Remembering Yoshihiro Tatsumi – Updated

Fallen Words

Manga-ka Yoshihiro Tatsumi has died at the age of 79. Paul Gravett broke the news on his blog, saying that he got an e-mail from director Eric Khoo, who directed a documentary about the artist, saying simply, “Sensei is dead.”

Tatsumi was a pioneer of manga for adults, which he called “gekiga,” or “dramatic pictures,” as opposed to “manga,” which means “whimsical pictures.” During the course of his long career he won numerous awards, including the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize (Japan), the Angouleme Prix Regards Sur le Monde (France), and numerous Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz awards (U.S.). Drawn and Quarterly has published six of his works in English: The Push Man and Other Stories, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, Good-Bye, Black Blizzard, A Drifting Life, and Fallen Words.

As word of his death spread, several people shared their stories of meeting Tatsumi.

Peggy Burns of Drawn & Quarterly, Tatsumi’s publisher:

I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with him and his wife on his two trips to North America, two of the most fulfilling times of my career. He was gentle, sweet and kind and would always get me to tell him stories about my kids. Anne Ishii and I spent two days with him stock signing in NYC, where he would do the most ornate drawings in each books, over hundred of books received this special treatment. We kept trying to get him to speed up, and tried to tell him he didn’t have to do such ornate drawings. He told us: If when in his twenties, when he was broke and trying to make it as an artist that in his 70s, he and his wife would be flown to the USA, the very least he can do, is a drawing for each of the people who will buy the books.

Alex Cox

Alex Cox remembers meeting Tatsumi and his wife when they visited his Brooklyn comics shop. At that time, Tatsumi was only beginning to realize how popular his early works were in this country:

As Tatsumi left, I had no idea how to address him, unaccustomed as I am to Japanese etiquette. I bowed and said “Arigato, Tatsumi-Sensei,” hopefully using the correct honorific (and pronunciation) to address a master of his craft. He stalled momentarily before shaking my hand warmly.

Closing in on age 70, he was still getting used to the idea that he was considered Sensei by thousands of people on the other side of the world.

Adrian Tomine, Tatsumi’s editor at Drawn and Quarterly:

It didn’t take long for me to discover that, despite differences of age, geography, history, etc., Tatsumi-sensei reminded me very much of all the other great cartoonists I’ve had the fortune of becoming friends with. He could be taciturn and occasionally inscrutable, but in the right circumstances, he’d open up with humor, inquisitiveness, and an unflagging excitement about the process of making comics. I’d studied and learned from his work since I was a teenager, but I think Tatsumi’s humility, generosity, and artistic determination were as inspirational to me as any of his stories. I had several occasions–usually when one of us was dashing off to catch a plane–to offer my best attempt at a bow and to say “thank you,” but I always felt that I hadn’t been clear or emphatic enough, and that he was too modest to fully accept all that I was thanking him for.

Here’s a handful of other links about Tatsumi; post your favorites in the comments and I’ll add them here.

Deb Aoki’s 2009 interview with Tatsumi
Ryan Sands covers Tatsumi’s 2009 appearance at TCAF
The Toronto Star’s 2009 interview with Tatsumi
Dwight Garner’s review of A Drifting Life in the New York Times

Update: Here are some more posts and tributes that have appeared in the week after Tatsumi’s death:

Jocelyne Allen, who was Tatsumi’s translator at TCAF and also the translator of Fallen Words, shares some memories and discusses his short story collection Kessakusen
Ryan Holmberg’s obituary at The Comics Journal, a detailed account of Tatsumi’s life that also puts his accomplishments in context
Gary Groth’s very in-depth interview with Tatsumi, first published in 2007
Bruce Weber’s obituary in the New York Times
Elaine Woo’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times

The Shojo Beat Goes On… With New Licenses

Before we get to this week’s news round-up, we have news of our own: Manga Blog turns ten this month! Brigid has some anniversary features in the works, so stay tuned and help her celebrate a memorable decade of blogging. Now for the links…

Bloody-Mary

Shojo lovers rejoice: VIZ has just licensed Akaza Samamiya’s vampire drama Bloody Mary and Amu Meguro’s romantic comedy Honey So Sweet. The former drops in December 2015, the latter in January 2016. Also joining the VIZ line-up are several digital-only offerings: Calling You, Girls Bravo, Ratman, and Someday’s Dreamers: Spellbound. All four series debut this month, alongside the first volume of Tokyo Ghoul.

