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24 September 2014

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Asia's winning character, Monir

Manga champ

Meet Monir, the feisty Arabian hero designed by Birmingham student Asia Alfasi who won an international Manga and Anime competition.


Asia Alfasi, the first female participant on Hi8us Midlands Stripsearch competition, has beaten some of the world’s finest illustrators to win US$5000 from the first-ever annual international competition to identify the best in Manga and Anime talent, awarded by organisers IMAF – the International Manga and Anime Festival.

StripSearch project

Hi8us launched the StripSearch project in September 2003 to focus on seeking out and supporting comic strip illustration talent in Birmingham. Applicants were asked to submit 2-4 pages of original drawn comic strip; 90 people rose to the challenge. Due to the huge demand and great deal of talent, 13 finalists were selected, including Asia.

Feisty young Arabian

Muslim character created by Asia
Muslim character created by Asia

Asia, who has received support from Hi8us Midlands since 2003, is the winner of the Kids Character Design.  Her creation, Monir, is a feisty young Arabian from the Muslim Abyssinian times who draws strength from his faith to fight injustice and battle for his family’s survival.  

“I went back to my Arab heritage to draw from its design…” says Asia “calligraphy, myths and legends, I tried to incorporate them all into the character.  Manga usually features Japanese culture, and I wanted to introduce some Arabian mysticism to the market.”

Asia works on her drawing
Asia works on her drawing

Asia has taken part in several Hi8us schemes, such as Stripsearch and Developing New Markets (a scheme to help illustrators set up in business), funded by Birmingham City Council’s Equal ICI Programme, and believes that it is the support she received during this time that boosted her career 

“The Stripsearch scheme provided training and insight from professionals like John McCrea and James Hodgkins, who have taught me the art of inking and getting my work up to a professional level” she enthuses

Manga and Anime


“I established a network of contacts and was introduced and invited to be part of online art communities, and through those communities I found out about the International Manga and Anime competition. I am eternally grateful to Hi8us for presenting me with the exposure and chances to explore and further my career.”

Asia has just taken part in an exhibition at the Custard Factory and plans to continue working on her own comic, whilst finishing her degree in Visual Communications at UCE.

“We are so proud of Asia” said Jemima Cattel, Hi8us Midlands  Ltd Projects Co-ordinator “her energy and commitment are amazing and we hope to continue working with her.”

last updated: 19/05/05
Have Your Say
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WOW. Manga is amazing. I always love anime and manga. I'm learning Japanese at the moment, now I'm interested in drawing manga. Asia's drawing is amazingly beautiful.


im glad and proud that asia introduced islam in the manga world. usually it is not very familiar with it. anyway, im a manga fan, because, simply, i love the art. it is beautiful.

it roock i love it !¬!!!

aliesha gillings
I like it but its not very westernised, i prefere japanese manga.

carmen prew
well, i think that it is very creative.my aunty is very good artist and she drew a massive picture of a manga person on her wall in black it was so amazing!!and ever since i have been very interested in it!!

nicky lawlan
i think that the website is ok but it does not have enough manga opictures on it

I am a muslim as well and I have never seen a muslim character before. Asia think she is very talented and the character is beautiful.

omygoodness i love manga, my parents look down on it and english and amercan cartoons suck so much. we need more anime, bbut ive got so mcuh manga on me :D

im a big fan of the manga called bleach because of how they put it together and how everyone has had a past with someone else its really great!!!!

manga rox. i think its 1 of those things that u either luv or h8, but in my case, its a matter of obsession. after reading my first manga book i became hooked. i have read dnangel, fruits basket, bleach, demon diary, .hack//legend of the twilight, .hack//sign---all of them r amazing, and thats just the manga, soon after reading dnangel i watched the anime and now i find it hard 2 tear myself away from the computer. magas even got me learning japanese! its got me interested in japanese language and culture, its amazing!!!

jessica mazan
do you know what really ticks me off? AMERICANS...they are selfish and mean, they have taken one piece of tv, along with some of my other favorite programs, eg: dragon ball z, sailor moon etc.i wish there was a channel where you could watch all your favorite programs whenever you like, but sadly there isn't such a channel...

