Friday, September 29

NY Times on Hikikomori. Social recluses.

For some in Japan, a room is their world
By Maggie Jones The New York Times


TOKYO One morning when he was 15, Takeshi shut the door to his bedroom, and for the next four years he did not come out. He didn't go to school. He didn't have a job. He didn't have friends. Month after month, he spent 23 hours a day in a room no bigger than a king-size mattress, where he ate dumplings, rice and other leftovers that his mother had cooked, watched TV game shows and listened to Radiohead and Nirvana. "Anything," he said, "that was dark and sounded desperate."

Full article is here.

I have someone who is like this and I suspected one of main reason why he did it is because he cannot handle failure. Too proud? Too fragile in their idealism? I dunno. But this article is sobering account of growing problem in Asia, not just Japan but Asia. Perhaps it is our culture that emphasizes on face have turn this youngsters into failure-phobia people, fearing rejection and derision from society if in any chance they failed in their endeavours.

Should we Asians learn to be kinder and more compassionate, instead of using tough love concept here? Worth to think about.

This a movie on the subject matter, Tokyo Plastic

Not forgetting Welcome to NHK. The manga is quite depressing to read actually.

Wednesday, September 27

A log of conversation about anime aspects. Interesting chat

(14:40:26) Rah-Rah: Can I ask you something
(14:40:39) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: yeap?
(14:40:40) Rah-Rah: What is your exact opinion of the original TV series
(14:40:58) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: dated but has more substance than newer animes
(14:41:16) Rah-Rah: I wouldn't say newer anime as a whole
(14:41:22) Rah-Rah: But I see what you mean
(14:41:44) Rah-Rah: Maybe it has something to do with what people in the anime industry wanted to do then and what they want to do now
(14:41:48) Rah-Rah: I mean think about it
(14:41:48) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: compare this to for example, Prince of Tennis
(14:41:55) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: or Cooking Master Boy
(14:42:22) Rah-Rah: When you try to make something for a select group of people with high standards, who know their shit, you tend to go all out to make it the best damn thing possible
(14:42:25) Rah-Rah: However
(14:42:37) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: 0079 Gundam however
(14:42:47) Rah-Rah: When you get more mainstream with your works, you start to do a lot more works that are not aimed at anyone in particular
(14:42:47) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: has more sympathetic characters and good background
(14:42:55) Rah-Rah: In other words
(14:43:09) Rah-Rah: You tend to get away with mediocrity more when you go more mainstream
(14:43:17) Rah-Rah: Cause the public more or less expects that
(14:43:19) Rah-Rah: And eats it up
(14:43:55) Rah-Rah: Those aren't good things to compare it to at all
(14:44:05) Rah-Rah: Since Prince of Tennis is a terrible sports manga
(14:44:12) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: but people loved it
(14:44:21) Rah-Rah: Because the action is well done
(14:44:25) Rah-Rah: And the guys are handsome
(14:44:25) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: I lost count on the hordes of people trying to go mada made ne
(14:44:55) Rah-Rah: It doesn't even focus on the characters and their relationships
(14:45:00) Rah-Rah: or what they do when they aren't on the court
(14:45:03) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: I look at the concept
(14:45:10) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: and I just shake my head in disbelief
(14:45:13) Rah-Rah: THAT'S what makes it suck as compared to something like
(14:45:15) Rah-Rah: Say
(14:45:17) Rah-Rah: Touch
(14:45:21) Rah-Rah: THAT'S a good sports manga
(14:45:25) Rah-Rah: And I hate baseball
(14:45:42) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: I haven't touch Touch (no pun intended)
(14:45:51) Rah-Rah: You should
(14:45:53) Rah-Rah: It's very good
(14:46:09) Rah-Rah: And I also find Eyeshield 21 to be hilarious :P
(14:46:26) Rah-Rah has signed off.
(14:49:27) Rah-Rah: If you are gonna compare First Gundam to something
(14:49:27) Rah-Rah: Compare it to
(14:49:27) Rah-Rah: I dunno
(14:49:27) Rah-Rah: Fullmetal Alchemist :P
(14:49:27) Rah-Rah: Or Saikano
(14:49:27) Rah-Rah: Because they are easy targets
(14:50:20) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: hahahaha
(14:50:23) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: FMA
(14:50:30) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: Saikano is train wreck
(14:50:41) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: nice story but a bit too hackneyed for me
(14:51:07) Rah-Rah has signed on.
(14:51:37) Rah-Rah: More like interesting concept that is shoved down your fucking throut
(14:52:01) Rah-Rah: Gimme a goddamn break
(14:52:16) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: people love it
(14:52:25) Rah-Rah: Because people are morons
(14:52:44) Rah-Rah: Whose emotions are easily manipulated
(14:53:29) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: man
(14:53:36) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: you are quite articulate
(14:53:43) Rah-Rah: I am?
(14:53:47) Rah-Rah: You're kidding right?
(14:54:02) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: yeah
