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Special Guest: Jim Zubkavich

one of my drawings

The Stories That Made Me

by Jim Zubkavich

Stories come first. That's my mantra. If the story is compelling and the characters are entertaining, it's worth reading or watching.

When my brother brought home an armload of tapes and manga from the University of Waterloo 8 years ago, I became instantly hooked on the stories that made anime unique (Thanks Joe!). There was way too much material waiting for me to see. At that point, I'd have watched pretty much anything. Now, I'd like to think my tastes are a little more refined. But, I still love anime :)

I was really obsessed for a while. I even edited some music videos for Otakon. If you were at the convention one year, you might have seen my Riding Bean video set to Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hotrod". Actually, if anyone's reading this and has webspace, I've got that video in RealVideo format and I'm looking for someone to host the 25meg file. E-mail me and let me know...

Anyways, discovering anime helped me focus my career. I knew I wanted to be an animator, but seeing great anime made me realize how much variety the stories in animation could offer. Now, I write and draw for an animation studio called and I'm developing my own comic book story on the side. I can honestly say I wouldn't be here without the anime and manga listed below.

I wanted to use this article to rave about , Orange Road, Nausicaa, , , and . They are all incredible stories worth looking in to. But I have to set the spotlight on my favorite creator:

Masakazu Katsura.

Katsura's creations have touched me deeper and left a more lasting impression than any other. His silliest ideas are Batman-styled superheroes and well-endowed girls. But when he's at his best with romantic-comedy, it's unstoppable.

Video Girl Ai is the classic lonely guy who's life gets turned upside down by an incredible girl. It's funny, depressing and touching all at the same time. If you haven't read it, you're missing out on one of the best manga stories in print.

I"s is his newest manga still printing weekly in Shonen Jump. It's another romantic comedy with twists and turns. The artwork blows away everything else in the magazine and the story is always a riot.

The Video Girl Ai Manga and Anime Resources is the perfect introduction to the series. Music, images and information to get the ball rolling.

is a great place to search for information about manga creators, including Masakazu Katsura.

is a great list to join if you want to discuss Katsura manga and stories.

has the most I"s images in one place. All sorts of color and Black and White imagery for you to enjoy.

has a huge variety of Katsura-themed wallpapers for you to enjoy.

is a website with descriptions of the stories being printed in Shonen Jump, including I"s.

is a fine webring dedicated to scripts of manga for the non-Japanese-readers who love manga (like me!). Great sites and all sorts of obscure stories to discover.

Lastly, it's time for two big self-plugs...

was a website I created when I noticed that a lot of Masakazu Katsura sites weren't being updated regularly. I've updated the page weekly for over a year and a half with pictures, translations, movie files, music, information and the most popular part; small samples of Katsura manga in English for people to read. I hope you stop by and let me know what you think.

Secondly, my personal site called is not an anime website persay, but it's about me! It has artwork, writing and other bizarre things. I'm planning on adding some drawing tutorials later on. Just like the Katsura Shrine, it gets updated weekly.

I hope you follow some of the links and discover (or rediscover) the stories of Katsura. I also hope you check out my own site and see what career anime helped propel me towards.

Take care,

Jim Zubkavich

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Last Update: 12/6/99