I love Asia Alfasi's colored manga/comics, they're so funny and cute! I adore her style too. It's nice to see other Muslim manga/anime artists since so many Muslims think it's totally haram, which is upsetting...

Yusef Iqbal
Asia Alfasi you are an inspiration to all manga loving muslims evrywhere! i am a 12 year old boy who has now been inspired to persue his dreams

Haja Kallon
I am i love manga, my fav series is inuyasha especially. But i go to harris girls ber, and peoole admire my drawings. I've made three manga girls on A3 paper. i've made a poster for a chaucer secondary school. But since i'm a muslim, when i grow up i wanna to be a japenese manga artist. In a muslim way.i've making a collection of my drawings imn a porfolio, for when i go to college.

Rahul from London
salam-alai-kum, miss Asiasure i'm probebly quite lame to say this but still. i can't belive what u ha achived so far, you're an official mangaka. i'm 16 and since i was young i would always draw/scrible/ doddle what; evre u wanna call it; as a kid it was really the only thing i was good. so scine an early age i have always loved drawing and resenlty (a year ago)i was introduced to the world of anami/manga. u can guess that like many other i became attracted to the craze; with in that year i have been seriously thinkin about a career in animation such as maga strip/ anami. and as a Muslim i want to find ways of using this media to to my bit to spread Islam in my work, even if is to get people to understand what the faith is about. i would like to get involved in this area cobining faith and manga.i appreciate what u r doing and again,salam-alai-kumRahul from London

OMG!!! thats so cool!!! a muslim mangaka!!! u rock my muslim world!!!!

When I grow up, all I ever wanter was to go to manga university in Tokyo so I've started studying manga.

Yah i love sailor moon i wish that cbbc would put it on the t.v at 4:30pm!!! So me and my bigsister could watch it!!! I have to watch it at my coisins on da internet!!!!!

i realy like your drawing but i to am a doodler and i wanted to know were u get the ideas im mean was there!!! realy a prince of persia named monir!!!!!

i have a freind who loves sailor moon so much that she made me like her as well i think it is so beautiful

i really like the images that are formed with such a great art syle. i didnt really know before about suh art but when i visited this site i was stunned to see this.

I love reading Manga because I learn a lot of stuff from it. In the future I want to be an animator and I also want to draw Manga because I've got a lot of things in my mind that I want the world to know about and learn from it too! I want to show them how it feels like to be ME! And now-a-days parents are way too busy to take care of there kids and teach them stuff...so I thought Anime and Manga might help in this situation and teach those kids some usefull things about life... I've got a message for the world and I will show it to them through my animation and Manga strips!

I absolutely love Manga and its Anime incarnations, always have. Its amazing to see a fellow muslim, not only knowledgeable about this awesome art form, but also partaking in it :D

I love anime and manga, I fell in love with it at the age of eight, I'm twelve now. It's a wonderful art style that brings so many people together, what could be wrong about it? The only thing I hate is when people dub animes (or translate mangas for that matter), and take out all reference to Japanese culture as well as edit the names and censor vital points in the anime, so I watch the originals on YouTube. Anyway, I love your style, its adorable, I'm pleased to see a non American/Japanese/Oriental mangaka (the word for manga artist)! Next to CLAMP, Masashi Kishimoto and Rei Izumi you are my favorite artist! Be sure to make an account on DeviantArt, okay? ^_~

hi...i'm manga lover.. it's really happy to know that there is a n islamic anime. go girl.. good job.....

sophie gruniss
when i was a little girl i have always loved manga, i wacht salor moon when i was 7 and now love seeing naruto, princess mononoke, yu-gi-oh, bleach ect. i with to be a manga desiner i have been drawing for 4 years and i'm countinueing. i'm happy that there are so meny people who love manga as much as i do i would like some people to see my work thank you

i like manga cos it is different and i beleive it has more meaning

it's so cool the way manga is realistic and funny at the same time!

When will u be producing more? And will u be making a complete manga with a story ever?

