art artbooks books Kenji Kawai manga oshii Takashi Iwai Tokyo

Takashi Iwai – Manga Headphones Catalogue & Guidebook (新・萌えるヘッドホン読本) (2008)


I know a lot of people really dug the Anime Guide to Headphones image I posted up a few months ago, myself included, so I couldn’t resist picking up the book it was meant to promote when I stumbled across it in Mandarake.


Yet again – as with all these Japanese artbooks – it’s beautifully printed. Each double page spread features a page of Japanese text and diagrams about a particular brand and model of headphones opposite a large, full colour illustration of a girl modeling them.


The illustrations are by a variety of mangaka, and of amazing quality throughout. Luckily they are never quite hentai, but they do at times resort to all to familiar manga theme of objectifying, overly-stylising and sexualising teenage girls. It’s the only part of animanga culture that ever makes me feel uncomfortable – but believe me, I saw far, far worse when I was in Tokyo. Far worse.


Towards the end of the book the illustrations give way to pages and pages of Japanese text and photos, which seem to consist of interviews with the artists and some musicians – including the legendary Kenji Kawai, making this an interesting purchase for Oshii fanatics like myself. Shame I can’t understand it. Time to get back to my Japanese practice, I guess…


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