Archive for August, 2006


Back on land!  Feels pretty rough compared to the sand and saltwater I was living in for the past 10 days.

But speaking of Rough, Mitsuri Adachi’s manga by the same name (Rough) has been adapted to a novel and will be released this September.  Rough, which was first released in 1983, has also been adapted to a live action film and will have a simultaneous release with the novel.

Adachi is one of Japan’s most prominent sports manga writers/illustrators.  His series Touch, serialized from 1981 to 1986 in Shonen Sunday , mixed romance with a softer drawing style – quite literally giving the genre a gentler…touch.  What was once gritty and sweaty and graphic and macho, became smooth and a bit more feminine.  Adachi essentially opened up sports manga to a female readership.  I would even go so far as to say that he shifted the genre so that it became less gendered.  The sports manga of today, SlamDunk, EyeShield 21, can be enjoyed by anyone who picks them up.  As for Prince of Tennis, which is a more competition based storyline, girls can get with it for all the pretty (not sweaty, but pretty) boys in the pages of the comic.

As for Rough, the storyline seems to focus on competitive swimming and, well, the romance between a swimmer and a girl.  Most websites featuring Adachi are in Chinese  which means I should be able to find the manga downtown if I look.  The cool thing about Rough is that it’s about swimming, a sport that everyone does and loves in Japan, but is considered new (not old and stodgy like baseball).  If Australian superswimmer Ian Thorpe goes out on a date, everyone in Japan knows.  The Japanese are crazy about swimming.  I’m kinda looking forward to checking this series out.
If the novel is substantial, or even if it’s not, if it’s just well done, then maybe we’ll see it Stateside via Viz Media.

Hey, coming out of the water may not be so rough after all…


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Chinese SlamDunk –

not to be confused with the Taiwanese SlamDunk!

Of course, this is referring to live-action movie remakes of Inoue Takehiko’s manga series by the same name.

Apparently, Chinese fans of the SlamDunk! anime are heated about the live-action Chinese adaptation, threatening to throw down with stars Li Yi Lin and Li Xue Qin who will be playing Sakuragi Hanamichi and Rukawa Kaede, respectively.  All because Li and Li don’t accurately portray the anime characters who are based on the manga characters who are based on Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan.  Jeez!  Get it right, people!

Incidentally, the Taiwanese live-action movie adaptation starts shooting in 2007 and will star Jay Chou with a cameo by Yao Ming.

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zzzzzz….I’m awake! I’m awake!

Still drooping with fatigue from running around the Baltimore Convention Center for Otakon.

But some wisdom I’ve acquired: the best way to cover these types of conventions is to enjoy yourself. And sometimes enjoying yourself means leaving the con grounds.

Which leads me to my highlight of Oo6 (Otakon 2006) and why I missed the screening of the 2002 Korean movie Sex is Zero.

Anyone who reads scanlations knows Omanga, the American scanlation group with seniority. Admittedly, I read some of their material and also interviewed their head of operations, Zyph, for my article on Nihei Tsutomu (who will be in Phoenix this December!) that appeared recently in PWCW.

Zyph is a rare breed of man who can talk manga without talking down to a female audience.  He’s smart, he knows his shit, and he doesn’t waste time on 10 minute lectures of the importance of Tezuka in the development of the Japanese visual narrative.

So you can imagine my delight when I found out that he was going to be in Baltimore (for a bachelor party) but was willing to meet up.  Naturally, since he was supposed to be with friends, knocking back brew at the local Hooters, I had to do something to compensate him for his time and generousity.  So I made him buy me lunch.

Nothing all that important transpired during our meeting, but I did walk away with an idea as to what PWCW manga readers are looking for.  A comprehensive look at the future of manga in the U.S.  More interaction with editors and their thoughts on manga instead of canned responses from the PR people.  Forums where editors, publishers, and readers can interact with one another.

Some of what Zyph is looking for is just physically impossible because we just don’t have the man-power (yet) to execute something like a forum.  But I still found the bulk of his suggestions helpful.  And I got a free lunch.

I’ll be writing a story on scanlation at some point (soon, I hope) so Zyph will be making more PWCW appearances.

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Mom stuff

Have you seen this?

On the WNYC website there’s an excerpt from Linda Hirshman’s book, Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World.