WOW! YOUR AWESOME AT MANGA DUDE!!!!! hehe! check out my stuff! www.purple-umbrella.deviantart.com manga is brilliant i dont know whatid be like without it! i love beyblade so much!^o^ xxxx

hey, i have been a fan of several mangas and animes for about two years now (including sailormoon of course) and i think that character is amazing! i really want to see your first comic! good going!

i can draw the heads on anime but not the arms fingers torso shoes and legs and cloths

mitchell porter
She should collaborate with Asia Argento next. ;-)

im a 17yr old recent revert from australia, but ive been drawing anime for years and i have been looking every for islamic anime and im sooo happy to have found one..absolutly beautiful artwork sister..alaikum salam

Great, now our muslim girls will have a woman they can look up to. My daughter is special ed and comics are easy for her to understand. Can't wait til you publish your first comic. Will you publish it in arabic as well?

I think it was a very good drawn manga character.It was good with all the muslim/arabian theme.Good job! /A fan from Sweden

kate kovaly
manga is one of the things that helped me get my inspiration for drawing. The emotions i feel are put to life when i draw it. My style and dreams go into my drawings, i luv manga because it helped me be happy throughout all the bad and weird things in my wacked up life, manga is the coolest thing ever,keep drawing is my main advice to anyone, and stay creative!!!

i love manga because the characters r sooo cute and i cant resist and i watch the shows on dvds since its not on..will there be any cute character?like fruits basket?

manga art is sooooo kool could you draw us a pic plz plz plz

Isabell OLson
i love manga becuase of its emotions in it and the eyes!!!!! beyblade,and others !! ^.^ I.I

Ani Me
I love manga and sometimes draw a mangapicture, but it is not perfekt and I should practise on this.

i luv manga because of the cartoon style and the emotion is the best thing that inspires me to draw it. It ROCKS my WORLD!!!

Jessica Mazan
I like manga becasue it is something different, like the british and american cartoon programs are, BORING! And the Japanese cartoons are funny, like One Piece. O I Like One Piece becasue it has one character called Monkey D. Luffy and he is always getting in to trouble and he is full of surprises.

Linh Le
I love manga like sailor its just soooo amazing i love the animation because its so cool how they put it all together and draw it

I LOVE MANGA!!! a bit too much for my own good but it rocks, love the characters though!

I think manga is beautiful. The way it captures emotions just with the eyes and colours is amazing. i have been drawing manga since i was six and i am now 15!!!

I have started to draw manga style characters and i love it!! i love it because you can make it your own and i love verything to do with japan!!

I love manga and the art of manga last 3 or 4 years I was drawing manga but I stoped because of my studeing.

I am a manga fan because manga is so..different than another comics. I really like the style, it's so nice ^^. Congratulations Asia, you really deserved to win :) Way to go!

yes i am a manga fan but i would be more if i culd draw better!!!

Emanuel juah
yes i am a great fan and when i grow up i want to be an manga animation person.

lets see... I started liking it since like, FOREVER and the best manga is fruits basket, and the best anime is by Hayao Mayasaki and the show Princess Tutu

i love manga, simply cause it's beautifull... we are proud of you asia !!

Edward stephens
i'm a manga fan because i have seen some fine manga. i am making my own comic and even though i'm 13, i am now on 156 pages.

Excellent work keep it up Asia. Peace.

Manga is awesome because it is fun to draw, you can create great characters, you need a lot of creativity, you can sit down and draw straight from your mind, you can express anything you want to, and the comics are possibly the most rebellious graphic novels around. Yay for art with literature!

I have known her online for the last few years, and now I don't even find this out until now. Congrats, Asia!

manga hair is very handsome. my family don't agreee

muhammad suhail
because I've wait for a long time for the such thing as this

...keep drawing... now I'm famous... you don't know who I am......

It just so awesomely rocks. and its different to everyday life.

i like manga because its original and unique, i love drawring it but sometimes my drawrings aren't that best, can u plz tell me how to draw anime in steps, can u put it on this page or something? i would be so grateful.

very good!!!!!!

I am a magna fan because i love the style of drawing... it's different and it captures the animated side of someone (or something)... I'm not that good but Still trying. Asia- you're great! and i respect you for your talent. Mashallah!

sammie jo
i love the style and especialy the eyes, manga wouldnt be manga without those famouse eyes!

Ahh... I don't know what I'd do without Manga. It's what keeps me going through the day. I'm more of a fan of Shonen and Seinen, With Blame being my favorite. Tis so pretty.

