Illness is opportunity to catch up
And now, a quick apology for those expecting part two of my Kawaii Kon report this week: It's not coming quite yet.
Life, you see, has a tendency to toss a curveball every now and then. In this case, the curveball in writing this column is that I'm writing it from the comfort of the home office somewhere on Oahu, recuperating after being socked with a nasty cold.
So instead of my original plan of recapping the Kawaii Kon "State of the Industry" panel, here are a few quick summaries of what I've been reading and watching lately.
» "Dragon Ball Z" Season One Remastered (Funimation): I'm probably one of the last few anime fans on the planet who hasn't seen this complete sci-fi martial arts epic from the first episode, so watching this, the latest in a series of releases, re-releases and re-re-releases of this classic series, has been a rather refreshing experience. I can already see hints of the series' notoriety for stretching out simple events, though: "In this episode: Goku makes his way down the long and winding Snake Way! Gohan whines about his harsh training from Piccolo yet displays a hidden power when tested! And Vegeta and Nappa make their way to Earth! Tune in again next time, when Goku continues down Snake Way! And Vegeta and Nappa? STILL COMING!"
It reminds me of a joke someone told during a panel at Kawaii Kon: "How many 'Dragon Ball Z' characters does it take to screw in a light bulb? Only one, but it takes 500 episodes to do it."
Still watching it, though. Which either says something about its compelling action or how sick with delirium I am at the moment. ... I'm pretty sure it's the former, though.
» "Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics," by Frederik L. Schodt (Kodansha International): This book was recommended by night photo editor and "old-school" anime/manga fan Christina Chun as reference material for a possible future project, but I'd argue that it's essential reading for anyone who considers himself or herself a serious manga fan. It's an enlightening look at how manga has pervaded Japanese popular culture, from its roots in Japanese art from centuries ago up through about the early '80s, when this book's first edition was published.
» "Mamotte! Lollipop" (Del Rey): This manga is a sugary-sweet confection laden with your recommended daily allowance of manga clichés. Ninth-grader Nina accidentally swallows the Crystal Pearl, a gem that wizards-in-training from another world need to graduate; two of those wizards, Zero and Ichi, immediately take her under their care. Surly pretty boys with hearts of gold, jokes about flat-chested girls, madcap chase sequences and an obligatory outing at a hot-springs inn ensue.
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao