Tag Archives: comics

Devilish Doujin: The World of Unauthorized (and Sometimes Filthy) Japanese Fan Comics

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 ┬áidol 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.

doujin

Yes, I edited this in a print club app, and yes, I have too much free time right now.

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. Continue reading

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When Sixth-Graders Write Soap Operas: West Enders Soap Saga

When I was eleven years old, I went to England over the summer to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins. While there, I rode on a train, visited Jane Austen’s grave, and had a comical misunderstanding with my baby cousin over the meaning of the word “pants.” Most importantly–for the purposes of this post, anyway–I watched telly. Specifically, this program:

EastEndersI didn’t really understand EastEnders as a child, and I’ve never since researched what it’s about. In the interest of not breaking my duck, I’m going to give you a summary based on what I’ve managed to pick up through cultural osmosis. EastEnders is a long-running drama about some people who live on London’s East End, which is the seedier part of the city. They have intense, edge-of-your-seat adventures involving murder, revenge, and nearly marrying chavs. There was a guy called Barry on it for a while who got in trouble for saying kids shouldn’t watch EastEnders.

Barry from EastEnders.

Barry from EastEnders.

That’s literally all I know. And it’s a lot more than I knew at the age of 11. Which is why my sixth-grade self’s decision to write my own version of EastEnders is so puzzling.

West Enders Soap SagaWell, I say my own version: in reality, there’s nothing in West Enders that hearkens back to any particular element in the original. I was way too dumb for that.

(And while we’re on the subject–which West End was I talking about, exactly? If it’s the West End of London, well, I believe that’s the theater district–but I never mention any theatrical goings-on. Also, the characters don’t seem to be British. They don’t even seem to live in a city, which tends to obviate the possibility of there being a culturally distinct “West End.” Oh well, I was only eleven.)

I recently dug this comic out of my mom’s storage closet, and let me tell you, it is something else. Actually, I don’t have to tell you–I can just show you! Continue reading