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I guess it's my turn to tell you my "current views on life, anime
and mankind in general" (I hope you don't mind the quote here,
While I won't bore you to death with my views on the first and the last,
I'm more than happy to share my views on what is in the middle. But I will
digress a little and you'll notice that a large part of the links are rather
manga-related than anime-related, because that's my thing.
I started this column by taking a look at previous "guest stars" and
if I'm not mistaken, I'm only the second person in this column who's been
born and raised in Europe. More exactly, I'm living in a small, trilingual
country in Western Europe of which the capital is better known world-wide
than the country itself.
How did I get into the world of Anime, and Manga in particular? Well,
it's been a converging process of three obsessions in my life: animation,
Japan and comics.
Okay, now that you know that I like animation, Japan and comics, you won't
be surprised that I'm fond of manga. I started out with a couple of series
Ikkoku, Akira) and expanded my horizon to almost any genre except for the
ladies' part of the manga spectrum). Although I started out buying
I soon realised that it would be less frustrating, cheaper and much quicker
to buy only the original Japanese tankoubon instead. I didn't want to limit
myself to the popular series in the west and soon discovered other gems.
to say, I became *slightly* addicted and was craving for more good
series. But I was lacking some good recommendations to filter out the ninety
percent of junk manga (which still leaves several thousands of worthy series).
One of the few resources I've always found valuable in this respect was
the Usenet Manga Guide. In 1997, I noticed that it wasn't updated anymore.
I contacted the previous maintainer, he replied, from one thing came another,
and that's how I got to be the maintainer of the . You've guessed it, here's the plug you were
waiting for. I don't think I'm exaggerating if I say that it has grown
into one of the biggest western resources on Japanese manga, thanks to
the support and contributions of many fans. It is still far from complete,
and will always remain incomplete because of the sheer volume of manga
coming out every month. To those who worry about a recent lack of updates:
after two years, I decided that I needed a little break to renew my energy
and I will resume soon (I can feel the itch again).
First of all, I've watched animation as long as I can remember. One of
the advantages of living in my country is that you get to see the television
channels of all our big neighbours. In one of them (France), anime has
had a steady exposure and following since the seventies. It wasn't called
anime at that time, we didn't even know it was Japanese, but when I was
in primary school, I and most of my friends used to watch lots of series
popular at the end of the seventies/beginning of the eighties on French
Amongst those were great series like UFO
Robo Grandizer (called Goldorak in France), (called La Bataille des Planètes in French),
, Captain Flam, and many others that I forgot...
My favourite series was (),
a French-Japanese joint production with a very original idea and great
stories developed into a wonderful anime (by Shingo Araki). That's where
I got my interest in Greek mythology from.
After a few years of silence, my interest in anime got renewed around
1986 when I was intrigued by the maturity of series like and especially
(Signé Cat's Eyes in French). These series were very mature
compared to other kid stuff on television and they made a big impression
on me. Moreover, the dub was very good and the soundtrack was great. After
that, I went to university and I stopped watching anime for the sake of my
I would probably never have bothered again, if it weren't for my discovery
of Maison Ikkoku.
For this series, I don't have enough superlatives to do it justice. The
French dub had some flaws, but the voice acting was good and especially
Godai's voice was superb (it took me a while to grow accustomed to the
Japanese counterpart, where Godai is done by the same actor who also did
the voice of Chibi from Urusei Yatsura,
but now I'm convinced that the Japanese voice is even more fitting the
character and I'm cherishing my LD collection of it - which cost me a small
Finally, realising that all the animation I had been attracted to was
Japanese, I was totally lost and started watching whatever I could lay my
hands on. Nowadays, I've become somewhat more picky.
Japan, the Japanese culture and language have always fascinated me. Though
I've never been to Japan till recently (lack of time and money), I've got the
feeling I know the country better than some of my neighbouring countries.
It's very haughty to say this, I know. Some things have contributed
to this feeling: reading books, watching documentaries, studying the language
for several years (and collecting the appropriate certificates to prove
that I've done so, which still doesn't mean anything by the way), having
frequent contacts with the big but secluded Japanese community in my country,
having some good friends in Japan.
For those interested, I can recommend (only a few basic links):
On Japanese language:
: alternative sci.lang.japan Frequently Asked Questions.
: online Japanese lessons.
it was a sad day when I heard of the passing of this wonderful resource,
it's still somewhat alive here.
: a great archive of freeware/shareware on the Japanese
On Japanese culture:
this should provide you with the basic info you need.
