Thursday, July 30, 2009


FREE COMICS ONLINE EXPLOSION... PART TWO! The second round of initial SIG IKKI series have gone out the door as of this morning! Full details on all titles from IKKI in English are listed here.

Congrats again to Leyla, Kit, and Daniel on these awesome IKKI launches! Check out round two of the big IKKI series launch, tell everyone what you think in the comments! ENJOY:

TOKYO FLOW CHART - Read Chapter 1 Here


HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES - Read Chapter 1 Here

KINGYO USED BOOKS - Read Chapter 1 Here

Again, tips on checking out these series from abroad can be found at the bottom of this earlier post.

ALSO: IKKI updated their Features sections with two interesting interviews about the history of IKKI in Japan and its relationship with the now-defunct (but always rad) PULP magagazine. There's an interview with Hideki Egami, editor of IKKI in Japan, and with Alvin Lu, head of publishing for Viz in the US.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Happy humpday everyone. What's a week on Same Hat without a dump of cheerful, charming pictures of Kazuo Umezu?

It turns out that Uncle Umezz actually has another blog called UMEZZ Kingdom, which is updated infrequently and features snapshots from his daily life. It was a pleasant surprise to see these, which show him apart from the usual media/PR events & signings. Of course, Umezz is still hamming it up most of the time- even on the Kingdom blog.

Enjoy these images from last week:

In addition to the Makoto-Chan house in Kichijoji (western suburbs of Tokyo), Umezu has a "cottage" up in the woods near Nagano.

Unsurprisingly, this house is big and fanciful too.

Umezz cleaning up the patio and window gutters.

Rocking the slide connecting the 2nd floor to the first floor of the cottage.

Requisite Umezu with his goodies photo, which apparently includes a motorcycle up in Nagano?

Monday, July 27, 2009


Another month has gone by, which means a new issue of COMIC BEAM made its way to my local Kinokuniya. This issue ("July" but released in early June in Japan) features the much anticipated 2nd chapter of Suehiro Maruo's Imomushi. As you guys all know, Imomushi (Caterpillar) is Maruo's adaptation of the psycho-sexual short story of the same name by Edogawa Rampo.

Check out my post from last month for details about Imomushi's plot, along with panels and pages from chapter one.

I heard from my buddy Monika that the new COMIC BEAM with chapter three is out already in Japan. Look for a post on that next month! For now check out these pics of this installment of hot/gross Suehiro Maruo x Edogawa Rampo action:

Title page for chapter two.

Flashback scenes of when Lt. Sunaga & his wife Tokiko are reunited at the military hospital.

Detail panel of Tokiko's anguished face.

Limbless and unable to speak, Lt. Sunaga uses a pencil in his mouth to scratch out communication.

As with his adaptation of Panorama Island, Maruo's is creating intricate and lovely geometric panel layouts for this comic.

Um, oh right... this comics is NSFW. Did I mention that?

The first of many bad dreams for Tokiko.

And by "bad dreams" we're talking like, REALLY BAD DREAMS.

Last panel of chapter two, check back for more next month!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Whoaaaa, FREE COMICS ONLINE EXPLOSION! Half of the series mentioned in my post yesterday have been added to the VIZ / SIGIKKI site as of this morning. Below are the titles for which the first chapter has been posted.

It wasn't until just now that it hit how serious Viz is about IKKI, and my blood got pumping. Congrats to Leyla, Kit, and Daniel (my buds over at Viz Editorial) on IKKI!

Everyone go read 'em, and then lets talk tomorrow in the comments about what we thought! ENJOY:

SATURN APARTMENTS - Read Chapter 1 Here

DOROHEDORO - Read Chapter 1 Here

I'LL GIVE IT MY ALL... TOMORROW - Read Chapter 1 Here

BOKURANO: OURS - Read Chapter 1 Here

Some tips on checking out these series from abroad can be found at the bottom of this earlier post.

