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MANBEN: URASAWA NAOKI ARTBOOK

Naoki Urasawa is a japanese manga artist and manga teacher known mostly for his long running comic books Monster and 20th Century Boys.   I really love his style but what really draws me  into his work is the incredible quality of the scripts. He has been translated into many languages and also adapted into anime, movies and what not. He is like a manga superstar now and every new work by him is always an important event.

Manben  is an artbook showcasing his illustration work and also some of his comic book work. It was published in 2008 by Shogakukan. It is a pretty nice hardcover, 200+ pages book where we can find lots of stuff. Not only art, also photographs, interviews,  and even a copy of a manga Urasawa did when he was young.

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The book follows Urasawa career, from the very beginning right up to Pluto, so it covers a lot of ground. You will find art, illustrations, designs, sketches, enlarged panels, etc, from all his manga, including Yawara, Happy!, Master Keaton, etc. You can see a hint of Moebius here, some Otomo there, but always with that nice personality Urasawa imprints in all his works. Quality of the printing and paper is up to usual japanese standards, which is quite high.

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Pictures of artist´s studios are always fascinating and here you have quite a lot of Urasawa´s workplace. You can easily spend a few hours just trying to find out what manga and books are filling his shelves.

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I had no idea that this book existed so when I found it in Tokyo it was both a surprise and an instant purchase. It was 3000 yen, which is not bad at all, so if you like Urasawa I am sure you will do the right thing. The book is all in japanese, but there is not so much text. Also it has been published in France by Paninni, so you can get it from there too. Absolutely recommended.

 

DOMU film project.

It is strange, but after a week of the screening I have not seen any comment about it.

Last saturday night there was an all night screening of Otomo Katsuhiro works: Short Peace, Manie Manie and Akira.

Right after Short Peace there was a “secret screening”. Turned out it was a teaser trailer of a live action version of the manga Domu, written and drawn by Otomo. The trailer stated that the movie was directed by Otomo himself.

And it was AWESOME.

The trailer begins with a shot near the ground moving towards an elevator door. The lights are flickering. The elevator doors open and we see the good old guy of the manga, with his cap full of pins and badges. All around him the lights flicker, even on the other side of the building. All has a slightly green look. Then we see aerial views of the residential complex and lots of images that look like straight out of the book. We see the salary man committing suicide by jumping from the top of the building, we see the little girl flying around the building with amazing and impossible dynamics. the old guy flying next to some apartments and they blow up as he passes by, the old guy flying through some subterranean tunnel, and we can see through some grids the building outside. We get a short look to some characters, a cop shaking as he sees a gun, the guy that cuts his own throat… I can´t remember all of it perfectly but it was intense. Wish they had screened it once more.

All in all was absolutely amazing, and I was so thrilled to see it there, completely by surprise, in Kichijoji no less. I had no idea this was happening so it was quite special thing.

Disclaimer: I have not much control of japanese language, but the guy said that this was just a short teaser. I am just not 100% sure there is a movie in the making behind it. Maybe this is just a teaser trailer to get financing. I guess sooner or later we will all know.

Blame and so on.

Blame and so on is a book about Nihei Tsutomu art. Nihei became a manga sensation with BLAME! a gothik cyberpunk technologic horror thriller manga. It was followed by Noise, Abara, Biomega and now Lords of Sidonia (currently being published in Japan). He even got a gig in Marvel Comics with Snikt! featuring Wolverine in one of his weirdest adventures and also worked in a HALO comic book.

His body of work is not huge so I was quite surprised when a few years ago I found this art book in  a Kinokuniya shop in Sapporo, so I bought it.

And it was well worth the price.

In the book you can find all color artwork Nihei did for Blame! and also some advertising stuff, some art made for other books (Bitch´s Life, Snikt!, Dead Heads) and even some film work for Hellboy 2 (Guillermo del Toro is one of the people interviewed in the book, but all in japanese).

Also you find his Megalomania work, and it is really outstanding. Nihei is a great artist and he is really quite young, so I am sure he will give us lots of great manga in the future.


A pretty nice 147 pages hardcover book, which I think has gone out of print (first printing was in 2003). So it is expensive to get in Amazon but if you go to Japan you can find it in many second-hand shops (and also in some  “new stuff” retailers) at better prices. If you find it and you like this guy´s crazy stuff, well, I am sure you will do the right thing.