I just got back from Japan. Well, I say “just.” It was long enough ago that I’ve unpacked, but recently enough that I’m still wallowing in jet lag and not wearing pants most days. Anyway, I’m tired. And it took me ages to decide on a topic for this, my first post-hiatus article.
it needed to be something about Japan, that much was clear. But what? I considered writing about Rabbit Island, but that’s better conveyed by pictures (so many, many adorable pictures) than words. I thought about describing the pop idol show I attended, but really, you can get the gist of it by putting on some AKB48 and hiring a criminally underwashed quasi-shut-in to thrash around your living room. Anything having to do with anime was out–I only let my weeaboo flag fly on Tumblr, where it earns me followers instead of the everlasting scorn I probably deserve.
Finally, I settled on doujinshi.
Years ago, doujin (Japanese fan comics) weren’t even on the radar here in the States. I should know–I spent hours online looking for a few scattered pages of “the one where the dog goes Super Saiyan” or “the one where Sailor Moon has a Pokemon.” Once located, these precious scraps were downloaded, saved to a floppy disc labelled “MOM DON’T TOUCH,” and stashed in a dresser drawer beneath my training bras and a copy of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. These precautions were probably unnecessary. I doubt my mom would have known what she was looking at, even if she had known how to use a floppy disc.
Now that nerd culture has become mainstream, many people are not only aware of Japan’s massive fan comic industry, but have read doujin themselves. For those of you who haven’t, or who are curious to see some of the books I picked up in Japan, I offer you the following.
DOUJIN AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
When it comes to procuring Japanese fan comics, the average American nerd has two options: 1) go to a convention, or 2) look on eBay. I don’t necessarily recommend either of these routes, as the price hike tends to bypass steep and leap straight to ridonkulous, but most of us don’t have the luxury of flying out to Tokyo to buy a comic about Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm making out in the Jurassic Park Jeep while a T-Rex looks on in confusion. (I just made that up, but it probably exists.)
On this particular occasion, however, I did have that luxury. Which is why I bought my doujin here.
Nakano Broadway: five floors of comics, video games, action figures, and model kits. A jewel in the crown of Tokyo nerd-dom. A place of pilgrimage for anyone who has ever debated the relative merits of Gundams and Autobots. Home to an exceedingly well-stocked doujin store peopled entirely by giggly young women. The comics were all used, which means most of them cost between two and six dollars. Here’s a sample.
Plot: Thor and Loki have a lot of sex. Freya walks in on them but isn’t particularly bothered. Odin also walks in on them and is overjoyed that his sons have discovered the thrill of pro wrestling. *ba-dum TSH*
Notes: I wasn’t expecting this comic to be as graphic as it is, but that’s one of the hazards of doujin. Or one of the delights, depending on one’s persuasion.
Title: “Heavy Fucker”
Author: OMEGA 2-D (http://www3.to/m1a1)
Characters: Various (Harry Potter)
Plot: Remus Lupin gets drunk, Harry and Draco fall in a sink, Sirius eats a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Note: Despite being called “Heavy Fucker,” this one contains no sex whatsoever.
Title: “Monokerousu Funnu no Junketsu” (“Purity of Rage”–I don’t know what “Monokerousu” means)
Authors: Morodumisumitomo (pixiv id: 25973) & pucha (pixiv id: 1158952)
Characters: Sherlock Holmes & John Watson (BBC Sherlock)
Plot: Holmes and Watson don’t turn into narwals, that’s for damn sure.
Notes: I bought this because I thought Holmes and Watson would turn into narwals.
Title: “Mori no Naka” (“In the Forest”)
Authors: Little ones (http://hx.sakura.ne.jp/~asa-mie/n-gamer)
Characters: Samwise Gamgee, Frodo Baggins, Bilbo Baggins (Lord of the Rings)
Plot: Little Samwise is thrilled when Mr. Frodo comes to live with Bilbo. Now he and Frodo can see each other every day!
Plot: A variety of little one-page gags. One of my favorites is this:
“Merry!” Frodo says, as his cousins enter. “Pippin!”
“Gimli!” he cries, as the dwarf chuckles heartily.
“Er…” he says, seeing Legolas. “What was your name again?”
Which is exactly how it goes down in the movie, and I’m so happy that Japanese people caught it too.