The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Furuya household.

There’s a Japanese proverb that goes “Kaeru no ko wa kaeru,” which translates to “The child of a frog is a frog.” Biologically, I suppose, you could argue that the child of a frog is actually a tadpole (which Japanese does have a word for, otamajakushi), but really, the phrase is meant to be taken figuratively. It’s basically equivalent to English’s “Like father, like son” or “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” implying that a person’s personality traits and values are reflected and replicated in their children.

So, for example, we could say “The child of a frog is a frog” to describe Usamaru Furuya and his sixth-grade son, not because either of them is an amphibian, but because they both enjoy drawing. On the other hand, if we wanted a phrase with similar construction that we could apply literally to the pair, we could say “The child of an incredibly talented manga artist is an incredibly talented manga artist.”

First, let’s take a look at some of the elder Furuya’s artwork.

Though his name might not be immediately recognizable to casual comic fans, Furuya is a professional manga artist whose been in the business for over 25 years. Known for an unsettling yet unforgettable art style, he’s penned multiple macabre series, including Litchi Hikari Club, the recently concluded Tosho Iinkkai (“Library Committee”), and the currently ongoing Lunatic Circus.

Meanwhile, Furuya’s son, who’s in the sixth year of elementary school, is a budding manga artist himself. With school currently on summer vacation, the boy has some extra free time on his hands, and Daddy Furuya says he’s been using it to put more work into his drawing. We’re not talking about some idle doodles in a notebook here, either, as Furuya recently shared some of his son’s illustrations, and they’re amazing.

▼ Furuya’s son’s artwork

Depending on when his birthday is, Furuya’s son is only 11 or 12 years old, but he’s already displaying an extremely effective understanding of how to shading, posing, and even speech bubble placement to keep the reader’s eyes flowing over the page and focusing on what’s most important and impactful. He’s also got quite the talent for horrific monster design, as that toothsome beast is nightmare-inducing stuff on the level of what you might find in a professionally published manga series.

The startling display of precocious skill has elicited reactions including:

“The artwork is so good. I totally want to read this manga.”
“This kid is younger than me, but so overwhelmingly better at drawing than I am that it’s emotionally crushing.”
“So much passion on the page! That level of creative energy is something to treasure for your entire life.”
“At this rate, he’ll be able to go pro, not problem, before he’s even finished with high school.”
“Kid’s got some amazing genes…”

While it might be tempting to attribute the quality of the boy’s artwork to genetics, that wouldn’t be at all fair. Father Furuya says his son has penned the artwork for the first 40 pages of his manga, but because he’s still young and developing his style, his skills have evolved compared to what they were when he started. So he’s actually been going back and redrawing earlier pages, now that he can do a better job, which is why he’s not finished with the story yet, and it’s looking like he might take him longer than just summer vacation to wrap everything up.

In other words, diligence and determination, not DNA, is why his art looks this good, even if being raised by a manga creator does seem to set kids down the path to becoming awesome artists themselves.

Source: Twitter/@usamarus2001 (1, 2) via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
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