Cartoonist wanders into manga mecca
A few weeks ago a reader of this column online - check out those discussion forums on starbulletin.com, by the way, they're really cool; thus ends the Shameless Plug o' the Day - complained that my May 19 column
about the nuclear-powered carrier USS George Washington and its informational manga was rehashing old news published two weeks prior in the Stars and Stripes military newspaper.
I'm sure that reader - if he or she is still reading the site regularly and hasn't left in disgust - will be thrilled to know that today's first item is something I've been holding onto for more than three months now.
The story involves Aiea Intermediate School teacher and MidWeek cartoonist Roy Chang. Around late March he sent me an e-mail about a vacation he took earlier that month to San Francisco. While he was visiting Fisherman's Wharf, he noticed a building nearby: Viz Media.
Avid manga fans will recognize that name right away: Viz Media is home to such popular titles as "Naruto," "One Piece," "Death Note" and the monthly Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat manga anthologies, just to name a few titles.
But Chang didn't know what it was at the time. A visit to the Cartoon Art Museum clarified matters for him, though, and he decided to pay Viz a visit the next day.
This is where the story gets good. I'll let him recount it in his own words:
"Following day I went to visit. Door was open and I walked in. No receptionist and I just wandered around looking for someone. Apparently they were closed and someone left the door open.
"At the showroom I found all this stuff (anyone could've just ripped off and walk out!) Well, the cleaning staff freaked out seeing me and I explained the door was unlocked. A staffer showed up and eagerly/politely showed me to the door.
"I did mention being a cartoonist and teacher with a manga/anime club in Hawaii to let them know I wasn't some spy, or terrorist."
Thanks for the story, Roy. And remember, kids: Don't try to re-create this story on your own ... or at the very least, try to double-check that Viz's offices are actually open before you visit ...
I must admit that I haven't had much free time lately to watch anime, but there is one series that I've been watching every now and then: "Dan Doh!! The Super Shot," a series about a young boy who aspires to be the best golfer in the world.
It's typical shounen (young boys') fare - the kid has natural talent and a good core group of friends, and his rivals are often left to stare agape at his wondrous SMILE SHOT!!! (called out in dramatic fashion, of course) - but it's a pleasant diversion nonetheless. The series is available in a 26-episode DVD set from Bandai ...
MEETING ROLL CALL
» MangaBento: Meetings this month for this group of anime- and manga-inspired artists are 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Check with the guard downstairs to verify the room number. For more information, visit www.manga-bento.com
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao