: Ranma Nibun-no-Ichi, pronounced Ranma One-Half) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from September 1987 to March 1996, with the chapters collected into 38 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. The story revolves around a teenage boy named Ranma Saotome who has trained in martial arts since early childhood. As a result of an accident during a training journey, he is cursed to become a girl when splashed with cold water, while hot water changes him back into a boy. Throughout the series Ranma seeks out a way to rid himself of his curse, while his friends, enemies and many fiancées constantly hinder and interfere.
Ranma ½ has a comedic formula and a sex-changing main character, who often willfully transforms into a girl to advance his goals. The series also contains many other characters, whose intricate relationships with each other, unusual characteristics, and eccentric personalities drive most of the stories. Although the characters and their relationships are complicated, they rarely change once they are firmly introduced and settled into the series.
The manga has been adapted into two anime series created by Studio Deen: Ranma ½ and Ranma ½ Nettōhen (らんま½ 熱闘編), which together were broadcast on Fuji Television from 1989 to 1992. In addition, they developed 12 original video animations and three films. In 2011, a live-action television special was produced and aired on Nippon Television. The manga and anime series were licensed by Viz Media for English-language releases in North America. Madman Entertainment released the manga, part of the anime series and the first two movies in Australasia, while MVM Films released the first two movies in the United Kingdom. The Ranma ½ manga has over 53 million copies in print in Japan. Both the manga and anime are cited as some of the first of their mediums to have become popular in the United States.Rin-ne
Rin-ne, known as Kyōkai no Rinne (境界のRINNE, lit. "Rinne of the Boundary", officially subtitled as Circle of Reincarnation) in Japan, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It has been serialized in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday manga magazine from April 22, 2009 to December 13, 2017. The series follows Sakura Mamiya, a girl who gained the power to see ghosts after an incident as a child, and her classmate Rinne Rokudo, a boy of mixed human and shinigami heritage who helps lingering spirits finally pass on to be reincarnated.
The manga has been licensed in North America by Viz Media, which was simultaneously releasing the manga chapters online in English as they were serialized in Japan until March 17, 2011, and in Australasia by Madman Entertainment. A three season anime television series adaptation, produced by Brain's Base, aired in Japan from 2015 to 2017. As of August 2014, the manga had 3 million collected volumes in print.Rumic Theater
Rumiko Takahashi Anthology, also known as Rumic Theater, is a manga collective composed of many short stories written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. New stories are published annually in Shogakukan's Big Comic Original magazine since 1987. In Japanese it has been published under several different names, including Takahashi Rumiko Gekijō (高橋留美子劇場) and Takahashi Rumiko Kessakushū (高橋留美子傑作集). Some editions are numbered 1–3 while other editions are unnumbered; volume 5 currently only exists in an unnumbered edition. It is also a thirteen episode collection of anime from short stories by Rumiko Takahashi that includes the Mermaid Saga.Rumic World
Rumic World (るーみっくわーるど, Rūmikku Wārudo), can refer either to a series of short manga stories written by Rumiko Takahashi or to a series of Original Video Animations based on those stories.
Rumic World was later reprinted in Japan as Takahashi Rumiko Kessaku Tanpenshū (高橋留美子傑作短編集). Most of the stories tend to be comedies.
The Original Video Animations (OVAs) were released in North American and United Kingdom by Central Park Media and Manga Entertainment.
Some of these stories, along with newer stories, were also animated as part of the Takahashi Rumiko Gekijou (Rumiko Takahashi Anthology) anime series.Urusei Yatsura
Urusei Yatsura (うる星やつら) is a comedic manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi and serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 1978 to 1987. Its 374 individual chapters were published in 34 tankōbon volumes. It is the story of Ataru Moroboshi, and the alien Lum, who believes she is Ataru's wife after he accidentally proposes to her. The series makes heavy use of Japanese mythology, culture and puns. The series was adapted into an anime television series produced by Kitty Films and broadcast on Fuji Television affiliates from 1981 to 1986 with 195 episodes. Twelve OVAs and six theatrical movies followed, and the series was released on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc in Japan.
The manga series was republished in different formats in Japan. Viz Media licensed the series for English publication in North America under the names Lum and The Return of Lum, but dropped the series after nine volumes were released until 2018 when Viz re-licensed the manga and plans to release the manga in 2-in-1 omnibus editions with new translations starting in spring 2019. The television series, OVAs, and five of the films were released in North America with English subtitles, as well as a dub for the films by AnimEigo. They provided extensive notes on the series to allow people to understand the many cultural references and jokes in the series that would not normally be understood by non-Japanese. The remaining film, Beautiful Dreamer, was released bilingually by Central Park Media. Five of the movies, as well as the OVAs, are available from MVM Films in the United Kingdom. The series was released on television in Southeast Asia as Lamu the Invader Girl.
The series received positive reception in and out of Japan from fans and critics alike. In 1980, the series received the Shogakukan Manga Award. The television series is credited with introducing the format of using pop songs as opening and closing themes in anime. In 2008, the first new episode in 17 years was shown at the Rumiko Takahashi exhibition It's a Rumic World.Urusei Yatsura (film series)
Urusei Yatsura, a Japanese anime and manga series, has six movies and twelve OVA releases. During the television run of the series, four theatrical films were produced. Urusei Yatsura: Only You was directed by Mamoru Oshii and began showing in Japanese cinemas on February 11, 1983. Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer was also directed by Mamoru Oshii and was released on February 11, 1984. Urusei Yatsura 3: Remember My Love was directed by Kazuo Yamazaki and released on January 26, 1985. Urusei Yatsura 4: Lum the Forever was directed again by Kazuo Yamazaki and released on February 22, 1986.After the conclusion of the television series, two more films were produced. A year after the television series finished, Urusei Yatsura: The Final Chapter was directed by Satoshi Dezaki and was released on February 6, 1988 as a tenth anniversary celebration. It was shown as a double bill with a Maison Ikkoku movie. The final film, Urusei Yatsura: Always My Darling was directed by Katsuhisa Yamada and was released on November 2, 1991. In North America, "Beautiful Dreamer" was released by Central Park Media. The remaining five films were released by AnimEigo in North America and MVM Films in the United Kingdom.On September 24, 1985, the special Ryoko's September Tea Party was released, consisting of a mixture of previously broadcast footage along with 15 minutes of new material. Almost a year later on September 15, 1986, Memorial Album was released, also mixing new and old footage. On July 18, 1987, the TV special Inaba the Dreammaker was broadcast before being released to video. It was followed by Raging Sherbet on December 2, 1988, and by Nagisa's Fiancé four days later on December 8, 1988. The Electric Household Guard was released on August 21, 1989 and followed by I Howl at the Moon on September 1, 1989. They were followed by Goat and Cheese on December 21, 1989 and Catch the Heart on December 27, 1989. Finally, Terror of Girly-Eyes Measles and Date with a Spirit were released on June 21, 1991. The OVA's were released in North America by AnimEigo who released them individually over 6 discs. AnimEigo produced dubs for the DVD releases.On December 23, 2008, a new special was shown for the first time at the It's a Rumic World exhibition of Rumiko Takahashi's works. Entitled The Obstacle Course Swim Meet, it was the first animated content for the series in 17 years. On January 29, 2010, a boxset was released featuring all of the recent Rumiko Takahashi specials from the Rumic World exhibition. Entitled It's a Rumic World, the boxset contains The Obstacle Course Swim meet as well as a figure of Lum. The OVAs are not true OVAs, however, as they were all released in the theater prior to being released on video.
Works by Rumiko Takahashi