Manga of the Month: Isabella Bird in Wonderland

Isabella Bird in Wonderland (ふしぎの国のバード) by Taiga Sassa

Adventuress and writer Isabella Bird arrived in 1870s-era Japan with a grand plan to travel all through the country recording her experience with the culture and people along the way. But Japan was extensively closed to foreigners; few if any were let past the major cities and left to explore the greater country.

Isabella’s fame as a traveler, the help of a friend, and a little extra time spent in Edo gained her access to a rare, unrestricted passport. With her indispensable interpreter Ito in tow, Isabella set off to see the country and make her way north to meet the Ainu people.

During the Meiji-restoration Japan was in a place of great transition. New political rule and a move to new technological advances were soon to change the face of the country and make certain ways of life by-gone. Isabella’s culture shock was played for laughs, but she was deeply interested in the ways of this foreign world and respected it. She was full of humor, wit, kindness, and curiosity.

Taiga Sassa’s art is lush with minute details bring the period to life, and it was inevitable that I would pour over each crafted item, piece of clothing, or architectural component just as Isabella did. Sassa’s precise line work extends to the characters and their expressions as well whether conveying something subtle with their eyes or an over-top reaction. A beautiful manga that feels in line with the work of Kaoru Mori.

Isabella and her travels are real! This manga is based on her actual writings. Having not read Isabella Bird’s travel diary Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, I don’t know how closely this manga sticks to its source material. A rare bilingual edition of the first volume of this manga came out in Japan (which is how I read it).



AnimeNEXT 2018: We Have 3 Minutes to Save AnimeNext

hisui_icon_4040_roundSince Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama seem to mostly be at AnimeNEXT to talk about their upcoming Ultraman project I figured I would make a color timer joke in honor of their visit.

Once again I am attending AnimeNEXT in Atlantic City. As always AnimeNEXT has a good mixture of Japanese and American guests as well as a solid foundation of fan-run panels and workshops. Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama are an excellent pair of Japanese production guests and Anime World Order will be flying in as featured panelists. It should be an educational time for everyone!

I will be doing a solo version of New Anime for Older Fans so it is all show only I have watched that I feel would be great for an older audience. I also played with the format a little bit so it will play a little differently than the versions of New Anime for Older Fans have in the past. With all new shows and a slightly tweaked flow but the same great concept, I think this year’s New Anime for Older Fans will be fun for everyone.

So if you attending the convention say hello and maybe we can all get White House Subs! If not I hope everyone looks forward to my convention reports over the next month.

I have panels! Attend them if you can!

Friday 06:00 PM – New Anime for Older Fans – Panel Room 319

My tentative schedule for the convention:

10:00 AM – Anime Before Astro Boy
11:30 AM – Shodo 101, Japanese Calligraphy
01:00 PM – Lesser Known Magical Girls: The good and the NO
02:15 PM – Anime in Non-Anime
03:30 PM – Pepakura: The Art of Papercraft
04:45 PM – Production IG Q&A
06:00 PM – New Anime for Older Fans
07:15 PM – 2017: Anime’s Turning Point
09:15 PM – Go Nagai in the USA (18+)
10:15 PM – Late Night With Anime: When, Why and How?

10:00 AM – Literary Anime: Series that were Originally Light Novels
11:45 AM – Order Up: Cooking Manga/Anime
01:00 PM – Anime Killed the Manga Star
02:15 PM – Otome Games 101: Romance Delivered, On Demand!
03:00 PM – 39 Years of Gundam Anime: Omnibus Edition
04:00 PM – The Good Bad and Ugly in Anime
05:30 PM – ULTRAMAN feat. Kenji Kamiyama & Shinji Aramaki
07:30 PM – Bad Anime Bad!
11: 00 PM – 20 Contemporary Manga Recommendations For Grown Ups

10:00 AM – Jojo’s Posing School
11:00 AM – Gambling Anime: Raising the Stakes
12:30 PM – Macross: Musical Warfare
01:45 PM – A Brief History of the Edo Period

All Points Bulletin: Blockchain Anime

If you have any suggestions for what to highlight on an APB drop us a line via email or Twitter.

hisui_icon_4040_round Alain’s picks:

 narutaki_icon_4040_round Kate’s picks:

  • New Anime Studio Opens
    A joint venture for anime, pachinko, and video games. It’ll be exciting to see what their first works will be!
  • New Kitty Pryde Story
    A summer camp story about teenage Kitty Pryde by Seanan McGuire sounds delightful. I’ve fallen neatly in love with McGuire’s writing since reading Every Heart a Doorway so I look forward to her short X-Men story. 

hisui_icon_4040_round Lupin is definitely a series still appears as the subject of Pachinko games: