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Arakawa Hiromu

Entry updated 7 August 2023. Tagged: Artist, Author, Comics.

Pen-name of Hiromi Arakawa (1973-    ), with a vowel shift allowing this female Manga creator to appear to casual Japanese viewers to be male, presumably of some occasional value in her habitual field of Comics for boys. A high-school graduate who spent the first seven years of her adult life working on her parents' dairy farm, she moved to Tokyo in 1999 to become an art assistant to the manga artist Hiroyuki Etō. Her independent career, beginning with Stray Dog (graph 1999 Monthly Shōnen Gangan) and the truncated series Shanghai Yōmakikai ["Ghost Demons of Shanghai"] (graph 2000 Monthly Shōnen Gangan), was propelled to a new and internationally successful level with the Seiun Award-winning Hagane no Renkinjutsu-shi (graph August 2001-June 2010 Monthly Shōnen Gangan 27vols; trans as Fullmetal Alchemist 2005-2011 27vols); for television and film adaptations see Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009-2010).

Arakawa's world is strongly rooted in the tropes of Science and Sorcery, beginning in a Parallel World where alchemy and conjuration take the place of science. Her fraternal Antiheroes are maimed apprentices, one seeking to replace lost limbs, the other an entire lost physical form after a disastrous summoning experiment. Two Anime spin-offs followed from 2003-2004 and more faithfully to the original in 2009-2010, along with a Light Novel series (2004-2010 chap) by Makoto Inoue. Notably in the anime version, the apprentices' long quest embroils them in the machinations of Secret Masters on their own world of Amestris, and takes a radical turn partway through the narrative, leading to an extended Slingshot Ending with the opening of a gateway to our own Earth, where they are harbingers of the Lost World and Power Source sought by Nazi occultists.

Arakawa's work has introduced many young Japanese to principles of alchemy and demonology, such that she was also used as the cover illustrator for the Japanese editions of The Demon's Lexicon (2009-2011) by Sarah Rees Brennan. [JonC]

Hiromi Arakawa

born Tokachi, Hokkaidō, Japan: 8 May 1973

works (selected)


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