I’ve just discovered my new favorite TV series. Urasawa Naoki no Manben is a documentary series on NHK Educational that follows Naoki Urasawa – my favorite mangaka – as he interviews various manga creators. What’s especially interesting here is that the cameras follow the person over 4 days, as they are working on pages, and so the “interview” is basically Urasawa and the guest commenting as you (and them) watch the artist in action. Even if you can’t understand all of the Japanese, it’s fascinating to see these pages getting made, and all of the care and attention that goes into them. The episode I watched is with Kengo Hanazawa, the creator of I Am A Hero (a series I’ve recently been reading obsessively), and I was mesmerized watching him addressing issues like trying to give a creature more realism through the depiction of its muscles, or for the expression on a character during a pivotal scene. I can’t recommend this series enough, especially if you have any love for sequential art.
Since yesterday I read the first 5 volumes of this series, and I just can’t stop (I think there’s close to 20 volumes out at this point). I actually did read the first 3 volumes or so a few years ago, but that was all that was out at that point, and then I never got around to reading it again. I decided to start reading it from the start again, and I am completely sucked in. I just love so much about it, even the fact that the setup for the series basically takes an entire volume. I also like how they treat the way people react to this zombie apocalypse – feels more realistic than The Walking Dead, or at least I completely see how people in Japan would react that way. In fact, I think that’s part of the reason that it speaks to me more than Walking Dead, I’m much more familiar with this setting than the US portrayed in Walking Dead – the Tokyo part takes place in the general area where I lived for around 13 years (Ikebukuro), and then Shizuoka, Fuji-san, etc. The setting, the way people act, it just speaks more to me. And I really enjoyed how a few chapters are pretty much told through 2-chan threads, which worked well with the story.