(14:54:05) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: I am not kidding
(14:54:13) Rah-Rah: lol
(14:54:13) Rah-Rah: Thanks
(14:55:09) Rah-Rah: I'm just saying
(14:55:29) Rah-Rah: People talk about how sad the series is when the tradgey itself is so over the top that you can's swallow it
(14:55:49) Rah-Rah: It also doesn't help that, while Chise is a rather good girl, her boyfriend is a fucking asshole
(14:55:54) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: the problem is
(14:55:58) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: the war did not make sense to me
(14:56:03) Rah-Rah: How can I feel sorry for this relationship
(14:56:07) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: why suddenly Japan got attacked?
(14:56:15) Rah-Rah: That's what I thought too
(14:56:46) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: off course when i asked in MT forum
(14:56:50) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: I got rebuffed
(14:57:01) Rah-Rah: But I don't think the reason the war was fought was what he was going for. I think he was going trying to say that War is terrrible and ruins peoples lives
(14:57:06) Rah-Rah: But that's the thing
(14:57:29) Rah-Rah: If you don't explain why the war is being fought, then what good is it for us to feel sorry for the victums
(14:57:43) Rah-Rah: It's a cheap device in order to add drama
(14:57:53) Rah-Rah: And sorrow to these miserable characters
(14:58:09) Rah-Rah: To this day though
(14:58:29) Rah-Rah: I still think it is hilarious that the only real good guy in the entire fucking thing reminds me of Roy Mustang
(14:59:00) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: you need to build a base
(14:59:07) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: before u can project a story
(14:59:13) Rah-Rah: Exactly
(14:59:27) Rah-Rah: Also
(14:59:42) Rah-Rah: If you want me to feel sorry for their relationship
(15:00:02) Rah-Rah: Don't make her boyfriend an asshole who fucks other women
(15:00:28) Rah-Rah: Even he she WASN'T away for a long time, he still fucked his ex substitude teacher
(15:00:40) Rah-Rah: And he did it like what
(15:00:42) Rah-Rah: 3 times?
(15:00:46) Rah-Rah: Then he fucked her friend
(15:00:52) Rah-Rah: WHAT THE HELL, MAN
(15:01:04) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: hmmmmmmmmmm
(15:01:07) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: in the manga right?
(15:01:14) Rah-Rah: Yeah
(15:01:18) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: I remembered that he had sex with the teacher
(15:01:46) Rah-Rah: And he did it 3 FUCKING TIMES
(15:02:03) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: not bad
(15:02:05) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: lol
(15:02:12) Rah-Rah: And they want me to feel sorry for this relationship?
(15:02:18) Rah-Rah: Sorry, Chise, find a guy who doesn't suck
(15:03:04) Rah-Rah: And cheat on you
(15:03:06) Rah-Rah: Regularly
(15:03:24) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: 3 times is not regular
(15:03:32) Rah-Rah: You know what I mean
(15:03:38) Rah-Rah: Continuosly
(15:03:44) Rah-Rah: And then he fucked her friend
(15:03:55) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: ?
(15:04:06) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: so he had sex with 2 ?
(15:04:12) Rah-Rah: Yes
(15:04:50) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: (races to get Saikano manga)
(15:05:16) Rah-Rah: I'LL KILL YOU
(15:05:18) Rah-Rah: I'LL KILL YOU DEAD
(15:05:28) Rah-Rah: Seriously though
(15:05:29) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: hahahhaha
(15:05:37) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: just kidding
(15:05:48) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: but sounds like u r royally annoyed by Saikano
(15:05:49) Rah-Rah: If I hear one more person say Saikano is soul crushing, my head is gonna spin around while I talk backwards
(15:05:56) Rah-Rah: I really am
(15:06:08) Rah-Rah: I'm also greatly annoyed by the morons who eat this shit up
(15:06:30) Rah-Rah: And say I'm an inhuman monster who doesn't understand how tragic it all is
(15:06:32) Rah-Rah: Fuck that
(15:06:39) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: let me guess
(15:06:47) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: it is a very personal quarrel
(15:06:56) Rah-Rah: It is?
(15:07:34) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: from your annoyance
(15:07:38) Rah-Rah: I'm annoyed by Saikano like I'm annoyed with FMA like I'm annoyed with Ouran High School Host Club
(15:08:23) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: but I seen a lot of people swore by Quran
(15:08:32) Rah-Rah: Because agian
(15:08:34) Rah-Rah: People are morons
(15:08:42) Rah-Rah: Then agian
(15:08:52) Rah-Rah: The only people I know are really liking this show are fangirls
(15:09:00) Rah-Rah: And they are stupuid by defualt
(15:09:14) Rah-Rah: Pretty boys= BEST SHOW EVER
(15:10:02) Rah-Rah: Then agian
(15:10:10) Rah-Rah: Most anime fans in general are pretty dumb
(15:11:26) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: afraid so
(15:12:02) Rah-Rah: You know, there is another reason that FMA bugs me that I really haven't gone into
(15:12:13) Rah-Rah: It's a little stupuid, so bear with me
(15:12:57) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: dude dude
(15:13:01) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: blog this
