If you have recently found Muslim Manga, you may not know this, but one of our most popular comics at MuslimManga.org to date has been Hana & Her Love. The first chapter was originally posted in 2014, and the second chapter in 2015.
This is a romantic comedy manga made in an online collaboration by two people in two corners of the earth. Here is a summary:
“Hana has sworn to never love a boy until Aditya, a half Indonesian half Japanese boy, walks past her. Suddenly, in a blink of an eye, Hana’s life has changed forever. Is this love at first sight? Or will this new-found love for Aditya end horribly?”
History of my Manga Collaborations
This was not the first collaboration I partook in. Before Hana & Her Love, I worked on two other collaborative projects. In 2012, I worked on Samurai Akiyama, a partnership with Nurel Yana, and in 2013, The Will of Fawwaz with Nurul Izzah.
(Samurai Akiyama Art by Muslim Manga artist Zhar)
I have always been trying to include Islamic elements and multiculturalism in my stories. I usually like to take the artist’s ethnicity and cultural background I am collaborating with into consideration when writing the stories. For the Will of Fawwaz, I knew that my artist partner was from Malaysia, so I had Fawwaz, the main character be from Malaysia. I tried this again with Hana & Her Love. And yet, although the is half Indonesian, the artist was not from Indonesia. She is from Malaysia. So why didn’t I make the character half Malaysian? Well, there is a funny story behind that.
The HAHL Collaboration
The work known as Hana & Her Love resulted from collaborative work between myself and Harihtaroon; however, that was not where this collaboration in craft began. Hana & Her Love was initially being drawn by another artist, who was from Indonesia. I originally wrote the story with the first artist in mind. So I made the character half Indonesian. Unfortunately, the artist sketched the first 7 or so pages of the storyboard and then abandoned the project. As fate would have it, I came across the very talented Harihtaroon, who agreed to work on the project. I gave her the script, and she brought the whole world of that story to life with her talented hands.
(Hana & Her Love Cover Art by Harihtaroon)
After posting the manga on the website and sharing it on social media, it went viral- or at least viralish. It received a lot of attention and praise. It very quickly built a fanbase. Some of the passionate fans continue to ask for updates even to this day.
We were both encouraged to start working on the next chapter.
The project was basically volunteer work for both Harihtaroon and me. While it was quite the addition to our portfolio, real-life was catching up with us. It was becoming harder to put in the effort needed for the project to stay alive.
Given that I was quite passionate about my story, I didn’t want the project to end. After a few years of stagnation, I reached out again to Harihtaroon to restart work on the project. Unfortunately, due to different priorities in life, and different focuses, the continuation never happened. But I didn’t want to give up on the story.
The Voice-Over Project
(Art by Muslim Manga artist Zhar)
Similar to the voice-over animatic I worked on for Samurai Akiyama, I also worked on one for Hana & Her Love. I worked together with some of my very talented Japanese friends and created a voice-over for Hana and Her Love Chapter 1. The main voice-over talents involved in the project were studying in acting or vocal art, so their contribution was high quality and top class.
The NHK Interview
In November of 2018, I gave a talk on creating manga for a Muslim audience at the Manga x Muslim World Forum in Tokyo. While there, I caught the attention of an NHK reporter.
(Art by Muslim Manga artist Zhar)
In the following December, I was later interviewed on my Muslim Manga efforts and particularly about Hana & Her Love. The TV station even put their own voice over production on top of pan and zoom animations made from pages from Hana & Her Love. Actually, a lot of popular Japanese anime gets recorded at NHK studios. Some notable titles include Attack on Titan, Pokemon, and Card Captor Sakura. I was kind of dreaming that a famous voice actor from a popular anime also worked on Hana & Her Love. However, the team behind producing documentaries and television interviews has their own people for offering narration and voice acting. And so, that was what was used. I don’t want to diminish the quality of efforts or quality of the interview voice-overs. It was actually very high quality. So, in the end, I got two voice-over productions by this point. Neat!
The program was broadcasted a couple of times in January. There were regular TV hosts who were talking about me. It was an interesting experience to go through. It was a bit surreal. I know deep down that getting 15 seconds on fame on national TV is nothing compared to having one’s actual vision accomplished. Still, it is an interesting experience to go through nonetheless.
(Art by Muslim Manga artist Idachann)
Fast-forward to 2020, all the planets in the solar system aligned. Finally, the spark that was responsible for the remake of Hana & Her Love came about. A lot of these sparks, for lack of a better, just happen without any conscious effort from me. I can’t take credit for the remake becoming a reality other than never giving up on the story.
It almost came up randomly. I found myself in a stagnated area in manga production, so I reached out to a new artist I thought had potential. That artist was Idachann. I wasn’t thinking about a Hana & Her Love remake/continuation when I approached her. However, through discussion with her and seeing her potential, I realized that we can work on the new Hana & Love together.
Series Name Change
During the many years of hiatus from the comic’s production, I had the opportunity to think a lot about how I might change things in the story to make it more to my liking. For multiple reasons, I thought Hana & Love was a better name. I had initially thought about this, even during the production time of chapter 2 of Hana and Her Love, but I had already released the comic under Hana & Her Love. At that point, I didn’t think I could just change the name that easily.
However, given that I was restarting the project, I felt I wanted to do things the way I envisioned it. I changed the name of the story to Hana & Love.
Hana & Love Chapter 1 was written left to right; however, this was not my intention. I had intended to have the manga made in the right to left format. Chapter 2 was then written right to left, which may have created an awkward transition from chapter 1 to 2. The art was beautiful, which may have kept people distracted from the fact that the reading direction changed.
I am about to get into some really specific linguistic discussion for why I choose to keep the manga written from right to left. If that is too nerdy for your tastes, you may wish to skip the rest of this section. Be warned. Your brain might hurt.
- My target audience is not only LTR (left to right) language speakers but also RTL (right to left) language ones.
- Some RTL language speakers wouldn’t naturally be able to read their language if the RTL text was artificially inserted into an LTR format (i.e., Japanese).
- Japanese manga have historically been written in RTL, and the RTL page-format, even in translations to LTR languages. In other words, there is already a culture for this established. There is no precedent of the reverse being established. For languages such as Japanese, this would be impossible to work naturally, due to the orthographic direction being complex. Additionally, there is also no real gains from trying to establish the reverse.
The Series & The Pricing
This might be confusing, but there will be not just one new Hana & Her Love series, but two. The two series are Hana & Love and Hana & Love 4koma.
- Hana & Love: This is the series that is the remake and continuation of Hana & Her Love. This is the main story.
- Hana & Love 4koma: This series will be a collection of side stories/moments between the characters from the main story, Hana & Love.
Because producing manga projects like this, take real effort, time, and commitment, I have decided to keep Hana & Love as a paid-only option. So there will be two ways to read this manga.
- Becoming our monthly supporter patron at the Sugoi tier or higher. This would include the other benefits that come with that pledge level. Some small percentage discounts may be offered for years subscriptions.
- Purchasing the comic at one of the sites that we publish it on, such as Comixology, Amazon Kindle, and via Muslim Manga’s online store. The manga is not available yet, but you can buy another manga published through our organization if you want to support us now. The manga is called Hungry X Hunter and is available on ComiXology and Muslim Manga Shop now.
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