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Soft-spoken and full of laughter, petite even by Japanese standards, Rumiko Takahashi began her comics career under the tutelage of Lone Wolf and Cub and Crying Freeman's Kazuo Koike. In those early years, Takahashi remembers being impressed by the Spider-Man manga, adapted for a Japanese version by noted critic of American comics Kosei Ono, illustrated by Crying Freeman and Mai the Psychic Girl's Ryoichi Ikegami. But it was in 1977 that Katte na Yatsura ("Those Selfish Aliens"), a wacky boy-meets-alien romantic comedy, which laid the early foundations for Urusei Yatsura, was nominated for Japanese mega-publisher Shogakukan's "Best New Comic Artist" award. The title is a pun on the Japanese urusai, as in "noisy/obnoxious," but written with the Chinese character for "planet." The series was published a year later at the encouragement of her Shogakukan editor, and although Takahashi was only twenty-one at the time, Urusei Yatsura would go on to sell over 22 million copies, enjoying a seven-year, 34-volume serialization in Weekly Shônen Sunday comic magazine.

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