(15:13:14) Rah-Rah: Let me get it off my chest first
(15:14:02) Rah-Rah: FMA is an anime. An anime is a japanese cartoon. Now. What FMA does is explore very western themes, ideas, and idealisms in a psudo european setting.
(15:14:48) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: yup
(15:15:53) Rah-Rah: People call this show the best show ever made, or that ever will be made. This bothers me because, in my mind, an anime that will be considered the best of all time should be something that is uniquely japanese, and explores themes and ideas that reflect the country's mindset, rather then something that talks about themes that have been explored by my own culture for the past few CENTURIES
(15:16:15) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: care to talk more?
(15:16:30) Rah-Rah: Sure
(15:18:22) Rah-Rah: Something like Yamato, or Gundam, or Eva all feel uniquely japanese and explore things that are unique to the country (or in Eva's case, more universal themes)
(15:18:26) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: (nods)
(15:18:32) Rah-Rah: Message could not be sent because a connection error occurred:
(15:18:32) Rah-Rah: (nods)
(15:19:53) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: okay
(15:20:06) Rah-Rah: Message could not be sent because a connection error occurred:
(15:20:06) Rah-Rah: okay
(15:20:40) Rah-Rah: Besides
(15:20:58) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: Okay
(15:21:10) Rah-Rah: As for the work itself, it's somewhat poorly written and planned out, and yet people don't seem to notice this
(15:21:25) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: go on
(15:21:40) Rah-Rah: That most of the characters don't get developed whatsoever
(15:22:03) Rah-Rah: Or the middle half is poorly written (Example, thrown Dante in our lap and saying "this is the main villian")
(15:23:28) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: ok
(15:23:45) Rah-Rah: Hell, it doesn't even explore it's own themes that well
(15:23:54) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: alright
(15:23:54) Rah-Rah: As it's constantly contradicting whatever message it's trying to make
(15:24:03) Rah-Rah: Example
(15:24:40) Rah-Rah: In episode I thnk 16, Ed meets an old man who was involved in the Ishbal massacute
(15:25:20) Rah-Rah: He pretty much tells Edward the pointlessness of his journey and pretty much lays hte groundwork for what he is going to do for the rest of the series
(15:25:20) Rah-Rah: BUT
(15:25:26) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: ok
(15:25:30) Rah-Rah: They never go back to that old man or what he says, deeming it unimportant
(15:25:45) Rah-Rah: This, my friend, is bad writing
(15:25:57) Rah-Rah: When you show all your stuff ahead of time and never go back to it
(15:26:26) Rah-Rah: That and it shows that Ed is an idiot who doesn't fucking listen
(15:27:03) Rah-Rah: This is part of the reason I like the manga, despite the fact that it seems the manga gets a lot less credit
(15:27:22) Rah-Rah: As it's a very tightly woven piece (most of the time)
(15:27:33) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: yes
(15:27:36) Rah-Rah: That and Ed stops being an unlikeable moron sooner
(15:28:27) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: ok
(15:28:47) Rah-Rah: Specking of which
(15:28:53) Rah-Rah: Another thing to compare and contast
(15:29:09) Rah-Rah: Ed and Al's relationship in both the anime and the manga
(15:29:33) Rah-Rah: People praise the anime for being a dramatic portrayal of just how far two brothers would go for each other
(15:29:55) Rah-Rah: Then why the hell does thier relationship seem so.........fake isn't he world I'm looking for
(15:30:02) Rah-Rah: Maybe one sided
(15:30:27) Rah-Rah: Since during the entire run, when Ed starts to get arrogent, Al doesn't try and take him down a few notches
(15:30:35) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: you mean one sided
(15:30:41) Rah-Rah: He eggs him on, saying "You can do it brother"
(15:30:51) Rah-Rah: He doesn't hep
(15:31:02) Rah-Rah: He makes things worse by boosting his already large ego
(15:31:17) Rah-Rah: In the manga on the other hand
(15:31:23) Rah-Rah: Al punches Ed in the face at least 5 times for being a dumbass
(15:31:30) Rah-Rah: And tells him so
(15:32:35) Rah-Rah: I guess the anime is trying to appel for to girls, so one brother has to be "on top" and the other has to be subservient :P
(15:32:47) Rah-Rah: Which in itself is stupid
(15:33:01) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: hmmmmmmmmm
(15:33:06) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: are u sure?
(15:33:34) Rah-Rah has signed off.
(15:33:50) Rah-Rah: I'm damn sure
(15:34:19) Rah-Rah: It was made even more clear in the movie that that is kinda what they seemed to be going for
(15:34:33) Rah-Rah: Which made me yell "What the fuck is wrong with you people" at the screen
(15:35:17) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: okayyyyyyyy
(15:36:35) Rah-Rah: And speck of the devil
(15:36:41) Rah-Rah: Cym said something remotely smart
(15:36:49) Rah-Rah: "I think FMA is a decent show, but it peaked at episode 6 (?) and was all downhill from there; overstayed its welcome. It's good, but not as good as popular opinion seems to hold it to be, so I'd say it's overrated."
(15:37:17) Rah-Rah: I would raise the number to 26 though
(15:37:53) Rah-Rah: And god
(15:37:58) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: ah huh
