Mizuki Wakako

Tagged: Comics | Art

(1953-    ) Japanese comics creator whose works were striking in girls' sf Manga in the 1980s, finding suitable support to win two Seiun Awards after the inauguration of a comics category. Mizuki describes herself as a product of the first-wave of Japanese comics written by women for women (see Year 24 Group), who worked for a year as a bank clerk before retraining at an art school: "I had a premonition of what the next twenty years would be like, so I quit," she writes on her website. Her early works, beginning with "Kamometachi e" ["To the Seagulls"] (July 1975 Ribbon) as by Waka Mizuki, were in traditional romantic genres before her genre experimentations in a magazine for young girls garnered widespread attention.

Jūma ["Forest Devils"] (December 1979 Bouquet) and its sequel Densetsu Mirai Kata ["Tales of the Future"] (May 1980 Bouquet), the latter of which won a Seiun Award, the pair of which were united in volume form as a Fixup, feature a world threatened by Climate Change in 2500 AD. Mizuki's future humans have failed to advance significantly beyond the Moon, trapped in a groundling society in spiralling Overpopulation, amid global warming that has seen the rapid and disastrous proliferation of sentient trees in Antarctica.

Gekkō: Ceres no Kangen ["Moonbow: The Thinning of Ceres"] (April 1981-September 1981 Bouquet) posited a further century of Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, thwarted ultimately by a Pariah Elite of telepaths, led by a psychic Basilisk and Memory Edit to understand that they are affiliated to a distant world (not the asteroid). Refugees from Ceres came to the solar system three thousand years earlier hoping to prevent humanity from destroying itself. The narrative hence reveals much of human religion and myth as a Shaggy God Story, framed within a Technothriller of the last battle to prevent armageddon in the year 2072.

"Shinmei o Motsu Kuni" ["The Kingdom That Bears a Divine Name"] (May 1986-August 1987 Bouquet) reimagines prehistoric Japan as the locus of magical conflicts between divine beings both real and imagined, the Secret Masters of their human agents in struggles fated to become garbled and misremembered as Japanese myth. It was the first of several linked stories that sprawled across a decade in the pages of Bouquet magazine, outlasting many of the original readers and the magazine itself. The final chapters did not appear until the subsequent fixup in volume form, under the title Itihaasa (graph 1991-1999 7vols), which won Mizuki a second Seiun Award. Her subsequent work in the sf genre includes illustrations for the work of Kōshū Tani, and an unexpected move into prose novels, most notably with Kyōmei-sha ["Resonant"] (2001), which revisits her earlier themes of Basilisks. [JonC]

Wakako Mizuki

born Japan: 22 March 1957

died

works (selected)

  • Jūma / Densetsu ["Forest Devils / The Legend"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1980) [graph: pb/Wakako Mizuki]
  • Gekkō: Ceres no Kangen ["Moonbow: The Thinning of Ceres"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobo, 1982) [graph: in two volumes: pb/Wakako Mizuki]
  • Itihaasa (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1991-1999) [graph: in seven volumes: pb/Wakako Mizuki]
  • Hatenaki Sōbō ["The Limitless Princess"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2001) [pb/Wakako Mizuki]
  • Kyōmei-sha ["Resonant"] (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 2001) [pb/Wakako Mizuki]

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