The new issue of "Multi-Media Mix Magazine" STUDIO VOICE be out in some Japans. The cover story is Creators of 2008. Otaku related people to keep tabs on next year include anime director Seiji Mizushima (Gundam 00), and manga-ka Naoki Yamamoto (Dance Til Tomorrow, Red) and Keiichi Arai (nichijou). The cover boy is actor Shota Matsuda. His dad was Yusaku Matsuda, aka Golden Wolf.
As usual, STUDIO VOICE is also running my paranormal and conspiracy column "Paranoid States of America". This time, I'm on about the California Drones.
My new column, entitled "American Otaku Densetsu", is now running in Japan's Weekly ASCII magazine. Expect profiles and interviews on some of the hardest hitting star-spangled nerds in the land including Kokujin Tensai, Jason Thompson, and me!
What the heck is Weekly ASCII? Think hardcore Akihabara style magazine full of the latest electronics, idol pictorials, manga and AKB in-jokes (maids, kigurumers, and instant foods feature prominently). I'll scan some pages for a virtual tour soon. In the meantime, pick up the new issue next to a huge pile of blank DVD-Rs down on Chuo-dori.
Patrick Macias (L) and Patrick W. Galbraith (R) plot the destruction of Akihabara.
My new Otakool column is happening in today's Japan Times. Akihabara's awful truths
While the Establishment packages Electric Town as a mecca for manga and anime obsessives, and a magnet for camera- toting tourists, the reality differs: 'Akiba' is alienating the geeks who once made it great
Thus have I contributed to BFI’s Sight & Sound magazine’s “75 Hidden Gems – The Great Films Time Forgot” feature for their August issue. I was asked to pick one “forgotten and overlooked film” and wrote up the only sane and logical choice, The Phynx (1970).
I have an article about the San Francisco experimental film scene in the new issue of STUDIO VOICE. Crazy Craig Baldwin does most of the talking and the story revolves (mostly) around the inspirational and creatively-fertile Other Cinema scene.
It’s the “Movie Guide for Dissatisfied Audiences” issue. Here’s how the Editor in Chief explained the concept to me.
“It is based on the idea that the recent "Japanese movie bubble" is shit. We are trying to find out how we can come across the truly interesting films (commercial/independent/Japanese/American/etc) which are not made with TV money.”
He’s right. Anime films have been really strong lately, but I can’t think of the last live-action Japanese movie I’ve seen that blew me away. The last one was probably Godzilla Final Wars back in 2004, and I think it may have been good for all the wrong reasons. I'm not bitter...but I'm also not impressed by the "Japanese movie bubble" one whit. Any of you lot feel different?
The definitely amazing DVD box set of Sonny Chiba’s SHADOW WARRIORS (Kage no Gundan): THE COMPLETE SERIES is on sale now and such. I wrote the 12-page booklet of liner notes and the episode guide that comes with this 7-disc, 27 episode wonder. But even if I didn’t, I’d be completely comfortable with calling this one of the best things ever shown on television. In fact, considering all the female nudity and grindhouse splatter in every episode, it’s hard to believe this could have ever been shown on tee vee at all (typical episode title: "Intrusion! 24 Hours in the Woman's Bath")! Lotsa ninja magic, Japan Action Club superstars (Etsuko Shihomi, Yasuaki Kurata), rib-tickling comedy, and Sonny Chiba lording over all as Hattori Hanzo in between. Trust me on this one...
Cheapest price I could find was here, and no my brother, youz gots 2 buy your own!
I contributed a little something to the March issue of Asia-Pacific Perspectives: Japan + magazine. Their English-language “Manga Mania” issue is pretty nice and includes interviews with Moyoco Anno (Sakuran) and gag manga-ka Kotobuki Shiriagari. Leiji Matsumoto gets a shout out, as well as Detroit Metal City. Not bad for a publication produced with the support of the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan...
There's a scary big two-page interview with me in the new issue of Japanese music magazine TONE.
It's the '90s retrospective issue, with Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon on the cover. My feature is called "The Rise, Prosperity, and Decline of American Otaku" - a typical rambling brain dump that covers (in no particular order): Nirvana Vs. Teenage Fanclub, Jellyfish, ELO, Satanic Majesties Request, Danzig, and how I pretty much only listen to anime and tokusatsu symphonic suites nowadays because Myspace and MP3s killed the music.
I recently recorded an interview with research-journalist Kent Daniel Bentkowski for Studio Voice magazine about his pretty astonishing interpretation of Stanley Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT.
Bascially, Kubrick was a member of a secret society who was killed for revealing too much in his final film.
Unbeknownst to me, Kent also taped the interview, transcribed it, and recently put it up on his blog! None of my scribbling for Studio Voice has been available in English until now, so anyone interested in my growing patch of non-overtly otaku work might want to check it out. The actual article will run in the April issue of SV.
Item! The Viz Pictures R1 DVD of Train Man: Densha Otoko comes out next Tuesday (Feb/6) in the USA. “So what?” you groan, inbetween sucks on a Fudgecicle before mumbling something about how the TV series was supposed to be better. Well, this disc here comes with a running audio commentary supplied by Anime City co-author Tomohiro Machiyama, the mysterious “Jay Tack,” and myself. We talk about Akihabara and the usual otaku poisons, how the whole Densha Otoko phenomenon could merely be a massive conspiracy on the part of the eeeevil Dentsu ad agecy, and even reveal the shocking truth about the Adult Video-only sequel to the film: The Kissing and Sex of Densha Otoko! The most effective words in any sales pitch are “get” “want" and “need.” So if those don’t convince you to go out and buy one then perhaps you aren’t human!
Its “sweeps week “ over at SCTV…I mean, Japan, that place there. Time to bring out the big guns and hope for the best.
And so, Tomo and I will on TBS Radio’s STREAM show 12/12, (2pm Tokyo time) discussing the wacky world of “Engrish.” Find out what we really think about Crunky candy bars and the KinKi Kids by tuning in.
Link to STREAM homepage, along with soon-to-be-archived MP3 version of the show, here.
My sexy book OTAKU IN USA is reviewed in this morning's edition of the Asahi Shimbun. The book next to it is Seiji Horibuchi's MOERU AMERICA - the story of how Viz blazed a trail for the rise of manga and anime right smack on Uncle Sam's front yard. There are some wild pictures inside of a Bay Area hippie commune that Horibuchi got groovy at during the '60s. He also green-lit my book TokyoScope when I worked at Viz, so it's kind of a gas to now be competing with him for shelf space here in Japan like a couple of neighboring maid cafes. The solution?
I'm going to be on Bunka Hoso's 吉田照美のやる気ＭＡＮＭＡＮ radio show tomorrow plugging the heck out of OTAKU IN USA. I should be on the air about 2:20 in the afternoon or so. In the best sitcom tradition, my voice is thrashed from hollering at maids all last week (and maybe a cold) so this could be some brutal shit.
Here are the facts:
Oh yeah. Thanks to danno! for reminding me. The SISTER STREET FIGHTER COLLECTION DVD set is on sale now. I did liner notes for all four films, along with an Etusko Shihomi bio. AltJapan translated an interview between Ginty Kobayashi and director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi torn from the pages of Eiga Hiho magazine. More text in the torrid TokyoScope tradition!