Saturday, September 21, 2013

Navigating Tokyo

My Navigating Tokyo page is now public.

I hope folks find it useful.

Deserved thanks go to those who made suggestions.

This page was promised some months ago when I did my Navigating Tokyo presentation at FanimeCon2013.

Additional suggestions corrections etc are most welcome.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

One more by Kikuchi Hideyuki

I recently finished reading and have added another title by Vampire Hunter D author Kikuchi Hideyuki. Noble V: Greylancer is the latest addition to my recommended prose list. If you like the Vampire Hunter D series this one should also be enjoyable.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Another by McLelland

I have added another book by Mark McLelland to my recommended prose listings.  In fact I have now decided that when a new title by him is announced I'll just buy it, his books have been that informative.

Here is what I wrote on the recommended page:

McLelland, Mark J.

Love, Sex, and Democracy in Japan during the American Occupation

The post WWII Allied Occupation of Japan is often blamed for modern censorship in Japan. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of the publications of that time would have been illegal in the US until the later 1960s and even 1970s. McLelland provides us with a great study of how the Japanese redefined gender relations and sex in the post war period after over 15 years of increasing censorship and suppression under the wartime government.

Monday, July 1, 2013

(Watanabe x 2) + Kanno

I now am adding two more anime to the recommended titles listings. Both directed by Watanabe Shinichiro, one with arrangements and original music by Kanno Yoko.

    - Kids on the Slope
When I sat down to watch Kids on the Slope last week I had my dinner and planned to only view the first episode. After the eighth episode I decided it was time to get to bed. This is an interesting drama about three high school students and set in Kyushu. You really don't know when as the show starts but there are clues set throughout the series, things that are there and things that are not there. For Japanese some of these would be obvious but for non-Japanese they are not, eventually you see a calendar. Don't worry too much about the time period, just enjoy the series and the great music.

    - Samurai Champloo
When I first heard of Samurai Champloo being a samurai story mixed with hip hop my first thought was "What a stupid idea." However presentation and story quality are separate from that basic idea. An associate dropped by at one of my potlucks with the first DVD and insisted we watch it. After the first episode I said "I'M BUYING THIS SERIES."
OK that does it. From now on if Watanabe Shinichiro is directing something I am buying it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Derangement x 2

This time I have added two titles to my recommended lists, a manga and a movie based on it.

 The manga is Anno Moyoko's Sakuran which is available in translation from Vertical Inc.

 The movie of Sakuran stars Tsuchiya Anna, while not available in a U.S. release the Japanese blu-ray disc has excellent subtitles.

The story is set in Edo Period, specifically in Edo's Yoshiwara district and tells the tale of a young woman who starts out as a girl serving an oiran, the highest rank a prostitute could attain in Edo, to becoming an oiran herself without losing her rebellious spirit, in fact that spirit contributes to her popularity.

Monday, June 10, 2013

mystery + mystery + manga + mystery/manga = 5

I have just added three mysteries plus two manga, however one manga is an adaptation of one of the mysteries. I hope these provide interesting entertainment for readers.

Edogawa Rampo
- Strange Tale of Panorama Island [novel]

Maruo Suehiro
- Strange Tale of Panorama Island [manga]

Matsumoto Seicho
- Pro Bono (novel)

Yasuhiko Yoshikazu
- Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin (Manga)

Yokomizo Seishi
- The Inugami Clan (Novel)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wrapping a Straight Head Around the Queer

My newest additions to my Recommended Titles - Prose Translated from Japanese and on Japan web page. McLelland's works have been useful for me in that I had many of my assumptions challenged and learned much that puts what I see in anime and read in manga involving gay characters in context. I hope these works will of interest to others.

Here is the text of the addition to the page:

McLelland, Mark

Back in 2004 a gay friend who had moved a couple of years earlier to Tokyo asked for help to understand the queer scene in Japan. I told him that as a straight, white male raised in California I could not be of much direct help. Then the librarian in me took over and I sent him the links to several articles by Mark McLelland, an Australian scholar studying the topic.
I had first run into McLelland's name when I stumbled across his article "Why Are Japanese Girls' Comics full of Boys Bonking?" along with a few other works of his on the Online Bibliography of Anime and Manga Research.
After that initial email exchange from my friend wrote back to me that the documents were very helpful and of interest to some of his Japanese acquantances. As a result of his question I eventually bought several books written and edited by McLelland and found them informative. I recommend these to anyone interested in 20th century queer culture in Japan.
Note: there are other books by him which I have not read and are not listed here.

McLelland, Mark J. and Romit Dasgupta, eds Genders, Transgenders and Sexualities in Japan
This collection of essays includes a variety of topics on gender and sexuality. However many of the essays are on queer culture.

McLelland, Mark J. Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan: Cultural Myths and Social Realities
This book deals with changing representations of male homosexuality in Japan from the regular media, popular entertainment, to views within the queer community.

McLelland, Mark J. Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age
Covering the queer subcultures from the early days of sexology publications in the 1920s to recent times. Informative on changing identities, social views and even the terminology used within the queer Demi-monde.

McLelland, Mark J., Suganuma Katsuhiko and James Welker. eds Queer Voices from Japan: First Person Narratives from Japan's Sexual Minorities
A collection of articles and essays selected from decades of Japanese publications.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Anime Sols

Anime Sols is a new company out of Japan. They are a partnership of several animation producers and have an interesting model.

You can watch shows for free, preorder the series you want on DVD, they batch the shows in 13 episode chunks for $40.00, and when they have enough preorders they will charge your card and ship the discs to you, basically this is crowd funding.

