Several mangaka have assistants to help them with producing their manga. Do these assistants perform a standard set of well-defined tasks (similar to a movie's assistant director), or does each mangaka decide what their assistant does?
Mangaka often use assistants to help them complete drawing the manga within schedule. The mangaka decides the number of assistants and their roles in the manga production. The assistants may help the mangaka in a number of ways, such as:
- Filling up the artwork details (such as screentones, hair, clothing, special effects) after the mangaka has drawn the basics.
- Drawing the time-consuming elements, such as scene backgrounds and crowds, allowing the mangaka to focus more on the plot and character development.
- Drawing specific things. For example, Go Nagai mangaka employed an assistant to draw helicopters and military vehicles.
- Cleaning up any artwork that goes out of the panels. Mikio Ikemoto helps Masashi Kishimoto with this, among other things, in producing Naruto.
- Being the mangaka's sounding board for ideas, but the assistants almost never help with the plot itself.
Some mangaka do not employ any assistants at all choosing to do everything themselves.