Tag Archives: Manga

Shameless Self Promotion Post

28 Feb

Hey howdy everyone.

Thanks for all the great contributions to the Barefoot Gen MMF! I had a fantastic time hosting it and hope to do it again in the future. As of now, I have become extremely busy with some work related stuff but wanted to keep this blog updated so I am going to post links to all the podcasts that I’ve done, just so you can check out more about me, if you are interested in learning about the personality behind this blog.

Episode #31 of the Manga Out Loud podcast, talking about the Barefoot Gen MMF with Ed Sizemore, Rob McMonigal and Patrick Jones.

Episode #25 of the Manga Out Loud podcast, talking about Twin Spica with Ed Sizemore, Johanna Draper Carlson, Daniella Orihuela Gruber and Tim Maughan.

Episode #20 of the Manga Out Loud podcast, talking about Batman: the Brave & the Bold with Ed Sizemore.

Jammer’s Animovie Podcast #16 with Daniella Orihuela Gruber and Doctor  talking about the Manga Publisher’s Coalition.

Jammer’s Animovie Podcast #9 with Daniella Orihuela Gruber, Mikey D. Pirate and Pwngoatjunkie talking about the whole new world of manga!

Enjoy!

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Comparing Apples to Oranges: Barefoot Gen & Grave of Fireflies, How similar are they, really? by Patrick Jones

19 Feb

Patrick Jones is a guy, that happens to be on the internet, you can find him on twitter by the username @Johnny_Jobbs.

If you’re reading this, then there is a chance that you probably have heard of Barefoot Gen and a higher chance of knowing Grave of The Fireflies due to the prestige that it has garnered by Studio Ghibli & Roget Ebert and other people. You are most likely reading this during or because of the Manga Movable Feast since its hosted on the MMF site, as such I will save you the effort of telling you what these movies are about. The point of this article is that while Barefoot Gen is a phenomenal piece of work, reviewing or looking at Barefoot Gen in a vacuum is not just how we, Teh Internet, do things nowadays. We always make comparisons to other stuff whether it is for criticism or to get other people to watch it etc. It is simply a simpler way to convey things. Therefore a comparison MUST be made and I CHOOSE

GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, THE MOST HORRIFYINGLY DEPRESSING MOVIE EVER MADE (Claimed by me, Patrick Jones….the writer of this article)

To go against

BAREFOOT GEN, THE MOST TERRIFYING SERIES EVAR! (Second verse same as the first)

WARNING: the following content bellow does not contain BRUTAL IMAGES AND CONTENT. Viewer discretion is not needed.

Now to start at the painfully obvious comparison, Barefoot Gen & Grave of the Fireflies are both Japanese stories made by Japanese people that take place in Japan around World War 2. Barefoot Gen & Grave of the Fireflies are both based on real stories. Akiyuki Nosaka and Keiji Nakazawa both experienced to an extent the bad things in the two stories.

Please note that I said to an extent. The two stories have changes to what actually happened in real life, similar to what Tim O’Brien did with his experience in Vietnam in the semi-autobiography turned Fiction, The Things They Carried , they changed around stuff to make the story better and to portray what Tim O’Brien names in The Things They Carried the “Story Truth” which according to Tim, is what “truly” happens or what the person who wrote the story felt what happened, While The Things They Carried came after the two stories were written. I (teh writer, Patrick Jones) believe that Akiyuki Nosaka and Keiji Nakazawa had a prototype of that idea while they wrote down their stories While Akiyuki didn’t actually die (that’s how he was even able to write the story in the first place….whoops SPOILERZ) Akiyuki wrote the story as an apology to his sister because he feels guilty about her death. To Akiyuki, he felt like he died when her sister died (At least that’s what I think…you might want to take that with a grain of salt). And Keiji did not actually help give birth to his mother’s child during the aftermath of the atomic bomb , but in Hiroshima: The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen Keiji says that he was told about his mother’s birth in such exquisite detail that he felt like he was there helping give birth to his sister. This in my mind and hopefully your mind shows that the two authors had some prototype of the “Story Truth”…or not, but that would destroy my argument.

There are numerous other comparisons that can be made between the two; I can hit some out right now. They are both had live-action movies, they both were written by male, Japanese authors and they both were targeted to all audiences. But another important comparison that MUST BE MADE is symbolism. The two stories are heavily reliant on symbolism whether its B-29 bombers to Gen’s barefoot feet or to the bomb (or bombs in Grave of the Fireflies case) that was dropped on the main characters town, the two have symbols, but so does almost every story ever. What is truly notable about these two is that they use one BIG symbol that they use to HAMMER THE MESSAGE OF THE STORY INTO YOUR BRAIN. In Barefoot Gen, the main symbol is Wheat, that delicious delectable food that completes our sandwiches and makes most cereal possible, is used to tell Gen and the audience to be strong and to stick to what you believe in. In Grave of the Fireflies the main symbol is, of course, Fireflies, that blinking insect, is used to portray the brief life of innocence and to respect the dead soldiers, which brings me and you to another comparison that can be made, they are both staunchly anti-war, to what severity can be debated endlessly but it’s there, and it’s loud and it is understandable. Most, if not all, the bad things that happened to the characters in both stories can be attributed to World War Two.

