Go Nagai 78th Birthday

GO NAGAI, TOKYO N-87

Nostalgia King takes a second to celebrate the 78th birthday of legendary manga artist Kiyoshi Nagai but better known to the world as Go Nagai.  Go Nagai (born Sept. 6, 1945) created an incredible world of some of our beloved manga characters including our favorite giant robot Mazinger, Grendizer, Devilman and Cutie Honey. He is credited with creating the Super Robot genre and for designing the first mecha robots piloted by a user from within a cockpit with Mazinger Z. As a child, he was influenced by the work of Gustave Doré (specifically, a Japanese edition of the Divine Comedy) and Osamu Tezuka (his brother Yasutaka gave him a copy of Lost World).

With the help of his brother Yasutaka, he created his first manga works. Aiming to be a manga artist, despite the fact that his mother opposed his manga career, he submitted his works for publication finding many rejected. It is said that when the young Nagai submitted his tables to publishers, his mother secretly convinced publishers to reject them. However, his work was noticed by Shōnen Sunday, which contacted Shotaro Ishinomori.Thanks to some trial manga he created with the help of his brother Yasutaka, he was finally accepted in the studio of Ishinomori in 1965.

The trial manga was about a science fiction ninja, and was a prototype for a different story, Kuro no Shishi. Nagai was 19 years old when he made this work; it started at 15 or 16 pages and ended up being 88 pages long after a year, and was untitled at that time. Ishinomori saw this work and praised Nagai for it, but commented that the design was too chunky and should improve it a little. Two or three days later, Nagai was invited to become an assistant with Ishinomori and this work was forgotten until 2007, when it was published for the first time, in the magazine Comic Ran TWINS Sengoku Busho Retsuden (コミック乱 TWINS 戦国武将列伝) by LEED, under the name Satsujinsha (殺刃者(さつじんしゃ)). His professional career began in 1967, despite the opposition of his mother.