The creator of Somali And The Forest Spirit manga Yako Gureishi went on lengthy rant, expressing their frustration regarding the manga’s anime adaptation and also criticized the treatment of the writers at Comic Zenon.
The mangaka also addressed everything that was wrong with the industry, and also opened about their financial struggles in a chain of tweets on May 16, 2023.
Let us break it down for readers to easily navigate through the topics addressed by Yako Gureishi.
Regarding Anime Adaptation-
When it came to the anime adaptation of Somali and the Forest Spirit, the author expressed regret and frustration as they were not at all happy with how it turned out.
Yako couldn’t oversee the process due to working on the manuscript, leaving the anime mostly unsupervised.
Even when it came to the intonation of ‘Somali,’ it was pronounced completely wrong by the voice actor and several episodes had been recorded by the time the author discovered it.
“Regarding the intonation of “Somali” in “Somali and the Forest Spirit,” it was actually incorrect. I happened to notice it when the voice actor said it, but several episodes had already been recorded, and I trusted the staff I had been working with for many years, so the discovery was delayed.“
What frustrated the author more was that the assigned editor, whom the author had been having several meetings with for years, couldn’t even notice the error in the pronunciation.
According to Yako, “it wasn’t a suitable environment to point it out because there were many people around”.
“The correct pronunciation is not “ソ↑マリ↓” but rather “ソ→マ↑リ→”. However, it wasn’t a suitable environment to point it out because there were many people around. Moreover, there was an assigned editor whom I had been having meetings with for years, and they should have been aware of the correct intonation, but the correction wasn’t made, and that was frustrating.
I’m filled with regret.“
And due to this, Yako couldn’t bring themself to watch the anime adaptation as the author was too scared to see the outcome.
“For the anime recording, I wished to make time to participate fully and carefully review the scripts. I used being a newcomer, being busy, and potentially causing inconvenience as reasons too much. I regret relying on those reasons too heavily.“
Regarding Comic Zenon-
Monthly Comic Zenon is a Japanese manga anthology. It is marketed to seinen public, edited and published monthly by Coamix.
During the time the author was working for Monthly Comic Zenon, the magazine was majorly focused on publishing contemporary works.
Despite that, the author’s fantasy manga Somali and the Forest Spirit managed to gain attention and even got featured on Yahoo News. So it was quite disheartening for the author when their work was put on a hiatus, and was abruptly cancelled after 2 years.
According to Yako, another author who was working in Comic Zenon also faced such a fate.
“Well, another thing is… At that time, Comic Zenon was only focusing on contemporary works, so it was quite tough when my fantasy series, which even received coverage on Yahoo News, was put on hiatus and then I received the announcement of its cancellation.
As expected, it seems that the author who was writing the rear-guard fantasy series that I loved also encountered some kind of difficulty or setback.“
Yako also went on to reveal that there were instances in Comic Zenon that raised eyebrows when it came to the treatment of its writers, due to which the author will never be working for them again.
Although Yako received significant support and assistance in terms of treatment, there were also aspects that left the author wounded.
“I understand your concerns regarding the treatment of certain authors, and while it may not apply to everyone, there were indeed instances that raised eyebrows. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be writing for Comic Zenon anymore. While I received significant support and assistance in terms of treatment, there were also aspects that left me wounded.“
The author had previously stated that they won’t be able to resume the manga currently, because they had no income to pay the assistants that were needed to work on the series.
Regarding Everything That Is Wrong With The Industry-
Yako is of the opinion that the industry treats manga artists as commodities and that it is surprising on how much it is relevant even today.
They also revealed that there are numerous cases where talented individuals retire due to depression. Unless the author is a popular one, they are ostracized.
“It takes about two years to become able to draw pictures and roughly three years to become able to draw manga,” Yako added.
Even Yako, who loved drawing manga, went through a period where they couldn’t read manga due to mental health deterioration. On top of that all the color illustrations for Somali were unpaid works that took about seven days each, and that they are tired of being exploited as such.
“I refuse to let someone exploit me and use me up. I am not a commodity!“
The thought of the future made the author anxious due to lack of financial stability and the inability to afford medical care or even have proper meals.
The author also metioned the desire to release the continuation of the story that extends beyond volume 6 of Somali and the Forest Spirit.
However, they only want to make it available on Kindle or other such platforms, as Yako wants to continue writing at their own pace and not treated as a mere commodity.
“I am firmly committed to changing the current plight of manga artists, ensuring that they are no longer treated as expendable resources.
Furthermore, I have a strong desire to find a way to release the continuation of the story that goes beyond Volume 6 of “Somali and the Forest Spirit.” While this remains a hopeful aspiration, perhaps it could be made available through platforms like Kindle or other means.
In the world of ‘The Secret Chronicles of Another Realm,’ I will persevere in my writing journey at my own pace, determined to avoid being reduced to a mere commodity.“
Yako also went on to talk about the money matters when it came to being a manga artist.
According to them, being a manga artist comes with dreams but it can be quite challenging in terms of financial stability, and is also difficult to obtain loans as it involves passing various examinations.
Moreover, receiving support from the government also becomes a daunting task.
On the other hand one can receive a substantial income by publishing a tankobon volume of their work, but it would also mean that they become ineligible for what is commonly known as “public assistance” for basic living support (as it is typically invalidated if monthly income exceeds 200,000 yen).
“Being a manga artist is a job that comes with dreams, but when it comes to profitability, it can be challenging. As a self-employed individual and a sole proprietor, it becomes difficult to pass various examinations or obtain loans. Additionally, it is also challenging to receive support from the government. On the other hand, when publishing a tankobon (collected volume), a significant amount of income is received, which means that one cannot receive what is commonly known as “public assistance” for basic living support (as it is typically invalidated if monthly income exceeds 200,000 yen).“
The author strives to bring about a change for this reason.
Yako is also determined to find a solution to issues that comes with statements like “Creating original artwork is essentially unpaid work” or “The illustrations displayed in bookstores are given away for free and won’t be returned” or “Drawing papers, illustration cards, and even covers, regardless of the quantity, are all unpaid”.
Somali and the Forest Spirit was serialized online from April 2015 to October 2019 via Tokuma Shoten’s online manga magazine Web Comic Zenon. It was collected in six tankōbon volumes. The manga officially ended on December 22, 2020 after a long hiatus.
The author’s poor health was cited as a reason for the manga ending at that time.
An anime television series adaptation by Satelight and Hornets ran from Jan 9 to March 26, 2020. Crunchyroll co-produced the series.
Recently, a newbie mangaka had come forward on twitter raising awareness about unhealthy workspace environment and detailing the abuse that was meted out to him by the editorial department of a certain magazine.
P.s. those interested in helping out the author, who is now going through a rough patch and is having difficulties in paying utilities, buying proper meals and taking care of medical expenses, click on the link to Yako’s PIXIV FANBOX to donate a small amount.
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