A New Look at Akira

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A New Look at Akira

Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:46 am

Link

While I think the subject of the article might be taking things a bit far, it's nice to see someone with such devotion to the film. When I ran about in certain anime circles, one thing I could never get was all the hate... which I'm convinced is b/c Akira actually made it to the mainstream. The film is still one of the best Japanese films of recent times (although I admit I'm horribly biased against them), and the way the marriage of the soundtrack to each scene... only saw that in Blade Runner, and not sure if we've seen it since.
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Postby Kaneda » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:09 am

I'm not really sure what the "new view of Akira" here is or why the guy in the article likes that particular background image so much, but who cares, Akira rules and always has. I can recall my junior high days spent rewatching it everyday after school and I still read the manga from time to time. Otomo's other manga are also badass and worth owning, Hansel and Gretel probably being my favorite.

The greatest tragedy is Otomo's disinterest in manga and love of movies that has caused arguably the greatest comic artist ever to waste his years making subpar movies.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:23 am

The only other one I read was ツ銃窶督イ (Ganmu I believe) which was good, but I barely remember it. I've always promised myself I'd read the manga... tried ages ago but the kanji was full contact, so I put it aside. Maybe I'll get around to that now. From what I've read, the good old black & white is the way to go.

I think I read in passing somewhere that Otomo was doing movies now... probably the only profession other than bar tending that Japanese are genetically predisposed to suck at. Some are good, but very few.
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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:29 am

Domu (窶慊カ窶督イ) maybe? About a crazy old psychic man who terrorizes an apartment complex until he meets his match in a psychic little girl?

I guess I don't see what the news of the article was other than "Akira nerd tattoos scenes from movie on his arms, drives around and talks to people about it." If you're at all serious about appreciating the artistry of anime or cartoons, then it's pretty much inarguable that Akira is both one of the pioneers and pinnacles of the industry, especially considering all the same-y trash that the studios continually shunt out now.

I never got the whole anime cel craze, but I have to say that I certainly wouldn't feel ashamed having a nice framed copy of one of the backgrounds on my wall.

Not sure if Japan got a full-color edition of the manga, but the original U.S. color version done by Marvel/Epic is really, really nice--if you can find all 38 volumes. It's much easier to find the b&w collected Dark Horse or Kodansha reissues here, and cheaper too. Still need to get around to reading the rest of them.
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Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:30 am

Yeah, it was Domu. And this was years ago, so I remember very little of it.

I believe Japan has gotten some form of the color ones, but not to very much praise. I'd probably just stick w/ the originals.
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Postby Kaneda » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:19 am

Yea the color editions were released here but they're in large volumes and don't come cheap. I have the 6-phonebook volume set that was later released in the states by Dark Horse and it's the cheapest alternative here at about 250 yen per tome.

Manga is about the only superb deal you can get nowadays if you're a nerd in Japan.

Domu is badass, too, btw. The other day, I found a vinyl record that was a sort of soundtrack to the manga back when it came out. I'm guessing Otomo-chosen stuff to read the comic to (he's a music buff as well), so a neat collector's item.

SOS and Kanojou no Omoide are also excellent manga anthologies of his work and dirt cheap, at about 2-300 yen apiece. The anime Memories is based off of a story in the latter collection, and recently, Otomo made an ugly-looking CG'd version of SOS for no one to care about. Good manga tho!

Kaba is another, although not as cheap (1500-3000). Lots of good stuff in there, as well as more miscellany crap.

Hansel and Gretel remains the best because it features Otomo's takes on classic tales like The Three Little Pigs, The Old Man and the Sea, and the story of Jesus.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:51 am

Nice recommendations. I'll try these out. Are any of them as hard to read as Akira? I should give it another shot, but at the time, it was quite humbling. I have the 2nd GITS manga and it's a mother fucker as well.
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Postby Kaneda » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:36 am

Hard to read as in convoluted? Akira is a volume or two too long, but all of his other stuff is real short so it's all pretty easy to read. There's just so little to choose from, unfortunately...Akira was like 90% of his manga career.

His other stuff is also really funny, which is not really the impression you get from Akira. The Old Man and the Sea, for example, has the fisherman finally catching a mermaid, except that the top half is a fish and the bottom is a man's lower body, but he's lost at sea so he fucks it in the ass anyways. Good reading.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:19 pm

Kaneda wrote:Hard to read as in convoluted?


No, as in kanji were of the advanced level.

but he's lost at sea so he fucks it in the ass anyways. Good reading.


But of course!
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Postby Kaneda » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:28 pm

Been a while since I read them and the last time was when my Japanese was crappier than it is now (which is still crappy), so any stuff I didn't understand I just chalked up to me being slow. I think it's mostly all pretty standard, although I recall having trouble with the rose story. A lot of these stories don't even have text (outside of the old man grunting as he plugs the merman) so everyone can enjoy.

Feudal or medieval era manga give me a headache sometimes with the crusty kanji and olden grammar, but some are well worth the trouble (Berserk in particular).

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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:43 pm

Is the Akira Club book worth picking up at all?

It kinda sucks that the rest of his stuff isn't really available in America, to my knowledge. Domu is out of print and getting up there in price, and Akira is the only other work of his that I've ever seen in stores. Aside from Memories, which I need to get around to watching sometime soon.
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Postby Kaneda » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:13 am

I like Akira Club, but it's not much of a read since it's almost all art, but there is some bonus stuff in the back that's kind of neat. Worth owning for Akira buffs, of course.

