Trust me, if you pay any attention at all to anime you know the name (or at least are familiar with the works of), Mari Okada. As one of the most prolific and talented anime writers of the last couple of decades, you might think you know her but you’d be wrong. Recently, Okada released an autobiography which reveals, for the first time, the struggles and hardships that she faced growing up before finding success in the world of anime.
In an announcement made this morning, it was revealed that her autobiography From Truant to Anime Screenwriter: My Path to “anohana” and “The Anthem of the Heart” will be made into a live-action TV special which will air on BS Premium in Japan on September 1st. The special was written by Mari Okada herself and will feature former AKB48 member Atsuko Maeda will be playing Okada in the special.
The autobiography was originally published in Japan back in April 2017. I haven’t personally read it yet but now that I know that J-Novel Club has released an English version of it on most major markets and devices, I will be picking it up soon and devouring it as soon as humanly possible. J-Novel Club describes the book as:
From the writer of “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day” and “The Anthem of the Heart” comes the next expressive tale of the fight against one’s own demons. Mari Okada grew up in rural Chichibu, a truant for most of her adolescent life. She observed school life from afar, often refusing to leave the confines of her room. But with the fateful encounter of a visiting school teacher, Okada found a way through the echelons of school using her untapped skill of turning words on a page into a unique voice that truly captured the essence of youthful spirit. From her own personal desires to leave home and find a place in “the world outside,” Okada came face-to-face with her own anxiety and let her stories speak out on her behalf of her struggles to truly find peace with the world around her. “From Truant to Anime Screenwriter: My Path to ‘Anohana’ and ‘The Anthem of the Heart'” is a gripping autobiography that details the not-so-successful life of one of anime’s biggest screenwriters as she faces the hardest challenge of all: finding herself through her own works.
Mari Okada is most familiar with her work on touching coming of age titles including Toradora, anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Hanasaku Iroha – Blossoms for Tomorrow, and The Anthem of the Heart but she’s also done darker titles including Black Butler, The Lost Village, and Vampire Knight.
As someone who has been following Okada’s career fairly closely for the last few years, this news excites me and makes me want to do my little dance of joy. Anyone who wants to be a writer can learn something from this woman and reading her autobiography is a great way to start down that path.
Author: LB Bryant
L.B. has been writing about anime professionally since August 2005. With credits that range all the way from Anime Herald to Viewster, he has seen and done it all. His favorite series include Assassination Classroom, Princess Nine, Sword Art Online, and many others. Currently he lives in the Seattle area with his many cats and his very understanding and supportive wife.