Comic Book Guy

There's a lot of stuff that I like, but not a whole lot that I'm a fan of if that makes sense. There's this fine line that exist that I don't always cross, but once I do, I'm all about whatever that thing may be. The last few things that I was all about were two Japanese comics: "Polar Bear Cafe" 「しろくまカフェ」and "Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro" 「とんかつDJアゲ太郎」. 

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I was introduced to "Polar Bear Cafe" through the anime. The relaxed mood of the show & silly humor grabbed me from the first few episodes. I grew to really enjoy the characters and it became a world I liked to visit. I watched every episode and I even got my fiancé into the show so, it became a part of our weekly routine. We'd hang out and unwind with episodes of this show and chat about it from time to time. It was really nice. I heard that things were kind of rocky between the creator of the comic and the company making the animated version which likely killed the chances of any more seasons. Then I read about the comic moving to another magazine, but continuing. I really want more of the animated series, but at least I've got the comics, right? The series isn't really that popular in the more mainstream anime communities. Mainstream anime communities... hm, is that an oxymoron? Well, the communities more likely to be talking about "Naruto" or the latest action shows. At any rate - the point I was getting to was that there not a lot of buzz around the series & it's not the easiest to find news and updates on what's happening. As of the writing of this post, I just found out that volume 2 of "Today's Special" was available. At least I know the cafe hasn't totally shut down.  

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"Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro" is a more clear cut situation. The comic has officially ended and this upcoming May, the final volume will be released. I heard about this series around the time that the show was being announced. It was this simple story about a guy finding his passion & perusing it. As a creative type, I relate to stories like that. You can probably guess that I love "Beck" & "Bakuman" too, huh? It reminds me of being young and chasing that dream of breaking out as a musician. Those series focus on comraderie too and that always hits me right in the feels. The idea of making friends and working together toward goals. Sappy, I know, but it does it for me. I root for the characters, want to see them succeed, & revel in their friendships. Again, I think about people I've met and became closer to while chasing the dream. Part of me even wishes I had more creative friends during those early years so that we could've pushed each other further, but real life doesn't really play out like it does in the comics. I've got cool friends now that make stuff, but we're all old & have grown-up responsibilities or our dreams changed so, we can't/don't act like spirited youth anymore or we just do it on the side. There's a few that are doing it so, the dream lives on through them!  (Go, minihorse!) But, all of those sorts of feelings are wrapped up in my enjoyment of the series. Plus, I enjoy the style of it. The art reminds me of something from a zine or something. That could be a contributing factor as to why it's not popular in the West; it doesn't look like the typical manga/anime. I like that it has a distinct look, coupled with its musical selection. It's about the world of DJs so, through the protagonist a vast array of genre are introduced. He goes digging to discover new-old sounds or he's introduced to different types of music through the people he meets. One minute it's old school soul & funk, then it's EDM, then it's a form of Korean pop, then loops back around to hip-hop. It's all over the place and that's exactly how I like to experience music. Shuffle is my best friend when going through my own collection or on whichever streaming platform I'm using at the time. And to top it all off, it's a series that I got to share with my friend/bandmate Yuki. I hold out hope for a season 2 of the anime even if it's not likely. I've got the final chapter on pre-order and I'm glad I got to experience it to the conclusion.

As much as I like both of these series, I'm generally fine with a story ending. There's only so many situations that can happen before it becomes repetitive & boring and I lose interest in something that I used to love.

Oh! And keep in mind that I'm not that good at Japanese, but I still support because I want to show appreciation to the creators for making something that I enjoy. Also, I can use the comics as learning tools as well. The language isn't overly complicated and if I really sit down with the books I can make it through the stories and learn a thing or two in the process. Win-win. 

So, since one is slow going & the other is ending what am I reading next? Well, I'm keeping up with IDW's run of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". I'm super-into that! After all of these years, I'm still a huge fan of the turtles in most of their incarnations. And, recently I've been checking out the works of Kiriko Kubo. Lighthearted comics with a cute illustration style are my jam. I like when something is obviously well drawn & beautiful too, but there's something about the simple, naive (sometimes amateur-ish) style that connects with me so much more. It just has this disarming, charming quality to it.