Oct 28, 2014

The first German-Manga artist

Christina Plaka is Germany’s first female Manga artist. She’s also an Orthodox Christian.

Born on April 13th 1983 Christina started drawing in kindergarten. At age four the only thing she knew to draw were ponies from the My Little Pony series and fancy horses. This changed when she went to primary school and fell in love with Peter Parker. This inspired her to draw Spiderman, his friends and other Marvel characters. She also started reading Marvel and others comics, like Archie, which were sold in Greece where she spent several weeks every summer with family.

At about age 11 Christina watched on TV Japanese Anime like Attack No.1, The Rose of Versailles and Captain Tsubasa. She admired the exotic looking characters and started imitating the Japanese design. Christina also started to learn the Japanese language, culture and everything in-between. However, the earliest Anime she saw included Saber Rider & the Star Sheriffs and Samurai Pizza Cats, broadcasted during the late 80’s and early 90’s. But because they were labeled as “American productions” many thought they were not authentic Japanese Anime. It was many years later Christina discovered their origin; this means her initial exposure and admiration for Japanese Anime occurred much earlier than she originally thought.

After getting involved with Anime and Japan’s rich culture, Christina soon discovered the very first Manga (Japanese comic books) in 1995 and automatically knew, ‘this is what I want to create!’ The first Manga she read was Gun Smith Cats by Kenichi Sonoda, but the format and reading direction was not Japanese (right to left) but more Western and mirrored the format of a normal comic album. In 1998, after discovering the first pocket-book sized Manga sold in Germany, Dragonball by Akira Toriyama, which became a hit because of the original format, this became Christina’s preferred format rather than the Western-style comic.

After studying Manga and its design Christina finally decided to start drawing her own stories and applied to Germany’s biggest publishing house, Carlsen, in 2000. Unfortunately, she was rejected because they had no forum for German Mangaka (Manga artist) yet. Two years later, Christina applied again with her story Prussian Blue and was signed up. It was also in 2002 that she took part in the first Manga talent competition at the Leipzig Bookfair which gave her the opportunity to show the former head of Carlsen Comics, Dr.Joachim Kaps, her talent and ambition for becoming a Mangaka. In the same year Prussian Blue was published in the girls’ magazine, DAISUKI, sold as a pocket-book. Since 2003, Christina has drawn more than 8 pocket-books (Yonen Buzz, Vol.0-5, Herrscher aller Welten and Kimi he – Worte an Dich).

2002 was also the year when Christina started studying Japanese Language and Culture at the Frankfurt Goethe University. After obtaining her B.A. Diploma in 2010, Christina went to Kyoto Seika University where she got her M.A. in Manga Studies, completed in 2012. This is significant as it’s the first diploma of its kind for Manga. At this moment Christina is working on two new Manga projects that will be released soon. She’s also working as a Manga and German teacher at the Center for Japanese Culture.

Christina Plaka enjoys sharing her experiences about work and life on YouTube as well and supporting young fans of Japanese Anime and Manga.

Christina’s FB page

Christina’s Channel

Book signing

Manga Museum presentation

Manga Museum presentation


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