I like manga drawings becuase they are complex and I enjoy drawing the eyes and face and hair. I liked Monir on the carpet and the background too. I also drew my own character Rico, and she is my age 11.

manga fan
I love the drawings

Balqis umairah
I have read manga comics for many years.Always wanted to learn how to draw them...but sadly always failed...not meant to be i guess...But to finally see one that is a reflection of a muslim girl...subahnallah its beautiful...:)

anime and manga rocks really hard..i just love it..oneday i might be the future anime artist and ya'll love me...-peace, farishta

I am the ultimate number one manga fan...i'll tell you why, becuase i draw them too, adn have won awards in my local area, in hackney, of London, where i have been hired to present my art of the walls of schools, etc...ain't that cool?

I love to draw but the problem is that I'm not very good I mean I draw some cool drawings but not as sweet as these

I am manga fan but its sad that in manga women are shown "cheap" and weak. Ithink they must show girls strong and independent, like samurai girls hero girl a.s.o.

Noni Blackwood
I've been in love with anime/manga for about 3 years. I have now learned to draw the characters and write stories. I enjoy watching anime and reading Japanese original manga.im a manga-ka too!!!!!!!!

Three Fates' Angel
I really like the themes behind anime/manga. That's what attracts me to this genre the most aside from the art style. There's something heart-touching and close to home about titles like Full Moon wo Sagashite and Fruits Basket even though they're so fantastical. They seem to deal with personal issues that I don't see that often in other forms of media.

i absolutely love anime and manga, and i am a muslim too, Asia has inspired me...

Josh the manga champ
I LOVE MANGA AND ANIME. They just seriously rock. I like to draw characters from t.v shows but I like to draw my own characters more. I have more than 35 awesome drawings.

i like manga and anime but i want to know how to do it can you help?

I LOVE MANGA AND ANIME.I have a lot of favorites.I like DN Angel,Fruits Basket,Dragonball Z,Gravation and many more.

[x Åňģέℓ Ńϊώ&#
I LOVE anime!!!!! If anyone complains bout it then they seriously needs to see it!!!! My favourite anime is DNAngel!!!! It is the best!! Only if someone had Dark's looks and Daisuke's personality! He was would be my dream man seriously!!!

that is so tight if there was olny one about other type of asian manga nationally

namesuya sutoraifu
and I think that Fruits Basket rocks! Yuki is just great....hope you'll agree with me! supet kawai! love from Namesuya

namesuya sutoraifu
WOW! that's just great art! Congratulations....you deserved that price....I love manga because the art is beautiful and if you have ever seen art by Tetsuya Nomura, you understand why!I'm drawing manga too, but I'm not as good as thisa girl...I'm specialised in chibi's and I hope that I'll can draw stuff like FF too... TETSUYA NOMURA AND UTADA HIKARU ARE THE BEST!And Koroado Sutoraifu is hot! love from Namesuya

Yaoi rules!!! *DROLL*

i just love sooooooooooooooooo much because they are sooo pretty , especially the girls . i like them too because they are drawn with such precision that adore. i draw them too , and i even made a story ,and have lots of files full of manga characters ! id even like to be them!

I must say Manga rocks. Unfortunately, for me I just can't master actually drawing it. So I guess I just have to stick with my stick figures, while I look on enviously at your amazing skilz.

miharu yamashita
i love manga and anime they look like great pictures no wonder you won :D i have been doing manga for about a year or so and reallly enjoy it. :D

I love Anime and Manga! I've drawn manga ever since I was 10 and its great. I love manga styled art. One Piece is my favourite japanese Anime and manga. Go One Piece! ^___^

I'm living in the Netherlands. Once I drew a Muslim-character and everyone told me I was stupid. I believe that the beauty of Manga is in the difference of people. Make the difference! Blessed be, Lily

because i think that its cool.

I love manga it is so cool. I love the way they do the Characters. I would love to get a job doing manga. I have been doing manga from when I was 9 and i have not sotp. I am now 13 and it has help me at school and home. :D GO MANGA!

Sailor moonoholic!
I absolutely adore anime sailor moon, i think it's the best show in the world! im sure others would agree

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