Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Moody's Photo Tag

Moody Minstral tagged me way back in February. Better late than never... Gulp! (His post is really sweet so make sure you check out the link)

Anyhoo, I'm supposed to go to my photo archive, look in the fourth folder, post the fourth photo in it, and talk about it. Then I tag four more folks.

I was really happy that the picture ended up being quite interesting and comic book related rather than something lame. What's even better is that this picture was taken during my honeymoon. Ironic that Moody, who is in Japan, tags me and its a picture from my first trip to Japan.

In December 2002, I snapped this shot during a quick stop at Osamu Tezuka World, in Kyoto Station (for a good blog post about it see here). It's a smallish attraction dedicated to the god of Japanese comics (yes they really call Mr. Tezuka the god of Japanse comics. In the states, godfather of manga might be a better translated title). The statue in the image is Princess Sapphire from the manga and anime series Princess Knight. It's a lovely little children's story set in a fantasy middle-age setting. It's one of the manga grand-master's more famous works after Astro Boy (Atomic Boy), Phoenix, and Black Jack although it has a much more spotty release history in the United States, sadly. I wasn't familiar with PK before I went to Japan, so it was nice to be introduced to her and to other Tezuka characters that aren't as famous in the US. Going to Osamu Tezuka World was kinda a booby prize for not being able to go to the The Osamu Tezuka Museum in Takarazuka which is outside of Osaka.

It's important to note that Osamu Tezuka's impact on Japanese comics and animation is incalculable. Everything goes back to him. All the norms in Japanese graphic-storytelling from big eyes and fantasy/sci-fi lead straight to him. In America, he's often called the Japanese Disney, which chaps my hide, because, one, he's his own institution and two, the analogy is not encompassing enough. Tezuka is more like the Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Walt Disney, Chuck Jones, Harvey Kurtzman, Stan Lee, Tex Avery, Max Fleischer, Wally Wood, Jerry Siegel, and Joe Shuster of Japan (and few more names too). I'm really happy that his entire legacy of characters and stories is finally being released in the states in total. FYI, BlackJack happens to be my favorite work by Osamu Tezuka.

Way back when when Mrs. Swinebread and I were planing our trip to Japan, I really wanted to see Kyoto because of its historical importance and landmarks. Unfortunately, at the time we went (December) three of the major attractions I wanted to see were closed, The Golden Temple, Nijo Castle, and Toei Movie Land. This was a hugh disappointment. I didn't even consider that such a thing might happen because in the states lots of folks have vacation during the Xmas season so most attractions are open. On the plus side, the temples and shrines that were open weren't very crowded and so we had a much more peaceful time than we could have exploring these national treasures. My wife has been to Kyoto three times now, and every time the The Golden Temple has been closed. I guess we'll have to go back again someday... maybe with Swinebread Jr!



Arkonbey said...

Toei Movie Land? Oh, man, that might even be cooler than the Ghibli Museum.

Is there a studio dog running around with a human hand chew toy, I wonder?

Don Snabulus said...

That particular character is an interesting fusion of Betty Boop hair with American cowboy hat along with all the anime/manga elements.

Yankee Doodle-san!

I hope we can make that trip some day to see all that fun stuff.

Dean Wormer said...

What a wonderful story.

I'm heading up to Seattle next weekend with my middle child for a little cosplay at their anime convention. I can't remember the character she's going as but I'm going as Gaijin Dad.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Thanks for doing the tag, Swinebread! Great post!