Throwback Thursday: Parasyte. All digital volumes up 50% off! Ends 5/21

Read the manga AND watch the anime!

Just in time for the Netflix debut of Parasyte: The Maxim we’re giving fans the opportunity to return to the classic sci-fi body horror manga Parasyte at a cost that leaves you with plenty extra cash to start building your alien invasion bunker!

In this David Cronenberg-esque invasion story, Shinichi Izumi is your average high-schooler with, average problems like homework, and crushes. But when an alien attempting to hijack Shinichi’s body only gets as far as his right hand, Shinichi and his new alien counterpart unwittingly become involved in an extraterrestrial plot to take over humanity from the inside out. Can man an alien work together to fight against forces that only want humanity as a food source? Find out in this taught 8-volume series filled with intense fights, horrific humanoid monsters, and staggering emotional stakes.

Visit our participating digital vendors to save up to 50% off on all 8 volumes of the epic Parasyte series: BookWalker, comiXology, Google Play, Kindle, Nook and izneo. Sale runs from May 14, until May 20!


Parasyte, Volume 1: SILENT INVASION
By Hitoshi Iwaaki

They arrive in silence and darkness. They descend from the skies. They have a hunger for human flesh. They are everywhere. They are parasites, alien creatures who must invade—and take control of—a human host to survive. And once they have infected their victims, they can assume any deadly form they choose: monsters with giant teeth, winged demons, creatures with blades for hands. But most have chosen to conceal their lethal purpose behind ordinary human faces. So no one knows their secret—except an ordinary high school student. Shin is battling for control of his own body against an alien parasite, but can he find a way to warn humanity of the horrors to come?

“Gives the phrase ‘talk to the hand’ a whole new meaning. Alien spores roughly the size of tennis balls fall to earth one night; from within crawl sluglike creatures that burrow their way into the brains of humans, effectively killing them and taking over their bodies … Violence is graphic and often shocking, depicted in a style reminiscent of western comics and H.R. Giger. The ordinary nature of the rest of the illustration gives the whole book an unsettling edge, a sort of subliminal ‘it could happen anywhere’ vibe. A cult favorite manga.” —Publishers Weekly





Curious to explore more of this terrifying world? Be sure to also check out the two shojo and shonen-themed anthology tribute series Neo-Parasyte:


By Ema Toyama, Hikaru Suruga, Renjuro Kindaichi, Lalako Kojima, Hitoshi Iwaaki, Asumiko Nakamura, Miki Rinno, Kaori Yuki, Banko Kuze, Yuuki Obata, Kashio, Yui Kuroe, Asia Watanabe, Mikimaki, Hajime Shinjo, and Yuri Narushimai

Parasites: shape-shifting aliens whose only purpose is to assimilate with and consume the human race… but do these monsters have a different side? A parasite becomes a prince to save his romance-obsessed female host from a dangerous stalker. Another hosts a cooking show, in which the real monsters are revealed. These and 13 more stories, from some of the greatest shojo manga artists alive today, together make up a chilling, funny, and entertaining tribute to one of manga’s horror classics!









Neo-Parasyte, Volume m: OF PARASITES AND MEN
By Hiroki Endo, Hiro Mashima, Riichi Ueshiba, Moto Hagio, Akira Hiramoto, Peach Pit, Ryouji Minagawa, Takayuki Takeya, Yasushi Nirasawa, and Moare Ohta

Featuring stories from prominent shonen and seinin mangaka like FAIRY TAIL’s Hiro Mashima!

Parasites: shape-shifting aliens whose only purpose is to assimilate with and consume the human race… but do these monsters have a different side? A parasite becomes a prince to save his romance-obsessed female host from a dangerous stalker. Another hosts a cooking show, in which the real monsters are revealed. These and 13 more stories, from some of the greatest shojo manga artists alive today, together make up a chilling, funny, and entertaining tribute to one of manga’s horror classics!




Scary Manga digital sale: 30+ manga series that creep … for up to 50% off! Ends 10/28

Things getting weird this fall? We’re certainly ready here at Kodansha Comics ‘cos we’re putting a whoppin’ 30+ digital series on sale that’ll creep your pants off! That’s right, this week all scary manga are up to 50% off at all of our digital retail partners: BookWalker, comiXology, Google Play, iBooks, Kindle, MyAnimeList, and nook. Sale ends Monday October 28, though! 