(15:37:59) Rah-Rah: I am so sorry I wrote all of that
(15:38:03) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: why sorry?
(15:38:06) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: this is cool stuff
(15:38:14) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: can I have ur permission to paste this on my blog?
(15:38:21) Rah-Rah: Sure
(15:38:23) Rah-Rah: :3
(15:38:50) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: yay
(15:38:53) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: found Shana manga
(15:38:54) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: ahahhaha
(15:39:15) Rah-Rah: lol
(15:39:47) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: but guess I need to nudge few people to translate Shana
(15:39:49) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: manga
(15:39:52) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: I mean novel
(15:40:03) Rah-Rah: oh
(15:40:03) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: already they starting to work on Zero on Tsukaima novels
(15:42:04) Rah-Rah has signed on.
(15:43:07) Rah-Rah: And now i'm gonna dip my hand into the Overrated Anime thread one more time and pull out this
(15:43:21) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: again?
(15:43:27) Rah-Rah: One more time
(15:43:37) Rah-Rah: I hate reading it, as it's retarded as hell
(15:43:43) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: that thread is full flames
(15:43:49) Rah-Rah: Yeah
(15:43:59) Rah-Rah: They aren't even well thought out for the most part
(15:44:03) Rah-Rah: Like Sapphire's post for Eva
(15:44:13) Rah-Rah: Anyway
(15:44:17) Rah-Rah: "I have to disagree here. The characters are hardly crap. Perhaps they are over hyped but compared to most shows they are deeper than the ocean. It's because every character develops, the main and the many, many side characters. In most shows you only get development from the main character, and their sidekicks if you are lucky."
(15:44:19) Rah-Rah: LIES
(15:44:33) Rah-Rah: ABSOUTE LIES
(15:44:51) Rah-Rah: *head spins*
(15:45:03) Rah-Rah: This was Lina's post for defending FMA
(15:45:43) Rah-Rah: Why must I feel like I'm one of the only people that sees this things flaws at all
(15:45:55) Rah-Rah: .................hey wait a minute
(15:46:01) Rah-Rah: Goddamn, I just remembered
(15:46:11) Rah-Rah: You watched a few episodes of it yourself
(15:46:23) Rah-Rah: Didn't you have some rather unique complaints
(15:47:25) Rah-Rah: If so, try and remember
(15:49:45) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: errr
(15:49:54) Rah-Rah: Something about the comedy
(15:50:01) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: well, what I disliked about FMA is comedy insertion
(15:50:10) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: I felt the story is too grim to be slapstick
(15:50:28) Rah-Rah: When you say grim though, what do you mean
(15:50:42) Rah-Rah: (trying to see different ideas)
(15:50:50) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: FMA have a serious setting
(15:51:10) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: if you want humor, do it subtly
(15:51:23) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: not in middle of serious scene
(15:51:58) Rah-Rah: The prolem I have witht he humor is has more to do witht he fact that it's an anime then anything else
(15:52:02) Rah-Rah: What I mean is this
(15:52:20) Rah-Rah: I felt that a lot of the humor in FMA was really poorly timed and executed
(15:52:34) Rah-Rah: Whereas with the manga, it's spot on and not overdone
(15:52:58) Rah-Rah: I think that since this is a book, you pretty much time it yourself
(15:53:12) Rah-Rah: Rather then relying on someone else to do it
(15:53:28) Rah-Rah: Funny thing is though
(15:53:47) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: oh?
(15:53:56) Rah-Rah: A lot of people (and I mean a lot) have said in the past that "if FMA didn't have the comedy in it, it would not be a good anime"
(15:54:30) Rah-Rah: "it would be too serious and depressing" (I never found anything about it depressing myself, but that's besides the point)
(15:55:25) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: .....
(15:55:32) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: what is wrong with depressing and serious?
(15:55:58) Rah-Rah: That's the thing
(15:56:00) Rah-Rah: I don't understand
(15:56:34) Rah-Rah: I guess most of the people saying these are eiter teenagers or people who want to watch something, veg out for 30 minutes, and not be "overwhelled with doom and gloom"
(15:56:46) Rah-Rah: Mind you
(15:56:52) Rah-Rah: These are probably less serious minded people in general
(15:56:54) Rah-Rah: And also
(15:57:26) Rah-Rah: Didn't you say that most people just want escapism?
(15:58:48) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: yeap
(15:58:54) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: you reading my response
(15:59:16) Rah-Rah: Which is funny
(15:59:30) Kome, Mein Susser Todt: why?
(15:59:57) Rah-Rah: Cause there was this booklet that came with the FMA movie that was written by a well known anime critic (Well, I had never heard of him till I heard it but still)
(16:00:28) Rah-Rah: Same thing applies here
(16:00:51) Rah-Rah: He mentioned that it seemed that during '05, the year of information overload, is when people started running away to fantasy worlds, rejecting the real one
(16:00:51) Rah-Rah: Something like that

