Friday, November 29, 2013

Azuma Hideo Best Selection Sampler

I've mentioned Hideo Azuma before. He's the author of the Disappearance Diary and A Fish Crawls on Land. He's a gag manga artist, who had done most of his work in the 70's through to the 90's. At a couple points, the pressure from his editors to meet his deadlines was so great that he chucked it all and became a homeless person (as detailed in Disappearance Diary). However, he's a really good artist, and he pretty much defined the lolicon (cute girl) genre. One of his bigger fans is Tori Miki (Anywhere But Here; Frozen Food Agent), and Tori wrote an article that appears at the back of the Azuma Hideo Best Selection volume. Most of the stories in this collection are from the early 70's. The artwork is simplistic, but very consistent throughout. There's no real story or plot in any of the chapters, basically just a bunch of visual gags and toilet humor. I want to show two sample strips here as examples. Unfortunately, the cover is kind of inappropriate for U.S. audiences, so I won't include it. It's also completely unrelated to all of the content in the book, so I'm not sure why the publishers chose to use it.

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

I'm a Ghost Smoker is a series of running gags about a ghost who likes to smoke. Generally, each strip is 1 or 2 pages long.

Mimi is a one-shot about the daughter of a martial arts master. The teacher that appears below is a self-parody of the artist.

Azuma has a very clean, simple art style at the beginning of his career. If you're interested in the older artists, or manga history, this is a good book to get. Recommended.

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