— Kodansha Comics Scary Manga Sale  —
October 22- 28
Read FREE Chapter 1 previews in the links below! 

As the Gods Will: Second Series
Attack on Titan Before the Fall
Attack on Titan No Regrets
Attack on Titan Lost girls
Attack on Titan Anthology
Cage of Eden
Can You Just Die, My Darling?
Cells At Work CODE BLACK
Devils’ Line
Dragon Head
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
The Flowers of Evil
Fort of Apocalypse
Hozuki’s Coolheadedness
Kokkoku: Moment by Moment
Imperfect Girl
I Want to Hold Aono-kun So Badly I Could Die
Junjij Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon and Mu
The Ghost and the Lady
Neo Parasyte
Princess Resurrection
PTSD Radio
Starving Anonymous
Until Your Bones Rot
Witchcraft Works


There’s more! It is that time of year, isn’t it … ? This Saturday, October 26, we celebrate Halloween Comic Fest!

Here’s how it works: Visit your Local Comic Shop and pick up a free Kodansha Comics sampler of our new video-game-related manga featuring Tales of Berseria, Granblue Fantasy and Fate/Grand Order!

And from Vertical, a sampler of NISIOISIN’s hit-novel-series-turned-manga, BAKEMONOGATARIwith special tribute artwork inside, so check that out!


About Halloween Comic Fest

Halloween ComicFest (HCF) is the comic book industry’s premier fall event—a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away specially published comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops. Find your local participating comic book shop at

Blast from the past! Resurrection Sale! Princess Resurrection + 20 digital series up to 50% off!


What’s your favorite manga from back in the day? The legends of manga are legion, but due to the ups-and-downs and unavoidable realities of print publishing, some all-time classic series have gone out of print or have been otherwise unavailable for years 😱

Enter Kodansha Comics digital editions: we’ve been resurrecting a slew of classic series as part of our digital-first lineup—and in some cases continuing series like BECK that never concluded in English translation—so that you and new generations of manga fans can dig deep into one of the richest manga catalogs around. And to showcase those titles this week, we’re hosting our Resurrection Sale, with 20+ “blast from the past” manga series discounted up to 50% off  at all of our digital retail partners: BookWalkercomiXology, Google Play, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and nook. (Sale ends April 22.)

— Kodansha Comics Resurrection Sale! — 
April 15 – 22
Click on the link to read Chapter 1 for FREE!

Air Gear 
BECK–exclusively on comiXolgy and Kindle
Dragon Head
Gakuen Prince

Nodame Cantabile
Neo-Parasyte f
Neo-Parasyte m
Love Hina
Peach Girl
Peach Girl NEXT — a new sequel!
Princess Resurrection
Princess Resurrection Nightmare  — a new sequel!
Pumpkin Scissors
Rave Master
Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei
School Rumble

Yagyu Ninja Scrolls
Yozakura Quartet
Voices of A Distant Star


Kodansha Comics to the Rescue Sale! Digital manga 50% off (ends 12/18)

“Rescues”—formerly out-of-print titles 
It happens, but sometimes printed titles are no longer available: they go “out of print.” As part of our digital-first lineup, Kodansha Comics is starting to bring those title back—as digital “rescues” so they can be discovered by new generations of manga fans.

This week, we're putting those rescued manga up for adoption … or better yet, up to 50% off at all our digital retail partners: BookWalkercomiXology, Google Play, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and nook. Sale runs through December 18! 

— Kodansha Comics to the Rescue Sale! — 
all volumes up to 50% off through December 18

Air Gear
Air Gear Omnibus
Gakuen Prince
Nodame Cantabile
Neo-Parasyte f

Neo-Parasyte m
Princess Resurrection
Pumpkin Scissors

Rave Master
Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei
School Rumble
Yagyu Ninja Scrolls
Yozakura Quartet

Feeling nostalgia for a rescue title? Give one a try as a refresher! 





Kodansha Comics Gift Guide 2017 Part 1: Classic Crusaders

Kodansha Comics Gift Guide 2017

Are  you  looking  for  the  perfect  gift  for  your  manga  loving  friends  and  family  this  holiday  season? Or perhaps you’re looking for the perfect series for someone who’s new to manga? With so many series to choose  from –from  shonen  to  shojo,  from  action-packed  series  to  drama-driven  ones,  from  series  for younger  readers  to  the  experienced fan –it  can  be hard to  choose  just  one  title  in  what  seems  like  an overwhelming sea of stories.

