Akira to be re-released in high definition

I love comic books and graphic novels. I'm not ashamed to say that dig me some cartoons. Sadly, I've never been able to get into anime and manga. It's a shame: I know that there are a ton of series available to watch, stream or buy online that I might potentially enjoy. I loved Robotech when I was younger. However, when I re-watched it recently, it didn't hold up for me. Every time I attempt to invest in something new, like Cowboy Bebop, Full Metal Alchemist or Bleach, I quickly lose interest. I think it's more about my tastes in entertainment than it is about the medium--there's lots of folks who love anime. I'm just not one of them.

One of my earliest flirtations with anime was Akira. I was maybe 13, at the time. An arthouse theatre in the town I grew up in was playing it. I was drawn to the poster: Shotaro Kaneda astride his badass ride, holding what I thought looked like a bazooka. I bought the ticket and took the ride. I was way too young (or maybe too dense?) to be able to follow what the hell was going on. A few years later, I discovered the Akira manga, translated into English. I gave them a go. Better, but I still preferred Green Lantern. Also, I'm pretty sure that all the mutant blob weirdness gave me nightmares.

But hey, maybe it's high time to give it another try.

From io9:

Announced yesterday evening at Otomo’s panel at Anime Expo, Akira will be reborn across two different initiatives: first, an ultra-HD remastering of the original movie, which is set to release on blu-ray in Japan on April 24, 2020, with a western release coming at a later date (interestingly timed, given that Warner Bros.

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Akira volume 2, Cartoonist Kayfabe Commentary

What better way to celebrate 2019, the year before the Neo-Tokyo Summer Olympics, than to revisit Katsuhiro Otomo's classic manga in a book club format with the Cartoonist Kayfabe crew, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli . Miss the earlier videos? No problem:

For more videos and deep dives like this make sure to subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel Read the rest

Akira Animation Cels! Cartoonist Kayfabe Show and Tell

The boys, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli got hold of a couple animation cels from the classic anime and couldn't help but show them off. A fun glimpse into the analogue way of producing animation. Come for the cels, stay for the Katsuhiro Otomo storyboard books.

Also, in case you missed the Cartoonist Kayfabe coverage of the Akira manga:

Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel for more vids celebrating the medium of comics. Read the rest

Akira vol. 1, Making a Masterpiece, Cartoonist Kayfabe Series

The main event begins! The boys, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli give their kayfabe commentary on the first volume of Katsuhiro Otomo's Magnum Opus, Akira!

Get your hands on the newish 35 year anniversary box set and read along!

Two earlier episodes tracked Otomo's previous works leading up to Akira:

Part 1, Fireball

Part 2: Domu: A Child's Dream

Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel for future episodes Read the rest

Manga shredded to make toilet paper

Brian Ashcraft on what happens to returned and defective comic books in Japan.

Oshikiri added that some of his manga were also included in the recycling bin. “As you’d expect, there were [other] ones that touched my soul, and I thought that manga creators and people in the publishing business should come one time to see this sight with their own eyes.”

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Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki's favorite books for young people

The following are pioneering animator and Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki's (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, etc.) top ten favorite books for young people:

1. The Borrowers -- Mary Norton

2. The Little Prince -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

3. Children of Noisy Village -- Astrid Lindgren

4. When Marnie Was There -- Joan G. Robinson

5. Swallows and Amazons -- Arthur Ransome

6. The Flying Classroom -- Erich Kästner

7. There Were Five of Us -- Karel Poláček

8. What the Neighbours Did, and Other Stories -- Ann Philippa Pearce

9. Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates -- Mary Mapes Dodge

10. The Secret Garden -- Frances Hodgson Burnett

"Hayao Miyazaki Picks His 50 Favorite Children’s Books" (via Kottke) Read the rest

The bestselling series by the creators of Death Note, now available in a complete box set

“Is becoming a successful manga artist an achievable dream or just one big gamble?” The back cover of every Bakuman. poses this question, the central question to a series about the highs and lows of professional art, and the troubles an artist has to endure for their work. In Bakuman., two high school students named Mashiro and Takagi team up to create manga, taking on the roles of artist and writer, respectively. They have different and unique motivations for pursuing this path, Takagi doing it to avoid falling into the trap of a boring life, while Mashiro endeavors to impress the girl he loves. They’re both incredibly well developed characters that struggle, win, lose, and never accept defeat. Over the course of the 20 volumes in this set, we’re offered an in depth chronicle of their attempts at success.

