11 August 2008


MARINE BOY 1966 There are a lot of things in this world that I like and I'll get around to writing about them eventually but this week, I want talk about Japanese Manga and Anime or, if you like, Japanese comic book art and animation and what a statement in design it is.

Manga, basically means "whimsical pictures". The first of these "whimsical pictures" came into use in the late 18th century with the publication of such works as Santo Kyoden's picture book "Shiji no yukikai" (1798), and in the early 19th century with such works as Aikawa Minwa's "Manga hyakujo" (1814) and the celebrated Hokusai Manga containing assorted drawings from the sketchbook of the famous Ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. The first use of the word "Manga" as its modern usage was by Rakuten Kitazawa.

Rakuten Kitazawa was born, 20 July 1876 in Omiya, Saitama, Japan and had the pen name of Kitazawa Yasuji. , Kitazawa YaKitazawa Yasuji was a Mangaka and Nihonga artist. He drew many editorial cartoons and comic strips during the late Meiji Era and early Showa Era. He is considered the founding father of modern Manga because he promoted many younger Mangaka and animators. He also was the first professional cartoonist in Japan.

Anime is basically just comic books and other Japanese stories that have ended up animated and broadcast on television, DVD or film. Anime has a massive following in Japan with many multiple part series being shown on many channels, every day.

When I was very young I used to enjoy an Anime cartoon Called Marine Boy and although I didn't know it then, this was my first introduction into Anime. My friends and I all thought Marine Boy very cool, he could breath under water with the help of his OxiGum. He had propellers in his boots to help him swim and a boomerang he could use under water and it would blow any thing it hit. All great stuff. There were other Anime that I used to enjoy as kid including Battle of the Planets, Ulysses', Thunder Cats and others and this set me off trying to create and design my own character, although at the age 4 I soon got bored and turned back to my Lego.

My interest was kindled again much later when I was working at Generic Marketing. I was asked to design a Manga style robot for use as a POS (point of sale) etc for Creative Labs Sound Blaster cards. I bough some videos and magazines as resource material and my interest was re-inspired.

Don't get me wrong i'm not a nerd or rather I don't think I am. I don't have rooms full of videos and DVDs I don't have character models everywhere and I cant remember the last time I watched an Anime. Let's just say when I stumble across it or have to work with it I really appreciate it and that's, that.

BATTLE OF THE PLANETS: This was another one of my favourites from the late 70s


THUNDER CATS: This was an excellent example of popular anime animation making in to mainstream western television. Thunder Cats, as I'm sure some of you will remember, was very popular in the 80s and still enjoys a huge cult following even now.

BUBBLE GUM CRISIS: This is an introduction to the new show. This was aired on Japanese TV.

I believe that Bubble Gum Crisis never made it to British television and so was only available on video in the mid 80s. This, the original Bubble Gum Crisis, was almost like six pilots to a TV series the was never made. Although superior to the 26 part animated series that was eventually made in the very late 90s/early 00s, I feel that it was just a taster of what was originally planned.

BUBBLE GUM CRISIS: This is the opening sequence to an episodes 1980s. I think that what the animators have achieved here is just great and infinitely more ambitious than anything the American studios were doing for TV at the time.

An absolutely stunning Gundam illustration featuring all the characters from the TV series.
It looks to me that the illustrator here was so confident with their ability that it is hard to tell were one robot starts and another finishes.

The main focus of this illustration is the pilot of the powered suit ejecting himself because the suit is damaged, but just look at the work that has gone into this illustration. The point of it is almost lost in the dented and twisted metal and yet it still works and I believe it's enhanced because of this.

Gundam. With a clever use of hand drawn, computer based vector and Photoshop, the Illustrator has archived a photographic quality to this Illustration. Remember all of the Gundam pictures here were created before 3D modelling was available, these were drawn by hand!!

This is an excellent rendering of a popular Anime character I'm sure I don't have to point out to the visitor that the intensely skilful use of light form and space makes for an erotic illustration.

The design of the suits impressed me very much I find myself needing to look very carefully at this illustration to understand what is going on.

Attention to detail impressed me with this illustration. The girl watching on while holding on to the wire fence. She could easily not have been included but I'm glad she is. this detail says a lot about the artist love of there work.

The Japanese have a real thing for "Maids" I'm not sure what that's about all I know is all those frills and lace would take a long time to draw. I feel that the detail is beyond the call of duty.
This illustration must have gone over budget but I guess the illustrator wanted to see it so here it is.

Like seeing an ugly fat guy in a porn film I like this illustration be cause it gives me hope that I might one day be able to produce something like this.

Ski, clouds, perspective and an excellent lens flair, beautiful.

I talk about this illustration later in this post but this does like like a great place for a picnic.

From the illustration I have included in this post it would be very easy to say that I like Manga because it usually involves cute young women wearing powered comate armour blasting the hell out or monsters and aliens. Ok that is all very cool but as a frustrated comic book illustrator, designer I really do appreciate the style design technical and hours and hours of time that most go into the production of this art. I believe that the character design is way-in-advance of anything that western studios have to offer and I see this creative attention to style and detail & discipline something something to aspire to. The mundane and down to earth and illustration is the better I like it. Have a look at picture 12. in the little collection here. A beautiful young lady walking in an Alpine meadow, just take a look at the flowers at her feet the blossom blowing in the wind a slight gaussian blur makes them look them look 3D and the sense of movement is unbelievable I think this is just beautiful and it makes me happy that there are people in the world with the talent and were-for-all to produce such pieces of art and at the same time it makes me feel a little sad that I could never produce anything as good. But that's not going to stop me trying.