But never fear – Kodansha Comics’s got your back! Our Gift Guide is in full swing once again this year, and from classic tales to new fan favorites, we’ll help guide you to the perfect manga that’s sure to put a smile on someone’s –or your own –face!

Part 1: Classic Crusaders
The first part of our Gift Guide is: Classic Crusaders! Wherever your favorite manga genre or series may lie, it’s hard to go wrong with a good classic. Complete your classic manga collection or find a great gift for a friend who’s a first time manga reader with these five definitive series!


Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set

What’s it About? In a not-so distant future, Tokyo has been annihilated by a blast of unknown origin that triggered World War III, and the city has been rebuilt as Neo-Tokyo. The lives of two streetwise teenage friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, change forever when paranormal abilities begin to waken in Tetsuo, making him a target for a shadowy agency that will stop at nothing to prevent another catastrophe like the one that leveled Tokyo. At the core of the agency’s motivation is a raw, all-consuming fear of an unthinkable, monstrous power known only as Akira.

Why’s it Good? Akira has become a definitive, cult manga classic for readers in both Japan and abroad – and for good reason. When the series was first released in English, the pages were presented in a flipped, left-to-right reading format and fully colored to appeal to an American, comics-reading audience – introducing manga to the foreign reader in ways in which no one had seen before. The stunning science fiction masterpiece has since become to be considered the finest work of graphic fiction ever produced, and the animated film version is regarded worldwide as a classic.

The Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set gives English-language readers, for the first-time, the opportunity to experience Akira as the author originally intended. With the original Japanese art and right-to-left reading format preserved, along with Otomo’s hand-drawn sound effects, this limited edition boxset houses all six-volumes of Akira, plus the Akira Club artbook, in beautifully bound hardcover editions. Whether you’ve been a longtime fan of Akira, or have just been waiting for the right time to delve into this classic series, this is one boxset you don’t want to miss.

The Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set is available now!



Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition

What’s it About? Far beneath the shimmering space-city of Zalem lie the trash-heaps of The Scrapyard. Here, cyber-doctor and bounty hunter Daisuke Ido finds the head and torso of an amnesiac cyborg girl. He names her Alita and vows to fill her life with beauty, but in a moment of desperation, a fragment of Alita’s mysterious past awakens in her. She discovers that she possesses uncanny prowess in the legendary martial art known as panzerkunst. With her newfound skills, Alita decides to become a hunter-warrior – tracking down and taking out those who prey on the weak. But can she hold onto her humanity in the dark and gritty world of The Scrapyard?

Why’s it Good? Renowned as a cyberpunk classic, Battle Angel Alita made waves when it was first released in English over ten years ago (Brendan Fletcher, creator of Motor Crush, writes the introduction for Volume 1, and even discusses the pivotal role Alita and Yukito Kishiro played in influencing his career).  After more than a decade out of print, this action classic returns in glorious 400-page, 2-in-1 hardcover deluxe editions, featuring an all-new translation, color pages, an extended trim size, and new cover designs. Whether you want to revisit or complete your collection for the first time, or if you’re looking for an epic sci-fi series for a friend, Battle Angel Alita will give you a unique science fiction world you’ll want to explore.

Battle Angel Alita Deluxe 1 is available now! Be sure to collect all volumes before the theatrical movie release next summer!




Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card

What’s it About? Sakura Kinomoto’s about to start middle school, and everything’s coming up cherry blossoms. Not only has she managed to recapture the scattered Clow Cards and make them her own Sakura Cards, but her sweetheart Syaoran Li has moved from Hong Kong to Tokyo and is going to be in her class! But her joy is interrupted by a troubling dream in which the cards turn transparent, and when Sakura awakens to discover her dream has become reality, it’s clear that her magical adventures are far from over…

Why’s it Good? If you got into manga reading in the 90s, chances are you read CLAMP’s classic Cardcaptor Sakura. The series had a little bit of everything – fantasy, action, adventure, romance, and was praised by Anime News Network for “taking what had become an incredibly stale and repetitive genre and turned it on its ear, providing something fun, clever, beautifully animated, touching and exciting all at once.” Clear Card picks up exactly where Cardcaptor Sakura left off, and naturally reintroduces us back into the series and its beloved characters. If you’re looking for some nostalgia this holiday season, you’ll definitely want to revisit this sweet, magical classic.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card 1 is out December 19 – preorder your copy today!




