Slightly Custom 30 Days of Manga Day Three My Favourite Creator: Masanori Morita
Choosing a favourite creator for this was like the hardest thing. It’s like picking your favourite anything, in that you are a fluid human being whose opinions are affected by time, changes in taste, changes in the thing itself, so on and so forth. So I reserve all rights to totally backtrack from this choice if Morita turns out to be a huge arsehole or something.
That said, Masanori Morita is currently, at this moment in time, one of my favourite creators. His work, particularly on ROOKIES and Beshari Gurashi, has been some of the most interesting to read, and eye-blisteringly beautiful to look at over my entire decade spent reading comics. There’s something to his style, his use of weird, pouty expressions, his carefully crafted delinquents and high levels of detail that just means I can stare at his work for hours on end.
His character work’s great as well, even as far back as Good-for-nothing BLUES (Rokudenashi BLUES to some), which considering that title was basically about a really stupid thug is really saying something, but in Morita’s typical approach to characters, especially his delinquents, he’s able to show that everyone, no matter how one-note they may seem, have several layers to their personality that makes you care deeply about them.
ROOKIES is best for this. It’s an ensemble book, with the majority of perspective coming from an outider, the new baseball coach and teacher Koichi Kawato. So what we get is a look at what appears to be a team full of abrasive arseholes, as it would appear to an outsider, but as time passes and Koichi gets close to his team, and helps them with various problems, he learns that all of them are special, full of personality, and far more than their reputation would dictate. It’s something hard to pull off, but Morita does this with aplomb, and few other creators can claim to do the same.
If you’ve not read any Morita before, I recommend ROOKIES above all, but his other Jump titles are excellent in their own right, BLUES showing a rougher, fresher creator, and Beshari Gurashi showing a more mature Morita, telling immature jokes. No, for real it’s a drama about stand-up comedy, and a lot of the jokes are brilliantly immature. Some aren’t, but are funny all the same. I love it.