There's a two-part series called The Continuity of Akira that I've always been interested in but it commands a high price (4000+ apiece).

Kaba is the better choice for art books since there's lots of varied material plus comics and interviews (both in Japanese and English, if memory serves).

Otomo also wrote a few "serious", non-action manga like Sayonara Nippon and Short Peace, but I thought they were pretty boring. There's even a war one that isn't all that good. The only one I haven't read is Good Weather, which is like 3-4000 yen and I imagine is more of the same.

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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:49 pm

I'll have to keep an eye out for the Kaba book. I love those rarities that have both the Japanese and English comments in them. I've got a few of Shirow's Intron Depot artbooks which do a similar thing, and having that extra easy-to-read context really takes it a step up from just purty pictures.

Akira Club at least got a domestic release through Dark Horse/Kodansha, so that'll be a bit cheaper to pick up.

I was browsing the Otomo Wikipedia entry for other ideas, and I somehow completely forgot about the Steamboy movie. Maybe that's for the better, though, as I recall being somewhat underwhelmed and indifferent when I was watching it. The art and design and everything was interesting, but the plot and characters not so much.
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Postby undamned » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:36 pm

Greatsaintlouis wrote:Domu (窶慊カ窶督イ)

Back when I was all about Akira (not that I dislike it today) I think this was the only other work I'd heard of from Otomo. Still would like to pick up the Dark Horse trade paperback.

Greatsaintlouis wrote:Not sure if Japan got a full-color edition of the [Akira] manga, but the original U.S. color version done by Marvel/Epic is really, really nice--if you can find all 38 volumes.

In my Akira craze, I think I completed 2 sets while trying build one minty set. If anyone is interested, pm me and I'll make you a deal. Media mail is cheap, too :)
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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby Kaneda » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:01 pm

For Otomo buffs, the latest issue of Brutus has a big feature on Otomo (and Akira the manga in particular). It even comes with a little booklet and stickers to put on your Trapper Keeper.

Mangaka are usually pretty camera shy, and Otomo is no exception, but there's lots of shots of him, his office, his various collections, and fancy home theater. Whenever I see that much real estate in a metropolitan Japanese home, my balls shrivel thinking about how much that must cost.

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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:05 am

How did you find out about this? Brutus is a fashion mag, no? Well, lifestyle mag? Might pick it up.
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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby Kaneda » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:25 am

Yea I dunno what Brutus covers normally or what section to find it in, but I was just walking through the magazine aisle and my nerd radar is always up so the Akira manga cover immediately jumped out. I didn't buy it since my backlog of unread materials is pretty monstrous, but today I decided to get it and wasn't able to find it anywhere. :/

Village Vanguard stores always have an Otomo section, so I imagine there are some copies there. There's also this other sci-fi anthology (or something) magazine that came out this month with an Akira cover. It's 1500 yen and sealed so I dunno if it's worth it.

Then there's his new artbook that came out recently, Kaba 2, a sequel to his awesome anthology scrapbook from some years ago. I flipped through it and thought it was neat, but not 7000 yen neat (or whatever it was).

Lots of Otomo this days.

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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:31 am

Kaneda wrote:Lots of Otomo this days.


But nothing really new, eh?
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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby Kaneda » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:23 am

Actually, according to that issue of Brutus, Otomo is going to have a new manga serialized in Shounen Sunday. Not sure if it's a reprint of something old or not, but if it's new that would be pretty badass.

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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby CIT Seven Force » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:35 am

Would be badass indeed. It's really sad that a lot of the great 80s Mangaka are just dicking around now and not really producing new stuff. Otomo, Shirow, Terasawa...

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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:51 am

I think I was halfway through reading the first post in this thread before I realized that the post was about two years old. Oh well. :?

Otomo's English Wikipedia entry mentions a 2012 work entitled "DJ Teck's Morning Attack," which I couldn't find mention of in the JP version of the page. I wonder if that's the new work? The EN page also has a pretty decent photo of the dude!

I wonder if the lower visibility of classic 80's mangaka has something to do with the changed manga landscape these days. A lot of it really seems to be aimed directly at the real hardcore mouthbreathing otaku set of today, so much so that there seems to be very little thematic variation among much of what really sells now. Someone with a general like for, say, sci-fi could pick up Akira and have it rock their world, but you really have to be a member of the secret otaku club to get anything out of the stuff that sells nowadays. Even Shirow, who wasn't above dwelling for many pages on very shiny T&A, still put together some pretty high-concept stories. It could be that the current manga market just isn't as worthwhile for them, which may be why they've gone on to take creative roles in anime and film, where there still exists a demand for some of the smarter stuff, no matter how niche.
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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby Kaneda » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:28 am

Greatsaintlouis wrote:Otomo's English Wikipedia entry mentions a 2012 work entitled "DJ Teck's Morning Attack," which I couldn't find mention of in the JP version of the page. I wonder if that's the new work?


That's a short 8-page, full-color comic he did for this month's Gekijutsu Shinchou, which has a ton of Otomo stuff in it (more than the Brutus feature), but it's a bit pricey at 1500 yen. Not sure if the DJ comic has any relation to the new series, but it's possible.

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Re: A New Look at Akira

Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:41 pm

They ironic thing about geek culture in the 80's, when it wasn't cool, is that it was far less embarrassing. The 80's were better, and they're unfortunately never coming back.
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