Ghost in the Shell READ ME: 1995 –2017

What’s it About? The definitive history of the most influential cyberpunk anime of all time! This beautiful, color hardcover guide begins with the seminal feature that inspired The Matrix and many other films, comics, and novels, and ends with the live-action Hollywood adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson. Follow the franchise that made manga master Shirow Masamune, legendary director Mamoru Oshii, and the studio Production I.G the legends they are today.

Why’s it Good? If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a Ghost in the Shell fan, then look no further than Ghost in the Shell READ ME. Featuring In-depth interviews, stunning concept art, and tales of behind-the-scenes triumphs and near-tragedies from the 22-year history of The Ghost in the Shell, README covers everything from the original anime through the award-winning sequel Innocence and the global smash hit TV adaptation Stand Alone Complex, all the way up to 2017, with the release of the new live-action film from Paramount Pictures.

Ghost in the Shell READ ME: 1995 –2017 is available now!






Neo Parasyte m

What’s it About? They look like us. They feed on us. They’re parasites – alien creatures with one directive: take human form via a host and destroy the human race from within. First seen in Hiroshi Iwaaki’s classic science fiction horror manga Parasyte, these terrifying creatures are revisited and reinvented in 12 brand-new stories drawn by some of today’s greatest shonen and seinen manga artists. But no matter who they choose as their hosts—from militia men to the seemingly sweet elderly—one thing is for certain: no one is safe from the parasites …

Why’s it Good? Whether you’re a veteran fan of Hiroshi Iwaaki’s original manga, or you’re just looking for an exciting, new manga anthology to dive into, Neo Parasyte m is the perfect fit. The collection starts out strong with a piece by classic manga artist Moto Hagio, and features Kodansha Comics fan favorite artists such as Hiro Mashima, PEACH-PIT, Hiroki Endo, and more. Neo Parasyte m provides a fantastic introduction to the world of the parasites, even for first time fans, and is a collection you won’t be able to help sinking your teeth into.

Neo Parasyte m is available now!





Kodansha Comics Gift Guide will update every Friday until the end of holiday season!

Horror Manga Sale: scary digital manga up to 50% off!

Candy … costumes … and everything scary … Gearing up for Halloween? We certainly are here at Kodansha Comics and this week, we're putting all the horror mangaincluding our 3 newly released October Horror reveals—on sale up to 50% off at all of our digital retail partners: BookWalker, comiXology, Crunchyroll, Google Play, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and nook. Sale ends November 6 at 11 p.m. Eastern Time, or for select stores, in local time. 

— Kodansha Comics Horror Manga Sale  —
October 24-November 6
Read Chapter 1s at the links! 

Ajin: Demi-Human
As the Gods Will: The Second Series
Cage of Eden
Devils' Line
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
Fort of Apocalypse​
Hozuki's Coolheadedness
Kokkoku: Moment by Moment
I Want to Hold Aono-kun So Badly I Could Die 
Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu
The Ghost and the Lady
Neo Parasyte f
Princess Resurrection
Until Your Bones Rot
Witchcraft Works

We're revealing a new digital-first horror manga every week during Horror October! 

Kodansha Comics Gift Guide Part 2: With Manga from Me to You


The Kodansha Comics Gift Guide

Are you looking for the perfect gift for your manga loving friends and family? It can be hard to choose in a sea of series, but this year we’ve got you covered with curated selections for everyone on your list!

Part II: With Manga from Me to You

Working in manga, we often get asked for our staff recommendations. It turns out, we are a lot like readers in general—extremely different when it comes to what we like! But if you’re lost and need a push in the right direction, or just want to say that your gifts are Manga Professional Approved, here are our personal favorites.


Welcome to the Ballroom (Ages 13+)
Paul Starr, Editor

With stunning artwork and a charmingly eccentric cast, Tomo Takeuchi’s Welcome to the Ballroom is one of my favorite new releases of the year. It follows the journey of Tatara Fujita as he transforms from a directionless high-schooler into a passionate competitive dancer. Takeuchi’s astonishing art conveys all the romantic sensuality and incredible physicality of ballroom dance, and it’s impossible not to cheer for his cast of quirky, sympathetic characters. This manga is a perfect example of why I love Japanese comics as a medium, and I highly recommend it.

