This week, a special extra-long news post, as a great deal has gone down since the last time we checked in.
When manga critics attack: Deb Aoki's "Do you have to be Japanese to make manga?" traces the troubling story of how the creators of a manga-esque webcomic, Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club, were shut down by a single anonymous commentor. Go here and here for more discussion, with the latter link having some particularly good, trenchant analysis of how misguided it is to bow to random attacks on one's artistic integrity or intentions:
The problem with a lot of the sociological criticism that we’re seeing now is that it sets up a Zeno’s Paradox race against some kind of Platonic ideal that has never been proved to exist. Nearly all art has a cultural context that insults SOMEONE. If I take all the anti-MSBC arguments above and reduce them to a fine gravy, it DOES come out that no one should ever write or draw a story about a culture or place other than their own because they might get it wrong.
Matt Thorn, as qualified to talk about manga as anyone I know, insists that the term "manga" be reserved for the products of dues-paying creators actually working in Japan. (E.g., Felipe Smith is a manga-ka, someone creating their own webcomic is not.) But terminology aside, I'm upset that something that looked good could be cowed so thoroughly by what amounted to a white-knighting appeal to an authority that wasn't even in the room.
In this corner ... : A crowdfunding effort to produce an animated film of Fumiyo Kouno's award-winning manga Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (In This Corner of the World) has just been kicked off. The credentials are solid; ion the director's chair we have none other than Sunao Katabuchi, of Black Lagoon and Mai Mai Miracle (which, for all of its beauty and nostalgia, I felt was too disorganized and unevenly paced to really work, but is still worth seeing all the same).
Lucky U.K.: Production I.G's Miss Hokusai has been licensed for a release on the other side of the pond from here. I'll make offerings at my shrine to ensure this shows up domestically; the premise alone (it's a biopic about the daughter of acclaimed Japanese artist Hokusai) makes it seem well worth it.
One punch, no waiting: OnePunch Man is getting the (inevitable?) anime adaptation. I haven't read the manga, but the premise sounds hilarious: a superhero who's so strong that he's running out of enemies to beat up.
Deck O' Dandy: The Space Dandy card game Kickstarter is ridiculously overfunded with 28 days still to go. Uh-huh.
Genocidal manga: Novelist Project Itoh, whose Harmony and Genocidal Organ have inspired animated productions arriving later this year, has manga versions of his work also in the pipe. The more I think about his work, the more I feel we really did lose a great talent far too early on in a career that could really have pushed boundaries that needed pushing.
When Marnie speaks English: GKIDS has commissioned an "incredible" English-language dub for their forthcoming release of Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There. Between this, Kaguya, and The Wind Rises, we have a veritable trilogy of radically different kinds of stories to close out this phase of the Ghibli lifecycle.
The good old days — oh, who are we kidding: Lauren Orsini, insightful as always, puts a few holes in the idea that only older anime was better. Of all the titles in my library right now, at least half of the ones I plan to hang onto are releases from the past five to ten years: C: Control, Princess Jellyfish, Steins;Gate, Eden of the East, Moribito, the list goes on.
The lighter (novel) side of crowdfunding: OASG profiles a company that's doing crowdfunded translation efforts for light novels. Given what a struggle publishers have finding a sustainably-sized audience for most light novel releases, this is a great idea, although I suspect several of the books I'm most curious about will never turn up.
Love and be lovable and you will be loved: Mike Toole lays down some smack:
... "you're not supporting the industry the right way" strikes me as just another type of obnoxious nerd gatekeeping. Remember, this stuff isn't magic unicorn gold, it's mass media planned and packaged to be sold to millions of viewers around the world. As long as you're playing ball with the business-- i.e. watching stuff on TV or other ad-supported platforms, paying for streaming subscriptions, otherwise buying licensed and legit goods-- the system will keep on working, just like it has for decades.