The revelation that Saki mangaka Ritsu Kobayashi lives a “total hikikomori” lifestyle and has never even met most of the assistants, editors and animators responsible for realising the mahjong nopan empire Saki has become has come as a surprise to many.


From a recent interview with Ritsu Kobayashi (or Ritz), a mangaka so impressively reclusive that even his or her gender is not conclusively known (female is suspected):

How do you work with your assistants at present?

The people who help with preparing my manuscripts all work with me via email.

I’ve never met most of them. I also confer with my editors over email, so I hardly ever meet them either.

For the anime version I occasionally see what they have prepared over there.

I also exchange data with Aguri Igarashi [female mangaka, best known for Bamboo Blade, who draws Episode of Side A] via email.

I spend my days alone at home drawing. I go out alone and walk around some times to take reference photographs.

Kobayashi’s combination of near total hikikomori status and a successful career (not something typically associated with the hikikomori lifestyle) has actually attracted some cautious praise, although it has also been pointed out that it may represent “a highly efficient work style rather than efforts to avoid human contact.”

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    Avatar of Darion
    Comment by Darion
    17:18 10/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    If you are successful, it's a "highly efficient work style". If you fail, it's a "creepy otaku who avoids human contact".

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:24 10/12/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Yeah, That pretty much sums up how fucking ignorant society can be.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:40 10/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Double standards man. It exists everywhere.

    Comment by Anonymous

    What's so ignorant about praising people who work their asses off?

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:38 12/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I guess they are being sarcastic.
    Or they are real idiots.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:41 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's ignorant to judge people who like their own company.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Saying a loser is a loser is not ignorant.

    Comment by Anonymous

    How is that ignorant. If you shut yourself inside and avoid human contact without accomplishing anything then you're a creepy antisocial failure. That's a fact.

    Comment by Anonymous

    prefixes make the world go round

    anti- Against, hostile to.
    un- not

    Comment by Anonymous

    The word you're looking for is "unsocial." Most antisocial people are actually very social, just not in a healthy way.

    In other words, those people who go out all day yet still not accomplish anything are more likely to be antisocial failures. When you have tried and failed in life, you fail, likely because you're doing it wrong. Take note.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:20 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well Darion, If someone isn't successful, obviously their work style isn't highly efficient.

    Comment by Anonymous

    i still think you all as "creepy otaku who avoids human contact", no matter what your economy condition

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:36 10/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    And I think that presuming that someone is creepy just because he avoids human contact is a form severe narrow-mindedness.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:49 10/12/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Including you

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:53 10/12/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    What's wrong with that? Human contact is way overrated.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:54 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I completely agree with you, in fact a lot of people that we remember today were asocial to certain degree. It's basically a trade-off, the people that isn't social and get something to do in certain area will most likely become something pretty amazing in that. Pretty good examples of that are Mozart and Alkan.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Sorry to break it to you pal, but posting on forums count as human contact too. sit there and let it sink in...

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:52 10/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Now....if only there was a way to get laid as a hikikomori....

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:27 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    drill a hole in the drywall, email your girlfriend to visit the next room over, stick your p0n0s through the hole... it has already been thought of many times over in hentai manga.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:40 10/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    >email your girlfriend lost me.

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    00:09 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    But if you visit only sancom the odds of the girl you meet being single are very good.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:27 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    everyone on sancom is single and a virgin.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:26 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    SAO has taught me you can get a wife playing MMO.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:34 12/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    @10:26 EverQuest should have taught you that years ago...

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:59 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    surprisingly enough, you can get a girlfriend by playing online games / online chat / forums etc etc etc... of course if you only visit places like sancom, odds of you meeting single girls are pretty slim :D

    Avatar of Daniel Park
    Comment by Daniel Park
    19:51 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    well guess that counts the bulk of us out :)

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:33 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't wanna play moba shit and MMO crap. And that is what most of girls play.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:47 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    The wall's too thick man, I can't reach all the way. What next?

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:24 10/12/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Comeon. Japan invented paper walls for a reason.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:10 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Ask Ishihara for advice.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:12 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    You mean Future gadget #12: Muscle enlarger?

    Avatar of fxc2
    Comment by fxc2
    18:56 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Get one of those penis enlargements pumps like in Austin Powers or get an apartment with thinner walls.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:40 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pay for it, save money and your time.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:33 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Alright! I'm halfway towards having a successful career!

    Comment by Anonymous

    you spelled "beta" wrong

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:31 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    I'm a hikikomori ^__^

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:53 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Hikikomoris rejoice. It's possible to stay away from society and still get paid.

    Avatar of Senjou
    Comment by Senjou
    04:47 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    ....Of course, it's possible who say you can't?

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:56 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Amen to that.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Avatar of Senjou
    Comment by Senjou
    04:59 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    ...if you have some savings and a bit of knowledge of finance, you can basically get "paid" if you know what I mean.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:58 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    There's something called stock market ;)

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:39 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    So (s)he is introvert? A person who goes outside of his house is not a hikikomori. There is not only two options people seem to think: be very social or hikikomori.

    Maybe she avoids people because they are shitty/boring/etc?

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:00 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I'd hardly call her workstyle highly efficient when she can't seem to draw even 16 pages of manga in a month(average chapter lenght for her and she failed to manage to finish it all this month), when Igarashi does 4 times that. It's not like we are talking about Berserk level detail here either.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:11 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    That is what I was going to say. If he/she has so much free time how come there are so many magazines without Saki chapters?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:07 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    High quality control? perfectionism? there are a lot of reasons for someone to have a low output per hour/week/month.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:38 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    If it was perfectionism or high quality control, she wouldn't submit unfinished work like this month - 10 minutes before deadline she still wasn't even close to being done with it, begged for extra 30 minutes, ended up taking nearly an hour and still submitted work that was missing tones for 25% of the chapter...

    Also if you go and look at the manga, while the backgrounds can be really nice at times, in general it's hardly that detailed that it'd require so much time - quite frankly, either she works really slow or just doesn't spend that much time drawing. Maybe she spends a lot of time with storyboards - she's writing Achiga at the same time after all, even if she is only illustrating the main series herself.

    The fact that Achiga illustrator can keep up with 80+ pages a month while Ritz can't regularly finish 16 pages in the same time really speaks for itself. As far as scenes inside buildings go(~90% of the time), the art is quite comparable.

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    17:02 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    If one dedicates one's life to one's work it becomes obvious that one resembles the life style of a hikki. Like all those workaholics practically living at work and never seeing their families. Only at home and without the family or the workplace outside home.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:25 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I too wish to have that kind of lifestyle, unfortunately i don't have the luxury or talent. Just have to content with being a teacher dealing with bunch of snotty brats. Well story of my life...

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:29 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    People like you should never become teachers.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:03 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well. at least better than some piece of shit that become a teacher to get into loli pants and get away with it.

    Avatar of คภєк๏
    Comment by คภєк๏
    18:08 10/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    And people wonder what's wrong with education today.

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