2 months ago

pictureboxinc: This month: Gold Pollen and Other Stories by Seiichi Hayashi. 200 pages of astounding manga, along with an illustrated essay by Ryan Holmberg.

4 months ago
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service follows a group of five students who graduate a Buddhist university and find that their area of study isn’t in terribly high demand in the work force. The fact that one is an itako (traditionally blind, traditionally female - he’s neither) shaman who can communicate with the dead, and another is able to dowse for corpses, and a third claims to possess a psychic connection to an alien intelligence doesn’t sweeten their job prospects. Their solution is to take some entrepreneurial initiative and create a business for themselves. The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service will find bodies of the dead… crime victims… suicide victims and the like… and take them where they’re meant to be. This brings them repeatedly into the notorious Aokigahara forest suicide hot spot, police morgues, atrocity sites, grisly crime scenes, and basically anywhere bound to be stinking and maggot infested. Karmicly this might be rewarding, but finically, it means that the cast still scramble to make ends meet with odd jobs.
Kurosagi isn’t a case like Monkey King where it’s best not to try to read more than a chapter at a go. Sitting down for a volume long collection of three of its stories is really far from a bad thing. But it is another case where the long, serial story isn’t the emphasis. Here, it’s not that the manga isn’t going anywhere, so much as that it’s not the appeal. It’s televisual, at least televisual when TV wasn’t as ongoing story minded. However, development and revelation is happening so slowly, so infrequently, with so much reticence to bring any overarching element to a head, that that character growth/reconciliation is evidently not a priority for the manga. Character histories and destinies aren’t unimportant, but they aren’t the focus either. What in post X-Files parlance could be called “mythology” stoories aren’t what you read the manga for. Like many seinen series, the manga is developing by having the characters reconcile with their pasts. Those chapters are painful personal episodes that tie the characters to historical crimes, their own families or their nation’s. Like a TV series, it’s occasionally gives a glimpse into some history that makes the characters richer.From that first scene with the funny animal mask sex, the volume’s first story just gets odder and more complex, drawing in technology, cultural shifts, and esoteric psychological disorders in the convoluted mystery. The pleasure of Kurosagi is the dawning realization of exactly what you’re reading. Do yourself a favor and don’t study the front cover or read the back of this volume. They too much of a give away. Following the reasoning, and seeing the unfolding of what is very weird and also very considered and thought through what makes Kurosagi must read manga.What writer (here, creative duty is split between a writer and a distinct illustrator) Eiji Otsuka does is appears something along the lines of what Warren Ellis does in some of his comics like Global Frequency or Osamu Tezuka did in some of his manga like Black Jack: take something that they read in a paper or a science journal or a cultural trend and extrapolate it out into a genre story.Otsuka’s a real knowledge omnivore, resulting in some real go-for-broke monuments of stacked topics. He knows plenty of esoteric subjects. He’s on top of what’s current, and, his gift is weaving together disparate subject from folklore and Japanese history to recent technological breath through and cultural concerns and stringing them all together into specific episodes of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.Manga has plenty of authors who study subjects well enough to write about them convincingly. Lone Wolf and Cub’s Kazuo Koike who can create realism in his absurd manga through fascination with details and process. Famous wine manga Drops of God’s Tadashi Agi (penname) is a professional writer with credits in a stack of manga, novels and screen plays. Those are all dedicated writers, but you also see the sort of dedication in plenty of other single creators who write well about a topic from a studied perspective, all the sports and cooking and food other subject based manga are filled with examples.Otsuka ranges in and out of areas with which he had prior expertise, but what’s especially noteworthy about him as a writer is his background as an editor, academic and social critic. He’s curious. His creative engine certainly seems to get primed by new developments in culture and technology, as well as studies into the past. He’s also professionally equipped to tease out significant factors and draw connections. It’s funny the number of time that his stories pre-figure real world events. Now, while it’s a coincidence that he wrote about the death of a certain world leader in this volume shortly prior to that figure’s real death, it’s interesting to see him thinking around something that was a credible concern at the time, which happened to become a real concern, and it’s truly amazing to see the connections that he draws and threads that he ropes into the story.There are plenty of manga that deserve to be niche or which I’m fine to see fight for attention in the crowded entertainment landscape, but Kurosagi is one that I wish would find a wider audience. It’s one of the most gruesome crime mysteries you can find and at the same time one of the smartest. It’s perfect for a curious reader. Otsuka weaves together relevant and/or fascinating subjects with real insight in a way that few do. If it’d takes animal masked people fucking to get this book some attention, fine by me. It’s certainly not entirely inappropriate to the series. (via)

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service follows a group of five students who graduate a Buddhist university and find that their area of study isn’t in terribly high demand in the work force. The fact that one is an itako (traditionally blind, traditionally female - he’s neither) shaman who can communicate with the dead, and another is able to dowse for corpses, and a third claims to possess a psychic connection to an alien intelligence doesn’t sweeten their job prospects. Their solution is to take some entrepreneurial initiative and create a business for themselves. The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service will find bodies of the dead… crime victims… suicide victims and the like… and take them where they’re meant to be. This brings them repeatedly into the notorious Aokigahara forest suicide hot spot, police morgues, atrocity sites, grisly crime scenes, and basically anywhere bound to be stinking and maggot infested. Karmicly this might be rewarding, but finically, it means that the cast still scramble to make ends meet with odd jobs.

