Japanese Art and Animation


     While I was in college the first time around (getting my Fine Arts degree), one of the things I was exposed to by some of my associates and friends was Anime (Japanese animated films). This was to have a long-lasting impact on me, as I was struck by both the stylistic differences, and the sheer quality of the animation. Only later did I discover that my friends had only been showing me what amounted to the "best" of what they could aquire, on pirated video tapes, and that there were Japanese animated series as poorly done as anything ever done in North America. But by then I was hooked. Later still, it was an even greater source of amusement to me to discover that I had been indoctrinated long before I ever laid eyes on "Akira", "Wings of Honneamise", or "Supernatural Beast City". Being born and raised bilingual, in Quebec, I was as wont to plop my little fanny down in front of the tube and watch French television as English. Thus, all unbeknowing, while watching "Albator, Le Corsair d'Espace", "Le Roi Leo", "Ulysse 31", "Goldorak" and other shows, I was being introduced to some of the more popular animated series in Japan - English renditions of anime would be relegated to the Mascek-ered versions of "Ninja Science Team Gatchaman" (Battle of the Planets), and "Macross".

     Needless to say, the very common use of "kemono" (animals/beasts) in many series did little to hurt my even-then budding interest in what would become known to me as "furries". One of the animations that would push me greatly in that direction, I saw only once; Tezuka Osamu's sad and beautiful "Bagi" (or "Baghi", depending on who you ask), which would be the first instance I ever saw a "real" anthropomorphic creature as opposed to anthropomorphized cartoon animals such as Mickey Mouse.
     Fast-forward to the the early 90's; I was hardcore into Sci-Fi fandom by then, and furries as well. Ah, those halcyon days when all I cared about was the rent, food, and what I could spend the rest of my paycheck on. The Manga-Explosion hit. Suddenly, Japanese comics, and to some extent animated movies, were hip. Manga that you previously had to kill to get could be had for little more than the cost of a good premium US comic, and translated, at that. I became an acolyte of Shirow, Otomo, Manabe, and others. All would have been well, save that, on a trip to California (that heinous pit of temptation), one of my friends handed me a sheaf of photocopies, and taught me a new Japanese word:

Tezuka Osamu's "Bagi" (1984)

     I hadn't even considered that, while we were on this side of the ocean doing our own fan-based and independent magazines, like-minded people might be doing the same in Japan. And being of the same age-group and interests as we were, the magazines they were making covered pretty much the same subject materials, just with a distinctly Japanese flavor. Now I had a new quest. Of course it took some time to find out who the authors of these comics were. I read no Japanese, not even a little. I understand a little more of the spoken language, mostly by osmosis - watch enough anime, and you pick up words and phrases. The trouble was (and mostly remains) that doujinshi, like fanzines, are printed in extremely limited editions. However, because they're usually printed to much higher quality standards than most North American fanzines, the chances of a given doujinshi being re-printed are just about nil. More often than not, they're perfect-bound, with gloss covers, and actually printed, as opposed to photocopied. This makes them expensive to produce, and generally, the "circles" that produce them sell them for little more than the cost of making them.
     Fortunately for me, not long after I began this quest, ConFurence, in Los Angeles, managed to attract a small group of Japanese "kemono" fans, including a number of the manga/doujinshi artists I was interested in. Among these was the super-talented Trump, who brought copies of "Book of the Beast", by his "Team Shuffle" circle (my encounter with him earned me a cameo in the next "Book of the Beast"), Monty, Ken "Stinken" Singshow, and others. The downside of this was that they made me terribly aware of how much I had already missed, in terms of previously published material. Runs to Nikaku Books and Kinokuniya yeilded nothing. A trip to a used manga/doujinshi store in the local Yaohan Plaza just left me overwhelmed (literally thousands of books, all in bascially the same format, all with very similar spines, all with information written in a language I can't read. Go figure.). Bribes, brow-beating and patience eventually netted me copies of Trump's manga "Charm The Cat" (very sexy and fun, and I can't even read it!). I'm greatly indebted to Ken Singshow and El-Muzzle-Rover for aquiring a number of other manga and doujinshi for me, as well as to a very charming fan and artist called Crow, who sent me a large package of furry manga and other oddments, from Japan.
     At this point, I'm (hopefully) relatively well set up to acquire anything new from the Japanese artists I favour, but the hunt continues for those elusive older issues. To that end, I'm posting a list of specific manga and doujinshi I'm looking for, updating as I find them, or find others I think I want. I'm also open to suggestions of other artists who I might like (I'm mostly interested in furry, adult-oriented material). If you have something I'm looking for, or something you think I'd like, feel free to mail me with the appropriate information.

Manga and Doujinshi I'm Looking For:

"Long Coat", published by the Pacific circle
Update!Located a copy from a dealer in Japan. If you're looking for Trump's older works, I highly reccomend Toshiyuki Matsui he's a great dealer, fast, friendly, and reasonable prices and shipping.

"Charging P17", published by the P Shoukai circle
UPDATE! Located a copy of this from a dealer in Japan. Domo -origato, Toshi-san!

"Charging P16", published by the P Shoukai circle

"Kemonomitsu Lemon", published by the Team Shuffle circle

"T of Trump", published by Trump

"Help Me!", published by Johji Manabe (the artist who did "Outlanders" and various other manga.)
Update! Toshi-san has come through once again for me. And at a far better price than the $45 I saw this going for on FurBid!

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