Welcome to the Ballroom volumes 1-2 available from Kodansha Comics!


Neo Parasyte f  (Ages 16+)
Lauren Scanlan, Editor

It’s not often that you get to revisit an old favorite, and rarer still to have it reinterpreted in a fresh new way, but Neo Parasyte f does just that. It has a great mix of stories, with some that bring out the deep horror and tragedy inherent in the Parasyte universe, and some that are great romps that highlight how fun (?) and funny the parasites and their unique situations can be. More than that, I love that the authors clearly had a great time with the material—it’s not often that shojo artists get to include as much gore as they like, and it shows in the most wonderful ways. Even for shojo fans who might not be familiar with Parasyte, there’s some great romantic shorts—including one with a priest and a girl with the world’s most beautiful hair and bedspread (seriously, where’s manga Pinterest when you need it?). All in all, a unique anthology that’ll make you laugh, cry, and wonder if everyone around you really is quite what they seem …   

Neo Parasyte f is available now from Kodansha Comics!


The Black Museum: the Ghost and the Lady (Ages 16+)
Ajani Oloye, Editor

The Ghost and the Lady has been the most interesting book I’ve worked on. I’ve never been much of a history person, but the way this series was presented made me want to devour its contents and left me with a real interest in Florence Nightingale’s truly fascinating story. Everything about this book is amazing, from the incredible amount of research Fujita-sensei and his team must’ve conducted to create the story to the breathtaking artwork that doesn’t just look great, but is also full of emotion that really makes each scene and its characters come to life. This is also Fujita-sensei’s first manga published in English and is probably one of his best works. I’m honored to have worked on The Ghost and the Lady and can’t recommend it enough.

The Ghost and the Lady 1 is available as a deluxe hardcover from Kodansha Comics!


Animal Land (Ages 13+)
Haruko Hashimoto, Editor

This manga made me both laugh and cry while commuting on a packed train. When I was editing the latest volume at my desk, I read through the pages with tears streaming down my face. Makoto Raiku has a real gift with comedic timing and imbuing his characters with warmth. It’s so pure and genuinine, and truly shines in this manga. Animal Land is a humorous and absurd slice-of-life manga that quickly dives deep into a sci-fi fantasy. It’s the best of both worlds. Through it all, Raiku’s love and respect for life and its creatures seep through every panel, even in the wild, brutal fight scenes! Battles which, in contrast to some goofy and charming character designs, are illustrated meticulously. I catch myself re-reading the volumes often, for the ridiculous jokes and the incredible heart. It’s a story that takes my favorite things about the medium as a whole and presents it in 14 volumes.

Animal Land volumes 1-11 are available from Kodansha Comics!


Cells at Work! (Ages 13+)
Emi Lotto, Assistant Production Manager

When I was a kid my father had a theory that every major machine was secretly made up of a workforce of “Little Guys”—an acting troupe in the television, a full scriptorium of monks in the copier, even a little guy scribbling furiously (and backwards!) on the inside of your computer monitor. Cells at Work! takes it one step further—what if you too were made up of little guys? Akane Shimizu imagines literally every human cell as a little guy, each with their own personality ranging from furious to adorable. Follow Red Blood Cell, our cute, cheerful little-guy protagonist, on her oxygen-delivering duties and meet the valiant and vaguely sociopathic White Blood Cells, the bloodthirsty bros of the Killer T Cells, the elegant but vicious Macrophage, and the industrious little Platelet construction crew. You’ll learn your body isn’t a temple; it’s a fully functioning society, and you’ll be astounded how hard its residents work for you. So maybe go eat a salad today, or something.

Cells at Work! 1 is available from Kodansha Comics!





The Attack on Titan Anthology (Ages 16+)
Stephen Pakula, Production Manager

Even those unfamiliar with manga may have heard of the smash hit Attack on Titan, but this is something fresh for newcomers and AoT veteran fans alike. The Attack on Titan Anthology adds new chapters in the dystopian universe of the series— created by some of the biggest names in Western comics! The diversity of artistic voices on display here, from Scott Snyder to the team behind the new Batgirl, the Anthology is an amazing look at how many stories are still left to tell in the Attack on Titan world. And in a full color hardcover, this makes a special gift both for the comics fans and the AoT fan who has everything!