I happen to live in a country that has a rich comics culture (called
in the northern part and 'bandes dessinées' in the southern part).
It may not be considered an artform in the same way as it is in France,
but many of the great masters of European comics are fellow countrymen.
My collection of European comics is about the same size as my collection
of manga, and though it doesn't grow that quickly, I value it a lot as
most of them are high quality works.
Actually, I'm a bit of an exception in the sense that I equally
cherish Japanese as well as European comics. Most of the people over here
that read one of the two won't touch the other. They don't mix. This can
lead to strange things. Every autumn, there are two conventions. One on
European comics, and another on manga, anime and American comics. I'm nearly
the only person who visits both. I find this single-mindedness really a
shame. For those of you who are interested anyway, here is a link to an
extensive linklist that provides you with a viewport on another world of
It's not the only resource and I'll give you some links to sites (Japanese
and others) that I've found interesting enough to visit regularly.
Hoshisato Mochiru's Living Game
Mochiru is one of my favourite authors. I like the humour in his works,
his wonderful characters, great stories, daily life descriptions. He has
some other works that also have webpages that you can reach from this site
too. Actually it was not long ago that Hans mailed me with a new link for
the site located ,
but the is still available too.
EX: The Online World of Anime &
What can I say? Why do we need paper magazines if there are webzines like
EX that excel them all?
There was a time that made some false
about bringing Inuyasha out concurrently with the Japanese version. Hah.
Check this out if you want to know how to follow up the Japanese original
Takahashi Rumiko may have written and drawn my all time favourite series,
but I never quite understood why she's so popular in the west compared
to other authors who have created an oeuvre that is at least as valuable
as hers. Adachi Mitsuru is one of them. This site does a great job of
an overview of all his works. Very popular series are ,
Rough, Touch to name only a few.
I probably don't have to introduce Katsura. He's popular enough. Master
in the usage of greytones (who needs colour anyway), the drawing of cute
girls and nice POV's :p. Though he has some problems coming up with good
stories nowadays, his previous Video Girl should be read by everyone. This
site is THE site to visit, especially if you're craving for translation
This is one of the better resources of information on manga in the west.
It has good reviews on lots of series, with a tendency towards the shounen
part of the spectrum, but with a lot of attention for lesser known
Care to see what Ranma could've been if Takahashi would've more parodying
and daring in her stories? Than this is for you. Futaba-kun Change is being
brought to the west by ,
but if you've got the original Japanese volumes (like I do) and need some
good scripts, then this is the site for you.
I find it completely unbelievable that this series doesn't get the attention
it deserves. It has got everything: good action, great humour and slapstick.
A recognisable, crazy cast of characters, short stories which fit perfectly
in a monthly format (later volumes have larger story arcs though). So why
doesn't anyone pick this up? Beats me. Anyway, the site is old and not
updated anymore but is still worth a visit.
The most recent work by Tsukasa Houjou. This mangaka is not too well known
in the west (except for France and Italy I think). Again, lack of western
publications is the main reason for this. This work really hits the top.
It's published in Allman and displays GORGEOUS artwork (Lord, how can anyone
draw so beautifully), combines exciting storylines and witty humour. Family
Compo is being published in France nowadays, BTW. Other series worth noting
are his and Cat's Eye. City Hunter is nice too, but it's not my
Kodomo no Omocha
I'm not really a shoujo fan, but these two series struck a chord with me.
The first often being called the "acid" version of the other, they both
are exciting, full of emotions, while successfully avoiding the pitfalls
that make lots of other shoujo series hard to stomach (for me at least).
Other series that I like and that are in desperate need of a good website:
Momoiro Sabbath (Pink Sabbath)
There was a link on the Turnpike to a site (that's how I discovered it,
thank you Anipike), but the link is dead now. This series contains lots
of humour and slapstick (and some slight nudity, but only played for laughs).
It's about a high school boy who has the soul of the demon king in his
body and becomes the target of a number of witches. Not unlike Tenchi
Muyou, they crash down at his place or in the neighbourhood and zaniness
ensues when they use their powers, cook up some spells, or do anything
else a witch or sorcerer would do.
It appeared in the late Mangajin and is still published. Featuring four
panel strip gags, it's the best you can get on Office Lady humour.
Woaw, look at the time. I could go on "ad infinitum" citing
manga series, but I'll wrap it up here. Go to my site if you want to know
more. I hope it has been as nice a trip for you as it has been for me.
Anipike not being responsible for Acts of God or the vaguaries of
this column will appear 'as and when' articles come
in. New articles will
be announced on the "New List" page. (So
original, da yo..^^)