* Take the Manga Mavericks 5-Year Anniversary Survey and Enter to Win a Free manga! More Details Below!: https://s.surveyplanet.com/uwgeMjcMq *

Art is hard. Did you know that? If not, Akiko Higashimura’s autobiographical memoir of her “so-called artist’s journey,” Blank Canvas, will school you in the fundamentals!

To help us navigate Higashimura’s memories, we’re joined by Jenny McKeon, who translated the series for Seven Seas and is a seasoned comics artist herself! Jenny shares her experiences as both a manga translator and artist, sharing her insights into Higashimura’s chronicle and the relatability of her experiences. Plus, Lum shares their perspective on the series as someone who went to art school and in fact first read the series when they were still IN art school, and all the ways in which Higashimura’s experiences reflected their own. 

More than a chronicle of her early career, Blank Canvas is a tribute to Higashimura’s late mentor, Hidaka-sensei, and the impact he had on her and the grief and guilt she still carries for taking him for granted. It’s a very raw, emotionally-charged story that is sure to resonate with anyone with similar experiences, and we somehow manage to talk about it all without crying (though we came dangerously close)! So have a good laugh and cry with us as we embark on this journey into Higashimura’s past! 

Also, as a reminder – we’re approaching both the 150th episode of this podcast, and even more significantly – our 5th year anniversary! What will we do to commemorate our 150th episode? Why, our annual Manga Mavericks survey of course! But this won’t be a normal yearly survey, no, this one will encompass the entirety of the podcast’s history from our very first episode in 2016 to the present! You can vote for your favorite episodes, guests, moments, and so much more from the past five years of the show as well as your favorite manga and news stories!

The survey is open until Sunday morning, January 31st, so you have just a bit over three weeks to submit your entries! We look forward to seeing your guys’ feedback and discussing the results of the survey on our upcoming 150th episode spectacular – celebrating the 5th anniversary of this podcast is gonna be a magical moment! 

Download Episode Here!!


00:22 – Intro

02:26 – Introducing Jenny
05:00 – Background of Blank Canvas
08:07 – Jenny’s Experiences with Blank Canvas & Akiko Higashimura
10:12 – Jenny’s Background with Manga
19:00 – Jenny’s Experiences as a Translator
30:20 – Translation Insights on Blank Canvas
35:41 – A Day in the Life of a Manga Translator
40:50 – Jenny’s Experiences in Comics
45:08 – Higashimura, Hidaka-sensei, and Dealing with Death
52:56 – Blank Canvas’ Emotional Authenticity
58:33 – Higashimura’s Artist Anecdotes & Advice
1:01:24 – Higashimura’s Other Manga
1:03:06 – Higashimura’s Friends
1:05:36 – Artist Block & Life Advice for Artists
1:16:13 – Insights on the Life of a Mangaka
1:27:22 – Blank Canvas’ Appeal as an Autobio Comic
1:31:26 – Reconciling Grief and Guilt
1:37:32 – Final Thoughts & Overall Recommendation
1:44:36 – Round-Up & Plugs 

1:49:00 – Q&A: How does Blank Canvas compare with other Akiko Higashimura manga available in english?

1:53:33 – Community Shout-Outs:

2:01:20 – Wrap-Up

Enjoy the show, and follow us on twitter at @manga_mavericks, on tumblr at mangamavericks.tumblr.com, and on Youtube! You can also follow the hosts on Twitter at @sniperking323 and @lumranmayasha. If you’d like to help support the show financially you can pledge to our Patreon and receive some awesome rewards like our Patreon-exclusive Bonus pods! If one-time donations are more your speed you can donate to Colton’s Ko-fi here and LumRanmaYasha’s Ko-fi here, and if you want to support LumRanmaYasha’s art and other projects you can follow them @siddartworks on Instagram and Twitter and donate to their personal Patreon. Don’t forget to also like and subscribe to us on Youtube and iTunes and leave us reviews to help us curate the show and create better content!


Music Featured:

“We are AMARS” by Makoto Yoshimori
“Drifting and Swaying” by Makoto Yoshimori

About The Author Siddharth Gupta

Siddharth Gupta is an illustrator, animator, and writer based in Minnesota. They graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Animation from the School of Visual Arts, and have worked on projects for the University of Minnesota and the Shreya R. Dixit Foundation. An avid animation and comics fan since childhood, they've turned their passion towards being both a creator and a critic. They credit their love for both mediums to Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, which has also defined their artistic and comedic sensibilities. A frequent visitor to their local comic book shop, they are an avid reader and collector, particularly fond of manga. Their favorite comics include The Adventures of Tintin by Herge, Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed, and pretty much anything and everything by Rumiko Takahashi.

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