ALSO: A snazzy and sorta loud IKKI promo video from their site:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


All of this is old news that already made the rounds on the interwebs, but I wanted to compile all the news fit to print in one spot. Big news first, then free stuff after that!

1) Long list of upcoming series released
Here is the full rundown from the Viz press release (with my 1 sentence take):
(Many thanks/apologies to Precocious Curmudgeon for the book covers!)

CHILDREN OF THE SEA By Daisuke Igarashi
When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka’s dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans’ fish. Volume 1 now also available in print!
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: Lovely, haunting and (let's be honest) a little boring- Children of the Sea is a solid BUY from me.

BOKURANO: OURS By Mohiro Kitoh
One summer, fifteen kids innocently wander into a nearby seaside cave. There they meet a strange man who invites them to play an exciting new video game. This game, he explains, pits one lone giant robot against a horde of alien invaders. To play the game, all they have to do is sign a simple contract. The game stops being fun when the kids find out the true purpose of their pact.
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: I don't understand this summary.

In a city so dismal it’s known only as “the Hole,” a clan of sorcerers have been plucking people off the streets to use as guinea pigs for atrocious “experiments” in the black arts. In a dark alley, Nikaido found Caiman, a man with a reptile head and a bad case of amnesia. To undo the spell, they’re hunting and killing the sorcerers of the Hole, hoping that eventually they’ll kill the right one. But when En, the head sorcerer, gets word of a lizard-man slaughtering his people, he sends a crew of "cleaners" into the Hole, igniting a war between two worlds.
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: Yessssss! Let the good times roll, is what I'm saying.

Far in the future, humankind has evacuated the Earth in order to preserve it. Humans now reside in a gigantic structure that forms a ring around the Earth, thirty-five kilometers up in the sky. The society of the ring is highly stratified: the higher the floor, the greater the status. Mitsu, the lowly son of a window washer, has just graduated junior high. When his father disappears and is assumed dead, Mitsu must take on his father’s occupation. As he struggles with the transition to working life, Mitsu’s job treats him to an outsider’s view into the various living-room dioramas of the Saturn Apartments.
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: Could be awesome or could be silly. A manga version of Dash Shaw's "Satellite CMYK".

This is the story of a forty-year-old salary man who quits his job to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist—and the family that has to put up with him. While not terribly unhappy, Shizuo Oguro can’t fight the feeling that something in his life just isn’t right, so he walks away from his stable (yet boring) day job to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately for his family, this journey also involves playing video games all day while his teenage daughter and elderly father support him. Will Shizuo succeed in creating a true manga masterpiece or will he be just another drop-out living a life of slack?
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: Very excited about this one, from a recommendation from Vertical's Ed Chavez.

St. Kleio Academy is a very exclusive school: all of the students are clones of famous historical figures such as Beethoven, Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon, Mozart, and Freud. All of them, that is, except for Shiro Kamiya. As Shiro struggles to adapt to this unusual campus, St. Kleio’s first graduate, a clone of John F. Kennedy, is killed. Are the clones doomed to repeat the fate of their genetic progenitors, or can they create their own destinies? And how does a normal boy like Shiro fit in?
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: I'm sorry, what did I just read here-- clone of JFK is assasinated??! Is there a Hirohito clone that gets kicked in the nuts too?

KINGYO USED BOOKS By Seimu Yoshizaki
A businessman discovers how his childhood memories can brighten his day. An art student finds inspiration. An archer hits a surprising bull’s eye. A housewife rediscovers romance. A teenager discovers his true self in the pages of a manga magazine. Welcome to Kingyo Used Books, a place where people find their dreams in manga…
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: I heard this light fantasy tale is retardedly fun, but that cover makes me a bit dubious

Masterless samurai Akitsu Masanosuke is a skilled and loyal swordsman, but his naïve, diffident nature has time and again caused him to be let go by the lord whom he has worked for. Hungry and desperate, he becomes a bodyguard for Yaichi, the charismatic leader of a gang called "Five Leaves." Although disturbed by the gang’s sinister activities, Masa begins to suspect that Yaichi’s motivations are not what they seem. And despite his misgivings, the deeper he’s drawn into the world of the Five Leaves, the more he finds himself fascinated by these devious, mysterious outlaws.
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: Ono's crazy visual style is a welcome addition- now I just wanna know if she can tell good stories?

