Akamatsu, Ken 1968-
AKAMATSU, Ken 1968-
PERSONAL: Born July 5, 1968, in Kanagawa, Japan; married. Hobbies and other interests: Hentai doujinshi.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Del Rey, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Anime artist and writer. Performed voice of Akamatsu-sensei in Love Hina television series and specials.
A. I. Love You, Tokyopop (Tokyo, Japan), 1994–97, English translations published in five volumes, 2004.
Love Hina (graphic novel series; first published in Shonen magazine, 1998-2001), Tokyopop (Tokyo, Japan), Volumes 1-5, 1999, Volumes 6-9, 2000, Volumes 10-13, 2001, Volume 14, 2002, English translations published in fourteen volumes, Volume 1 translated by Anita Sengupta, Volume 3 translated by Nan Rymer with retouch and lettering by Max Porter, Volumes 1-7, 2002, Volumes 7-14, 2003.
Negima!: Magister Negi Magi (graphic novel series; first published in Shonen, 2003), published in seven volumes, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan), English translations, Del Rey (New York, NY), Volume 1 translated by Hajime Honda, Volume 2 translated by Douglas Varenas and adapted by Peter David and Kathleen O'Shea David, Volumes 1-4, 2004, Volumes 5-6, 2005.
Love Hina: Perfect Collection, 2002.
Mao-Chan (also known as Earth Defender Mao-Chan and Ground Defense Force Mao-Chan), Volume 2: Go! Unified Defense Force, 2003, Volume 3: Song of Defense, 2004, and Volume 4: Let's Defend Happiness!, 2004.
Also creator of the television series Mao-Chan.
ADAPTATIONS: Love Hina was adapted as a television series and television specials by Xebec and TV Tokyo; Negima!: Magister Negi Magi was adapted for television under the title Mahou Sensei Negima!, 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Ken Akamatsu is the author of several popular series of manga, or Japanese comic-book series, three of which have been translated into English. All three series center around young men who are having numerous difficulties with the females in their lives. Akamatsu's first series to be translated into English, A. I. Love You, features a computer geek named Hitoshi Kobe who creates an artificially intelligent program that simulates a girl with whom he can flirt. When a power surge caused by lightning turns the program into a real girl and frees her from the computer, it complicates Hitoshi's life immensely.
The next series, Love Hina, is about a teenager named Keitaro Urashima who is trying to pass the entrance exam to get into the prestigious Tokyo University. Not only does Keitaro want to go to this university to get a good education, but, perhaps more importantly, fifteen years ago he promised a girl—the only girl ever to notice him—that they would both meet again there as students and live happily ever after. However, passing the entrance exam would probably be easier had he not wound up as caretaker of his grandmother's Hinata Lodge, which has been turned into a dormitory and is home to five women. None of the lodgers like Keitaro, and they all gang up to make his life as miserable as possible. Because the series, like most of Akamatsu's work, is aimed at pre-teen girls—and because Keitaro is such a bumbler—very little of the sexual potential of the situation is realized. However, Keitaro's clumsiness does lead to many instances of his inadvertently groping the women of the household, which generally provokes a violent response. "This heavy reliance on sitcom-type humor helps sustain the frothiness of the proceedings, reinforced by Akamatsu's clean, expert drawings," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Other critics also commented favorably on Akamatsu's illustrations for this series. A MangaManiacs.org contributor praised the series' "very clean lines, streamlined features and distinctive hairstyles," while Library Journal reviewer Steve Raiteri praised the artwork as "clean [and] energetic."
Negima!: Magister Negi Magi "continues Akamatsu's tradition of excellence," Scott Pepper declared on Blogcritics.org. Like Love Hina, Negima! also features a hapless young man in the midst of a group of scheming girls. "Aside from some Harry Potter influences," Raiteri wrote in Library Journal, "this enjoyable book is basically Love Hina redux with even more girls." In this case, the male is ten-year-old Negi Springfield, recently graduated from wizardry school and now an English teacher at a Japanese girls' school. One of Negi's magical skills is the ability to remove people's clothes when he sneezes, which leads to some embarrassing situations when he sneezes unexpectedly. The story is "silly," a critic commented in Publishers Weekly, adding that, nonetheless, readers "should enjoy Akamatsu's real fondness for his cast and inventive, energetic cartooning, which is as loopy and manic as the story."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, September 1, 2002, Steve Raiteri, review of Love Hina, Volume 1, p. 148; September 1, 2004, Steve Raiteri, review of Negima!: Magister Negi Magi, Volume 1, p. 147.
Publishers Weekly, July 28, 2003, review of Love Hina, Volume 4, p. 81; May 17, 2004, review of Negima!, p. 36.
A. I. Love Network, http://www.ailove.net/ (November 3, 2004).
Anime News Network Online, http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/ (November 3, 2004), "Ken Akamatsu."
Blogcritics.org, http://blogcritics.org/ (August 29, 2004), Scott Pepper, review of Negima!
MangaManiacs.org, http://www.mangamaniacs.org/ (November 3, 2004), review of Love Hina.
Random House Web site, http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/ (November 3, 2004), "Author Dekstop: Ken Atamatsu."
TVTome.com, http://www.tvtome.com/ (November 3, 2004), "Ken Akamatsu."*