Thursday, September 18, 2008


On the way back from San Diego Comic-Con, Evan and I stopped at the San Diego BOOK-OFF for manga hunting. I only found two items, but both were crown manga jewels the likes of which would please a manga Indiana Jones (or to a lesser degree, a manga Nicholas Cage from National Treasure 2).

The first was a magazine collection of Yoshida Sensha comics (with stickers! More on this later); The latter was a hardcover edition of Taiyo Matsumoto's GOGOモンスター (GOGO MONSTER). It was only 12 bucks, if you can believe that shit. It's a gem, and I know lots of folks place this title extremely high on their MOST-WANTED-IN-ENGLISH list (Chris, looking at you dude). I've read through it, and recently bequeathed it to mega-Matsumoto fangirl, Hellen Jo. Here are some pictures of the book I took before passing it on...

Hard cover edition with slipcase and bookmark tassel (so classy).

Beautiful back cover, with a Where the Wild Things Are vibe but more Japanesey.

Striking but sparse, check out that front cover action!

Whoa! It's a different setting than Tekkon Kinkreet - but Matsumoto's cityscapes are utterly thrilling. As you can also see here, the page edges are bright red and feature pen art.

Page detail, a comic within the comic.

I won't spoil any details on who this fella is...

Such a perfect little collection of details. Matsumoto kills me! (in a good way).

Geometric transitions and film-like transitions pepper the book.

Detail of previous page.

From the opening chapter of GOGO MONSTER.

The only question that remains... When is this magnificent book going to be released in English!? Hellen says that there have already been Korean and French editions published (naturally). Man, c'mon America!


helllllen said...

Ryan, thank you SO MUCH for GO GO Monster. I have carefully looked at every single panel from cover to cover, and from what I can guess, I love this book. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! However, I hope that one day this will be published in English (alongside his million other books, including the unfinished English publication of No. 5)

Yes there is definitely a Korean edition of this book, but when I went to buy it this summer, every single book store told me it was no longer available, which is RIDICULOUS because I think it came out pretty recently in Korea. I think it could have been purchased online in Korea, but you need a Korean social security number for that, and my mom refused to buy it for me, because "YOU OWN TOO MANY COMICS". Moms!

JE said...

That old guy looks like No.6 of the Rainbow Council...

And the book itself looks amazing.

Ryan S said...

I'm very glad you are enjoying the book. There are definitely a few folks within Viz that absolutely adore Mr. Matsumoto (they're the ones that made the Tekkon Kinkreet compendium happen and put so much love into it...) but I wonder if they can get this thingy out?

I have heard numerous times that No. 5 was the WORST selling viz publication. like, ever!
hard to believe, isn't it?

oh moms!

@JE: haha... good call! the books is a delight, even just to browse.

Anonymous said...

I can't overstate how lucky I feel to live in France. :]

As you would notice if you visit someday our "small but heavily devoted to the manga/comic/bande-dessinée art" country, a lot of gems are available from the first comic book shop around the corner.

As a matter of fact, GoGoMonster issued in French early 2007 in a somptuous edition.

TekkonKinkreet issued more than 10 years ago in our country thanks to Tomkam Editions (under the incredibly cool name of "Amer Béton" but with a so-so edition) and since then, the Matsumoto cult spanned from the underground to the "almost mainstream" public.

Matsumoto's works to be found in France: Tekkonkinkurito ("Amer béton"), Aoi Haru ("Printemps Bleu"), Nihon no Kyodai ("Frêres du Japon"), Pin Pon (Ping-Pong), GOGO Monster (Go Go Monsters), Number 5.

Ryan S said...

@kanukanu: Okay now-- no need to rub it in our faces :)

No, you're very right! For some reason, early on Matsumoto has been understood and his aesthetic has been embraced by France, Korea and a few other countries. We're are years behind you guys :(

To date in English:

Black & White (serialized in 1998 in Pulp, collected in 1999)
Tekkon Kinkreet all-in-one (released in 2007)

Blue Spring (released in 2004)

No. 5 (incomplete, started in 2003 but only 2 books came out)

Unknown said...

Nice job Ryan! I got to go to the Shogakukan offices about a month ago and the editor-in-chief of IKKI gave me a copy of GoGo Monster. He said the manga was one of the reasons he created the magazine five years ago.

Did you know that Matsumoto made this manga entirely on his own (no assistants) and did it in one shot. So it never ran in a magazine, he just sat down for a long while and cranked out 448 pages of genius. Seriously who does that?!

Anonymous said...

Shit Ryan, you've just made my day!
Lucky sonnuva, I'd kill for a copy of GOGO (or any other untranslated Taiyo stuff), and you even got a sweeter deal of only 12 measly bucks!

