“By changing your viewpoint just a bit, you can see familiar things in a whole new light. It happens a lot. And really works.”
I’ve no idea what’s up with the current fad for live-action adaptations of anime and manga these days, although I’m pretty excited about the feature-length effort of Solanin. The thing is, it’s so easy for me to imagine how well Inio Asano’s graphic novels can make the jump from paper to big screen since he has such a keen eye for scene composition and, to coin a hackneyed phrase, a finger on the pulse on what makes ordinary ‘real life’ people tick. He captures snapshots of everyday life events with the flair of a skilled photographer; What a Wonderful World! pre-dates it by several years but the intentions, and end results, are similar.
Sometimes it’s rewarding to take a complete stab in the dark and pick up something different from what you normally read. I’m unfamiliar with Yutaka Tanaka for instance, which isn’t surprising since his CV largely consists of ero stuff and a few bit parts in animation on the side. I had second thoughts about reading and blogging about My Lovely Ghost Kana since it is, in parts at least, an ero title.
The legal alcohol drinking age in Japan is 20, so yeah. No thought-crimes committed on my part
There is indeed a lot of sauce in this, to the point at which the opening chapters give a false impression of where the story eventually chooses to go. The infamous ‘deceptive-ness of the first impression’ isn’t on the scale of Onani Master Kurosawa, but the effect it had on me was similar. It even manages to go some way towards justifying the sexual content, which is an achievement in itself; the clincher is that it pays attention to the characterisation and even makes a worthwhile attempt at a storyline. Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised.
I’m always wary of spin-offs and retellings that aren’t done by the original writer or artist; particularly so when the story is one of my personal favourites. As much as I admire Makoto Shinkai’s Hoshi no Koe OAV I’ve always felt it had some room for improvement, but wasn’t sure whether anyone else could recreate what made it so special. There’s no denying that it was a tantalisingly short piece in the first place, which is all part of its charm really, but I was still intrigued by what could be done in a different format without the restrictions imposed on the film that it’s based on.
A couple of years ago the single-volume manga adaptation was fairly easy to find but I’m assuming it had a limited print run because it’s a bit rare these days. I quite like the effort Tokyopop went to with the presentation though – the panels at the beginning of the opening chapter are reproduced in full-colour, which is a nice touch.
“As I was watching Evangelion, up until about the fourteenth episode, I remember thinking ‘Ahh! Everything I’ve always wanted to do has been done! I don’t have to do anything any more! Anno and his crew have done it all for me!’” admits Hiroki Endo, in the Afterword to the first volume of Eden: it’s an endless world!, as he shares his thoughts on how certain titles set the standard but at the same time can never capture your own individual emotions and ideas. I know exactly where he’s coming from: had everyone resigned to the notion that there would never be anyone to top Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton might have thrown in the towel and Stevie Ray Vaughan may never have bothered either. How could the evolution of guitar music ever continue?
As in all genres of popular culture, there are classics in the science fiction genre and their shadows loom over everything that follows them, but that should never deter newcomers from offering their own input. The biblical references and ambitious, post-apocalyptic premise suggest that Endo is indeed enamoured by Evangelion and similar iconic series but those ‘overflowing feelings’ he refers to provide a stable launchpad for the concepts behind Eden…. In the eighteen chapters I’ve read so far it encompasses the well-worn themes of eco-fable, philosophy, military thriller and hard sci-fi while still feeling fresh and gripping. It’s Relevant To My Interests on so many levels.
A long time ago I saw a single-page scan of what looked like a one-off doujin Death Note parody where a kid made it his mission to masturbate daily in a girls’ toilet at school. His triumphant “Just as planned!” was amusing enough but I assumed it was a throwaway piece of toilet humour so after forgetting what blog I saw the pic on I thought nothing more of it. That was until the community word-of-mouth thing featuring Ghostlightning, David and Samshiel among others jogged my memory. The doujin in question was Onani Master Kurosawa and it proved to be more than just dirty jokes and a parody or two. A hell of a lot more.
Click for the full size version
Make no mistake: this is a story with strong language and shows events and behaviour that are liable to offend some. It has some wonderful bits of humour though, including neat jabs at not only Death Note but Haruhi Suzumiya and Code Geass, but what makes this something I’d recommend so strongly is the fact that the superficial lulz accompany something more memorable and moving. If you excuse the pun, I never saw it coming.
I must admit that I’m not a huge fan of horror stories; they’re often derivative and/or dumb teen-orientated efforts so it takes a real classic of the genre to get my attention. I much prefer something more psychological than supernatural anyway because the nature of what’s frightening is more convincing – generally speaking the closer it is to reality, the scarier I find it to be. I’ve covered this before but my stance is pretty much the same now.
Junji Ito’s graphic novels really fall into the former category: that of horror that goes for the gut rather than the brain. His two-parter Gyo was a freaky, sickening exercise in graphic shocks that were inventive, disgusting and quite a fun read. In terms of sophistication though, it didn’t score as highly: the concept was original, bizarre but not something to be taken altogether seriously (“Fish with legs! Fish with legs! Fish with leeegs!”). His slightly longer effort Uzamaki is a more clever and ultimately more satisfying affair that is more effective in scaring the living crap out of the reader.