Johji Manabe, (or Manabe Johji in Japan) was born December 18th, 1964. A self-confessed otaku, he made his debut in 1984. Manabe depicts himself quite often in his manga, usually humorously or some self-effacing manner. He uses some character designs more than once in his series. That's why you can see a design for a character in Outlanders reappearing in other works, even when the characters are totally unrelated. There are other manga artiststhat also have the tendency to reuse characters ([Rumiko Takahashi|Takahashi Rumiko (author of Ranma 1/2), and Adachi Mitsuru to name only two) but Manabe is the best example of this technique. Together with his two assistants he forms Studio Katsudon. Manabe Johji (George) is well know for his manga, featuring spectacular space battles and equally spectacular space princesses (usually wearing spectacularly well-ventilated outfits). Not so well known is that he was a professional animator himself, and sharp eyes will catch him in the credits for the recently re-released Miyazaki film Rupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro as one of the animators.

His works to date are...

  • Powerful Mazegohan (Powerful Mixed Rice)
    published by Byakuya Shobo

    This anthology is a collection of Manabe's earliest work, back when his drawing style was more like Matsumoto Reiji's. Each volume has a full-color short story for an opener, and also includes several X-rated pencil sketches of Kahm, Mian, Khada, and several others. Not suitable for people under 18.

  • The Key of Graciale
    published by Hakusensha, 1984-89

    A collection of short stories, a few of which were the source material for Outlanders. The nuclear war story The Last Shelter marks the original appearance of the character Raisa Vogel.

  • Capricorn
    published by Shinshokan

    About the quest of a dragon-girl named Mohna and her human friend Taku (who is transformed into a huge dragon in mid-series), to save Earth (the "Capricorn" of the title) and Moon from colliding when a dimensional anchor separating the two is misused by the warlord Zolba.

  • Dora
    serialized on Wings, 1987

    A collection of short stories, most of which follow the adventures of the one-eyed female mercenary Khada (a character from a side-story in Caravan Kidd.

  • Junk Party
    published by Kadokawa Shoten, 1991

    A schoolgirl gets kidnapped by a bunch of dark-skinned humanoids with insect wings and antennae, but she makes friends with them, and both races learn a little about each others' way of life.

  • Galaxy Warring State Chronicle Rai
    serialized on Comp, 1991-present

    A space opera with a setting reminiscent of Japan's Warring State Era, following the life and times of the samurai Rai, and the quest of several spacefaring factions for control of territory and, of course, the Empire. (It's an interesting mix of feudal Chinese/Japanese custom and space-going technologies, and several of the warships are reminiscent of biomech designs from Outlanders.)

  • Jamuka's Great Adventure
    serialized on Wings, 1992-present

    This may be his best work (other than Rai), though Outlanders is pretty close. It's a pirate adventure, with the required trappings of a beautiful admiral's daughter who may be the best ship captain chasing Jamuka the pirate; a princess whose country has been invaded; her loyal retainer, who starts out as a Samurai until Rai needs to rescue her from a flooding compartment; A pirate captain who's really prettily drawn and likes to dance, with or without sword; etc. This is a really nice book, because it has lots of humor and characters that, like Mian Toris & Shion or Kahm-sama and Tetsuya, you get to really, really like. {MCH}

  • Outlanders
    published by Hakusensha, 1986-87

    The space opera for which Manabe is best known. Aliens are invading the earth (actually they want to rid the holy planet from the human race). Wakatsuki Tetsuya, a cameraman gets mixed up in it when he interferes seeing an Alien princess (Kahm) killing humans for fun. She doesn't take his interference lightly, and seeks revenge at first. He gets dragged along when Japan is destroyed. Tetsuya gets Kahm on his side and tries to stop this war by going directly to Kahm's father, the Emperor. Unfortunately, he can't be reasoned with and from then on they are also outlawed. Interesting story, a lot of action, humour... The aizouban version is almost phone book like in size: the first one contains more than seven hundred pages! Some nice extras are included at the end of each volume. Outlanders gave Manabe the chance to show off some impressive galactical battlescenes using his famous bio battle ship designs.

  • Ten no kamigami-tachi
    serialized on Kadokawa Shoten, 1989

    No Synopsis.

  • Caravan Kidd
    published by Hakusensha, 1987

    The story of an android girl on a mission to destroy the renegade empress of the planet. On her way, she makes a young man (Wataru) and his blob-like business-companion (Babo) her pets by putting a collar on them. On their journey that follows, her ultimate goal becomes more and more clear. The real appeal of Caravan Kidd is mainly the humour of the story with less of Manabe's usual biomech and space opera.

  • Biba Usagi Kozou
    serialized on Nora, 1993

    No Synopsis.

  • Chuka Ichiban
    published by Kadokawa Shoten, 1993

    No Synopsis.

  • Dorakuun Drakuun
    published by Fujimi Fantasia, 1989
    republished by Kadokawa Shoten on Dragon Comics, 1993

    Follows the adventures of the warrior princess Karla Orzen, who lost her home and family to the ruthless Romieniran (Ledomian in the American prints) Empire.

  • Gosei douji Ran
    published by Koubunsha, 1995

    No Synopsis.