manga Podcasts

How to save Christmas

It’s just a few days before Christmas and you think you’ve got it all under control. Food shopping is done, presents are all bought and wrapped.

Or at least so you thought. Turns out you forgot someone. A work colleague. An aunty you just found out is coming to visit. The wife. The inconsiderate bastards have turned up with a present for you, and you’ve got nothing to give them in return. Plus they’re diabetic tea-totalers, so the usual chocolate and/or booze option is out of the window. In other words: you’re screwed.

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manga Tezuka Tezuka Month thailand

Tezuka Month: A Day Magazine – Astro Boy special

An extra special treat for Tezuka Month – when I was in Thailand in January I was lucky enough to stumble across this edition of art and design mag A Day with a huge section dedicated to Astro Boy. Presumably timed to coincide with the release of the recent movie over there – nothing that special in itself, until you start to flick through it and realise that it’s clearly a publication that prides itself in it’s imagery, design and layouts.

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manga reviews Taiyo Matsumoto

GoGo Monster – Taiyo Matsumoto (2010): Review

Six year-old Yuki Tachibana sees and hears things his classmates never do; the bizarre forms and whispering voices of the strange, supernatural creatures that secretly inhabit his elementary school. Despite the fact that this dubious gift has made him an outcast from his fellow students he seems quietly accepting of his place – that is until he finds the always-empty seat next to him occupied by transfer student Makoto Suzuki, whose attempts to befriend him coincide with the arrival of the ‘others’ – a second group of spirits vying for control of the cold, decaying school building.

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art manga Naoki Urasawa Pluto reviews Tezuka

Pluto Volumes 1 & 2 – Naoki Urasawa (2009): Review

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Someone is killing robots. Not just any robots either; apparently someone is hunting down and killing the world’s most powerful and famous robots. And this is a problem for Inspector Gesicht of Europol, not just because he’s been put in charge of tracking down the killer, but because the list of victims so far suggests he might be a target himself.

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20th Century Boys art manga Naoki Urasawa reviews

20th Century Boys Volumes 1 & 2 – Naoki Urasawa (2009): Review

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One name has dominated manga over the last few years – in the west at least – Naoki Urasawa. Probably best known for his dark mystery series (and it’s subsequent anime spin-off) Monster and Pluto, his recent re-telling of a story arc from Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, the series that has most recently grabbed not only the attention and awards but also spawned a trilogy of live action movies is the sci-fi and comedy tinged mystery 20th Century Boys. Despite the ferocious buzz around the comic across manga-fandom, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that it was only this month I finally managed to sit down and check it out, courtesy of Viz Media dropping me copies of the first two books to review.

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art books manga reviews Tezuka

Black Jack Volume 5 – Osamu Tezuka (2009): Review

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Even if you’ve never read a single page of manga before, the chances are you’re familiar with Osamu Tezuka – and if the name isn’t familiar, then it’s likely that his most famous creation Astro Boy, is. Even though she’s never, to my knowledge, read a page of the manga herself, my girlfriend’s most prized purchases during last year’s Tokyo shopping exhibitions where the t-shirts featuring the iconic robo-Pinocchio she picked up in Harajuku. But Tezuka – often referred to as the ‘God of Manga’ and the ‘Father of Anime’ – had an impact beyond his cute character designs and children’s adventure stories, with even Astro Boy at times exploring the darker sides and moral ambiguities of human nature, and perhaps his strongest vehicle for this being the character Black Jack.

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akira art Blu-ray Katsuhiro Otomo Links > Anime & Manga manga movies reviews

Akira (1988): Blu-ray review

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It’s very hard to underestimate the global impact of Katsuhiro Otomo’s film adaptation of his own, epic manga Akira. It broke box office records when it opened in Japan, and along with Ghibli Oscar winner Spirited Away it is probably the anime film most western ‘non-fans’ have seen. For many of my generation it is a much treasured and personally important film and, without resorting to hyperbole, one that the first viewing of was a life-changing experience, akin to watching Star Wars, 2001 or Blade Runner for the first time.

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Katsuhiro Otomo Art Books

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Some of the coolest things I picked up in Tokyo were a trio of Katsuhiro Otomo art books – although sadly they weren’t for me, intended instead for my favourite Otomo-san obsessive Al T. Shame, as I would have liked to have spent some quality time with these beauties. Luckily though, I was able to grab a few shots before I let him get his grubby paws all over them.

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