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Goin’ Japanesque!

“Art is an Explosion!” Five Enthralling Art Manga

There are fairly many manga titles themed on “art” out there. Here we’ve selected some of the best examples of them for you each with its focus on a particular genre of art.


Gallery Fake

Artist: Fujihiko Hosono




The protagonist, Fujita, is the manager of “Gallery Fake,” an art gallery dealing with fake artworks.

Besides the main business as a dealer of fake art, he is also involved in the black market dealing with authentic artworks obtained by theft or other dubious means.

Fujita lives and survives the dark underworld of art where such paintings and other artworks circulate.


The manga depicts Fujita, who once was a genius curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as he experiences the dramatic events and relationships evolving around various artworks.

The protagonist Fujita exhibits an immense expertise about artworks but has absolutely no physical strength due to his lack of exercise.

Such a trait of his as “an ordinary middle-aged man” makes us feel somewhat close to the man.

As the story unfolds, a variety of artworks will lead the protagonist and the readers to dramas filled with mystery, suspense, action and more.



Story: Ai Eishi, Illustration: Satomi Kei



“Zero,” also known by the nickname “God Hand,” is a top-level appropriationist who can reproduce anything with his unparalleled skill. Be it painting, sculpture or even a human being, there is nothing in this world that he cannot create.

With his genius skill as an appropriationist, he exposes what lies deep in the hearts of his clients and people related to the artworks he creates.

He may act sometimes as a savior and a punisher at other times.


The manga features a variety of actual artworks existing around the world and elaborates on their background in details.

The best part of the manga is the way it depicts how people interact with the artworks created by Zero and lose themselves or find redemption.

But perhaps because the too flawless character of the protagonist had to be compromised for the sake of drama, Zero gradually came to be depicted more as a key person rather than a protagonist in later episodes.


Sayonara Sorcier

Artist: Hozumi




The protagonist in this manga is the art dealer Theodorus van Gogh, the younger brother of Vincent van Gogh.

Having a strong trust in the artistic talent of his older brother, who was an unsuccessful painter, Theodorus cooked up a scheme to make use of the paintings left by his dead brother.

He made up stories about his brother’s life to advertise those paintings.


The manga itself is fictional but there are actually many similar “suspicions” about the life of the actually Van Gogh. The paintings by Van Gogh were almost worthless in the market during and even for some time after his lifetime.

Ambroise Vollard was an influential art dealer and the first to organize a retrospective of Van Gogh after the painter’s death.

It eventually boosted the value of Van Gogh’s paintings, but the right of dealership of all the paintings exclusively belonged to this dealer.

This episode has given support to voices that are skeptical as to whether Van Gogh’s paintings actually deserve as much attention as they do today for their sheer artistic value.

The manga “Sayonara Sorcier” is based on such an actual historical background.



Artist: Ryoko Yamagishi




Yuki Shinohara is a girl taking ballet lessons together with her older sister Yuka. Their aspiration is to become professional ballerinas.

After winning an award at a ballet competition, Yuki moved to another ballet school to register in an elite class with her sister.

The manga depicts her story as she meets various people, becomes interested in choreography and develops her ballet skill and talent.


It is a long story depicting the process of the protagonist Yuki Shinohara developing as a ballet dancer.

The story develops with more of a documentary touch rather than too many dramas.

But there are some moments when one of the supporting characters loses control of her distorted passion for ballet and pushes her out of a good spot on the stage and try to hatch other mean plots against the protagonist.

Such bullying appear all the more malicious when placed in the realistic context of the manga and contribute greatly to make the story more engaging.


Dance Dance Danceur

Artist: George Asakura




The protagonist boy, Junpei Murao, tries to be “manly” as his late father wished while he is actually interested in ballet.

One day, a coincidence brings him to a ballet school run by the mother of one of his classmate girls, Miyako Godai, and starts to learn ballet.

There he comes to know about a boy named Ruo Mori who lives with the Godai family. He is highly talented in ballet but “withdrawn” from ordinary social life.

The boy is destined to become a rival to the protagonist Junpei and they will fiercely compete with each both over ballet as well as their love for Miyako.


Themed on ballet like the title just mentioned above, this one features a boy as its protagonist. The protagonist Junpei Murao displays his innocent and pure devotion to ballet, which triggers many intriguing dramas.

With the protagonist and many supporting characters in their early teens, the manga well depicts their teenage sensitivity and proves to be a great school/youth drama evolving around their romance and love for ballet.


Art and manga are two different genres with great affinity with each other and you can also find many other examples art themed manga. Visiting a museum to admire the actual artwork you learn about and become interested in a manga would surely be an interesting experience.

Related Articles:
Registered as World Heritage at Last! National Museum of Western Art
The Otsuka Museum of Art: Why It’s Popular Even When All the Artwork is Fake

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Berial the Demon

About the author

It has been over 40 years of reading manga in the deep world of manga. Japan’s manga has an endlessly wide variety of genres. I will be recommending special manga for you to read from such infinite amount of works.

View all articles by Berial the Demon