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Rialto Melbourne (Almost) pre-coloring

Rialto Melbourne (Almost) pre-coloring

I was reminded to upload this sketch before I colored it. Ah well.

Somewhere/a new future/one of darkness and light will be born / There will be darkness and light/battle and hope / life and death / happiness and sadness / everything will happen again
I understand now why you seek my powers / It’s because you feel for it / The same way I feel about my friends and the people I love / We are all from lonely stars / and we seek to gather together as one
I will seek you out / I will embrace you all

(translation from http://missdream.org)

That’s not an extract from a Sufi or Buddhism book, but a quote from the final chapter of the Sailor Moon manga by Naoko Takeuchi.

Yes, yes, Sailor Moon’s tremendous popularity has probably led to many only knowing about miniskirts, fetishes and ridiculously long transformation of the sailors, but all that aside, it (especially the manga version) is still pretty awesome. Partly because of quotes like above.
I recently read that Takeuchi-sensei worked as a mika (priestess) in a temple when she attended university, where, if I remember correctly, she studied chemistry.

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I first came across her work in the translated form of ‘The Cherry Project’, and I fell in love with her drawing and narration style. The delicate lines, the painstaking details, the subtle words. There were also elements that I was instantly drawn to: the city skylines, the fashion, the pretty boys.

In Takeuchi-sensei’s manga, the world is romantic, glamorous and sexy. As a matter of fact, her works can be quite sexual, and even the appeal of Sailor Moon to children could not stop that. It can be controversial at times – remember the lesbian characters in Sailor Moon? –  but also somewhat naive, and, again, romantic. I get the feeling that she just loves the female body and loves to celebrate it, either by dressing them in nice clothes or just having them naked.

In the last authors’ note she said ‘when you are all grown up, read this again. You will get a different impression.’

Damn right. As with the manga I discussed before, ‘Haikara-san ga Tooru’, there are so many things in the story that you took for granted when you were a kid or a teenager. Although my opinion remains unchanged, sometimes the Sailor Moon storyline just repeats itself with different enemies (How many times have Tuxedo Kamen been kidnapped and brainwashed?).

Takeuchi-sensei is married now, and hopefully happy and healthy. But I read that some of her recent works (Love Witch and PQ Angels) didn’t quite work out for her :( Maybe it’s hard after you did something as successful as Sailor Moon? But she really shouldn’t worry about that! She is too awesome to worry!

Anyway, it’s her birthday today. Tanjoubi Omedetto, Takeuchi-sensei! Take care! Hope to see you someday!

Haikara-san ga Tooru, or, Happy Birthday Waki Yamato-sensei

When I was a snotty teen, I read the manga ‘Haikara-san ga Tooru’ (There Goes  Miss High Collar) by Waki Yamato-sensei. It tells  of the ‘high collar’, feminist, rambunctious female character Benio, whose adventures include being a journalist reporting to a misogynist boss, doing time behind bars, chasing after bandits, and, of course, falling in love, in the Taisho era that spans from 1912 to the 1920s.

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‘Haikara’ is still one of my favourite manga, particularly because of its bizarre humour. It often refers to the pop culture at that time (1970s)-thus it is only after watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show last year (it wasn’t that popular where I am from) that I get why that man in stockings keep appearing out of nowhere –  and some of the jokes are probably Japanese puns that until now I still don’t get anyway.

I  recently discovered that ‘Haikara’ won the 1st Kodansha Manga Award for Shoujo in 1977. like, THE first. Woah.

I also recently found out that Yamato-sensei’s influences also included Monty Phyton. A-ha!

All in all, ‘Haikara’ is hilarious. Partly because it just is, and partly because of the kooky Indonesian translation, which, in its own ways, also made lots of references to pop culture that are popular in Indonesia at that time. Interesting chemistry indeed. The Indonesian company that publishes ‘Haikara’ in the recent years have re-published the series, correcting the jumbled page mishap of the first effort. To my slight disappointment, however, the translation got a bit tamer this time.

