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This article is about a/an creator/manga artist in the Kamen Rider Series.
Shotaro Ishinomori

Shotaro Ishinomori

Shotaro Ishinomori (石ノ森 章太郎 Ishinomori Shōtarō?, January 25, 1938 – January 28, 1998) was a Japanese manga artist who became an influential figure in manga, anime, and tokusatsu, creating several immensely popular long-running series such as Cyborg 009 and Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, what would go on to become part of the Super Sentai series, and the Kamen Rider Series. He was twice awarded by the Shogakukan Manga Award, in 1968 for Sabu to Ichi Torimono Hikae and in 1988 for Hotel and Manga Nihon Keizai Nyumon. He was born and named Shotaro Onodera (小野寺 章太郎 Onodera Shōtarō?) in Tome, Miyagi, and was also known as Shotaro Ishimori (石森 章太郎 Ishimori Shōtarō?) before 1986, when he changed his family name to Ishinomori with "ノ".

Background Edit

Born Shotaro Onodera to Kotaro and Kashiku Onodera as their first son, Shotaro grew up in the town of Ishinomori in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture. His interest in manga started in middle school and started his own group with people called Bokuju Itteki (meaning a drop of ink) after a book by Shiki Masaoka. He would enter several manga-related competitions, even winning a few of them. In his first year of high school, Shotaro submitted a piece to Manga Shonen where it caught the attention of famed mangaka, Osamu Tezuka. Asked to be his assistant, Shotaro accepted, working before and after mid-terms. Working with Tezuka, Shotaro became involved with Toei, participating in the production of Journey to the West. Tezuka also introduced Shotaro to his future wife Toshiko. He also became involved with several other companies, establishing Studio Zero with Shinichi Suzuki and joining the Japan Cartoonists Association (eventually, becoming managing director). Thirty years after publishing 2nd Class Angel, Shotaro changed his family name to Ishimori. Eventually dying from heart failure, Ishinomori was awarded several awards including the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.

Body of work Edit

Cyborg 009, created in 1964, became the first superpowered hero team created in Japan. That same year, Kazumasa Hirai and Jiro Kuwata created Japan's first cyborg superhero, 8 Man (which predated Kamen Rider by eight years). The success of the tokusatsu superhero TV series Kamen Rider, produced by Toei Company Ltd. in 1971, led to the birth of the "henshin" (transforming) superhero (human-sized superheroes who transform by doing a pose, and use martial arts to fight henchmen and the weekly monster), and resulted in many sequel shows to this day. Ishinomori then created many similar superhero dramas, including Android Kikaider , Henshin Ninja Arashi, Inazuman, Robotto Keiji, Secret Task Force Goranger (the first Super Sentai series), Kaiketsu Zubat, Akumaizer 3, Sarutobi Ecchan and countless others. He even created popular children's shows such as Hoshi no Ko Chobin (Chobin, Child of the Stars, 1974, a co-production with Studio Zero which was a major success on Italian television), and Ganbare!! Robokon.

Ishinomori's art is quite reminiscent of that of his mentor, Osamu Tezuka. The true story of his first meeting with Tezuka was illustrated in a short four-page tale drawn up as supplementary material for the 1970s Astro Boy manga reprints. Around 1955, Ishinomori submitted work to a contest seeking new talent in the magazine, Manga Shonen. Tezuka was impressed by his drawings and asked Ishinomori to help him with Astro Boy. In the American release, this story can be seen in Volume 15, along with Ishinomori's earliest work on the "Electro" story arc.

There was also a The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past comic created for the U.S. Nintendo Power magazine by Shotaro Ishinomori. Loosely based on the game, this telling portrayed Link's parents as Knights of Hyrule, lost to the Dark World. It also included other original characters such as Link's fairy guide and companion, Epheremelda (long before this concept was introduced to the series, unless one counts the Super Mario Bros. Super Show's Legend of Zelda segments); and Roam, a descendant of the Knights of Hyrule who fought in the Imprisoning War. (Roam bears a striking resemblance to 002 from Cyborg 009 who could also fly as a result of changing into his beast form in the Dark World.) The comic ran as a serial in NP starting in January 1992 (Volume 32) and ran in 12 parts. It was later collected in graphic novel form.

Later life Edit

At the end of 1997, Kazuhiko Shimamoto, a young and up and coming mangaka was contacted by an increasingly ill Shotaro Ishinomori and asked if he would do a continuation (though more along the lines of a remake) of his 100-page, one-shot manga from 1970, Skull Man (the manga that became the basis for Kamen Rider). Ishinomori, who had been one of Shimamoto's boyhood heroes, faxed him copies of the proposed story and plot notes. Shimamoto was astounded that he had been chosen to work on his idol's final, great work.

Shimamoto had already been involved in the revival of one of Ishinomori's other earlier works (including Kamen Rider) but little did he dream that, as only one of many whom Ishinomori had inspired, he would be chosen for the final collaboration and resurrection of Skull Man. It was also recently adapted into an anime in 2007.

Death Edit

Ishinomori died of heart failure on January 28, 1998. His final work was the tokusatsu superhero TV series, Voicelugger, televised months later. A manga museum named in his honor opened in Ishinomaki, Miyagi in 2001.

His work posthumously awarded him the Guinness World Record for most comics published by one author, totaling over 128,000 pages.

Motifs/Themes Edit

  • Heroes with distinctive scarves (serve almost as miniature capes without the cumbersomeness)
    • 1st gen Kamen Rider: Kamen Rider 1 (red), 2 (red), V3 (white), Riderman (yellow), X (black and yellow stripes with a red X), Amazon (white), Stronger (white), Skyrider (red), Super-1 (red), ZX (green)
    • Cyborg 009: All 00s except 001 (orange or yellow)
    • Henshin Ninja Arashi: Hayate (untransformed) (orange), Arashi (transformed) (purple)
    • Kaiketsu Zubat (white)
    • Inazuman (yellow) and Inazuman Flash (orange)
    • Akumaizer 3: Zabitan (white) and Evil (red)
    • Chôjin Bibyun (sequel of Akumaizer 3): Bibyun (brownish beige, normally green)
  • Anti-heroes early for their time: Skull Man, some aspects of Hakaida of Kikaida series, Cyborg 0013 of Cyborg 009 series
  • Heroes torn between humanity and inhumanity (influenced by Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy [itself a basis of Pinocchio], and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein): Cyborg 009 series, Kamen Rider series, Kikaider series
  • Egg/oval shaped eyes: Kamen Rider series, Kikaider series, Robotto Keiji, Henshin Ninja Arashi series, Skull Man, Inazuman series, Evil of Akumaizer 3, Chôjin Bibyun series
  • Skull/skeleton: Black Ghost (Cyborg 009), Skull Man, Shocker and Destron style soldiers (Kamen Rider 1/2/V3), Skull Rider
  • The few underdog heroes vs. an evil organization that dominates every facet of the world
  • The irony of turning those who were intended for evil to fight for justice and define a new life purpose

External linksEdit

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