What’s the worst thing that could happen if you love a manga series or a light novel too much? Could it be the deaths of your favorite characters? Or simply the end of the series? Those things are terrible news to fans but above all, the worst thing that could ever happen is when the mangaka or light novel authors die before they could complete the series! Like, how are we gonna find out what happen in the end?? Sometimes, the series may be continued by other mangaka or authors but it may not feel the same anymore. Below we list down the top 10 mangaka and light novel authors who have broken the hearts of many fans through their deaths before the completion of the series:
10. Akinari Matsuno, light novel author (MM!)
MM! is a light novel series which fits into the genre of romantic comedy and harem. Taro Sado is a masochist who wants to be cured of his masochism after he falls in love with a girl. However, Taro is not aware that the girl he is in love with is actually his cross-dressing male friend named Tatsukichi Hayama.
Akinari Matsuno passed away at the age of 32 in April 2011. There was no word in the news about Akinari Matsuno’s cause of death. Due to his sudden death, the light novel series was left hanging at volume 12. MM! has also been adapted into manga series (7 volumes) and anime series (12 episodes).
9. Keiji Nakazawa, mangaka of Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen)
Barefoot Gen is loosely based on the experience of Keiji Nakazawa who is a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In Barefoot Gen, the main character is Gen Nakaoka, a 6-year-old boy who lives with his poor family. After Hiroshima is destroyed by the atomic bomb, Gen and the other survivors are left to go through the aftermath.
Barefoot Gen touches the subject about the tragedies of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It has also been used as a teaching device in schools’ history lessons. Keiji Nakazawa was forced to abandoned Barefoot Gen due to cancer treatments and failing eyesight. Keiji Nakazawa is a lifelong smoker who succumbed to death at the age of 73 in 2012, leaving the series unfinished.
8. Sunao Yoshida, light novel author of Trinity Blood
When the population of the world increased significantly, humans attempted to colonize Mars. They discovered the Bacillus virus and the Crusnik nanomachines. The Bacillus virus was injected into the bodies of the colonists turning them into Methuselahs, while the Crusnik nanomachines was installed into 4 test tube babies who were given the names Seth, Cain, Abel, and Lilith.
Sunao Yoshida was known for his light novels which include Trinity Blood that was originally serialized in The Sneaker magazine. In 2004, Sunao Yoshida faced an untimely death a lung blockage (Pulmonary Embolism). The Sneaker magazine’s popularity decreased drastically after the death of Sunao Yoshida. The series is continued by Kentaro Yasui.
7. Ken Ishikawa, mangaka of Getter Robo
Getter Robo’s storyline revolves around 3 teenagers (Ryoma Nagare, Hayato Jin and Musashi Tomoe) who pilot 3 combat jets that could be combined into 3 huge Getter robots. The robots are called Getter-1, Getter-2, and Getter-3 which has its own specialty. Getter-1 is great for flight combat, Getter-2 is suitable for ground combat, and Getter-3 is ideal for marine combat. Getter Robo is regarded as phenomenal in mecha genre due to its introduction of separate machines combining to form a big robot. This combination and transformation idea has proved to be popular with many super robot genre later on.
The series was created by Ken Ishikawa and Go Nagai. Ken Ishikawa suddenly died in 2006 due to heart failure after a game of golf, leaving the series at a major cliffhanger. After his death, a spin-off manga based on his notes was published. Getter Robo has inspired the creation of Gurren Lagann, and also the design of the 3 main characters in SNK’s King of Fighters ‘94.
6. Takahiro Yamato, light novel author of Kaze no Stigma
In Kaze no Stigma, Kazuma Kannagi is the eldest son and also presumed heir of the Kannagi family. However, he is unable to control the power of fire, which leads to him being considered useless in his family. After he is defeated by his younger cousin, Kazuma is banished from his family, until four years later, when he returns as one who can control wind.
Kaze no Stigma is a light novel series written by Takahiro Yamato. The series had also been adapted into a popular anime. After Takahiro Yamato passed away in July 2009, the story remains incomplete at 11 volumes. The news about his death is mysterious as it is difficult to ascertain his cause of death, age, and date of birth.