Wow, Hirshman, that’s just what I was thinking! For the past six years, of course….

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More fun for the people

Can I get control

Do you like me vulnerable

I’m armed and I’m equal

More fun for the people


I think it’s safe to say that the cosplay at Otakon gets better each year. And whereas last year was all Full Metal, all the time, everywhere, this year the girls came out to play – and play hard.


Girls with guns – the bigger, the better.


Yeh, this chick I caught in the restroom as she and her assistant were freshening up and readjusting her costume. I said “Can I take your picture when you come outside?”

She said “Take it now. It’s gonna be while before I get out of here.”

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It’s times like these that my inner fangirl comes out.
Baltimore’s Otakon is aptly described by one of the staff members as “a three-day costume ball.” Believe me when I say this: the costumes get better every year . The minute I walked into the convention center around noon on Friday, I ran into DN Angel and two devilishly beautiful pixies that were accompanying him.

Cosplay is the game and there is no messing around. As I walked around in a sea of Lolita’s, Chobits, and SailorMoons, I cursed myself for leaving my wings at home. My plan for next year: dress up in a school girl uniform ala My Sassy Girl and run around the convention saying things like “Wanna die?” and “Drink coffee!” while flirting with guys before forcing them into my 3 1/2” Steve Maddens and prancing about yelling “Chase me! Chase me! I’ll kill you if you don’t!”
Otakon is really about the fans which means it’s serving up full on entertainment: anime screenings like Genshiken, School Rumble, and Gantz (news about this in PWCW), live action movies like Korean gangsta film Marrying the Mafia, Terracotta Soldier (starring Zhang Yi-Mou and Gong Li) and Sex is Zero. I actually missed Sex is Zero, which is supposed to be a hilarious account of hormones, hormones, hormones and the unwavering focus of adolescent boys, but I have a pretty damn good excuse which I’ll elaborate on later.
After sitting in on DMP’s two panels, one that featured manga-ka Makoto Tateno, I headed out to the Nana Kitade concert which I pretty much missed because the venue she was performing as was so far away and I got there waaaay late. I was crying quietly into my beer when I was consoled by the sight of Sakuragi Hanamichi whom I quickly snapped a photo of. A group of Southern fanboys/fratboys for North Carolina helped me further dry my eyes by buying me fresh beer and telling me that Katena was the opening act for MUCC, a Japanese rock group. When I asked for more detail, one young man in a well formed UNC baseball cap and black t-shirt adorned with random hirigana script drawled “Well, they’re like emo-rock, you know, Blink-182, Green Day.” Sure, if Anthrax were emo-rock. You remember Anthrax, don’t you?
When MUCC came on stage, the heavy guitar licks and slamming of the bass had me thanking the gods of fate for my training in the mosh-pits of Boston as a youth. I threw down with the NC fratboys for two songs before heading back to the convention center to find out the lastest news about yuri and yaoi manga.
When the call of the DJ’s became too strong to resist, I made my way over to the rave in the west wing of the convention center and danced my ass off with the thousands of young people moving gracefully through the breakbeats of Daniella Downs, glowsticks in hand.
2am came way too soon so when I finally made it to my room and lay my head on my pillow, I asked myself a new, but rhetorical, question to help myself unwind and relax: Do Japanese men wear more make-up than I do? Do Japanese men wear more make-up than I do?
And that was Day 1.

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Before I forget…

Guess what’s making it’s international debut at the Hong Kong International Film Festival? Death Note! Based on the manga (of course!) by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note is all about death, demons and morality. The protagonist, high-school student Light Yamagi (played by Fujiwara Tatsuya who also starred in Battle Royale, another movie based on the manga that was based on the novel by Koushun Takami), finds what looks like an ordinary notebook that actually has the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it. So who does Light kill? Criminal low-lifes. Is it right? Is it moral? Well, who would you kill if the Death Note found you?

Death Note is an ongoing manga series in Japan so I’m not too sure how solid the film adaptation will be…Movies made from manga generally are better when the series has ended…But the good news, really, is that it’s premiering in Hong Kong! Where Dog Bite Dog will be premiering in a matter of days! Yea, yea!

So you can guess where I’m going this weekend: uh, yeah, that would be Baltimore….

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