Tag: Tokyopop

Maynguh Memories: In the Very Beginning

As I mentioned in my Anime Autobiography series, when I first became interested in anime in high school, I couldn’t really afford much of it. However, I could afford the graphic novel versions of these shows. Since this was 2005/6, Tokyopop had standardised the $10 price point, so for the cost of one anime DVD, I could get two or three volumes of the graphic novels.

Once again, I’m not sure how I first encountered this stuff; I’ve always been an avid reader, though, so I probably stumbled on the ‘Manga’ section of a bookstore, and went from there. In any case, one of the first books I picked up, around spring 2004, was Megatokyo, by Fred Gallagher and (for the first couple volumes) Rodney Caston. Yes, I know it’s not Japanese and thus outside the scope of my retrospective here, but it is a starting point for me. After reading the dead-tree version, I started following the online updates. From there, I joined the forum in November after lurking for a while, where I still post occasionally as ‘Wavebird_Ocelot’, and it was in that forum that I started reading about what shows and comics were popular.…

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FLCL – Ueda Style

FLCL colour illustration by UedaDark Horse just released Ueda Hajime’s comic adaptation of FLCL in omnibus form, and though I already own Tokyopop’s old two-volume release I went ahead and double-dipped on this. The comic holds some nostalgic value for me, since I actually read it long before I saw Gainax’s original anime version. Dark Horse did include some extras to make it worthwhile, and it’s a unique enough comic that it’s well worth the purchase.

The most noticeable thing about Ueda’s adaptation is the art, which doesn’t quite resemble any other comic I own. Most of it seems to have been done with a pen in sharp, straight strokes. So, character outlines are unusually dark and, except for the faces, angular. Backgrounds don’t have much detail, which forces the reader’s focus exclusively onto the characters. Between that and the small panel sizes, the comic nearly induces feelings of claustrophobia, which isn’t necessarily a fault on the author’s part since some of the characters feel trapped in a town “where nothing interesting ever happens.” It doesn’t make for pleasant reading, though.…

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Welcome to the NHK (Novel)

In his mostly autobiographical comic Disappearance Diary, Azuma Hideo notes that in order to maintain an optimistic outlook on life, he’d removed as much realism as possible from his book. Azuma’s dry humour and cartoony art style make what should be a depressing story about a man running away from his responsibilities and living homeless seem rather light-hearted and funny.

Author Takimoto Tatsuhiko, in the afterword to his novel Welcome to the NHK, notes that his book also has a fair amount of autobiography. NHK also has a depressing subject, a twenty-two year old college drop out living as a shut-in (Japanese: hikikimori). Like Disappearance Diary, there’s a dry sense of humour, but here it serves to sharpen, rather than dull, the story’s edge, and though well-written, that edge makes it a sometimes difficult book to read.…

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