Manga fans may recognize creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata as the team behind the popular Death Note. While Death Note was a high concept mystery, Bakuman. is a much more accessible “everyday life” kind of story that blends comedy and drama with ease. Now excuse me while I gush a little, because I think Bakuman. may be my favorite manga series. Any manga/comics fan should read it, but I cannot recommend it enough to anybody working in an artistic medium. Ohba & Obata use the simple plot to develop a complex reflection on the nature of creation. In their journey, Mashiro and Takagi have to confront the reality of achieving their dreams, struggling to discover if it was worth the struggle. Read the rest

Japanese pop artist Junko Mizuno goes pop-up in this gorgeous piece of book art

Japanese manga artist Junko Mizuno is known for her dizzying mix of everything from Japanese cute culture to erotic and pin-up art to religious and fairy tale imagery. In TRIAD, an absolutely stunning 16-page book, she brings three of her characters to life in 3D pop-up form — the Nurse, the Witch, and the Wrestler. The trio appears in five pop-up spreads, Ocean, Serpent, Triptych, Mansion, and Tree.

There is no text to the book, and no explicit narrative that I could discern. But there’s so much going on here, so much whimsy and weirdness, and some very clever use of pop-up book technology. This is really a piece of interactive art exploiting the book format. If you’re a fan of Junko Mizuno, Japanese manga and pop art, or of pop-up books in general, you will likely be as blown away by TRIAD as I was.

This little video flick-through by Poposition Press will give you a better idea of the blazing eye-candy to be had in TRIAD.

TRIAD by Junko Mizuno Poposition Press 2016, 16 pages, 11.5 x 9.0 x 1.5 inches, Hardcover $50 Buy one at Popsition

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Cosplay at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International: 10 amazing fan portraits

San Diego Comic-Con International has concluded for 2016, but these amazing photos of dedicated cosplayers at the event will live on. Read the rest

Before anime, Japanese paper theater entertained 1-million kids a day

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater

by Eric P. Nash

Abrams ComicArts

2009, 304 pages, 8.6 x 9.2 x 1.1 inches

$29 Buy a copy on Amazon

Manga Kamishibai tells and shows the fascinating history of Japanese paper theater, a lost storytelling form and the link between Edo-era Japanese ukiyo-e prints and modern day manga and television. I say “and shows” because this art form combined the spoken word with compelling visuals in uniquely Japanese storytelling performances and this book is rich with many wonderful reproductions of the hand-painted artwork.

Picture this: In devastated post-WWII Tokyo, a man stops his bicycle on a street corner. On the back of his bike is mounted a large, sixty-pound wooden box. The man flips a few panels around to reveal a stage-like picture frame. He noisily clacks together two wooden sticks, hiyogoshi, to call the neighborhood children. As they gather to see and hear the free show, the man sells them home-made penny candies, including a not-too-sweet taffy that’s pulled and stretched using a chopstick (like today’s movie business, the real money is in the profitable concessions!). The paying customers get a front row seat to the performance. The man slides a sequence of large, colorful panels in the frame “screen” as he tells adventure stories, quizzes the audience, and weaves tales of suspense, all with character voices and sound effects. As the story ends on a dramatic, to-be-continued cliff-hanger, the man packs up his two-wheel theater and pedals away ... Read the rest

Over 2000 pages, the Akira series is a sci-fi epic

See sample pages of Akira at Wink.

At the far too early age of seven I watched Katsuhiro Otomo’s film Akira. In a time before the internet, my parents had made the mistake of thinking that since it was a cartoon it couldn’t be that bad. If you’ve seen the movie you know just how wrong my parents were. If you haven’t, what followed was two hours of high-octane animated violence, drugs, and mind-bending psychokinesis. Being too young to really appreciate what many critics believe to be one of the greatest animated movies of all time, which helped bring Japanese anime into American culture, I retreated to the warm comfort of Disney. Thankfully as I got older I rediscovered this great movie, and this even better comic series.