Seven Seas unveiled two new acquisitions this week, The Testament of Sister New Devil and My Monster Secret. Both series are scheduled for publication in early 2016.

That’s Life When You’re a Woman, a candid look at what it’s like to be a single, 31-year-old woman in Japan, is now available via the free Manga Box app.

Three manga crack the BookScan Graphic Novel Bestseller Chart for February 2015. Spoiler alert: one of them is Attack on Titan.

Akame ga KILL! tops this week’s New York Times Manga Best Seller list.

Kodansha Comics is looking for summer interns at their New York office.

Over at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Brigid Alverson shines a spotlight on March’s most exciting new manga releases.

Jiraiya, whose work was featured in Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, will be visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York this month to meet with fans.

TCJ columnist Joe McCulloch pays tribute to Golgo 13 creator Taiko Saito, one of the last “living connections to the early gekiga generation of Japanese comics.”

Deb Aoki reports from Tokyo on the symposium following the Manga Translation Battle Awards; she breaks it down into a couple of topics, then sums up the discussion of each one (localization, manga sales in Japan vs. the U.S., what makes a good translation) in a series of Tweets and responses from translators and others. Deb also compiles an excellent Storify post on Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club, a webcomic that, as Heidi MacDonald explains, triggered a fierce debate about authenticity, appropriation, and the “white gaze.”

News from Japan: Shiro Amano is bringing Kingdom Hearts II to an end with the 10th volume. Monthly Newstype will be publishing manga adaptations of two Project Itoh novels: Harmony and the impossible smutty-sounding Genocidal Organ. Both novels have translated and published in English by VIZ’s Haikasoru imprint.

Reviews: Shaenon Garrity dedicates this week’s House of 1000 Manga column to one of my favorite manga, the weirdly wonderful Apocalypse Meow. Manjorin and her fellow Anti-Social Geniuses discuss what they read last month, while the Manga Bookshelf team posts brief reviews of Cage of Eden, Magi, and One Piece.

Megan R. on The All-New Tenchi Muyo! (The Manga Test Drive)
Ken H. on vol. 3 of Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (Sequential Ink)
Lori Hendrson on vol. 2 on Attack on Titan: No Regrets (Manga Xanadu)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 3 of Black Rose Alice (Sequential Tart)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 10 of Happy Marriage?! (Sequential Tart)
Ash Brown on vol. 1 of Hide and Seek (Experiments in Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Anna N. on vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (Manga Report)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 8 of Nisekoi: False Love (Comic Book Bin)
Ash Brown on Oishinbo A la Carte: Vegetables (Experiments in Manga)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of Prophecy (Manga Worth Reading)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 13-14 of Ranma 1/2 (A Case Suitable for Treatment)

The Newcomer’s Guide to Attack on Titan

Just discovered Attack on Titan? Wondering what all the fuss is about? Brigid Alverson has you covered with an in-depth article discussing the characters, settings, and numerous spin-off products inspired by this world-wide phenomenon.

ICv2 lists the ten best-selling manga properties of the fall 2014/holiday season. Not surprisingly, Attack on Titan tops the list. What is surprising: the continued popularity of Death Note, which finished its North American print run in 2007.

DMP successfully raised the money to publish Osamu Tezuka’s 1970 thriller Alabaster. Backers can expect to receive both volumes in September 2015.

The forecast for next week’s new manga releases: light rain, with scattered omnibuses and final volumes from Dark Horse and VIZ.

Casey Baseel lists the ten most common shojo manga scenarios.

Kristina Pinto interviews VIZ editor Hope Donovan about licensing, lettering, and translating manga.

Paste Magazine explores the history of Fantagraphics’ manga imprint, from Sake Jock to Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It.

YALSA just released its 2015 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. Manga makes a good showing on this year’s list, with titles as varied as All You Need Is Kill and My Little Monster getting a nod from librarians.

News from Japan: When Rakuyo Technical High School and Fushimi Technical High School decided to merge, they hired manga artist Zakuri Sato (Taihen Yoku Dekimashita) to design the new uniforms.

Reviews: Jason Thompson dedicates this week’s House of 1000 Manga to Aya Kanno’s Otomen.  Over at Heart of Manga, Laura posts brief reviews of ongoing series in Japan, from Yayoi Ogawa’s Ginban Kishi to Touko Minami’s ReRe Hello.