Kome, Mein Susser Todt is me and Rah-Rah is online friend. Interesting conversation here.

Tuesday, September 26

France and manga

Asterix under attack from Japan

France, the home of comic book hero Asterix, is now falling prey to a new and foreign art form - Japanese manga comics.Manga comics - only introduced in 1989 - now make up 30% of the country's comic book market.Their appeal has grown massively by word of mouth and the appeal they have for young people.

"With manga we suddenly discovered there are thousands of stories of artists that we didn't know, and that's extraordinary," Manga expert Julien Bastide, of Anime Land magazine, told BBC World Service's The World Today programme.

"You open the door and there is all this for 100 years, so that's why I am interested in manga, because we don't know anything about manga yet."

I found this article to be interesting, since I did not regularly looked for impact of manga and anime on Europe. France has been traditional place where some world famous meme and language expression originated hence my specific interest when these 2 highly vibrant meme meet.

Honey Room or Misshitsu

Japanese manga ruled obscene

A Tokyo court has ruled a Japanese cartoon book obscene, in a landmark court case that sparked debate on freedom of expression and the position of the country's ubiquitous 'manga' cartoons.

Monotori Kishi, a 54-year-old publisher, was handed a one-year prison sentence, suspended for three years, for violating Japan's penal code on the sale and distribution of obscene literature.

Presiding Judge Yujiro Nakatani said Misshitsu, or Honey Room, was too graphic.

"Bodies were drawn in a lifelike manner with little attention to concealment (of genitalia), making for sexually explicit expression and deeming the book pornographic matter," Mr Nakatani said.

About 45% of all books and periodicals sold in Japan are manga. They often contain sexual material.

"Given what's available it seems an extraordinary decision," said the BBC's Tokyo correspondent, Jonathan Head.

"There is so much pornography available in Japan in every form - in films, computer games, cartoons and famously manga and anime - those books of cartoons you can see men reading openly on the train everyday," he told the East Asia Today programme.

Old news but this what makes this particular publication most sought after stuff in BBS boards like 4 chan. I remembered the frenzied request for this work in the public imageboard. The art cover is pretty good but I personally never read the manga. It must be one heck of the work to force Tokyo act with such ruling, first time in 20 years it seems.

Which brings to me one question, why such selective censorship? I seen gazillions of explicit content material which have negligible censorship, but why this particular work?

The creator is very unlucky.

This article looks at both sides of manga culture and look into this particular title as discussions on dark side of manga.

An old BBC snippet of Mills and Boons, manga style

How Mills and Boon turned to manga comics

Mills and Boon romances are strong sellers the world over. But in Japan, the publisher has appropriated the manga comic format in order to attract a generation for whom a novel just won't do.

Mills and Boon is synonymous with fluffy love stories populated by dashing heroes and swooning heroines. Japanese manga comics, on the other hand, conjure up very different images - of violence, simpering schoolgirls and explicit sexual content.

