Urasawa Naoki, who’s probably the most popular manga artist in Japan, has just started a new series called Billy Bat.
I spent a good part of this year reading the 24 volumes (about 5000 pages) of his last manga 20th Century Boys in Japanese so I’m a little wary of starting this next one. The best thing about 20th Century Boys though was that I actually made a profit selling the books online after the film was released :)
Anyhow, I got to interview and photograph Urasawa last Summer (see above).
I remember that his house was crammed with antiques and gorgeous furniture. It looked like the Palace of Versailles. He even had not one but two harps.
I was doing a story on robots so we talked about his rewrite of the Tezuka Osamu manga PLUTO. I remember that a good 10 minutes of the tape was him talking about the difference between robots you ride and the ones you operate by remote control. (If you have read 20th Century Boys you’ll understand).
In the picture he’s surrounded by figures from the Tezuka PLUTO. In the top left hand corner of the you can see two rather sinister characters from Monster.
I have a soft spot for Urasawa as his manga is officially the first I ever read. Way back in the mists of time I was working for a Japanese company and asked a coworker to recommend some manga. They pointed me in the direction of Master Keaton, which if I remember right, is about a half Japanese, half English Falklands war veteran and insurance investigator.
Great manga, even if Doraemon would have been easier for a Japanese language beginner!