One of the best parts about being in Japan is that you have access to various magazines that run anime and/or manga-related feature articles. And, if you're lucky, the bookstores keep backissues on the shelves long enough for you to decide to pick up a copy.
First up, Brutus. I first mentioned Brutus, a men's fashion and current events magazine, back on July 19, 2010, when they ran a feature on Miyazaki to tie in with the (at the time) release of "Arriety the Borrower". In April, they ran a feature on Katsuhiro Otomo and Akira. It's a big mag, at 130 pages, and a 650 yen cover price. At least half the mag is taken up with interviews with Otomo and some of the people he's worked with, plus overviews of all of his works, and storyboards and concept art. There's also some teaser material from his latest works, including Short Peace (specifically, "Combustable"). This issue includes a sheet of Akira stickers. A must-have for Otomo fans.
(Otomo at left.)
At the same time, I picked up Pen, with New Attitude, 600 yen, 180 pages. This magazine is very similar to Brutus, but with more advertising on products like whiskey and watches. The June issue has a feature on Monkey Punch and Lupin III, as a tie-in to the newest Lupin special. Again, at least half the mag is taken up with interviews with Monkey Punch and the actors and directors on the anime, storyboards, action figures, and examples of the vehicles and weapons used throughout the franchise. Because the main focus is on Lupin, there's a section on how the character designs changed over time, and summaries of all the TV episodes and movies. There's a two-page foldout showing the relationships between Lupin and all of the major anime characters, and examples of classic artwork from the old manga. No stickers, though. Again, this issue of Pen is a must-have for Lupin III fans.