Ash Brown on vol. 2 of Ajin: Demi-Human (Experiments in Manga)
Ken H. on vols. 7-8 of Brave 10 (Sequential Ink)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 53 of Case Closed (Comic Book Bin)
Megan R. on Happy Mania (The Manga Test Drive)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 10 of Happy Marriage?! (ANN)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 11 of Knights of Sidonia (The Fandom Post)
Charles Solomon on Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (Indie Wire)
Allen Kesinger on vols. 1-2 of Monster Musume (No Flying No Tights)
Sakura Eries on vol. 6 of My Little Monster (The Fandom Post)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Prophecy (Manga Xanadu)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Requiem of the Rose King (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
A Library Girl on Vampire Academy (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Erica Friedman on World Canvas (Okazu)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 4 of World Trigger (Sequential Tart)

 

Astro Boy Omnibus On the Way!

Astro Boy

Hey you guys! I have a new gig, writing about manga for the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy blog! Check out my picks for the best February releases and my Valentines Day post about manga romances. Keep an eye out for more; this is a different type of writing for me, and I’m really digging it!

Everything old is new again: Dark Horse is reissuing Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy in omnibus format, with the first volume clocking in at 700 pages!

Lori Henderson has more info on those three new licenses Vertical announced at Katsucon.

The Manga Bookshelf bloggers go gaga over JoJo as they discuss their Pick of the Week.

The 14th and final volume of Neon Genesis Evangelion tops the New York Times manga best-seller list, followed by vol. 2 of Assassination Classroom, Unofficial Hatsune Mix, and vol. 1 of Attack on Titan.

A Silent Voice

The nominees for the Tezuka prize have been announced, and they include Naruto, Assassination Classroom, and A Silent Voice, which Kodansha will start publishing here this spring (it’s already available digitally on Crunchyroll).

News from Japan: At Heart of Manga, Laura looks at the shoujo manga currently being serialized in Wings magazine. The Sacred Blacksmith will come to an end with volume 10. Drops of God is also going into its final arc.

Reviews: Ash Brown takes us through a week of manga reading with quick takes on several volumes at Experiments in Manga.

Julia Smith on vol. 1 of Assassination Classroom (The Fandom Post)
Ken H. on vol. 2 of Attack on Titan: No Regrets (Sequential Ink)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of Assassination Classroom (The Comic Book Bin)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 7 of Deadman Wonderland (The Fandom Post)
Erica Friedman on Doukyonin no Bishoujo ga Lesbian Datta Ken (Okazu)
Matthew Warner on vol. 11 of Flowers of Evil (The Fandom Post)
Rebecca Silverman on vols. 1 and 2 of Give to the Heart (ANN)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 3 and 4 of Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 10 of Magi (Lesley’s Musings on Manga)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (Lesley’s Musings on Manga)
Laura on Mugen Spiral (Heart of Manga)
Matthew Warner on vol. 7 of Nisekoi (The Fandom Post)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 25 of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (I Reads You)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 1 of Oresama Teacher (Lesley’s Musings on Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire (The Comic Book Bin)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of Secret (ANN)
Erica Friedman on Yu-Ribon (Okazu)

VIZ Acquires Ultraman and My Hero Academia

Ultraman_2011Big news from VIZ: the publisher has licensed Ultraman, a manga update of the 1960s TV show. Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi’s story focuses on the original hero’s son, a seemingly ordinary teen who discovers that he’s inherited his father’s superpowers. Look for the first volume of Ultraman in August alongside the first volume of VIZ’s other new acquisition, My Hero Academia.

What’s arriving at your LCS next week? The Manga Bookshelf bloggers discuss their picks and pans.

Should the lead character in Ghost in the Shell by portrayed by an Asian American actress? That’s the issue raised in an open letter to DreamWorks, which asks the studio to reconsider casting Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in an upcoming film adaptation.

Helen (a.k.a. Wandering Dreamer) raves about the big screen version of Thermae Romae.

Jocelyn Allen, author of Brain vs. Book, samples the latest doujinshi offerings from Japan.

Over at Contemporary Japanese Literature, scholar Kathryn Hemmann deconstructs the Vampire Knight franchise, using Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams as her point of entry.

News from Japan: The Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo will be sponsoring an exhibit of Naruto artwork and objects from April 25th to June 28th. One person who won’t be attending that show is Haruki Murakami, who recently told readers that he no longer has time to read manga or watch anime.

