Sui Ishida Reveals That He Doesn’t Consider Tokyo Ghoul A Success

In a recent interview with German publisher Manga Passion, mangaka Sui Ishida, known for his works such as Tokyo Ghoul and Choujin X, delved deep into what success meant for him, and how the response of his readers affected this, while making a surprising claim.

Ishida was asked in the interview if he felt the pressure of succeeding while working on Choujin X, having authored a popular series like Tokyo Ghoul before. However, the author was of the opinion that Tokyo Ghoul was not a success.

“As a premise, I don’t really consider Tokyo Ghoul a success,” the author said.

According to Ishida, success for him was defined by the feeling of having drawn something well and not by fans’ approval or widespread popularity. He felt that success lay in the ability to self-acknowledge and praise his own work.

“Success, to me, is when I feel like I have drawn something well,” Ishida revealed. “Upon reflection, I don’t really demand that it is well-received in society or that many people like it. So, success, to me, is whether I can praise myself for it or not.”

He basically emphasized the importance of self-acknowledgment and personal praise, rather than solely relying on external validation.

Ishida continued his explanation saying that he found it difficult to engage with his readers, as he had no clear idea about the people who enjoyed reading his works. If he started to worry more about it, he would end up creating a work that catered more to their needs, and that according to him was not something he strived for.

“When I further think about it, I believe that I find it difficult to engage with my readership. Honestly, I have no clear idea about the kind of people who enjoy reading my manga. If I think about it too much, I feel like I’m trying to cater more and more to the readers, and that affects my drawings and makes them feel odd. Therefore, I demand ‘self-praise’ first and foremost,” Ishida said in the interview.

So when he drew manga, be it Tokyo Ghoul or Choujin X, the only pressure he was under was to “face his own obstacles.”

“So, when I draw manga, whether it’s Ghoul or Choujin, I face the same obstacles and the same pressure. If what I draw after overcoming these obstacles is liked by people, I am happy. I think that’s when I can establish a connection with the readers for the first time,” the author added.

Sui Ishida is a Japanese manga artist. He is best known for his dark fantasy series Tokyo Ghoul.

The series ran from 2011 to 2014 in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine, and was later adapted into a light novel and anime series in 2014. The manga was also translated into English where it topped The New York Times Best Seller list in 2015.

A prequel titled Tokyo Ghoul [Jack] was briefly serialized digitally on Jump Live in 2013. In 2014, he began a sequel titled Tokyo Ghoul:re. As of January 2018, Tokyo Ghoul and its sequel have over 34 million collected volumes in circulation.

He is currently working on Choujin X, which has been irregularly serialized on Shueisha’s Tonari no Young Jump website since May 2021. It was also briefly published on Weekly Young Jump from October 2021 to February 2022. 

As of May 2023, the chapters of the manga had been compiled into 6 tankobon volumes. The manga had over 1 million copies in circulation in December 2022.