But Mills and Boon runs a thriving business in Japan, publishing its books in manga format, the novel-length comic books read by children and adults alike. And where this cultural cross-over is concerned, stereotypes are best left behind.

In the manga section of many a bookshop, alongside the comics about gangsters, sci-fi, high school students and indeed the infamous pornographic stories, is the romance section. It's here that Mills and Boon has entered the fray against the Japanese publishing houses.

Full article is here.

The author was notably alarmed by culture "miscombination" of mangaka style with Mills and Boons romance. I personally find his/her comments to be hilarious but it does drive a nail, what is uniquely Japanese and why it works?

The changing face of British animation

The British Animation Awards, which take place on Friday in London, are celebrating their fifth birthday. Their director and founder Jayne Pilling told BBC News Online how the UK has influenced the flourishing global animation industry.

In the late 1980s, the UK was at the forefront of the animation industry. Boosted by interest from the infant Channel 4, the work of fledgling companies like Aardman animation began to win international attention.

Interesting comments can be found in later portion of the article, about "creeping influence of Japanese anime in animation".

Animation centre opens in Tokyo

Japan has opened a hi-tech animation centre in Tokyo, which it calls the first of its kind in the world. The aim of the centre is to promote the country's animation culture at home and to overseas investors.It will offer previews of animation projects and information for those working in the industry.

"The centre is designed for visitors to enjoy finding out about Japan's current and coming animation works," said spokesman Katsumi Ota.

"We're also working on building an animation business service for foreign buyers," he said.

BBC link.

Tracing the genealogy of gekiga

LOS ANGELES -- Presented a copy of the latest English-language collection of his work, Yoshihiro Tatsumi turns it over in his hands and says, "This looks too beautiful to be a comic book."

Designed by acclaimed American cartoonist Adrian Tomine, "Abandon the Old in Tokyo" indeed is handsome. A weighty hardback with a black cloth spine, it must mark quite a contrast with the cheap paperbacks and weeklies in which the anthology's comics first appeared.

The stories, dating from 1970, all center on simply drawn characters navigating a claustrophobic world heavy with ink and carefully chosen detail. Sparse of dialogue, they turn on images of human degradation, quiet despair and outrageous violence carefully arranged to cinematic -- even symphonic -- effect. The underlying beat is that of escapist fantasy pounding its head against hard reality. This seems quintessential of Tatsumi's brand of gekiga.

Full interview is here.

'Death Note' cartoonist arrested for possessing knife

Cartoonist Takeshi Obata, author of the famous "Death Note" manga series, has been arrested for illegal possession of a knife, police said.

Reported here

Followed up by here

The publisher of works by cartoonist Ken Obata, the author of the famous "Death Note" manga who is under arrest for illegally possessing a knife, said it will not withdraw his books from store shelves until it gets to the bottom of the incident.

"We are trying to get to the bottom of the incident. We are not considering immediately withdrawing his works from stores," the public relations division of Shueisha Inc. said.

Full link.

Cynically, his works are simply good cash cow to be withdrawn from public sales.

Manga cafe operators face charges for letting schoolboy violate curfew

FUJISAWA, Kanagawa -- Operators of a manga cafe and two of its part-time employees face charges after they allowed a 14-year-old schoolboy to stay in the facility overnight in violation of a prefectural curfew, police said.

Police have sent documents to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office accusing the operators of the Hot Time Fujisawa manga cafe and two of its part-time employees -- men aged 32 and 29 -- of violating a Kanagawa Prefectural Government ordinance aimed at providing youth with a wholesome upbringing.

Full link is here.

Hikkimori prevention measures? I wonder. Japan's hikkimori (social recluse) is growing phenomenon and worried Japanese sociologist. However it is not limited to Japan alone as growing Asian countries have this preplexing social problem.

Anime Instinct

Remember the romantic Japanese anime series Candy Candy that held young girls enthralled in the late 1970s and 1980s?

Viewers in their 30s and 40s here will probably be familiar with the blonde, wide-eyed orphan girl - called Xiao Tian Tian in the Mandarin-translated version shown here - who overcomes obstacles to be with her Prince Charming.

What they won't know is how the man behind the popular anime, or Japanese animation, was actually reluctant to be involved in the TV series, which was adapted from the comic book by Mizuki Kyoko and Yumiko Igarashi.

This is viewpoint from Asian on anime culture. Full article is here.

Animation event draws larger than expected crowd

September 25, 2006 - It’s not every day a person can wear a kimono in South Texas.

“I’ve had this particular one for a while, but I haven’t been able to wear it in public,” said 18-year-old Joi Geier of Laguna Vista, showing off her blue Japanese-style robe.

