For nearly 20 years Miss Rumiko Takahashi, reknowned Japanese comic book (manga) creator has been entertaining millions of people in Japan and worldwide. She is arguably the most comercially successful female manga creator of all time having sold over 100 million copies of her works in Japan. This landmark doesn't even include international sales. Takahashi specializes in hilarious, light-hearted comedy that gets heavy laughs with it's brutal physical comedy, ingenious punnery, and crazy storylines. Most of her stories are humorous explorations of human relationships and romance mixed in with very weird and comical circumstances. But although comedy and slapstick is her forte, she is quite versatile and is equally suited to drama, action or horror. Takahashi often uses her comics as a parody of popular culture, but she mostly takes a heavy influence from Chinese and Japanese mythology.

A true original in the world of manga where other creators are often riding on the successes of other manga creations. She is one of the most likeable personalities in comics. She is also reknowned as one of the most reliable comic creators around. Not only are her manga always timely, but there is a consistant level of quality in her stories that never ceases to amaze me. She has written over an estimated 1080 stories in her careeer and still has yet to write a bad one. In fact, her greatest asset is her wonderful sense of storytelling and the perfection of her writing skills.

Her art style is very soft and inviting with a noticeable feminine quality, yet at the same time it is solid and powerful with very masculine appeal. Overall her charictures have a very human quality that most manga seems to lack. Her manga artwork ranges from realism to an exaggerated cartoon style. Some find her cartooning to be simplistic but even in it's minimalist style it has an increadible aesthetic beauty. She is easily able to draw accurate and detailed art, depending on her time restrictions or artistic intentions. Her style has really changed over her career. It started out well, and has gotten better and more detailed year after year.

Takahashi has an absolute genius for characterization. It was her characters that first attracted me to her manga. All of her comics are graced by an unforgettable cast that carry the story along. She has an unparalleled ability to create characters that the readers are sympathetic with. They're all strange, yet so believably rendered that they begin to feel like real people. For her characters she tends to give them a multitude of strange traits and human flaws stretched to extremes. Usually there aren't any villains in her works. Conflict is created with grudges, misunderstandings, jelousy, rage, ambition and differences of opinions between the characters. One re-occuring theme in her works through all the conflicts the casts go through together is that ultimately friendship prevails.

Each and every wonderful character has an immature and childish nature. The casts of her manga do mature as their respective series moves on, but they always retain some of their immature behavior. A symbol in most of her works that she sometimes inserts is the image of a baby chick who makes the sound "piyo piyo." The chick is the symbol of immaturity and suggests that the characters will remain innocent and immature forever. Perhaps this re-occuring theme in her works stems from her own name. If we analyse the name Rumiko it becomes a three-ideogram name which breaks down as follows

Ru (to stay or remain) - Mi (beautiful) - Ko (child)

The popularity of her comics lies with her talent for understanding and depicting the intricate web of human relationships. Even in her early days she had already developed her acute awareness of how people think and the fine lines between love and hate. Seeing as comic creators tend to be a bit anti-social, it is surprising that she has developed the ability to understand people and human nature so well. Many are equally surpised that she has a unique ability to see life from the perspective of both males and females.

She is undeniably my favorite manga artist and writer ever. I have read a lot of great manga in my lifetime and her comics are the only ones that I can still get excited over. My three favorite manga series of all time, Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku and Ranma 1/2 are all her creations. No other writer on the face of the earth can make stories like Takahashi.