Kurosagi isn’t a case like Monkey King where it’s best not to try to read more than a chapter at a go. Sitting down for a volume long collection of three of its stories is really far from a bad thing. But it is another case where the long, serial story isn’t the emphasis. Here, it’s not that the manga isn’t going anywhere, so much as that it’s not the appeal. It’s televisual, at least televisual when TV wasn’t as ongoing story minded. However, development and revelation is happening so slowly, so infrequently, with so much reticence to bring any overarching element to a head, that that character growth/reconciliation is evidently not a priority for the manga. Character histories and destinies aren’t unimportant, but they aren’t the focus either. What in post X-Files parlance could be called “mythology” stoories aren’t what you read the manga for. Like many seinen series, the manga is developing by having the characters reconcile with their pasts. Those chapters are painful personal episodes that tie the characters to historical crimes, their own families or their nation’s. Like a TV series, it’s occasionally gives a glimpse into some history that makes the characters richer.

From that first scene with the funny animal mask sex, the volume’s first story just gets odder and more complex, drawing in technology, cultural shifts, and esoteric psychological disorders in the convoluted mystery. The pleasure of Kurosagi is the dawning realization of exactly what you’re reading. Do yourself a favor and don’t study the front cover or read the back of this volume. They too much of a give away. Following the reasoning, and seeing the unfolding of what is very weird and also very considered and thought through what makes Kurosagi must read manga.

What writer (here, creative duty is split between a writer and a distinct illustrator) Eiji Otsuka does is appears something along the lines of what Warren Ellis does in some of his comics like Global Frequency or Osamu Tezuka did in some of his manga like Black Jack: take something that they read in a paper or a science journal or a cultural trend and extrapolate it out into a genre story.

Otsuka’s a real knowledge omnivore, resulting in some real go-for-broke monuments of stacked topics. He knows plenty of esoteric subjects. He’s on top of what’s current, and, his gift is weaving together disparate subject from folklore and Japanese history to recent technological breath through and cultural concerns and stringing them all together into specific episodes of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.

Manga has plenty of authors who study subjects well enough to write about them convincingly. Lone Wolf and Cub’s Kazuo Koike who can create realism in his absurd manga through fascination with details and process. Famous wine manga Drops of God’s Tadashi Agi (penname) is a professional writer with credits in a stack of manga, novels and screen plays. Those are all dedicated writers, but you also see the sort of dedication in plenty of other single creators who write well about a topic from a studied perspective, all the sports and cooking and food other subject based manga are filled with examples.

Otsuka ranges in and out of areas with which he had prior expertise, but what’s especially noteworthy about him as a writer is his background as an editor, academic and social critic. He’s curious. His creative engine certainly seems to get primed by new developments in culture and technology, as well as studies into the past. He’s also professionally equipped to tease out significant factors and draw connections. It’s funny the number of time that his stories pre-figure real world events. Now, while it’s a coincidence that he wrote about the death of a certain world leader in this volume shortly prior to that figure’s real death, it’s interesting to see him thinking around something that was a credible concern at the time, which happened to become a real concern, and it’s truly amazing to see the connections that he draws and threads that he ropes into the story.

There are plenty of manga that deserve to be niche or which I’m fine to see fight for attention in the crowded entertainment landscape, but Kurosagi is one that I wish would find a wider audience. It’s one of the most gruesome crime mysteries you can find and at the same time one of the smartest. It’s perfect for a curious reader. Otsuka weaves together relevant and/or fascinating subjects with real insight in a way that few do. If it’d takes animal masked people fucking to get this book some attention, fine by me. It’s certainly not entirely inappropriate to the series. (via)

4 months ago
otakugangsta: hack anything
4 months ago 5 months ago

Oishinbo is a long-running (over 100 volumes so far), incredibly popular culinary manga written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by Akira Hanasaki. The A la Carte editions focus on particular culinary themes, like Sake and Fish, Sushi and Sashimi, cherry picking stories from the title’s long, long run. (Viz didn’t concoct the collections; they just translated the existing ones from Shogakukan.)

One of the primary subplots of Oishinbo is the terrible, terrible relationship between its protagonist, culinary journalist Yamaoka, and his father, tyrannical gourmet Kaibara. Each is leading a different newspaper’s efforts to develop a menu showcasing the best of Japanese cuisine. In customary shônen fashion, father and son engage in highly public, extremely acrimonious contests to show who knows more about food.

