Q: When you receive an original manga pitch, what do you look for in a strong protagonist and antagonist?
I think the most important thing for the protagonist to have is the “power to change fate”. The reader feels encouraged when seeing a character improve their situation and not giving up, where an ordinary person would. This is true, whether the protagonist has some kind of special ability or no talent at all.
When you think of it in this way, the protagonist’s real adversary is “fate” itself. As such, I feel it’s good to have rivals that personify the concept of “fate” in some way…
In sports manga for example, having a rival that is more talented than the protagonist; or if it’s a romance manga – having a character that is better looking. Or even introducing a character who is far stronger in a battle manga.
Having a character overcome an adversary who was born superior in every way, through effort, guts, intelligence and friendship, is an ever-popular theme in manga.By Ko Yamanaka