Many mangaka try to craft a perfect public persona that fans will like. But Bkub Okawa is an oddity.
Bkub is notorious for being a closed off hermit who gained an international following through his comics. But Bkub didn’t train himself on the normal mangaka path of assistant work to sending in comics to magazines. He got his start shitposting on the Internet and making doujin.
New fans of Bkub’s mega-popular Pop Team Epic series only need to dig online a little to discover that doujin launched his career and he loves the “creative freedom” it brings. Even after becoming a global success, Bkub still parodies other series in his free time, like Golden Kamuy.
— 大川ぶくぶ/bkub (@bkub_comic) April 9, 2018
Bkub rose to fame in 2008 for his doujin.
Unlike most doujinshi mangaka, Bkub didn’t draw hentai, and instead gained fame for a series of Touhou Project shorts centering around the loveably selfish Chen. The light series features Bkub’s patented taste of absurd humor, nonsequitur, and meta-references. Bkub began publishing the doujinshi on Pixiv with certain panels becoming popular on 2ch.
Bkub continued to work on various comedy doujinshi, but his hard work paid off in 2014 with Pop Team Epic. The publisher Takeshobo began serializing Pop Team Epic on their Manga Life Win website and would later sell print copies.
Pop Team Epic‘s success has overshadowed Bkub’s doujinshi catalog, which offers fun twists on pre-existing franchises and allows him to work on non–Pop Team Epic originals.
However, the maladjusted duo of Popuko and Pipimi would do the unthinkable – get an anime adaptation. Pop Team Epic looked like an impossible project, but producer Kotaro Sudo of King Records pushed the idea forward. Bkub’s input and the collective efforts of various independent artists led to Pop Team Epic being one of the most talked about series of the winter 2018 season.
Bkub has worked on smaller manga projects like Honey Come Chatka and Hyper Ultra Girlish, but Pop Team Epic will forever be his legacy.