If you had read or watched Barefoot Gen or Grave of the Fireflies which you probably have if you are reading this article (If not…then why are you reading this; You’re ruining yourself on a madding, depressing trip through hell and back) you may have noticed the passion, the people who have wrote these stories were driven to tell them, if it was not for that then who knows if we would have ever gotten these magnificent pieces of work, works so deep with symbolism and meaning that one could endlessly debate about the works and the similarities about the two, which means that this article could technically go on for hundreds or thousands of pages about the similarities and why that may be, but who has the time or the patience to read or listen to something that is complementary to the works that is longer than those two works combined. It is highly likely that few people will read this whole article in the first place so why even bother writing this article? Because I am DRIVEN BY MY PASSION FOR THESE WORKS SO MUCH THAT I WROTE A WHOLE ARTICLE COMPARING THE TWO, EVEN KNOWING THAT FEW PEOPLE WILL READ IT BECAUSE I LOVE THESE WORKS THAT RIPS OUT MY HEARTSTRINGS. But I am not talented,disciplined,nor driven enough to write about all the similarities between Barefoot Gen and Grave of the Fireflies, there’s just so many. I don’t how they can be so similar but somehow they are and even more bewildering is that they can be unique and good enough that I would recommend both to anyone.

See what I did there? I took a whole paragraph to tell you that I can’t write down more stuff about this while simultaneously writing down more stuff, I’m sorry, this article needs to be handed in on time. I give apologies to Sam Kusek and Edward Sizemore, who gave me this opportunity and I am sorry for this train wreck( but not sorry enough to stop this train wreck but I’m still pretty sorry). I also give a big apology to Thomas (a.k.a. @ABCBTom on twitter) He was supposed to do this article and would have done a much better job than me and yet CRUEL FATE caused him to be unable to do his article in time for the Manga Movable Feast causing me to pick up the torch; to him I am truly sorry. Since I am being so meta right now I might as well give credit where credit is due at this point. Thanks to Sam Kusek (@SamKusek on twitter) for creating the Manga Movable Feast and having this one be about Barefoot Gen. hopefully the MMF will spread awareness of this piece of work and I also give him thanks for giving me (Patrick Jones @Johnny_Jobbs on twitter) my chance to shine…and fail miserably. I also give thanks to Edward Sizemore(@edsizemore on twitter) for talking Sam Kusek into letting me write for the MMF. But I give BIG thanks to Akiyuki Nosaka and Keiji Nakazawa for creating In my humble opinion what is essential read/watching to anyone and is something that everyone should read before they die( you can find Barefoot Gen and Grave of the Fireflies and Hiroshima: The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen and purchase them by clinking the clicky links in this sentence). Now that I’m done I need some way to end this article………………………………………………Hm………………………………………………………….

P.S. I don’t  own any of the photos used in this article; now you know.

Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light (Josuke Higashikata’s Crazy Diamond)

14 Nov

The Song:

Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a nine-part Pink Floyd composition written by Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and David Gilmour. The song is a tribute to former founding band member Syd Barrett, who left the group in 1968 amidst speculations of mental illness which was exacerbated by  Barrett’s heavy drug use, although it was not originally explicitly written with him in mind. The song is a part of Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and was spilt into two parts that bookend the album. Parts 1–5 of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” became a staple of Pink Floyd’s live performances from 1987 until 1994.

http://www.youtube.com/v/vyqgjCKm9nQ?fs=1&hl=en_US

The Stand:

Crazy Diamond is the Stand that is used by the Series Four hero, Josuke Higashikata. Just a little background on Josuke, as he is a major character. Josuke is the illegitimate son of Jospeh Joestar, hero of Series Two and grandfather to hero of Series 3, Jotaro Kujo. Joseph had an affair with Josuke’s mother and never know of Josuke’s existence until Jotaro comes across him while investigating some missing Bow and Arrow’s.

Before I get into Crazy Diamonds abilities, I just wanted to talk about the overall design of the Stand. While it’s humanoid in its appearance, which isn’t anything new, Crazy Diamond is really one of the few Stands up until this point to start use symbols in its appearance. If you look at the top of its head, shape of the shoulders, mid torso, belt and knees, there are hearts everywhere.

