A true bestselling author, Fujimoto Tatsuki is on the rise among manga readers. A 27-year-old manga artist with both simple and complex stories to tell, the author clearly stands out. In today’s column, we draw the portrait of the mangaka Fujimoto Tatsuki with his last two works published: Fire punch and Chainsaw man.
Fire punch: an ode to the cinema?
A well-informed film buff, the manga artist loves the big screen. This passion for the 7th art blooms in Fire Punch. The author does not hesitate to incorporate cinematographic references in his manga, like Akira, Star Wars, Pulp fiction, Diehard, MAD Max 2 … everything goes.
Both misunderstood and a true genius, the author could be recognized as the Quentin Tarantino of manga.
Fujimoto Tatsuki integrates Togata’s complex character into Fire Punch. Presented as an unfriendly, very energetic character, Togata is, like its author, a fan of cinema. The manga takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where movies no longer exist. Cinema very quickly leaves an unbridled passion that, over time, will dissipate. Lacking audio-visual stimuli, she hears about a human torch named Agni seeking revenge and devastating everything in its path. Wanting to become the director, not a spectator, of Agni’s life, Togata will do anything to make the best film possible.
Togata’s passion and will are so strong that she manipulates others to make them act as she sees fit. Having one of the main story arches, Togata is probably the most important character in the work. She manipulates his “extras” as she pleases to give a frame and continuity to his film, and this manipulative side will be the common thread of the first part of the series.
Manipulative, unfriendly, and selfish, Togata will have quite an impressive character development! She will come out of her shell, and it is hard when you are more than 300 years old! Her hyperactive side is in fact only a facade to escape from her true self that she finds disgusting and pessimistic. Togata and the reader will come to realize that she is ultimately just one more actor in this cinematic masquerade.
The integration of this character is therefore very quickly transformed into a narrative process: the author brilliantly manages to incorporate pop culture references into his manga. This process allows Fujimoto to incorporate monologues like in a cult film.
The appearance of Togata in the story is a very interesting approach since by using references, the author breaks the 4th wall while giving the impression that Togata is talking to readers. The film Togata wants to make represents the work within the work.
Chainsaw man: a shônen like no other!
Written by the same author, Chainsaw man and Fire punch are opposed. Chainsaw man is a manga that surprises with its atmosphere, concept, theme, character … everything is different between the two works. This counterbalance offers us two very unique works.
Telling the life of young Denji, Chainsaw man plunges us into a chaotic, gory, and psychedelic world at will. The author propels us into the life of Denji who, when he is attacked by a group of yakuza zombies controlled by a demon, will have to become one of the monsters to survive. His nature forever changed, Denji will become a half-man, half-demon creature: he will become Chainsaw man. This mishap will prove to be a salvation. This anti-hero-like hero is different from the usual shônen heroes. Selfish at will, blasé, without great ambitions, disinterested in the opportunities that his new powers could offer him, Denji presents himself as a unilaterally simplistic hero.
In Chainsaw man, there is no quest to become the pirate lord, Hokage, or even Emperor mage. Dazzled by feminine charms, having a roof, and something to eat, our hero takes refuge in the small pleasures of life. These casual aspirations offer a contrast to the world filled with demons and liters of blood that make up the world around it.
This breath of fresh air which gives a lot of humanity to the main character is an innovative approach in itself. The adventures of Denji is a story freed from the frameworks and codes of the shônen. In the end, Chainsaw man represents the story of a guy who, full of flaws and qualities, is simply the witness of the choices that life offers him.
Fujimoto Tatsuki, a young mangaka who is shaking up the codes of the genre, is an author to watch closely. He showed us that he could show boundless narrative creativity and imagination. It’s even truer looking at the last one-shot that he wrote: Look back. The author knows how to balance the unspoken rules of his profession and pop culture. A yet ba acclaimed genius, the author has a promising career in the world of manga in front of him.