Grotesque Anatomy
Thursday, June 03, 2004
  Miscellaneous Manga Musings
Looks like a couple of my favorite comic pundits have manga on the brain.  Sean Collins (by the way, happy belated blogoversary, Sean!) is blogging about Battle Royale again, and links to me several times in the process.  I can't remember what I told Sean about fanservice, but I don't think I'd ever dismiss the scene he describes as just fanservice.  (I can't remember if I've read that scene or not; I gave up on the BR manga after I read the translated prose novel from Viz.  After that, the manga seemed much too exaggerated and silly for me to take seriously.  And I haven't watched the movie yet, but I suspect the novel would still come out winning the Battle Royale battle royale.)  I'm fairly sensitive to fanservice (some would say too sensitive) whether it occurs in Japanese or American comics.  In my mind, fanservice is base pandering, and it's distracting whether it occurs in Battle Royale, Bloodstream, or Birds of Prey.

EDIT:  I went back and checked the scene Sean was referring to (it's in BR vol. 5, the last I bought).  Sean, that's not Shuuya's mom's bare ass!  She's wearing pants!!  (Check the pages before and after that double-page spread to confirm.)  Yeah, the pants are awfully form-fitting, but that shot hardly seems that bad.  For one thing, the scene uses a downward camera angle (instead of the upward angle artists like Ed Benes prefer); also, the mom's top partly covers her, um, ass.  If you think this is fanservice...whoo boy.  I've got a copy of Love Hina I could send to really toughen you up.

Meanwhile, over in the Grotesque Rampage forum, Matt Maxwell reads Gyo vol. 1 and reports back with his thoughts, which leads to an interesting discussion about the conventions of (and assumptions about) manga.  It also spawns a separate thread in which Johanna Draper Carlson asks, "What is Horror?"  (Hmm.  If only there were a comics blogger knowledgeable about the horror genre who could stop by and help us out.)

Finally, Dave Intermittent is intrigued by the ape-shit insane premise of Apocalypse Meow, a manga which "recasts the Vietnam War as a conflict between bunnies and cats."  He links to the online Japanese language version of the strip (which Shawn Fumo first found) and it does look nice.  Reminds me of a European painted graphic novel more than your usual manga series.  Unfortunately, ADV Manga is publishing the book in black-and-white, so it'll lose some of its distinctive appeal.  Still, if the reviews are good, I may have to check this out.
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