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Following end of 'Kochi Kame,' manga artist Osamu Akimoto to work on 4 titles

Manga artist Osamu Akimoto (Mainichi)

Following the end of a 40-year run of his popular manga "Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koenmae Hasshutsujo," or "Kochi Kame," manga artist Osamu Akimoto, 63, remains dedicated to his craft as he plans to work on four titles, two of them new.

"I have talked with my editors about how I want to work on four projects as the next step after the 40 year run," Akimoto says.

Over 150 million printed copies in 200 volumes were created for "Kochi Kame," and Akimoto never once put the series on break. After it ended, while letting his assistants take a rest, Akimoto polished his ideas and suggested seven different titles to editors.

"I am calmer when I am working," he says, adding, "I draw manga as a hobby (as well as for a job.)" While working on Kochi Kame, Akimoto, who says drowsiness was his "greatest enemy," never drunk a drop of alcohol.

The four upcoming titles are to run irregularly, one in a weekly magazine, two in magazines published twice a month, and one in a monthly magazine. Each features a female protagonist. Akimoto says, "Female characters are currently stronger and more interesting. I wanted to try the opposite direction of Kochi Kame. I wanted to show my readers that I can also create this kind of world."

Two of the titles are new, while two are continuations of Akimoto's previous works. One of the new titles is "Black Tiger," the story of a female gunslinger based on "Wild 7" by Mikiya Mochizuki and drawn in Akimoto's early style. The other is "Finder," about the everyday life of high school girls in the Kyoto suburb of Kameoka. Supposedly it is a coincidence that the setting once again includes "kame" in it. As a "girls' manga minus the romance," the series serves as new territory for Akimoto.

Akimoto's first penname when he started as a manga artist in 1976 was Tatsuhiko Yamadome, setting himself up as a rival against Tatsuhiko Yamagami, creator of the then highly-popular "Gaki Deka." It was his attempt to catch readers' attention as much as he could, and today he still continues to pull every trick he can out of his hat.

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