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Monday, 27 January 2014

Fledgeling Comic Books Pt. 26

In the US Americanised Anime had, had some success on the television networks, and had spawned a few comic books paying tribute in the likes of - Speed Racer, The Original Astro Boy 12, Leiji Matsumoto's Captain Harlock, and Star Blazers (and to this day, generations fondly remember the TV shows, including the edited and Americanised Robotech series).

The primordial imported comic-books of translated manga from the US in the late 80's were instantly recognised by their name when they became an Anime. These heavily influenced the UK Fandom (go with what you know), and when so few of us could translate Japanese, and have access to Sub-titling equipment the comic-books provided the familiar stories and plots, so that you could enjoy the Anime even more.

Some of these comic-books would stand the test of time (still selling enough for reprints every few years or so) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, AKIRA, Lone Wolf and Cub as their Copy-rights changed hands, or the licence holder was bought-out by a bigger producer or Publisher!

What early UK Anime Fan would not have in their collection of OVAs, TV episodes and films of :- Baoh, Dirty Pair, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, AKIRA, Crying Freeman, Appleseed, Kamui (Dagger of), Outlanders, Grey (Digital target), Fire Tripper, Dominion (Tank Police), Lum, Justy (Cosmo Police), Fist of the North Star, and Area 88.

[Note: By the arrival of the mid 90's the Japanese manga style, and its genres where being imitated by Western cartoonist and comic-book artists.]

This comic-book influence would continue in to the 90's as more fans gravitated towards Manga for its more mature reader. The sensationalistic violence (sometimes graphically depicted on the side of gratuitous), and horrific portrayals of cause and effect, as well as semi nudity may have enticed many, but good storytelling with protagonists that you had infested in emotionally sold well.
Just looking at the artwork of a still of an animated cel, you began to recognise the Artist and the Animation Studio and then you are well and truly hooked!

[Note: comic-books where a jumping off point for sources of information on Japanese pop culture, as mini articles by the Editors, Translators, and the Writers themselves would sporadically appear. Even the humble 'Letters page' would give us some insight in appreciating this new wave of comic-books, and after all many a Fan Club & Pen Pals was the catalyst that unite us.]

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Lost Manga from the 80's Pt. 25

Baoh. Written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. Viz Comics, published in a monthly format for a total of #1 - 8 issues, from December 1989 to July 1990, English adaptation by Fred Burke & Wayne Truman. Originally published and serialised in Shueisha's Weekly Youth Comic Magazine “Shōnen Jump” from 1984 to 1985.  Doress is a secret and most sinister organisation’s company laboratory are in the process of bio-engineering a new lifeform not unlike a parasitic worm or leach code named 'Baoh', that protects its host from hostilities as the threat levels increase so does its countermeasures (this I would think would haveMilitary applications, well for those who could afford it). Doress's unknowing test subject is the teenage Ikuro Hashizawa the first human bio-weapon to be crated by having Baoh inserted in to his brain, but wouldn’t you know it Ikuro escapes with the help of

a kidnapped 10 year old girl Esper (psychic powers) called Sumire, before the weapon is fully tested. Enraged at the escape of company's property, Doress's head scientist Professor Kasuminome wants the bio-weapon destroyed and if possible the girl recaptured. Other experimental bio-weapons, assassins, and hunters are sent out after Ikuro\Baoh thus provoking lethal responses (I would list Baoh's Bio enhancements, but that would deprive you of the discovery of them)!

[Note: In 1989 the same year that Viz published the English translation of Baoh, was when Toho released Studio Pierrot's single OVA of “Baoh - Raihousya”.]

[Note: For its time Hirohiko Araki's 'Baoh' manga had a lot of well depicted gore in its violent scenes that Western readers may not have been accustom to.]
[Note: Italy’s “Yamato Video” number 1, was a doubt version of “Baoh” released in 1991 and could be bought for 39.000 Lira.]

[Note: I have either misplaced or lost my Viz 'Baoh' comics (as of writing this 1st. January 2014), I'll see if they can be found or replaced.]

[Note: Now having found and bought issues of 'Baoh', and only missing numbers, 2 & 7 I can add more pictures. (as of writing this on the 22nd, July 2016).]