11 months ago
Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan is a 2008 book published by Pantheon Books, subsidiary of Random House, in the United States. The book was designed by Chip Kidd with the assistance of photographer Geoff Spear. It collects a Japanese shōnen manga adaptation of the American comic book series Batman by Jiro Kuwata simply entitled Batman (バットマン Battoman) and also includes photographs of vintage Batman toys from Japan. The Batman manga included in Bat-Manga! was created during a Batman craze in Japan, being serialized from April 1966 to May 1967; the series ended when the craze ended. The manga was released in paperback and at the same time a limited hardcover was released on October 28, 2008, with an additional manhua bootleg and an extra Batman story by the creator.

Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan is a 2008 book published by Pantheon Books, subsidiary of Random House, in the United States. The book was designed by Chip Kidd with the assistance of photographer Geoff Spear. It collects a Japanese shōnen manga adaptation of the American comic book series Batman by Jiro Kuwata simply entitled Batman (バットマン Battoman) and also includes photographs of vintage Batman toys from Japan. The Batman manga included in Bat-Manga! was created during a Batman craze in Japan, being serialized from April 1966 to May 1967; the series ended when the craze ended. The manga was released in paperback and at the same time a limited hardcover was released on October 28, 2008, with an additional manhua bootleg and an extra Batman story by the creator.

1 year ago
Thermae Romae is a manga that follows a Roman architect named Lucius, who is having trouble coming up with ideas. One day, he discovers a hidden tunnel underneath a spa that leads him to a modern Japanese bath house. Inspired by the innovations found there, he creates his own spa, Roma Thermae, bringing in the modern ideas to his time.

Thermae Romae is a manga that follows a Roman architect named Lucius, who is having trouble coming up with ideas. One day, he discovers a hidden tunnel underneath a spa that leads him to a modern Japanese bath house. Inspired by the innovations found there, he creates his own spa, Roma Thermae, bringing in the modern ideas to his time.

1 year ago
1 year ago

(Source: yimmyayo)

1 year ago

I don’t know much about manga, Japanese comics, but I know a lot more now that I have read Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life, a “memoir” of one of the most well-known manga creators. Tatsumi was responsible for creating “gekiga,” a genre of manga that sought to differentiate itself from manga for kids, which, as typical for comics everywhere it seems, was seen as a corrupting influence.

I put memoir in quotation marks above because Tatsumi renames himself Hiroshi Katsumi in the book, suggesting a distance or even displacement between historical reality and what the book represents. However, I have seen no reviewer call the book fiction rather than memoir. And the book has little in it to suggest that it might be anything different than Tatsumi’s own memories of his own experience. Still, the renaming is curious, as if Tatsumi is objectifying himself, looking at himself as if he were someone else.

The memoir covers 15 years, from the end of World War II in 1945 to 1960, the year of the Security Treaty between Japan and the US. The state of Japan and its national psychology after the war are always in the background, as Tatsumi includes several key historical points, such as General MacArthur’s being removed from command in Japan in 1951. These pieces of history tend to be drawn differently than the clear lines of the main story, with more shading and cross hatching. The same is true of the many films (Japanese, American, European) that Tatsumi refers to. Clearly, political history and film are the key extrinsic influences on “Katsumi’s” artistic development. Indeed, the book concludes with Katsumi drawn into a massive protest over the Security Treaty. The protest somehow inspires him to persist in the gekiga genre. When he notices that “Japan, too, is adrift” (825), it makes Katsumi somehow iconic of Japan’s postwar situation, and suggests a new socio-political bent to his work. Such work does not appear in this volume, and readers more familiar with Tatsumi’s post-1960 output will have to vouch for, or dismiss, this suggestion.

The historical elements have more to do with manga’s place in post-war Japanese culture than with the manga represented in this book. Film, however, is much more prominent in Katsumi’s artistic development. When he can’t work, Katsumi goes to the movies and incorporates filmic concepts into his work. Anyone studying the relationship between film and comics would do well to read this book. Gekiga is an attempt to bring a more cinematic scope to manga. Katsumi wants to slow stories down and develop them over greater space than the short stories that publishers want allow.

A Drifting Life shows the development of a medium and the difficulties in establishing a new genre within that medium more than the personal development of its creator. Katsumi’s father is something of a ne’erdowell and, while his parents share the same roof, they are to all intents and purposes separated. His brother Okimasa has pleurisy. One of his sister’s friends develops a crush on him. The few sexual or romantic relationships (a brief dalliance with a restaurant “madam” and an episode in which Katsumi is pursued by a forward high school girl) are presented so as to show how inconsequential they are. These details of a life are just that. The real story is of the manga. And it is amazing how engrossing 840 pages of meta-manga can be: the conditions of its production, the vagaries and vicissitudes of the publishing industry and the rental manga business. (via)

A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi