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Naoki Urasawa: The Acclaimed Manga Artist Behind Iconic Series like Monster, 20th Century Boys, and Pluto

Naoki Urasawa is a highly acclaimed and renowned manga artist, known for his captivating storytelling and masterful illustration skills. With a career spanning over three decades, Urasawa has created some of the most iconic and enduring manga series of all time, earning him widespread critical acclaim and a devoted fanbase.

Naoki Urasawa

Early Life and Education

Naoki Urasawa was born on January 2, 1960, in Tokyo, Japan. From a young age, he had a passion for drawing and storytelling, and he knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in the world of manga. Growing up, he was heavily influenced by the works of Osamu Tezuka and other legendary manga artists, and he spent much of his childhood reading and studying their comics.

After graduating from high school, Urasawa attended the prestigious Nihon University College of Art, where he studied graphic design and illustration. It was during this time that he began to hone his craft, experimenting with different styles and techniques, and developing his unique voice as a manga artist. He graduated in 1983 and began working as an assistant for various manga artists.

Naoki Urasawa Career

In 1982, he visited Shogakukan to apply for a job and brought with him some of his manga drawings. Though an editor from Weekly Shonen Sunday rejected him, the head editor of Big Comic Original was intrigued by his work and offered him a spot in their editorial department. Urasawa submitted his work for the 1982 New Manga Artist Award and won with his piece “Return.” This marked the beginning of his professional career as a manga artist.

Urasawa made his debut in 1983 with “Beta!” published in a special issue of Golgo 13. He then created “Dancing Policeman” the following year. In 1985, he began his first major work, “Pineapple Army,” which he illustrated while Kazuya Kudo wrote. The series ran until 1988 and was collected into eight volumes. While working on “Pineapple Army,” Urasawa also began “Yawara!” in 1986, which he wrote and illustrated himself. The series earned him the 1989 Shogakukan Manga Award and was adapted into a live-action film and an anime television series.

After the success of “Yawara!” and “Pineapple Army,” Urasawa continued to create hit series, including “Master Keaton,” “Monster,” and “20th Century Boys.” Each series was well-received and earned him numerous awards and recognition, including the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize and multiple Shogakukan Manga Awards. In 2008, Urasawa began working for Kodansha and serialized “Billy Bat.” He also took on a teaching position at Nagoya Zokei University, where he taught the “Modern Expression Course: Manga Classes.”

In 2010, Urasawa was named the 10th mangaka to change the history of manga by Oricon. In 2012, he wrote the sequel to “Master Keaton,” titled “Master Keaton Remaster,” and contributed to the essay series “The Old Guys” published in Shueisha’s Jump X magazine. Urasawa’s contributions, along with those of 32 other writers, were collected into a volume in 2015.

Throughout his career, Urasawa has proven to be a talented manga artist and a true master of his craft. His dedication and passion have earned him a place in the hearts of fans and earned him a lasting legacy in the world of manga.

Naoki Urasawa Manga's Masterpieces: 20th Century Boys, Pluto, and Monster

Naoki Urasawa’s impact on the world of manga and anime can be seen in his three major works: 20th Century Boys, Pluto, and Monster. Each of these works showcases Urasawa’s unique style and mastery of the manga art form, and they have been beloved by fans all over the world.

20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys is a science fiction thriller that follows a group of friends as they try to stop a mysterious cult from destroying the world. This series is notable for its intricate and well-crafted storyline, as well as its complex and well-developed characters. The series was highly acclaimed by both fans and critics, and it remains one of Urasawa’s most popular works to this day.


Pluto is a science fiction manga that reimagines the classic Astro Boy story, and it is widely regarded as one of the greatest reinterpretations of a classic anime character in history. This series explores complex themes of identity, justice, and morality, and it is notable for its intricate and detailed artwork, as well as its thought-provoking storyline.



Monster is a psychological thriller that follows the story of a young doctor who becomes involved in a series of terrifying events. This series is notable for its intense and suspenseful storyline, as well as its well-drawn and complex characters. The series was highly acclaimed by both fans and critics, and it remains one of Urasawa’s most beloved works to this day.

Naoki Urasawa Art Style and Techniques

In addition to his attention to detail, Urasawa is known for his unique storytelling style and his use of complex characters and intricate plot twists. He is also known for his use of multiple narrative perspectives, which allow him to tell a story from multiple angles and give readers a more comprehensive understanding of the characters and events.

One of the hallmark techniques of Urasawa’s style is his ability to seamlessly blend different genres, such as mystery, drama, and thriller. This ability has allowed him to create manga that appeal to a wide range of audiences, from fans of action and adventure to those who prefer more introspective, character-driven works.

Another aspect of Urasawa’s style that sets him apart is his use of symbolism and metaphor. He often incorporates symbolic elements into his stories, such as recurring images or motifs, that add depth and meaning to his work. This attention to detail and use of symbolism helps to create a rich and immersive experience for readers, and it is one of the reasons why Urasawa’s work has been so well-received.


Naoki Urasawa’s impact on the world of manga and anime cannot be overstated. His unique style, attention to detail, and dedication to his craft have inspired countless artists and writers, and his works continue to be loved and appreciated by fans all over the world.

Urasawa’s manga series have been translated into multiple languages, including English, French, German, and Italian, making him one of the few Japanese manga artists to achieve international recognition. His works have also been adapted into anime series, live-action dramas, and even Hollywood films, further cementing his legacy as one of the greatest manga artists of all time.

In addition to his impact on the world of manga and anime, Urasawa has also had a significant impact on Japanese pop culture as a whole. His works have been the subject of academic studies and critical analysis, and he has been honored with numerous awards and accolades throughout his career.


In conclusion, Naoki Urasawa is a master of the manga and anime arts, whose unique style, intricate characters, and captivating storylines have left a lasting impact on the world. His works continue to be loved and enjoyed by fans all over the world, and his legacy as one of the greatest manga artists of all time will never be forgotten. If you are a fan of manga and anime, or if you are simply looking for a great story, we highly recommend checking out the works of Naoki Urasawa.