Thanks for posting those excellent images, don't suppose you'd bother putting up more sometime would ye? :P

(Also, people seem to be forgetting that Fanfare translated Matsumoto sensei's short story KANKICHI for the Japan - As Viewed By 17 Creators anthology)

Ryan S said...

@edo's library: Wow, how nice to get a copy direct from the publisher!

The book is an incredible feat, that is no doubt.

@eoin marron: Glad you enjoyed the photos! I've already given the book to Hellen so no more photos from me. That said, I have tons of other photos of manga in Japan that I should start posting soon.

Oh you're right.. That Matsumoto story is worth noting (although I didn't really enjoy it all that much, personally). Thanks! Ryan

Christopher Butcher said...

Hey Ryan, just got to this post. It really is a great book, I think it's high up on the list of stuff to be published... Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO F@#°*ING MUCH for showing these pictures! I've immediately fallen in love with this book and now I'm gonna get the french edition!!!

Mr. Lane said...

I love your blog, Ryan. Any hope of a scanlation of this? If so, lemme know if you need help. I speak Japanese and read at a... third grade level!

Ryan S said...

@Mr. Lane: Thanks for reading! This book is crazy dense and long and a scanlation would be both insanely time-consuming and wouldn't do it justice... a book like this needs a proper, spare-no-expense publication from Viz (as it's published by shogakukan).

I'm out of the scanlation game (and have been for over a year) but this title is very high on my wish list for release... maybe someday! Matsumoto has a rocky release history... No. 5 by him is said to be one of the WORST selling manga ever from Viz, while Tekkon Kinkreet's re-release all-in-one was absolutely lovely (and hopefully sold alright). Time will tell for GOGO Monster :)

Again, thanks for reading!!

John Carter said...

I have a copy of this in Japanese, hard cover, with slipcase, never read. Got it as a gift but don't want it... what should I do with it? It's gorgeous and I don't want to throw it away

jcrcarter AT g mail dotcom

Ryan S said...

@John: Thanks for the comment! Welllll, when you put it that way :)

Perhaps we could give it away as a contest on Same Hat? I could pay to ship it from wherever you are to wherever the winner is.

I'll shoot you an email!

Unknown said...

I bought and read this in 2006 while I was studying in Japan, but I paid a LOT more for it than $12. There just happened to be a copy at a local bookstore, and that was the only time I ever saw it (and I went to a LOT of bookstores) so I guess I got lucky. Of course, I also bought all of Ping Pong and No. 5 and Zero and Hanaotoko and the first volume of Takemitsuzamurai (Bamboo Blade Samurai) which had just started coming out that December if I remember correctly, right when I was leaving the country. I remember the first thing I did in Japan was buy an issue of Big Comics Spirits and there was a chapter from Takemitsuzamurai in it. I was thrilled. Anyway, GOGO MONSTER is one of my favorites among favorites and remains one of the most beautiful books in my collection. I do hope it comes out in English soon, that someone out there justifies the expense.

Ryan S said...

@Alex: Thanks for posting! The good news is that Viz did announce that they will be putting out GO GO Monster in English at some point in the near future--- fall 2009? or spring 2010, i think.

I wonder how much of the great book design and nice touches they will maintain in the English edition?

Mike Smith said...

I just picked up a copy of this book today at a used bookstore in Indianapolis for only $3.00!!

I'm actually not a big Manga fan, but I am a fan of great art, and I simply couldn't pass by this book. The book design itself is incredible, and the internal artwork is pretty amazing itself. Too bad I can't read a word of it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the book, maybe put it up on eBay or something when I'm done admiring it.

Anyway, I googled the book and came across this post and thought I'd share my good fortune with everyone here.

Ryan S said...

@Mike: Wow, congrats on the great score! I totally agree that even without the text, the book is lush and gorgeous. Glad you enjoyed it! Let us know if you ebay it, I bet some folks on the blog would be interested.

You probably gathered this from the comments and googling around, but this title has been licensed for English release--- supposedly in early 2010 :) And of course, one other work by him that immediately jumps out is Tekkon Kinkreet :)

Matsumoto is so damn goooood!
Thanks for stopping by :)

Anonymous said...

I just saw an advance copy of the English version, it looks amazing -- exactly like the Japanese version. It comes out next month.

Ryan S said...

@anonymous: Innnnnteresting. Are you a Viz person? I'm psyched to see this English edition!

alexmercado said...

just read this. really good and dreamlike. although the ending is almost similar to "tekkon kinkreet"
does matsumoto tend to have protagonists get lost in a dreamworld... since i'm only familiar with these two works.