Waki Yamato writes other great manga that are perhaps not as weird as ‘Haikara’ but still very enjoyable, such as Yokohama Monogatari (Yokohama Tale),  the touching Nemuranai Machi Kara (From the City that Never Sleeps), and, of course, one of her most famous works, Asakiyumemishi, the adaptation of the classic Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji).

Yamato-sensei’s works are often considered as ‘classic’ manga. Particularly in the artistic sense, perhaps. Those big, doe eyes with huge lashes, the facial characters that are more Western than Japanese, the long, long legs, and so on. In many of her works, the characters, particularly the female ones, are  open-minded, adventurous, willing to travel and accepting towards newcomers (Western people, oftentimes) but still very Japanese.

And, you know what, it’s her birthday today, so omedettou to her (anyone know where to write her fanmail? Do let me know!)

Now, if Benio was a journo in 2014, maybe this would be the style she sports (gee, it’s been a long time since I draw manga, and, if anything, my skills have not improved in it :D)
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And yep, I am serious about the fan mail. I have no idea whether she uses the internet at all actually, but I would like to wish her a happy birthday anyway and I hope she is happy and healthy. I can’t even write in Japanese to her because after all these years of on and off learning my Japanese is still not that good yet.  I would like to meet her one day ( I hope she’s nice) :)

Red Head Walking

Red Head Walking

You know, that Beat Happening song.

Soundwave 2014

Paying 180 dollars and ended up seeing only two out of the dozens offered in Soundwave is not really my ideal festival scenario, but work blahblah meeting blahblah, roadwork blahblah no trains, and so on.

So I missed Dir en Grey, Mastodon and Glassjaw, but I did get to watch Stiff Little Fingers, whose singer’s voice remains unchanged over the last 40 years. It was funny seeing all the younger audience checking them out while waiting for the next band to play on the adjacent stage. That was cool.

Stiff Little Fingers

Stiff Little Fingers

And I  watched GreenDay too. And that was awesome too.

When they played at my hometown 20 years ago, I was too young to go. So it took me two decades and…what, five albums or more? until I finally got to hear the songs that helped me got into so much more afterwards…including into Stiff Little Fingers!

I got a bit lost during the first few songs, cause they were obviously from the newer albums, but the younger audience seem to know the words. Duh.

But that wasn’t any problem (The guys bullying me were, though), and I was heartened to see the younger fans singing along to them. I actually was pleasantly surprised to see that much people eager to see GreenDay and not only for their Dookie/Insomniac songs.

Because they’re a decent band. Let’s not get into all that punk rock sell-out PC things. As a rock band, or at least as musicians, they sing about subjects that are way more interesting for me than most of the other artists out there are blabbing about.

Sure, they sang silly songs as well, and they are not Crass or Subhumans, but at least they acknowledged that this world (or at least America) has problems, ranging from the idiocy of reality talent shows, war, suburbia’s time bombs, to inherited hypocrisy.

They are also pretty good showmen. Billie Joe getting all theatrical and Tre Cool getting off the drum to dance in a bra, the interaction with the audience members and all that.

I didn’t get to mosh (not allowed), and was too far from the stage than what I would have really liked. They didn’t play Westbound Sign and Macy’s Day Parade, which I really like. But man, that was FUN.

And thanks for the Bohemian Rhapsody impromptu singalong, you Melbourne Soundwave weirdos, You’ll know what I am on about. They even synced the lights and all, if you noticed.

PS. Has anyone heard the Billie Joe- Norah Jones Foreverly tribute album? Pretty decent actually!

BJ

Window to Sydney

Please excuse my ignorance if this doesn’t reflect the Sydney you know :DWindow to Sydney

Window to Melbourne

Yes yes, Melbourne is diverse, but I can’t put them all in one window… so there you go.

window to melbourne

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