What might seem out of place at home made her part of the in-crowd at the Rio Grande Valley’s first anime convention: Shimakon.

“Here, we’re expected to be crazy,” Geier said with a smile.


Thursday, September 21

Copyrighted Content Running Wild At's ability to pull "user-generated" content from the Usenet newsgroups appears to be pushing large numbers of copyrighted video files onto the company's servers, allowing them to be easily downloaded to the Internet at large.

Guba, which last month said it had designed a program with the MPAA to automate the fight against copyrighted content, also said it plans more deals with movie studios to rent and sell copyrighted content through its website. A significant announcement is planned by the end of September at the earliest, said Bart Myers, vice president of operations for the video hosting firm.


Anime a mystery, but still offers some fun

The Japanese cartoons called anime have become increasingly popular in America, and just last year Huntsville High School began its own Anime Club.

I recently attended a meeting of the club and was welcomed by all. When I asked who the president of the club was, she corrected me herself. "Not president, queen," said Leslie Gray, a junior, as she handed me some much-appreciated doughnuts.


Saturday, September 16

Anime detective to help kids fight real-world crime

The Yomiuri Shimbun

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of popular anime Meitantei Conan (Detective Conan, Mondays, 7:30 p.m., NTV network), broadcasters and publishers have teamed up to help prevent children from becoming crime victims by "assigning" Conan as an instructor in an anticrime campaign to teach children how to protect themselves from suspicious strangers.

Full article from here

This is good and imaginative way to engage public in crime prevention activities. And nothing shows this better than Detective Conan or Case Closed as it is known in USA.

Friday, September 15

It's Like Knitting Anime and Astro Boy CG movie

It's Like Knitting Anime

You may have never heard of amigurumi. It's the Japanese word that means "knitted or crocheted doll" and it incorporates Japanese anime styling to make distinctive looking dolls. That's all the technical stuff. Now that we know what amigurumi is, to us it means "cute" and "crafty" and "gorgeous."

Full article is here.

Quite unique.

Imagi Plans Astro Boy Feature

Thursday, September 14, 2006
By: Ryan Ball

Lovers of old-school anime and fans of the new Astro Boy series will be happy to learn that Imagi Animation Studios has optioned rights to produce a CG-animated feature film base on the Tezuka Productions Co. property. Imagi’s U.S. studio is developing an original story and its animation facility in Hong Kong will handle physical production for the movie, which the company hopes get into theaters sometime in 2009.

Full article is here.

Cool! Astro Boy lives forever!

Thursday, September 14

Firm offering 'manga' online in Asia

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006

Electronic books distributor eBook Initiative Japan Co. said it will distribute Japanese "manga" comic books via an Internet portal site in Singapore starting Tuesday.

The service will initially offer 30 titles, including a collection of "Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro" by Shigeru Mizuki, in their original and Chinese-language versions, the Tokyo-based company said.

Full article is here.

About time mainstream companies using technology to promote mangas. I wondered why it is so tardy for them to catch up and play the same game field as scanlators. Was it laziness or adversiness to new tech?

On related on article...

BitTorrent plans movie download site

Download foreign films

Dan Nystedt

BitTorrent plans to open an online movie store to sell foreign films and other hard-to-find video, including content from China, Japan and India.

Full article is here.

Evangelion Updates

Posted Sep 13th 2006 7:02PM by Mark Beall

Following close on the heels of Monday's news about four new Neon Genesis Evangelion anime movies comes a more concrete and substantial report on the project, thanks to the ever-present Variety. The four new films will be released in a semi-staggered order, with the first film hitting Japanese theaters in July of next year, the second in January, and the third and fourth (as a double-bonus release) sometime in the summer of '08

Full article is here

Personally I felt this is a one big dead horse. I wondered why GAINAX keep beating it since they certainly capable of producing non Evangelion anime which is good like Furi Kuri.

However, it remains to be seen if the movies can live up to the promise of enchancing one of the seminal anime in our time. Anime was never the same after Evangelion (1997).

Sunday, September 10

Suffolk Art League winner on display starting today

By Ashley McKnight-Taylor
Friday, September 8, 2006 5:35 PM CDT

Beginning today, the winner of the Suffolk Art League’s 2005 Annual Juried Exhibition will unveil his one-man show of drawings, paintings and other works at the Suffolk Museum through Oct. 22.

Mark Miltz will present “SUBTERRA” incognito, precursors and elaborations, a mixture of figure sketches, oil paintings and other media all meant to educate the viewer in one way or another.

Linda Bunch, administrative assistant for the Suffolk Art League, described his work as academic, mixed with fantasy.

Full article is here.

