Obata Takeshi and Ayatsuri Sakon

Karakurizoshi Ayatsuri Sakon by Sharakumaro and Obata Takeshi

I’ve often said that I don’t really play favourites, and there are many series that I go back to over the years, but one constant favourite is Ayatsuri Sakon which mixes culture and mystery/crime. I think the last time I talked about it was in 2012, which was ported over from Oshibanashiori. You can read more about the series and how I found out about it there.

Recently I revisited it after I wrote about a left-align problem in a piece of software, and I’ve spent the last week working my way through the series again on YouTube, though no doubt it will disappear again eventually.

It was only then, however, that I realised that the original manga was illustrated by none other than Obata Takeshi of Death Note, Hikaru no Go and Bakuman fame. His drawing style is immediately recognisable in the artwork on my software post, but I’m uncertain as to whether it is a more recent illustration or a past work.

Obata Takeshi has created some original works, but is well known for his collaborations with writers, his detailed artwork and ability to keep up with the latest trends and fashions. It’s really a sign of his versatility and ingenuity when you consider that he has been active for 25 years and see how his style has changed and flexed.

Although there are artists that have been active much longer, their style has not always been quite as versatile, for example many artists establish their own style and continue with it for much of their professional careers — which is what makes them recognisable, I guess. Obata’s work on Ayatsuri Sakon resembled the drawing style of artists like Takahashi Rumiko (Inuyasha, Ranma1/2, Urusei Yatsura), but his style now is very different and quite modern. It is only every now and then you can make the connections.

I guess it’s a reminder of how we all need to continually improve and work on keeping up to date, reinventing ourselves. Difficult, yet necessary.

I took a look in Kinokuniya last weekend to see if the Karakurizōshi Ayatsuri Sakon manga is still around, but I guess it was a little silly to hope they would stock a 19 year old manga. Regardless, I would really love to get my hands on it someday.

Karakurizoshi Ayatsuri Sakon by Sharakumaro and Obata Takeshi. Bakuman by Ohba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi.
Artworks are not mine, used for demonstrative purposes.