Have you ever wished that somebody else would just DO SOMETHING about the chaos in your life? Then this is the perfect manga for a slacker like you! Tokyo Flow Chart is (probably) the world’s first four-frame comic strip in flow chart format. It breaks down the complexities of life and aids in the mastery of brain skills such as flow-chart-manga comprehension or mental bullet-dodging. As Confusious say: “let your brain flow with the chart!”
MY 1 SENTENCE TAKE: I am confused, but more non-moe 4koma is always encouraged!

2) First physical volume is out, Children of the Sea, Volume 1
That's right, the first book of SIGIKKI's premier title has come out in physical form. The volume is thick and nice to hold in your hands. Of course, for folks looking to sample that thing online first, you can read the entire volume on the IKKI site (along with the first chapter of Volume 2!):

Children of the Sea vol.1

Children of the Sea vol.2

3) Mini-sites for other Urasawa series
Last but not least, I just saw that Viz put together mini-sites for two of the best series being released (okay let's be honest-- best series in English ever?). Take a gander at the little promo sites (with animated trailers) for Pluto and 20th Century Boys.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Looking for that certain something to spruce up your home? How about a traditional ukiyo-e woodcut print of Kazuo Umezu's Drifting Classroom??

Our favorite and most energetic mangaka, Kazuo Umezu has teamed up with the Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints to create a series of limited edition ukiyo-e prints of his works, using hand-carved woodblocks.

The exhibit features not only the signed prints, but the carved woodblocks used in making the prints on display. If you're in the Tokyo area, you can check out the show at GAoh! Gallery, which opened on July 7 and runs until September 13.

Adachi printmaster in effect

Here are the actual prints (printed in runs of 300, each sells for about $475):

Drifting Classroom psychadelic ukiyo-e.

Hebi Onna (Snake Woman) works really well as a traditional spooky ukiyo-e.

Makoto-chan peeing with scenic views.

Check out the "GWASHI!" hand-written in script, haha.

This is the one I'd get if I could afford one...

And finally, here's a promotional video from the GAoh Gallery site, with images of the prints and Umezu singing (and hamming it up, what's new?). Enjoy!

According to Gigazine, there will also be papercraft toys of Umezu's Makoto-chan House available at GAoh! Gallery:

[via & Gigazine]

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Small update, Same Hat's got a new banner featuring our original manga godfathers, Suehiro Maruo and Yoshida Sensha. This banner was whipped up by Same Hat's graphic design guru, Evan :) Hope you like the changes made here and there to the site... it's hopefully a nice face lift before I move everything over to eventually.

Another feature I was dubious about but now am enjoying is the FOLLOWERS section on the lower-left side of blog. It's a new feature which makes it easy to claim allegiance to SAME HAT! More importantly, it's a relatively easy way to find like-minded folks and other sites to follow.

For each "Member" you can click their little icon to see other blogs they are into, and their own personal site. I just went through them and added a few dozen new places to my RSS reader. Until Same Hat has its own forum (good or bad idea?), this could be the best way to meet other manga weirdos. Enjoy, and as always, lemme know what you think and what you'd like to see in the comments!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Noticed this video on the Le Lezard Noir blog featuring the works of Suehiro Maruo. Le Lezard Noir is one of the French publishers of the works of Same Hat, and a good friend of Same Hat.

Le Lezard Noir publishes the French editions of Maruo titles such as Lunatic Lover's, The Laughing Vampire, and Yume no Q-saku.

Midori the Camellia Girl by Suehiro Maruo is published by Editions IMHO. Le Lezard worked with animator Florian Martine to create this ad promoting their sites. Nifty stuff, huh?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I'm annoyed with the layout of the site (no "Previous Posts" link at the bottom, etc) and going to finally upgrade the Blogger template today. Please be patient while I try to tinker around and fix stuff. Should be messed up for about 30 minutes or so at some point this afternoon?

