Archive for 'manga' Category


Adèle Blanc-Sec

Last night Rosa and I watched The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (warning: somewhat annoying Flash w/ audio), a film by Luc Besson based on the comic books by Jacques Tardi. I’ve been reading the English adaption of the comics from Fantagraphics to Rosa complete with bad French accents.

While not an “extraordinary” film, we enjoyed it greatly. Louise Bourgoin, as the titular character, is convincing, strong, independent and humorous. It was interesting to see how the comic was adapted; the pterodactyl story is mixed and modified with mummies and Adèle’s quest to save her sister from a fate worse than death. The motivation to save her sister is one welcome addition to the movie that the comics lack. In the comics we don’t see much motivation or reason for Adèle having her adventures in the first place, other than to write and illustrate a story. This could change the further along Rosa and I get with the stories, but so far the character of Adèle has been rather like her namesake: dry (“sec” in French).

I feel the movie adaption could have better chosen the plot elements it included (there is a LOT going on), and the editing could have been better (especially at the end, which was a bit long). My biggest criticism, though, was Adèle topless and having a bath. As a straight man of consenting age I didn’t have a problem with the scene myself. However, the movie lends itself to giving young teenage women a strong female role model but most American parents would probably freak out because of the nudity. I’m not asking Mr. Besson to compromise his art, but the scene didn’t really add anything to the movie itself that couldn’t have been shot differently.

Still the movie was fun, entertaining and worth watching. We watched in the original French with English subtitles; someday we’ll watch the English dub, but I’m not a huge fan of dubbing except in animation. Two thumbs up!

2 Comments | Catergorized: manga  movies


Relief by the Pint

On Thursday, March 24th my company, VIZ Media, will be having a fundraiser to help those in Japan after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear hazards. VIZ imports Japanese manga and anime so it’s our opportunity to help. From the release:

Time: Thursday, March 24th from 4PM – 7PM
Location: Sweetie’s; 475 Francisco Street (between Mason and Powell)
More Info: 21 and over only.
Don’t worry we’ll have more fundraisers soon.

Enjoy a pint and send your good wishes towards the rebuilding of Japan. Share a shot with the people who help bring you your favorite manga and anime AND help rebuild the country that it all comes from.

Sweetie’s will donate 10% of revenue and all proceeds from the prize raffle will go to Artists Help Japan in a partnership with Give2Asia.

Can’t go, but want to donate?
Go to to donate to the cause!

If you’re a manga and/or anime fan this will be an opportunity for you to come mingle with some of the folks who bring you your special kind of crack. I have it on good authority that there will be a raffle, too, and given all the toys we get here at work you might enjoy what is given away, too.

2 Comments | Catergorized: anime  life  manga  san francisco  work


Observations from Paris about Paris

I’ve been here a while and I’ve… Notice things. Things that are so noticeable even I noticed them. That’s notable.

The context: it’s mid-November, the skies have been overcast and it’s mildly chilly, perhaps in the high 40s or low 50s.

Parisians are bundled up like the it’s an ice age. I’ve never seen so many scarves and hats. But the scarves and hats are of the highest designer fashion. In fact almost all of the clothing I’ve seen looks like the person bought it that morning at some boutique store and put it on for the day and will throw it away that night. Outside of Paris fashion diminishes. People there look like they might have worn their clothes for more than one day.

Cars lack bumper stickers here. As opposed to America where you can often tell a person’s political affiliation, the causes they subscribe to, and the kind of humor they espouse (or blatantly lack) here you can’t tell anything by the back of their car.

The French have more bookstores than in America. I don’t know if they read more because I haven’t actually seen a single person reading a book yet, but they definitely devote more shelf space to books. The book section in Carrefour, France’s equivalent to WalMart, is larger than most bookstores in America. Quite shocking.

Also shocking, at least it would be to many Americans, is the fact that there is a huge appreciation for comic books and that comics featuring nudity are placed low enough for children to reach for them. I don’t think they are placed that way to entice children, but I was rather surprised to see boobs at about the level of my knees.

The French also seem to love Japanese manga. I hardly saw any American comics, and of that even less of the superhero genre.

There seems to be less casual humor around here. I sat outside for about 20 minutes the other day watching people pass on the street. I saw a grand total of four people out of the hundreds going by that had a smile, either walking on their own or talking in groups. People’s eyes are far from dead, but I can’t imagine what is going on behind them. If they were happy I couldn’t tell, even by their body language. It’s kinda weird.

No pictures yet (as I mentioned I wanted to do in my last post). Apologies for that…

1 Comment | Catergorized: books  life  manga  paris  thoughts


VIZ Media Has a Blog

A little over a year ago I pitched an idea to my CEO here at VIZ Media. “Hey,” I said, “We should have a blog so we can communicate better with our fans!” I thought the pitch went well but because of the nature of my job (I’m already quite busy!) I never had time to push the initiative.

Fast forward to this past week. VIZ Media has just officially launched its blog which is called, cleverly, VIZBlog. There’s not much there yet, but it’s pretty funny stuff. Very informal. I love Urian Brown’s Godzilla post!

I’m really happy they’ve built out this blog but, and I hope my co-workers who worked on this really hard don’t take it personally, it’s going to have problems going forward. Comments look like a disaster (they’re published inline!), the template has most irritating Flash (automatic turn off for most blog readers) and the scaling and layout is, frankly, awkward. That being said I believe this is still a work in progress so I will go talk to a few people and at least give some feedback. They could also make it a little more obvious from the front page on how to get to the blog.

And regardless, if you’re a fan of manga, anime and particularly VIZ Media, check it out regularly!

(Disclosure: I am currently an employee of VIZ Media.)

