Lady Murasaki and Rumiko Takahashi
October 7, 2008
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Lady Murasaki, author of The Tale of Genji, the world’s first novel in the modern context and Rumiko Takahashi the great mangaka have much in common. In fact it’s clear that Muraskai has had some influences over Takahashi. There’s no problem with that. Every artist is influenced by past work. The trick is make one’s own work unique enough to so as not to show the the influences.
Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2 have a few parallels in the Tale of the Genji as well as visual influence from Yoshi Toshi.
The Tale of Genji is about the son of a concubine of a great Emperor. The Lady Kiritsubo is chastised by the cats in the court to the extent of extreme psychological trauma and eventually dies from despair. Thus leaving Genji to suffer the intrigue of court on his own.
In Inuyasha, the title character is the son of a noblewoman and a dog yokai. Inuyasha and his mother were outcasts since his birth. Inuyasha’s mother died while Inuyasha was around 10 years old presumably from the same causes as Lady Kiritsubo leaving her son to fend for himself in an inhospitable society as a half-demon. Much like Genji, Inuyasha suffers from his half-blood status and must learn to live with it. Much like Genji a young girl comes along to make his life a bit easier.
The parallels with Genji and Ranma concern the rather lucrative love life. Genji has a considerable number of paramours while married to the Lady Aoi. Ranma is betrothed to Akane but has a terrific number of aggressive female persuers who complicate a rather strained relationship with his future life partner who he genuinely loves—no matter how stormy the relationship!
Takahashi seems to be have the ambition to create the longest running manga series and Inuyasha was close. However, I don’t think this is necessary to win the respect of the literati. Takahashi certainly has my respect as an artist and writer. No one can write a likeable jerk quite like Rumiko. Like Murasaki, Takahashi is no one trick pony and like her predacessor has had many different titles to her credit. However, I hope Inuyasha isn’t the end of Rumiko’s exploits. I am eager to know what she has in store for her next series. Perhaps a masterpiece project with compelling characters her own age:)