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Hiromu Arakawa (荒川 弘, Arakawa Hiromu, born May 8, 1973) is a Japanese manga artist from Hokkaidō. Her renowned manga, Fullmetal Alchemist, became a hit both domestically and internationally, and was later adapted into two television anime series. She often portrays herself as a bespectacled cow.
Born on May 8, 1973 in Tokachi Hokkaidō, Japan, Arakawa was born and raised on a dairy farm with five sisters. Arakawa thought about being a manga artist "since [she] was little" and during her school years, she would often draw on textbooks. After graduating high school, she took oil painting classes once a month for seven years while working on her family's farm. During this time, she also created dōjinshi manga with her friends and drew yonkoma for a magazine.
Arakawa started in the manga industry as an assistant to Hiroyuki Etō, author of Mahōjin Guru Guru. Her own career began with the publication of Stray Dog in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan in 1999. Stray Dog won the ninth 21st Century "Shōnen Gangan" Award. She published one chapter of Shanghai Yōmakikai (上海妖魔鬼怪, Demons of Shanghai) in Monthly Shōnen Gangan in 2000. In July 2001, Arakawa published the first chapter of Fullmetal Alchemist in Monthly Shōnen Gangan. When the studio Bones adapted it into an anime series, Arakawa aided them in developing it. However, she later let them work alone in the making of the script so that both manga and anime would have different endings, and to develop the manga further. The series won the 49th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2004. When the second adaptation was made, she was heavily involved as it was to follow the at-the-time incomplete manga to the conclusion. The timing of the series was adjusted so that she would have time to finish the manga first, and when it seemed in danger of getting ahead she put forward an extra effort and completed several 100 page chapters to conclude the manga first.
She is currently living in Tokyo and has published three more works, Raiden 18, Souten no Koumori (蒼天の蝙蝠, Bat of Blue Sky), and Hero Tales. Arakawa has collaborated with the creation of Hero Tales with Studio Flag under the name of Huang Jin Zhou. In the anime adaptation of the series, Arakawa was responsible for the character designs. She has also drawn the cover from the Japanese edition of the novel The Demon's Lexicon authored by Sarah Rees Brennan.
She started a new series called "Silver Spoon" in Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday. It's her first weekly serialization.
- Stray Dog (1999)
- Shanghai Yōmakikai (上海妖魔鬼怪, lit. "Demons of Shanghai") (2000)
- Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, lit. "Alchemist of Steel") (2001–2010)
- Raiden 18 (2005)
- Sōten no Kōmori (蒼天の蝙蝠, lit. "A Bat In Blue Sky") (2006)
- Hero Tales (獣神演武, Jūshin Enbu) (2006–2010)
- Silver Spoon (銀の匙, Gin no Saji) (2011-)
- 1999: 9th 21st Century Shōnen Gangan Award for Stray Dog
- 2003: 49th Shogakukan Manga Award, Shōnen category for Fullmetal Alchemist
- 2011: 15th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, "New Artist Prize" category.
Arakawa states that Suihō Tagawa, the author of Norakuro, is the "root of "her" style as an artist". She also learned composition and drawing during her time as Hiroyuki Etō's assistant. She also cites Rumiko Takahashi, Shigeru Mizuki and Kinnikuman by Yudetamago as influences and is a fan of Mike Mignola's work.