The Editor’s Impact on a Manga

Bakuman ©Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata 2010


Behind every successful manga is an editor that supports that artist. 

A manga editor’s role is crucial to how a manga and its stories progress. This individual mainly works for the publishing company and is teamed up with the mangaka to keep the work up to the magazine’s standards where the manga currently runs.

At which point does an editor’s job begin?

Tofugu ©Mami Suzuki 2015

The job of a manga editor starts with the submissions by aspiring artists. They look at one-shots and determine which manga can run in a specific magazine. Their job is to search for talents. And once these artists finally have serialized works, the editor’s duty then becomes the nurturer.

How Manga Editors Work with Artists

You can think of the editor as the mangaka’s supervisor. Their honest feedback comes right after the submission of a name. In serialization, they oversee the entire creation process.

They review the work from a reader’s standpoint. When the editor is not satisfied with the first draft, they deliver advice on improving it. Check out our post about the manga name to see how an editor evaluates it.

It is in the beginning that the partnership between an editor and a mangaka is tested. Tsuyoshi Tanaka, the editor of Magical Angel Creamy Mami and the Spoiled Princess, shares that one of the most fulfilling parts of being an editor is turning an uninteresting name into something that goes beyond the expectations of the editor and its mangaka.

When suggesting improvements, the editor merely bridges the gap between what the artist wants to convey and the mangaka’s quality to aim for. Editors never try to control the direction and flow of the story or any aspect of the entire work. They cannot assert their preferences and ideas.

Manga editors merely suggest points so that the artist can effectively communicate their message as envisioned.

Tofugu ©Mami Suzuki 2015

During the first meeting between an editor and a manga artist, the former makes an effort to understand the latter’s tastes. Editors think long-term. They would ask about the mangaka’s favorite works to determine which film, manga, or anime an artist can draw inspiration from.

An editor’s job in the creation process doesn’t stop at suggestions for improvement. They also make sure that chapters are submitted on time. Deadlines are taken seriously in the manga industry.

An Editor’s Duties that Go Beyond the Serialized Manga

Editors are also responsible for marketing the serialized work. Some would even take the role of a publicist and brand manager. Several editors also deliver input on anime adaptations of a serialized manga.

To Sum it Up

Understanding the mangaka’s “flavor” is the primary role of an editor. And it doesn’t stop there. They must maximize the artists’ strengths, enabling them to do something better as the chapter progresses.

Sources: Silent Manga Community (12), Wikipedia (1), Anime News Network