The Attack on Titan Anthology—plus three variant covers—is available now!








Vinland Saga (Ages 16+)
Ben Applegate, Publishing Director

Vinland Saga is many things. It’s an adventure saga full of bloody Viking battles. It’s serious historical fiction based on meticulous research. It’s a political thriller rife with court rivalries and reversals in fortune. It’s a coming-of-age story (two coming-of-age stories, really) that explores the complex relationship of sons to fathers and father figures in a fashion reminiscent of Shakespeare and Dickens. It’s a philosophical treatise on the nature of freedom, slavery, violence, vengeance, and love. And it’s a by-turns stark and lushly detailed visual masterpiece that deserves a place alongside cinematic epics like Lawrence of Arabia. No list of essential comics in any language is complete without it.

Vinland Saga volumes 1-7 are available from Kodansha Comics in beautiful hardcover, with volume 8 coming in December!






Spoof on Titan (Ages 16+)
Tiff Ferentini, Editorial Intern

What I love the most about Attack on Titan is its characters, and Spoof on Titan is a great way to enjoy cuter, smaller versions of them all in a laid back, comedic setting. Spoof on Titan has all the fun of the Attack on Titan universe, minus the soul-crushing heartbreak and emotional devastation of losing your favorite character. If you ever wanted to know what sort of hijinks Eren and the rest of the Survey Corps get into, how Commander Erwin spends his days off, or are just in need of a really good laugh, this spin-off’s for you.

Spoof on Titan is complete in 2 volumes and available now!








Forget Me Not (Ages 16+)
Molly Brenan, Publishing Associate

When I read the first volume of Forget Me Not, I wasn’t sure a story about a guy fumbling through relationship after relationship with beautiful women would grip me, but the series has become my personal favorite this year. It elegantly and deftly nails the awkwardness and pain that comes with the struggle to form genuine connections. Beyond the flawed but empathetic hero, Serizawa, every girlfriend and friend has their own relatable motivations and problems to navigate. I’ve simply never seen so many complexities of growing up handled so well, from recognizing the line between helping others and selfishly assuaging your own guilt to dealing with adult intimacy. Come for the romance, stay for the realness!

Forget Me Not volumes 1-6 availalble from Kodansha Comics!




And that’s all there is to reading like a pro! But what if you already have a long-time, seasoned fan on your list? Look out next week for the best titles to get a classic lover or manga collector.


Kodansha Comics Gift Guide will update every Friday until the end of holiday season!


Creator Interview: Hitoshi Iwaaki on Parasyte

Interview by Misaki C. Kido

Parasyte is one of the most acclaimed manga in history—among readers and even other manga creators. It’s even been called the perfect manga. Really? Is it the creep factor of grotesque creatures that resemble but ultimately distort and derange human beings? Or maybe it has to do with timeless themes about mankind and survival, told in just eight, tightly narrated volumes. We had a chance to talk with the creator of Parasyte, Hitoshi Iwaaki, about just how he managed to do all of this.

About Hitoshi Iwaaki

Hitoshi Iwaaki was born in Tokyo, Japan. He began his career as an assistant for Kazuo Kamimura in 1984. The following year his original one-shot Gomi no Umi (The Sea of Trash) won the Chiba Tetsuya Award. It later ran in Morning magazine (published by Kodansha), marking his publication debut as a manga artist. Iwaaki’s best known work, Parasyte, ran in Afternoon magazine (also published by Kodansha) from 1988 to 1995. Currently, Iwaaki is working on two historical manga: Historie in Afternoon, and Reiri in Bessatsu Shonen Champion (published from Akita Shoten.)

Iwaaki is the recipient of several awards for his work, including the Kodansha Manga Award for Parasyte in1993, the grand prize for the Japan Media Arts Festival for Historie in 2010, and the grand prize for the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for Historie in 2012.

Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 10.09.06 AM.png

Parasyte volumes 1 through 8 are available from Kodansha Comics.

Kodansha Comics (KC): What were you like when you were a kid?
Hitoshi Iwaaki (HI): I used to be a pretty quiet kid. I was already into doodling from an early age.