This isn’t me just saying “Well, I read the book which is far better than the movie.” (Imagine me saying that with a snooty condescending accent). The movie barely skims the surface of the comics. It would be like if HBO took all the Game of Thrones books and turned them into a single two-hour special.

Spanning over 2000 pages the Akira series is a sci-fi epic. The story follows a teenage delinquent as he unknowingly gets caught up in psychic warfare that leads to an all-out revolution. Like the amphetamine that the main characters eat like candy, you’ll get addicted to this book – also, you might lose your teeth, but that could be unrelated.

Dark Horse did an exquisite job reprinting the comics into six volumes (although I did notice a typo in Volume 2 on page 228, so someone might want to contact Dark Horse about that). Read the rest

Boing Boing, a hentai/manga title we have nothing to do with but find amusing

Someone just pointed me to this hentai/manga porn for sale on Amazon, entitled Boing Boing.

Boing Boing is a great name for a creative project!

Boing Boing by Yamatogawa via Amazon.

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Attack on Titan: Live Action Trailer with English subtitles

My 12-year-old daughter Jane introduced my wife and me to Attack on Titan. It's a Japanese comic book and animated cartoon series by Hajime Isayama about a war between the last few remaining people on Earth and the creepy giant humanoids who want to eat them. I havn't read the manga like Jane has, but my wife and I enjoyed watching the animated series on Netflix. Attack on Titan is coming to the big screen, and a trailer with English subtitles was recently released.

I think it looks good, but Jane and her friends don't like it. They especially don't like the way the character Armen is portrayed. In the manga and anime, Armen is a sweet, brilliant mophead. In the movie, he's a tough guy with a buzzcut. That's a shame, because Armen's gentle demeanor and wisdom is important in the manga and anime. Changing his character into a badass warrior seems like the wrong move, but I'm still looking forward to watching it when it comes to Imax theaters. It'll be released in two parts, with the first installment screening on August first. I don't think it will be too difficult to convince Jane to come with me.

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Last Man 2: epic French manga gets even better

In March 2015, Firstsecond books published its English translation of the first volume of Lastman, the spectacularly successful French martial arts comic; they're bringing out the rest of the books on an aggressive schedule, with Book 2: The Royal Cup coming out today.

The Art of Osamu Tezuka: Astroboy's God of Manga

The kamisama of manga. The Japanese Disney. The godfather of anime. Tezuka-san has had many labels bestowed upon him both before and after his untimely death, but very few do justice to his contributions to a truly transatlantic medium, one which has dramatically surged in popularity in the last decade.

A doyen of over 500 individual print titles and scores of feature films, his creations – numbering amongst them the maverick doctor of Black Jack, the epic treatise on immortality Phoenix (Hi no Tori), and the all-conquering, sci-fi inflected Pinocchio retelling of Astro Boy (Mighty Atom) – are adventurous, topical, riotously funny and fundamentally human.

Part biography, part showcase of a lifetime spent in creative abandon, author Helen McCarthy traces his early inspiration drawn from Disney's wide-eyed characters – a look that would define manga's similarly neotenous bent – to a public, if officially unacknowledged repayment in the form of Kimba The White Lion re-imagining The Lion King. Packaged with a DVD of Tezuka at work, and a relief cover of the aforementioned Mighty Atom, Osamu Tezuka: The God Of Manga is a compelling and comprehensive work.

– Nick Parton

The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga by Helen McCarthy (author) and Osamu Tezuka (illustrator) Harry N. Abrams 2009, 272 pages, 9 x 12.2 x 1 inches $25 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Six Japanese Dating Sims to Fall In Love With

Welcome to Otome, visual dating games made with women in mind. They enjoy a healthy fandom, but many acclaimed titles remain in their native Japanese—frustrating, because romance and relationship games are more popular than ever.

Documentary about Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka

Renegade BB cartoonist Ed Piskor points us to this documentary about manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989), the creator of Astro Boy, Black Jack, and Kimba the White Lion. Ed says, "I am, at the same time, inspired and heartbroken by this film. It's an amazing document about the Japanese God of Comics shot a short time before his death." A DVD of the film is included in the book "The Art of Osamu Tezuka." Read the rest

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