When it comes to manga series, no demographic has a wider reach than shounen. Eight of the ten highest selling manga of all time, by volumes sold, are shounen, which aspiring authors find inspirational. However, some authors go against the grain and lean into a darker type of storytelling that is appealing for mature audiences. One such author is Gigi Murakami, the author of RESENTER. Gigi is a mangaka, illustrator, creative business owner, and streamer. She has been an artist for 20 years, and has an absolute love for horror and sci-fi series. Her major inspirations growing up were Tales From the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, and the video game, Silent Hill. These inspirations led to the creation of Gigi’s manga, RESENTER.
What is RESENTER?
RESENTER is a manga within the horror genre about a girl named Jackie. The story begins with the protagonist, Jackie, being murdered by an unknown assailant. Rather than passing on to the afterlife, Jackie is given two options. Either hire a Ripper to slay the individual who ended her life, or choose to become a Ripper and seek vengeance on behalf of other murder victims. Jackie opts to become a Ripper, but learns Rippers are not permitted to seek vengeance against the person who murdered them. To make matters worse, Jackie doesn’t know who her killer is or where to find them. Jackie finds that an investigation is required to uncover this individual.
RESENTER possesses a dark outlook with its imagery and character designs, which set it apart. Gigi’s use of shadows and dark colors, as well as Lovecraftian imagery with eldritch horror and monsters, could haunt a reader’s nightmares. “RESENTER was born out of my own feelings of resentment and frustration in my own life. Rather than continuing to sit with those feelings, I decided to create a story analyzing them.”
The Life of An American Mangaka
Gigi has worked professionally on art and comics for other professionals, but RESENTER is her debut original work. She gained knowledge over the years by working on those other projects, and through stories in which she played a role. “Creating your own manga is not easy. It demands strong time management skills, an ability to communicate effectively, network, and build community (especially if you’re online).” The main thing Gigi harps on is time management. Scheduling and deadlines are crucial when creating a weekly or monthly series. Distractions and improper pacing are also common when working alone. When it comes to the process of character development, Gigi believes she isn’t very proficient. “My characters are typically referenced from real people that I think really fit the personality of the character, as well as lean into shorthands, and what the popular general perception of what a certain person might look like.” Character design allows readers to assume personality traits. Quiet, brooding types have a certain look, as well as characters that are loud and obnoxious. Gigi is a big fan of showing rather than telling in her stories. She leans into these visual cues to give readers an idea of what the characters are like. “Flexibility in the creative process, confidence in what you’re creating, and so much more. I think something within this process that gets easy to overlook is the scheduling and deadlines—especially if it’s just you managing everything, or if you’re easily distracted.”
Going to cons and meeting all of her fans has been a rewarding experience for Gigi. “Wow, it feels amazing to meet so many of my supporters and followers— my ‘Kollective’ —at conventions and events. People who have seen me growing as an artist and creative business. People who watch my streams and content—who have heard the early foundations of RESENTER in my private server, and are now able to see that it’s on the way to being released publicly—all of it is truly amazing.” Because Gigi has been an illustrator for 20 years, she has developed a following she affectionately calls the “Kollective.” Most members of the Kollective support her manga by contributing to her Patreon. Patreon members get access to early artwork and chapters of RESENTER, along with bonus content.
Follow Gigi’s socials and join her newsletter to stay updated on her manga and content.
Thank you for reading about Gigi Murakami and RESENTER, and for making Hubtaku your Otaku Hub.
(Editing by Kristina Forst)