This Stand is capable of repairing damages and healing injuries, often reverting an item back to its original components; ie; reverting a table back into the very lumber it was before, meaning that it can theoretically regress the timeline of an object. This ability allows Crazy Diamond to perform a number of interesting non-offensive tasks, including trapping the enemy, breaking & entering with ease and tracking. However, Crazy Diamond cannot resurrect the dead, Josuke cannot heal his own wounds and if used in a foul mood, the restoration will warp and cause that item to be improperly restored.

Connections:

Lets start with the most obvious observation, the connection between the songs message and the ability at play. The song, though not originally intended to be, is more or less a message to Syd Barrett, informing him that “though times are tough right now, we know how much of a good, successful person you are. Keep at it, keep trying and please come back to us as you once were.” If you don’t believe me, check out these lyrics:

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Crazy Diamond’s ability is this message put to action; restoring what is broken to its former glory. Which make you wonder how much of an influence this song had over the conception of this Stand’s ability.

Conclusion:

This is a difficult one to assess. While the overall message of the song is amazingly similar to the Stand’s abilities, there are many other aspects of the song that play no part whatsoever. For example, there is quite a bit of technical and instrumental analysis of the song, seeing as this is considered a groundbreaking piece of music. Also The song, as I previously mentioned, is spilt into two parts and used to book end performances; Crazy Diamond as a Stand does not ever deal with technology or the idea of dividing or multiplying itself. It never changes form either. Thus, while the parallels are interesting, I am going to have to credit this reference purely on name alone.

Please help me Under-STAND! A look at the Stands from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

1 Nov

I figure that since I am about to undertake a project. where I describe the musical influences that Hirohiko Araki used in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, I should explain that the concept of Stands from the popular Manga series. For those of you not familiar with the series, The manga, published by Shueisha in their magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, started in 1987 and went on to 2002. The story follows a family called the Joestars as they battle the supernatural forces surrounding their daily lives. Each series (there are seven in total so far) focuses on a different generation of the Joestar bloodline and often have overlapping appearances. It is currently Weekly Shōnen Jump’s second longest running manga with 100 volumes and counting

A Variety of Stands

Derived from the term, “one who stands by me”, Stands are a manifestation of one’s psyche and control over our innate power. Only those with unusually strong spiritual power and determination can produce stands, as they reflect our true values, whether they be of good or evil intention. Stands, in some instances, can be developed by way of using an external tool to bring them out, (the Bow and Arrow in series Four). If a person cannot physically or willingly handle the emergence of a Stand though, they will die. Families, like the Joestar’s, that have a unique history of Stand Users often produce offspring with Stands that automatically function, without having to be awakened. There have also been instances of Stands being produced artificially by other stands (Whitesnake in Series 6 is able to take others Stands and insert them into non-User via discs).

Stands retained a Humanoid appearance at first introduction in Series 3 and mostly consisted of using elemental abilities, such as Fire, Plants and Water, as well as more simplistic abilities. The four, fifth and sixth series introduced Stands with a more mechanical and more abstract appearance often trading the humanoid appearance for either more cartoonish or object based stands. Newer abilities followed, changing from elemental, almost magical abilities, to more intricate and specific (manifesting a plane and controlling it, giving life to inanimate objects, creating Zippers on objects to open them). More limitations were put on the abilities as well. Some abilities, however, are outside of the User’s control and often restrict them from movement, speech or another function. There are also Stands capable of acting outside of the will of their User, deeming the name “Automatic” Stands. The Users of these Stands often set commands and are not aware or in control of what the Stand does when it is “out in the field”.

Jotaro and Star Platinum

For the most part, Stands apperar over and above the users, when summoned remaining visible to only other Stand Users . When those who cannot see them experience Stands, they are often described as Ghosts, ESP or some other supernatural event. Some, like Strength and Wheel of Fortune from Series 3, are bound to physical objects (ships, hair, cars) and thus can be viewed by Non-Users. Other, like the Emperor and Beach Boys, appears as visible tools (in these cases, a gun and a fishing rod.)

Stands share an incredible link with their User. Users can ‘sense’ through their Stand, hearing and seeing up to one hundred times their normal human ability. Stands are not independent beings from their users though, as they relie on them as a battery or source of power. For instance, when Jotaro is suffocated during the beginning of Series 3, his Stand begins to disappear because of loss of breath. Stands also account for their User’s body. If a Stand is injured in a fight, those injuries get carried over immediately to the User.