5. Kaoru Tada, mangaka of Itazura na Kiss (ItaKiss)
Itazura na Kiss is a shojo manga series that quickly became so popular and made Kaoru Tada become known in Japan. It is a romantic comedy series revolving around 2 teenagers named Kotoko Aihara, and Naoki Irie. Due to a mild earthquake that ruins Kotoko’s house, Kotoko and her dad stay at the house of her dad’s childhood best friend, whose son is Naoki. Eventually, Naoki starts to have feelings for Kotoko.
Kaoru Tada died in an unexpected accident while moving to a new house in 1999. She hit her head on a marble table and then died from cerebral hemorrhage three weeks later. She was 38. Therefore, Itazura na Kiss is not completed, but her husband informed the anime produces about the ending which Kaoru had planned.
4. Noboru Yamaguchi, light novel author of Zero no Tsukaima (The Familiar of Zero)
Zero no Tsukaima is the story of a girl named Louise whose magic skills are poor and often result in explosions. As she is unable to use any of the 4 magic elements, Louise is called “Louise the Zero”. When it comes to summoning a familiar which would serve as an eternal guardian, she summons an ordinary teenage boy named Saito Hiraga instead.
Zero no Tsukaima is a series of light novels written by Noboru Yamaguchi. From 2004 to 2011, 20 novels were published. Noboru Yamaguchi died at the age of 41 in April 2013 as a result of advanced stage cancer of which he was diagnosed in 2011. He had planned that the novel would end at book 22. The series was later continued by another author.
3. Yoshito Usui, mangaka of Crayon Shin Chan
The main character in Crayon Shin Chan is none other than a 5-year-old kid referred to as Shin Chan. The series follow the adventure of this little kid which revolves around his family, friends, neighbors, dogs, and teachers. The series is very popular in many countries, especially in East Asia as the jokes can be translated more accurately.
The simplicity of the art style of Crayon Shin Chan may have led you to underestimate the series before you actually read it. When you eventually read it, you found yourself laughing uncontrollably and people in the surrounding area gave you strange stares. The mangaka, Yoshito Usui, died in September 2009 upon falling down a cliff in Mount Arafune. The death of Yoshito Usui is not the end of Shin Chan though because his team began a new manga series called The New Crayon Shin-chan!
2. Fujiko F. Fujio, mangaka of Doraemon
The most famous cat in the world is undoubtedly Doraemon. Although some may refute this proclamation and say that Hello Kitty is the most popular one, we think Doraemon has a wider appeal to both genders. Doraemon is a manga series by Fujiko F. Fujio which tells the story of a robotic cat named Doraemon that travels back in time in order to help out a boy called Nobita Nobi.
Fujiko F. Fujio died in 1996 due to liver cancer. He was found dead at his desk while still holding his pen. No one knew what the ending of Doraemon would be as the manga series came to a halt at volume 45. However, the legacy of Doraemon is continued with various spinoffs such as Doraemon’s Adventures Series.
1. Osamu Tezuka, mangaka (Phoenix)
Phoenix is considered to be the life’s work of Osamu Tezuka. The stories in the manga are self-contained but work towards a converging timeline. Each story has the common theme of the quest of immortality, which in the series is either unattainable or is a dreadful curse. Supposedly, Osamu Tezuka was inspired to create this series after listening to Ivor Stravinsky’s music.
The story of Phoenix has never been completed to the death of Osamu Tezuka in 1989. The cause of his death was stomach cancer. A dedicated artist even when faced with a terminal illness, Osamu Tezuka’s purported last words were “I’m begging you; Let me work!” when the nurse took away his drawing tools.
It is so scary to think that our favorite manga or light novels would end up abruptly due to the sudden deaths of the mangaka and light novel author. Some of the series are continued by other mangaka or authors which is great, because at least there would be an ending. We think that all mangaka and authors should write down the plot or at least the ending somewhere so somebody would continue it should they die before the series is completed (touchwood!). Let us know in the comments which other mangaka or light novel authors that have passed away and leave your favorite manga or light novels hanging.