How Hiro Mashima Managed To Create Multiple Hit Series

Every avid manga reader must’ve heard the name of Hiro Mashima before, and maybe even read some of his works, such as Rave Master, Fairy Tail, or Edens Zero. After all, he is already a household name in the manga world, just like Akira Toriyama or Eiichiro Oda.

That being said, Hiro Mashima has also become a somewhat polarizing figure in the industry. Some people love his works, while others have nothing but sharp criticism for his manga. One thing that nobody can take from him, however, is the fact that he has created multiple popular series throughout his long and illustrious career.

From Rave Master, to Fairy Tail, to Edens Zero, Hiro Mashima has continuously produced hit manga series. So let’s use this chance to examine Mashima-sensei’s works, and find out some of the things that he uses in order to create one hit manga after the other.

Knowing His Audience

Even though Rave Master, Fairy Tail, and Edens Zero, have their own unique sets of characters, settings, and storylines, they still have quite a few things in common. All of them are shounen action/adventure stories with elements of fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, and romance sprinkled throughout. That means the foundational elements of Hiro Mashima’s works are more or less the same.

Some might think that using this approach will make every new title feel like a copy of the previous one. As a matter of fact, that is pretty much one of the biggest complaints regarding Hiro Mashima’s manga. That and his penchant to draw scantily-clad ladies and six-packed gentlemen.

While that is a fair assessment, we also need to look at the other side of the argument. Mashima-sensei uses the same foundational elements because he knows his audience. He knows that all of the things mentioned above are precisely what his readers want to see in his work. By building every new story on top of the same foundation, he makes sure that people who read his previous works will instantly feel familiar with his new ones. That means it’s highly likely that readers who enjoy reading Fairy Tail will enjoy reading Edens Zero as well.

Keeping It Simple

There are manga out there that will expect you to ponder the heavy themes, the clever way the story utilizes its plot/settings/characters, or the obscure main objectives of the characters. Some of the best examples of these kinds of stories are Asano Inio’s Goodnight Punpun, Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, and Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. You need to dig deep into your mind and feelings in order to fully enjoy and appreciate them.

Hiro Mashima’s works are the absolute opposite of those kinds of manga. You can pick up any of his manga, turn your brain off, and simply enjoy the silly antics, the exciting action sequences, and root for the heroes as they go against the villain. These stories are made to entertain their readers. Nothing more, nothing less. In a way, they’re quite similar to those superhero movies.

Not only that, but by keeping the story simple, Mashima-sensei ensures that his works will have a big pool of audience members. Be it an elementary school student or a 30-years-old office worker, we can all enjoy Fairy Tail when we come home after a tiring day. The same can’t be said about those thought-provoking manga like Goodnight Punpun.

Creating a Strong and Recognizable Brand

When you combine the fact that Mashima-sensei only creates stories that he knows that his audience will like, and he always keeps the whole thing simple and easy to understand, what you get is a strong and easily recognizable brand. You know what to expect when you pick up his new series, and you know that you can simply enjoy the stories without having to think too much about them. That is his brand of manga.

In a world where thousands of new manga are published every year, not to mention manhua and webtoons as well, it is incredibly important to have a strong and recognizable brand. That is the only way you can differentiate yourself from your peers. That is also one of the best ways to build your reputation, and retain the care and attention of your audience. After all, if they know what to expect from your work, it’s highly likely that they’ll become your loyal readers. And that is essentially how Hiro Mashima managed to create multiple hit series.

Final Thoughts

You can think of Hiro Mashima’s works as your favorite fast-food restaurant. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when somebody mentions high-quality and prestigious cuisine. It might even not be the place that you recommend to your loved ones when they ask for a recommendation.

And yet you still find yourself visiting this restaurant at least once a week. Why? Because the owner knows what you like and he never overcomplicates his menu. So you know what to expect and you know that you’ll have a good time when you eat there. That is why you, and thousands of other people, like to visit that restaurant.

Have you read any of Hiro Mashima’s manga? If you have, which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Author: Harry

Harry is a manga addict first and freelance writer second. While he hasn’t read every manga under the sun, he has read an unhealthy amount of Shounen and Seinen manga. When he’s not writing in Honey’s Anime, you can find him in his personal blog:

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