KC: Did you have any favorite stories when you were a kid? What influenced your work the most?
HI: I used to be into a special-effects live-action show called Ultra Q. It was probably one of the first TV shows that made me realize that not every story ends with a happy ending, even if it’s a kids’ show. Regarding influences on my work, it’s hard to pick what influenced me the most. A lot stories have moved me, but they’re across all genres, and it’s hard to compare.

KC: Why did you become a manga artist?
HI: When I was in high school, I started reading a lot of manga by Osamu Tezuka. After a while, I found myself wanting to draw my own manga.

KC: How did you think of the story for Parasyte?
HI: I used to watching a lot of documentaries about the food chains in nature as a kid. I remember wanting to write about the “egotism of the human race over this planet,” but I didn’t want to look down on humans. I just wanted to tell the story from an ordinary person’s point of view. I think that was the inspiration behind Parasyte.

KC: Do you think you have any resemblance to the main character, Shinichi?
HI: I don’t think I have any resemblance to Shinichi. But some people tell me the way I talk about things remind them of Migi.

Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 10.34.32 AM.png
Shinichi Izumi is an ordinary high school student who gets infected by a parasite on his right hand, named Migi (meaning “right” in Japanese). Together they have to learn how two different species can coexist.

KC: Do you remember how you came up with the character Migi? What would you do if Migi took over your right hand?
HI: I don’t remember exactly how I came up with it. But in Japan, there are a lot of monsters in traditional folk tales that are just a hand with eyeballs or, like, a talking tumor. I think one of Tezuka’s stories was about a prosthetic hand that talks. I think those kind of things gave me inspiration. I don’t think it’s my original idea.

If Migi took over my right hand, I would totally hate it. Maybe it’d be slightly better if it was my left hand, since I’m not left-handed.

KC: How did you come up with the design and setting of the parasites? Was it difficult to think about conversations between human and non-human characters?
HI: In my original setting, I imagined the parasites to be creatures that tend to avoid inefficiency. Migi, for instance, is just an eye and mouth for the most of the part. Basically I wanted it to be a rationally efficient, simple form.

The way these parasites think may seem quite opposite of how people think in human society. But I think even though it’s exaggerated, it’s still based on human ways of thinking. It’s kind of like a conversation between a person with common sense and one without. It was actually kind of fun to think about.

Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 10.35.16 AM.png

KC: It’s been twenty years since you completed Parasyte. Are there themes in it that are more relevant now than before?
HI: I thought “environmental protection” was the most important theme in the story. But maybe “dealing with the unknown, or someone who you have a hard time connecting to” may be the more important message today.

KC: Parasyte went on to become an anime and a live-action movie just recently. How do you feel about these new adaptations of your work? Did you discover anything?
HI: Manga is usually made by very few people. But anime and movies take a hundred times more people to make. So in their work are a hundred times more passions and feelings too. It felt like a small apartment became a whole town.

KC: What are you currently working on?
HI: I’m working on two historical-period manga. One is about an ancient time in another country. The other one is about the time of civil war in Japan. For the second one, I only work on the story, while another manga artist does the art.

Iwaaki’s current work, Historie, is serialized in Kodansha’s Afternoon magazine. He also writes the story for Reiri, illustrated by Daisuke Muroi, published by Akita Shoten.

KC: How do you keep up motivation for work? Do you have any tips?
HI: If my brain’s not working too well, I lay down and take a nap for fifteen minutes. It makes a huge difference.

KC: What’s your favorite thing in the world? What’s your biggest fear?
HI: Favorite thing: Feeling of happiness. Biggest fear: Being in a situation I wish I could get out ASAP.

KC: Do you have any comments to the fans reading this interview?
HI: I’m always thinking about just readers in Japan. So when an English reader reads my work, it might feel funny, or sometimes the nuance might not carry through. But don’t worry about those things too much. As you continue reading the manga, I hope you’ll get to discover new excitement. That would make me really happy.

KC: Thank you!


Right now, all digital volumes of Parasyte are on sale on all platforms as a part of the Kodansha Comics Halloween Sale (ends November 8)!

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JUST RELEASED: Neo Parasyte f, an anthology tribute to Parasyte collecting one-shot manga by shojo manga artists including Asumiko Nakamura (Utsubora), Kaori Yuki (The Earl Cain saga), Yuri Narushima (Planet Ladder) and many more.