1 Comment | Catergorized: anime  geek  manga  work


Tezuka in the House

Tonight the Asian Art Museum held an event for their corporate sponsors. Jonny and I made our way over and enjoyed the art of Osamu Tezuka and Taiso Yoshitoshi. Tezuka is best known in America for Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion (originally called Jungle Emperor by Tezuka). Yoshitoshi I had never heard of and was desperately impressed with. Though his work is over a century old it looks so much like stylized manga, almost a blend of Japanese and some American techniques. His line work is phenomenal, and much of his work was woodblock printing. For a brilliant overview with loads of pictures please visit Sinister Designs (less sinister than you’d think!).

Of course I can’t ever have a night out where some idiot doesn’t spoil the mood. I was walking through the Tezuka gallery when three well dressed and sophisticated looking people -a man and two women- walked by me. I over hear one of the women say, “Well, it’s no Road Runner or Bugs Bunny.” Her friends got a laugh out of that. The description mentioned the character travelled from Taiwan to Syria. The other lady said with an air of disbelief, “When I was a girl I didn’t even know where Syria or Taiwan was. How can this be real?”

Ladies, and your gentleman friend, I suggest that perhaps Asian art is not for you. Why were you even there? Did you expect to see some bland Saturday morning cartoons? It’s one thing to not like certain kinds of art. Everyone knows I’m no fan of most “modern” art. Still, there’s critically making fun of something and being simply rude and ignorant.

Oh well. I think I’ll have to head back and see if they have some prints of some of the Yoshitoshi pieces. It’s been a long time since I liked something so much I’d consider buying a print. In fact the last time I can think of was back in 2002 when I saw Bouguereau’s The Broken Pitcher.

Comments Off on Tezuka in the House | Catergorized: life  manga  san francisco


A Nation of Non-Readers


One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

I know a lot of people are surprised that I’m always reading something, especially many of my coworkers, but the thought that one in four Americans haven’t read anything in the past year makes me sad. That many prefer watching movies or cruising the intertubes comes as no surprise to me. I do the same thing. Yet I still manage to read a good haul of books in a year.

I used to regularly “review” the books I’ve read on this site and perhaps I should continue with that trend. I’m currently reading Neal Stephenson’s mammoth Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and System of the World). I’m on the last book. Yes, it’s slow progress at times but so-o worth it. Even when I don’t have a “real” book in hand I am fortunate to work for a company that publishes Japanese manga, and I’ll frequently rip through the latest Death Note, Bleach, Monster and more. If you ever ask what I’m reading and I say, Nothing, then you will know that I’ve been kidnapped by aliens and been replaced by a doppleganger while I’m off helping the aliens save the universe.

I’ve nothing against TV, movies, video games, and the web. I do all of these things, too. Yet I still read. I’d love to say that only stupid people don’t read books, but I know that’s a generalization. Instead I’ll just say that most people who don’t read are stupid. Non-readers probably don’t deserve to participate in the civilized world. I just don’t get not reading.

I’ll stop ranting and encourage to you go pick up a book and read it. What are you reading anyways?

8 Comments | Catergorized: books  grrr  manga  thoughts


Manga: The Complete Guide

Congratulations to my friend Jason Thompson on completing and publishing Manga: The Complete Guide. I know he’s been working on (and stressing about) this project for a long time and it’s wonderful that he’s completed it. I’m looking forward to picking it up and reading his sometimes dry wit and humor shine through.

He also spoke tonight at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum for the Marvel of Manga exhibition opening featuring manga legend Osamu Tezuka who created Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. He also created one of the most interesting twists on a Hitler theme, Adolf.

Congrats, Jason!

1 Comment | Catergorized: anime  books  friends  manga


MSM Covering Otaku?

What is this? Could it be? The main stream media (CBS, in this case) is covering anime and manga in a positive way. Of course they still have to wonder, at the end, if it’s just for nerds. It is, but not for long.

2 Comments | Catergorized: anime  manga


Manga Under Attack

Leave it to small-minded people (irresposible parents and small town politicians) to try and censor manga at a public library. Not only did the parent fail to monitor her child from checking out a book that was clearly in the adult section, but the politician is accusing the book of having content it apparently does not contain.

The 2004 trade paperback, written by Paul Gravett and published by Harper Design, is a history of Japanese comics, and includes, in several chapters, discussion of adult comics that depict sex and violence. The violence was apparently not an issue, nor was the fact that the reproductions of panels that feature sexual situations were, as far as we could tell, all R-rated and treated in a serious, scholarly way. Postmus’ statement and the local newspaper coverage made much of the fact that the book contains “sex with animals,” but we couldn’t find it; we must not have looked as hard.

Yeehaw. Let’s go back to the Comics Code where the most controversial thing anyone will read is the Family Circus. Blah.

Comments Off on Manga Under Attack | Catergorized: manga  rights


Halflings in Fiction

Why is it halflings in fiction always have to choose one half or the other? I’m reading Inu Yasha at work and the title character is a half demon, half human. The question seems to come up often which side he’ll choose. Maybe this changes with time (I’m only on volume seven) but it does beg the question: why does he have to choose either?

I think it would be far more interesting to develop a character who is trying to integrate both halves into a unique whole, making himself something more. Maybe at the beginning of the story he doesn’t even realize this is a possibility, and he’s being pulled back and forth by the people around him that care about him to be one or the other.

The process on integrating two aspects of a self, especially two parts that are at extreme odds, makes for a more interesting and realistic story. If you have to choose one or the other you might as well flip a coin. What’s the point? But integrating these conflicting halves eliminates an either/or choice and we have to follow the process.

Are there any stories like this out there?

4 Comments | Catergorized: manga  writing
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