Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pen Cyborg and Switch 25

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

There are almost as many regular magazines on the shelves in Japan as there are manga phonebooks. The three general interest men's publications that come closest to GQ are Pen, Switch and Brutus, which I mentioned before due to their dedicating half an issue each to Katsuhiro Otomo, Lupin III and Wolf Children. There have been other issues dedicated to Studio Ghibli (which has reappeared on the shelves and I may pick up soon), Bible Story and Fate. In the last few weeks, we've also gotten Pen's slant on Cyborg 009 and a full issue on Fujio F. Fujiko, and the Switch 25th anniversary issue (below). I'll consider getting FFF pretty soon, too.

There's a remake of Cyborg 009, called Re:Cyborg, and the purpose of the Pen issue is to document the earlier franchise and contrast it with the new movie. It's a lot like the Lupin III issue. Sections on each of the characters, a list of TV episodes, interviews with the principles on the movie, a look at creator Ishinomori, storyboard sketches, and a 2'x3' fold-out poster. If you like Ishinomori's works, this is a must-have issue.

Switch, on the other hand, had approached a number of creative people, artists, directors, writers, etc., and assigned about 10-20 pages of this 25th anniversary issue to each of them. It's a big volume, about twice as many pages as usual, but only the first 20 pages are anime/manga related (all for Inoue), so the rest is pretty much a waste as far as I'm concerned. Takehiko Inoue provides a number of sketches and finished images from his Vagabond manga, and several pages are dedicated to showing his progress while drawing a large wall mural of his main character. Fortunately, the cover price is only 680 yen (or so), so it's definitely worth the price if you really like Vagabond.


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