The shipping is being handled by The Right Stuf a company that has a sterling reputation with fans.

These are mostly older shows serious fans have wanted for years

Sam Pinansky, an American who is a staff member on the project, has been interviewed by some blogs.

Anime World Order:

Anime News Network:

Friday, May 17, 2013

FanimeCon 2013 - my schedule


As most of you know I'll again be a guest of honor at FanimeCon. I have 3 presentations this year.

This schedule is a little dated but as far as I know still stands.

Subject to changes at any time. If I find out about any changes before the con I'll post that information in this blog.

Friday, 5pm (1 hour) - Anime (and Manga) for Parents.
- No badge needed open to the general public.

Friday, 9pm (2 hours, in the biggest panel room) - Sex Trade in Anime and Manga
 - You have to be over 18 to get in and bring your ID

Sunday, 3pm (1 hour) - Navigating Tokyo

Monday, April 15, 2013

Live Action for April

I have added four live action movies to my recommended lists. One is available on region 2 DVD with subtitles from Japan. This batch gives us an interesting mix of samurai, arsonists, ronin, murderers, con artists, and middle school teachers.

The four movies are:

- Blind Menace

- Goyokin

- Hei no Naka no Chuugakkou

- Revenge

Check these out and see if you may be interested.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April's New Recommendations

I have added several more anime, and one manga to the recommended lists. A few are actually restorations as I have found subtitled releases from overseas, mainly Japan, as well as new US re-releases. I have also updated some of the older links adding blu-ray releases and newer versions. This updating is a task that shall continue for a few more weeks as I do it in small chunks.

The added entries are:


- GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka

- Mobile Suit Gundamm TV series

- Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn)

- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation

- Redline

- Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honneamise


- All My Darling Daughters by Yoshinaga Fumi

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Studio Ghibli does live action?

I have added six new live action videos to my recommended movie list. All of them are English subtitled Studio Ghibli documentaries. Some are done by third parties, some by Studio Ghibli itself.

- Ghibli no E Shokunin kazuo Oka Ten Totoro no Mori wo Kaita Hito

- Hayao Miyazaki to Ghibli Bijutsukan (Hayao Miyazaki and the Ghibli Museum)

- Otsuka Yasuo no Ugokasu Yorokobi

- Sekai Waga Kokoro no Tabi

- Thank You, Lasseter-san

- Yanagawa Horiwari Monogatari (The Story of Yanagawa's Canals)

Many non-Japanese fans of the anime produced by the artists at Ghibli do not know of these works as they have yet to be released to English speaking audiences. For this reason the Japanese DVD versions of these works are all region 2. However since the releases all have subtitles we can still enjoy them without knowing the language. As these are region 2 discs you will need a DVD player capable of playing them. Fortunately region 2 capable players are not that hard to find, at least in the US, and of course Europe which is in region 2.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Puff the Magic Firearm?

In that classic anime Otaku no Video there is one of the 'interviews' with a firearm otaku having a war game with friends. Military and gun otaku and maniacs in Japan are part of the larger mix of fan cultures that exist there.

But what of the U.S? Sure you have heard of paintball, but is there more?

Apparently yes, much more, and they have a magazine. The NAM: National Airsoft Magazine is for hard core fans and hobbyists.

Check it out, even if you are like me and not into guns. These guys are putting out a pretty impressive product.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

We have lost one of our best

Manga Translation Pioneer Toren Smith Passes Away

Toren was always helpful when I had a question or wanted feedback on something I was writing. He gave me a generous, and he insisted honest, blurb for my first book The Anime Companion.

His name on a translation was enough to make me buy it, he chose what he translated and the choices were excellent.

Toren was also instrumental in showing anime to many San Francisco Bay Area science fiction fans at BayCon.

Yasuhiro Takeda in his The Notenki Memoirs has an amusing tale regarding Toren staying at a Gainax staff residence. One day the other occupants of this all male enclave were started to see something that had never happened before, an attractive young woman leave Toren's room in the morning.

For a list of what he worked on see the entry on him in the Anime News Network Encyclopedia.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

There's a swordfight goin' on

This week I add four more movies to my live action recommendations.

Three directed by Kudo Eiichi:

Eleven Samurai (1967)

The Great Killing (1964)

13 Assassins (1963)

One directed by Miike Takashi which is a remake of one of the above movies with references to another.

13 Assassins (2010)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The 2013 NHK Taiga Drama

In the San Francisco Bay Area starting on March 3.

The first episode of the 2013 NHK Taiga Drama "Yae's Sakura" (English Subtitled) will be broadcast at 8 PM, with reruns on Saturday at 10 PM, on Ch 38.4 Tokyo TV.

For more info see:

I highly recommend folks tune in if they can.

Still only available for free over the airwaves.

"We don' need no stinkin' cable!"

Sunday, February 10, 2013

47 Ronin Six Times Over

I'm back after taking some time off for other projects and traveling to Tokyo for Comiket and the New Year.

This time I have more recommended films. Six in fact all related to the story of the 47 ronin and their famous attack on Kira's mansion. This story has not only inspired puppet and kabuki plays but also over 80 films. These few below are some of the best and available on English subtitled DVD. In fact I include a DVD release of the kabuki play as well as a silent picture with benshi accompanyment.


47 Ronin
Jitsuroku Chushingura
Kana Tehon Chūshingura
Kon Ichikawa’s 47 Ronin
The Loyal 47 Ronin
Samurai Vendetta (a.k.a. Hakuoki)