Hiro Mashima and the Great Eiichiro Oda Mystery
Posted on April 2, 2008 at 2:36 pm by Tricia
So the Internet has been ablaze with enthusiasm for Fairy Tail, which has already proved itself a major force in manga in its first week of release.
But in addition to the chorus of kudos and plaudits, we couldn’t help but notice one very persistent theme in our readers’ comments: that Hiro Mashima’s “Fairy Tail” bore some resemblance to Eiichiro Oda’s “One Piece.” It was soon being supposed, both suddenly and widely, that there was a very good reason for this: “But of course! Mashima used to be Oda’s assistant.” A plausible theory–but as it turns out, like more than a few things found on the Internet, not wholly supported by the facts.
According to Mashima’s publisher, Hiro Mashima was not only never Eiichiro Oda’s assistant–he has never served as an assistant to any artist at all.
Mashima has pretty much been a superstar from the beginning–and from a startlingly young age. Born in 1977, Mashima has already crammed several careers of comics creation into a short period: 35 volumes of his first blockbuster, Rave Master, the new sensation Fairy Tail, simultaneous with a new series for Kodansha’s Shonen Rival , Monster Hunter.
As it turns out, there’s a much simpler explanation for the resemblance, and it’s one of the biggest forces in manga ever: Akira Toriyama. Eiichiro Oda and Hiro Mashima are both members of a generation who grew up obsessed with Toriyama and all things Dragon Ball
, and whose styles were forged by Toriyama worship. Another reminder that even masters like Mashima and Oda started out as the same thing: fans.