You don’t become one of the most prolific manga creators of all time without putting in some very long hours.

Many famous anime/manga creators are known for their one big hit, but not Rumiko Takahashi, for whom Inuyasha, Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura, and Maison Ikkoku are just a handful of her claims to fame. Her series aren’t short, either, as she’s drawn four that went for over 30 collected volumes, and even her short story anthologies, Rumic Theater and Rumic World, have five volumes each.

So how does Takahashi produce such a gigantic body of work? A fertile imagination and distinctly developed visual style are no doubt helpful. But even those will only take you so far, and the rest seems to be shockingly long hours Takahashi puts into her craft.

Takahashi started a Twitter account this week, and one of her very first posts was sharing a copy of her daily schedule when she’s drawing the art for a manga in serialization.

So let’s take a look at a day in the drawing working life of Rumiko Takahashi:

● Before noon: Do the inking for seven or eight pages of character artwork
● Noon: Eat lunch, do housework
● 4 p.m.: Read, do housework
● 7 p.m.: Eat dinner, do housework
9 p.m.: Start drawing new artwork

OK, that doesn’t seem too bad, right? Sure, there’s what looks like a long gap in the middle, followed by going back to work around the time a lot of people would be starting to think about getting ready for bed, but those aren’t too unusual for professionals in creative fields, right?

But what happens next is where things get crazy. “If Takahashi starts drawing at 9 at night, when does she go to bed?”, you might be asking. “There’s something missing from schedule for the day, right?”

Nope, as Takahashi goes on to show her schedule for the following days too:

Next day
9 a.m.: Temporarily stop working, go to bed
Noon: Eat lunch, do housework
● 4 p.m.: Start drawing
● 7 p.m.: Take a break, eat dinner
8 p.m.: Start drawing again
Day after that
9 a.m.: Finish working

So basically, on Day 1, after dinner Takahashi draws through the night for 12 hours, then takes a three-hour nap to recharge before a second consecutive all-nighter.

It’s a shockingly intense schedule, though it’s a little reassuring to see that she at least takes time out to eat, and also builds a lot of buffer for housework into her day. It also appears that she finishes all her art for a weekly manga installment in three days, and doesn’t have to draw on the other four. But on the other hand, Takahashi not only draws her manga, she writes them as well, and it’s a pretty safe bet her fame and success mean that no editors are dictating story beats to her, meaning she’s coming up with plots and dialogue on her own even when she doesn’t have her drawing tools in hand (Update: yep, it turns out her schedule for that is nuts too).

The whole thing gets even more shocking when you stop to consider that since her debut in 1978, there’s only been one year (2018) when Takahashi didn’t have a series running in Weekly Shonen Sunday. While she doesn’t say how much of her career she’s spent keeping these sorts of hours, it’s at least how the 63-year-old works now, so we should probably all be understanding if she’s not posting all the time on Twitter.

Source: Twitter/@rumicworld1010
Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where it’s thanks to Rumiko Takahashi that “ze” became his favorite Japanese emphasizer.