Elfen Lied Creator Laments His Failure to Become a Master Artist
Lynn Okamoto, the creator of Elfen Lied, took to Twitter/X on October 29, 2023, in a viral thread that many took to be an iconic figure lamenting the failure of his career. He found that despite penning well-received works, such as Elfen Lied, Nononono, Brynhildr in the Darkness, Kimi wa Midara na Boku no Joo, and Parallel Paradise, he had not become a master artist.
He also revealed a piece of criticism levied at him from his rookie mangaka days that stuck with him:
“I first submitted work for Young Jump, and while I didn’t have the experience of being torn apart in particular, what was harsh to hear at the time was ‘Everyone aiming to be a manga artist loves drawing pictures and has drawn every day since middle school. Okamoto-kun, you’re different, right? That’s why you’re bad at it.‘ Being lectured about that goes all the way back to my middle school days.“
Elfen Lied‘s success enabled Okamoto to become one of the few mangaka who is financially self-sufficient. Nevertheless, he left advice for any would-be mangaka so as to not turn out as he did. “Even though I have been a manga artist for over 20 years now, and have lived drawing manga for enough time to raise infants into adults rather than just since middle school, I haven’t become some master artist. What’s important for improving your drawing skill isn’t the time period you’ve drawn for, but whether or not you like drawing. Therefore, those who want to become master artists but think drawing pictures is a hassle will never become master artists. Myself included. I once saw my assistant who was insanely good at drawing, doodling in their sketchbook during work breaks, and thought there’s no way I can win against the kind of freak who draws pictures even during breaks from drawing job work.“
Lynn Okamoto’s Elfen Lied manga ran from June 2002 to August 2005 in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine and was licensed for North America by Dark Horse Comics. The manga series has published 12 volumes and spawned a popular anime adaptation. Centered around the main character Lucy, Elfen Lied received praise for its exploration of dark themes but also drew criticisms for its nudity and graphic violence. Okamoto’s latest work, Parallel Paradise, serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine, has over 3mn copies in circulation.
Seven Seas Entertainment licenses Parallel Paradise for North America and gives the official synopsis:
A normal day at school takes a strange turn for Tada Yota when a bizarre apparition shoves him out a third-floor window. He awakens in a fantasy realm unlike any other. Not only do dragons and knights exist, but every single inhabitant of this world is a voluptuous babe! No men have been seen in the kingdom for thousands of years, so Yota is about to get very, very lucky. Whether Yota has actually died or been transported to this place for mysterious, unknown reasons… either way, it’s his version of Paradise!
Source: Official X
© Lynn Okamoto, KODANSHA / Elfen Lied Anime Production Committee