UPDATES: Most of the major changes are now complete. I updated the site from Blogger 1.0 to the new-ish Layout system, with gadgets and modules in the sidebar, rather than the weird hard-coded thing. What this means are some new additions on the left-nav:
+ Better PREVIOUS POSTS section that actually lets you find old stuff!
+ A new RECENT COMMENTS section to see where folks are talking!
+ A list of MY SHARED ITEMS coming from the posts I share via Google Reader
+ A listing of FOLLOWERS via Friend Connect- why don't you follow Same Hat and join the crew?
+ A list of LABELS on different types of posts. I took some time today to update these, so they should be helpful if there's a certain type of thing you're looking for...
+ An OLDER POSTS link at the bottom of each page, for going back through previous posts!

Are they any other things you'd like to see on the site? Just lemme know!

Friday, July 10, 2009


[RSS readers, this post features galleries using PictoBrowser; Please click through to the blog to view them!]

Today I received these photos of a horrifying and badass handmade figurine by longtime Same Hat reader, André Peter! He's painstakingly depicted the horrible fate of the female protagonist Kaori from Junji Ito's fishpocalypse manga, Gyo. You can check out some pages here on the Viz site, if you haven't already read it.

Enjoy the pictures and let him know what you think in the comments!

To see more of André's sculpture work, head over to this forum thread. Thanks again for sharing this awesome piece of work, dude!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


[I lifted, (un)graciously, all the photos for this post from Jenn's site, THE BITTERMELON]

On June 26, I had the pleasure of being invited (along with my buddy Jenn Yin) to attend an award conferment ceremony and reception honoring the work of translator/author Frederik Schodt! Fred received the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his extensive work promoting Japanese popular culture in the United States. As anyone reading this blog knows, it'd be impossible to overstate the importance of Fred's work on the development of manga fandom outside of Japan. Fred's a generous and cool guy, and someone I deeply respect, so it was great to be a part of this event.

The award ceremony was held in San Francisco at the Official Residence of the Japanese Consul General, Mr. Yasumasa Nagamine. The award is given on behalf of the Japanese government, and signed by the Prime Minister and emperor. Check out the other wild & crazy folks to be awarded this, for some context. The full statement on Fred's work can be viewed on the Japanese Embassy site here [PDF].

The event was fancy but not as formal as I expected, featuring a number of speeches honoring Fred's work-- first as a translator, then later as an interpreter and finally (& most importantly) as a pioneering author introducing manga to English-speaking audiences. One crazy self-indulgent highlight for me was that Consul General Nagamine used an anecdote about Fred working as an interpreter at Sunkist headquarters that was straight from my long 2008 interview with Fred in Electric Ant #1!

The crowd there to honor Fred included his longtime translation partner Jared Cook, president of Tezuka Productions Takayuki Matsutani (who was super festive and flew over from Japan), Viz president Seiji Horibuchi, and assorted publishers & manga editors like Leonard Rifas (Educomics), Ian Robertson (Phoenix), Andy Nakatani (Pluto), Colin and Ron Turner (Last Gasp) and many others. In addition to drinks & dinner (YES), there were lots of interesting tidbits for us manga nerds. Like the fact that Blast's edition of Hideshi Hino's "Panorama of Hell" was the first ever non-flopped English manga publication. (Well, whatta ya know?)

Consul General Nagamine, Fred's nephew, Fia's son, Fred's rad wife Fia, and Fred.

Obligatory nerdy fanboys shot of me & Jenn, with the older and cooler Fred & Fia.

And of course, no official award reception is complete without a band of old buds jamming out to Ue wo Muite and the Todai fight song..

For a video clip of Fred's band playing (with the Pres. of Tezuka Production singing, and the Consul General dancing), check out Jenn's post.

UPDATE: As I was writing this post, I saw that Fred has posted notes from the speech he gave on his site. Enjoy!