Artist Shun Matsuena has chosen an unusual platform for launching his new martial-arts manga: the walls of Tokyo’s Kichijouji Station. The non-profit organization NPO Lighthouse will be distributing copies of Blue Heart, a free manga that discusses sexual violence prevention for teens.

Reviews: Sean Gaffney finds Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary better than expected, while Rebecca Silverman argues that the first volume of Akame ga KILL! doesn’t live up to its full potential.

Kate O’Neil on vol. 1 of Demon from Afar (The Fandom Post)
Shaenon Garrity on Helter Skelter and Pink (ANN)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 2 of Heroic Legend of Arslan (The Fandom Post)
Justin Stroman on Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Megan R. on Junjo Romantica (The Manga Test Drive)
Ken H. on vol. 2 of Kotoura-San (Sequential Ink)
Rebecca Silverman in vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (ANN)
Matthew Warner on vol. 1 of My Neighbor Seki (The Fandom Post)
Justin Stroman on Phantom Street (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 6 of Pokemon Adventures: Black & White (Sequential Tart)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 26 of Pokemon Adventures: Emerald (Sequential Tart)
Sheena McNeill on vol. 1 of Pokemon XY (Sequential Tart)
Helen on Seraphim 266613336 Wings (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 3 of Spell of Desire (Comic Book Bin)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-6 of Spice and Wolf (Manga Xanadu)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 26 of Toriko (Comic Book Bin)
Thomas Maluck on Unico (No Flying No Tights)
Erica Friedman on Comic Yuri Hime January 2015 (Okazu)

Vertical Announces Three New Licenses

Vertical announced three new licenses at Katsucon this weekend: A manga, Ninja Slayer; a light novel, Kizumonogatari; and a light novel series, Seraph of the End. If that last one sounds familiar, it should: Viz has been publishing the manga. Kizumonogatari is by the novelist NisiOisin, and it’s the third volume in his Monogatari series that includes Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, and Monogatari Series Second Season. Vertical marketing director Ed Chavez said that they chose the third volume because “NisiOisin’s editor suggested we start there. His team is very involved in this project.”

Erica Friedman updates us with a new Yuri Network News post at Okazu.

The Manga Bookshelf team aren’t too excited about their Pick of the Week.

Bruno Meyerfield of World Crunch takes a look at the African manga scene, where fans who grew up reading Japanese manga are now making their own, uniquely African creations.

Arina Tanemura will be a guest at Anime Fest in Dallas, Texas, next September.

News from Japan: The LEGO Ninjago animated series (based on the LEGO playsets in which the characters are ninjas) is coming to Japan in April, and there’s going to be a manga series, too: LEGO LEGO Let’s LEGO Ninjago will launch in the March issue of Shogakukan’s CoroCoro Comic (out on February 28). The Jump Square spinoff Jump SQ. 19 is coming to an end this week, but Shueisha will launch a new spinoff in July. A manga version of the Koran is coming out this week.

Reviews: The Manga Bookshelf team checks out some new releases in their Bookshelf Briefs. Ash Brown recounts another week’s worth of manga reading at Experiments in Manga.

Sean Gaffney on vol. 7 of Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ken H. on vol. 14 of Attack on Titan (Sequential Ink)
Connie on vol. 1 of Black Rose Alice (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 24 of Blade of the Immortal (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 2 of Crimson Spell (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 6 of Deadman Wonderland (The Fandom Post)
Connie on vol. 8 of Dogs (Slightly Biased Manga)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 44 of Fairy Tail (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Kristin on vols. 2 and 3 of Gangsta (Comic Attack)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 10 of Happy Marriage?! (I Reads You)
Connie on vol. 5 of Honey Hunt (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 20 of Hoshin Engi (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on Insufficient Direction (Slightly Biased Manga)
Rebecca Silverman on Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (ANN)
Rob McMonigal on vol. 1 of Master Keaton (Panel Patter)
Julia Smith on vol. 9 of No. 6 (The Fandom Post)
Matthew Warner on vol. 2 of Noragami (The Fandom Post)
Sean Gaffey on vol. 25 of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Connie on One Is Enough (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kate O’Neil on Pandora Hearts: Odds & Ends (The Fandom Post)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 20 of Pokemon Black and White (Lesley’s Musings on Manga)
Connie on vol. 11 of Sakura Hime (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 1 of Sweet Rein (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 3 of UQ Holder (The Fandom Post)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-10 of Wild Ones (Manga Xanadu)