Music plays an large role in the naming of the characters and abilities in the series.  Throughout the first two series and most of the third, many of the main characters from the various heroes, allies to villains such as Santana, Kars, J. Geil, Oingo and Boingo have names that can be accounted for by music. By the end of Series 3, Araki began using musical terms for a couple of his final Stands alongside the character, such as Vanilla Ice having an ability known as Cream. In Series 4, the musical references were more focused on the Stands and abilities of the enemies, where there was a fine balance between good and bad Stand Users in Series 5 & 6.

What I think is most interesting about Araki’s work, especially Jojo’s, is the insertion of popular culture into his creations. It has always raised the question for me though, is Araki really being influenced by the music around him and is enough  of a creative writer to interpret & create his own creations or is his real intention to use these interesting and popular titles to popularize his works and make them, atleast at the time of publication, culturally relevant?

Let’s find out, shall we? As I examine a few dozen Stands from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure!

“Oh, really, Doctor?” My travels to NYCC/NYAF 2010

13 Oct

Hello everyone, its been awhile and I apologize for that. I’ve been wrapped up with an art project (The Straw Hat crew as different colored Lantern Corps) over at DMG -> MP (my art blog) and then I attended NYCC/NYAF this weekend.

This was my first experience at the amalgam convention and while I am disappointed that I never got to attended either of them seperately, it dawned on me that this was a monumental occasion to attend the first convention that represented both fandoms. Although one could argue exactly how much of the same coverage NYAF got over NYCC. For the most part, the American Comics community, as well as the television, films and gaming communities, dominated not only the attention of the convention goers but largely the amount of floor space that was taken up. As someone who is a fan of both worlds of content, I was left a bit perplexed; it was very easy to find the DC & Marvel booths, toys & single issues, but I really had to dig deep to find the manga and their subsequent publishers booths. Vertical, the publisher that is increasingly becoming the fan favorite among Manga readers, was all the way in the small press section, receiving much less visibility than it deserves to.

If you were there for NYAF and not on the show room floor, than you could undoubtedly be found in the lower levels of the 1E convention hall. Packed to the gils with fan drawings of Bishonen, Haruhi Cosplay and a complete performance stage, you knew where you were right when you hopped off the escalator. It was a like a miniature version of what I think attracts a lot of people (especially tweens and younger teens) to an Anime Con in the first place; the sense of a community of people who will accept and appreciate this special interest of yours. Who won’t ignore but applaud you if you know all the words to your favorite theme . In a way though, it really segregated them though; that smaller community was sequestered to that one area of the convention center. Is that what we really want to see in the future of our conventions? A segregation of fandom or do we want to see fans of all types and ages merging together? I, for one, would like to see more a mixing pot of fandom; I think both sides of American and Japanese have a lot that they can learn from each other. We aren’t that different after all.

Moving away from the one really negative thing about NYCC/NYAF, the sheer amount of panels was amazing. They ranged from enormous discussions and premieres (I missed the panel about the new Green Lantern television show) to small more personal discussions. The three that stand out the most to me are:

  • Comics/Graphic Novels that are Good for Kids , which thankfully wasn’t a discussion about content as much as it was a discussion about the literacy of children and their parents in this day and age. They did choose some great titles at the end but it was really enlightening.
  • The History of Superhero Movies: Past, Present and Future, which is just as fun as it sounds. Historian Eddy Friedfeld has an expansive and very cohesive presentation prepared for this panel, which showcases a lot of great footage throughout the years of all the different incarnations of Heroes in film. I would recommend this to anyone.
  • Comics Events that Really Work, where Christopher Butcher of the internet and Beguiling comics in Toronto, presents simple but extremely effect examples of fun ways to get people in your store and in the local comics community.

All the panels I attended or participated in (I did a Culinary Manga panel with Erin Finnegan & Noah Fulmor) were educational and worth my time and all the ones I missed, I heard we’re just the same. It seems that NYCC is very selective about what they choose for events and I think that goes a long way.

Finally, I have three thoughts I’d like to end with and I will get the funny ones out of the way first, to save the sentimentality.

  1. I can never tell if eyepatches at Conventions are real or not and that irks me a bit. I understand that most of them are probably for show but sometimes you just have to wonder.
  2. If you are looking to lose weight, attend every con that you can. I was on my feet for atleast 5 to 6 hours for the whole day and was so consumed by what was going on that I ate significantly less than I normally do (which for those of you who don’t know me is a lot)
  3. The crowd here, was the best that I’ve ever experienced. I met so many people just in, around and outside the center (I’m sure being dressed as Dr. Who helped) but I had great conversations with a lot of publishers and retailers, ending with me always handing out a business card. I can’t wait to stay in contact.

All in all, I can’t wait to attend this Con again. Right after I recover from it 😛 Until next post, please enjoy this picture of me with other Dr’s.