Amazing art exhibition of Anime and African mask paintings

On the web, you can see Lore Eckelberry’s work at

Painter Lore Eckelberry gets inspired by the dynamic art of Japan called Manga and Anime. Her work is all done by her confident brushstrokes laying a shimmering palette of color on large scale canvases bringing a painter’s sensibility to an art form.
The fantastic colorful paintings of Lore Eckelberry are now on view at Infusion Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) September 9,2006 -- The dynamic paintings of Lore Eckelberry are now on view at Infusion Gallery, 828 South Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014. The show will run from the 1st to the 25th of September, with an artist reception on the 14th of September from 6pm to 10pm.

The perfection of her outlines shows the control that an artist can bring to a brush on canvas. By using such a traditional medium of paint brush on canvas, Lore Eckelberry gives even more energy to the contemporary anime style.

In addition to the bold line work made completely by hand, Lore Eckelberry’s amazing combination of Acrylic-Gouache colors add an even stronger life to the already vivid emotion portrayed in the work.

Full article is here.

Friday, September 8

Fans lift J-culture over language barrier


Special to The Japan Times

Global interest in Japanese entertainment continues to heat up. Quite literally.

Hardcore manga fans around the world are taking their Japanese comics off the shelf and putting them into the microwave.

"They do that so the glue melts, which allows them to take apart the volume page by page so they can be scanned easily," explains Jonathan, 21, a journalism student at West Virginia University who did not want his last name published.

Why would folks do that to their precious and costly imported comic books? Because they are "scanlators," a growing community of fans whose love of Japanese manga drives them to take each page, scan it into their computer, then translate the material from Japanese into English and upload it to the Internet for a wider audience to enjoy for free.

Full article is here.

What if the lead character looks like me?

Girl fans of shoujo anime and their Web sites

In Rye, NY in the summer of 2003, I attended ShoujoCon, an anime convention (Shoujocon Chronicles, 2003). It was close to home, and being new to the world of anime, I did not realize that the conference was anything other than a general anime convention. However, I quickly learned that all anime does not revolve around robots, explosions, battles, and schoolgirls in short-skirted sailor outfits. I also discovered that the anime fan base includes many girls and young women. They were there to see shoujo anime ­ animation created by women for a female audience. The conference had three viewing rooms going about 16 hours a day as well as a variety of panels for fans to exchange knowledge and meet industry professionals. Attendees ranked their favorite bishonen or male character, exchanged Web site addresses, and talked about what Web sites were worth visiting. My experiences at the convention piqued my interest in two broad topics‹how girls and young women relate to shoujo anime with its strong female leads, and how girls participate in the online anime fan culture. Since the content of these shoujo series is different in many ways from other types of anime, and since girls and young women are not as active in creating Web sites as are boys and young men (Pastore, 2000), I wondered whether girl fans of shoujo were typical fans in terms of their online behavior. For this chapter I studied Web sites created by college-age or younger women about shoujo series since they seemed to make up the bulk of the audience I saw at the convention.1 The next section of the chapter describes two types of anime available to viewers in the United States. Informed by the work of Angela McRobbie, this chapter then considers how girls based discussions of boys and romance on shoujo anime characters and stories. Lastly, John Fiske's conception of a fan economy is used to examine the webpages made by girls who are fans of shoujo anime as examples of textual and enunciative productivity.

Full article is here.

Tuesday, September 5

Gay Love in Japanese Manga

by Hikaru Freeman, September 5, 2006

The tagline for Gravitation reads, “Love: The one force that simply won't be denied,” a phrase that conjures up Brokeback Mountain's famous tagline, “Love is a force of nature.” But Gravitation is worlds apart from the realm of Jack and Ennis, although there are indeed parallels.

Most notably, Gravitation, written by Maki Murakami, is a manga and limited-run television series set in present-day Japan that revolves around the reluctant relationship between rising pop singer Shuichi Shindo and popular novelist Eiri Yuki.

Their relationship gets off to a rocky start because Eiri is not entirely enthusiastic at the prospect of having anyone enter into his life so intimately. Yet much like Jack to Ennis, Shuichi finds himself intensely drawn to Eiri, no matter what others around him do to stop him.

Full article is here.

Interesting read about yaoi in anime works.

Sunday, September 3

Anime Network Expands Distribution

HOUSTON, September 1: The Anime Network has passed the 40-million mark in the U.S. and Canada, marking a 233-percent increase in the last two years.

“We are obviously pleased to have made such significant progress,” said Kevin McFeeley, Anime Network’s VP of affiliate sales. “Yet, we are even more encouraged by the possibilities for even further growth as we seek out new and exciting platforms on which to deliver content to our fans.”


Wow, 233 percent increase. Incredible.