Sunday, July 5, 2015

The World of the Mud Men review

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

I've talked about Daijiro Morohoshi here before, as the creator of Shiori and Shimiko. In 1981 he started a different series, entitled "Mud Men", which ran in Shonen Champion until 1982, and then occasionally resurfaced in '85, '92 and 2000. The manga revolved around the mud men of Papua New Guinea.

In 2014 he returned to Papua New Guinea with a photographer for a research trip and to spend time visiting with the people there. Apparently a number of the villages offer shows for the tourists, which explains Daijiro's poses with the natives in full regalia.

The book includes conversations between Daijiro and Harumi Hosono (guitarist for Yellow Magic Orchestra, who is a fan of the manga) and Rumiko Takahashi. In both cases, the artists co-signed autograph cards.

(Morohoshi and Rumiko Takahashi. Note the shared sign card in the lower right corner.)

The World of the Mud Men is a big (A4) softcover coffee table book with a lot of full-color photos and (Japanese) text reprinted from Morohoshi's travel diary. There's also a 37-page black and white manga chapter written specifically for this publication. The story has a couple women, one is a freelance reporter, going to New Guinea to find a friend that disappeared there. (Hint: the Mud Men are the good guys).

(Manga chapter splash page.)

Comments: I hadn't heard of the Mud Men before, and there's little written on Morohoshi's earlier manga series in English or any other language. So, this was a very informational read for me. The character designs on the manga chapter are very similar to that in Shiori and Shimiko, and the artwork is extremely well-drawn. The storyline is a fairly straightforward adventure that is kind of narration-heavy. Still, it's an entertaining horror romp. The cover price is 1,600 yen, which is in keeping with a book this big, but it's going to be much a heftier mark-up as an import. Still, I recommend "The World of Mud Men" if you like Morohoshi's other works, want to learn more about New Guinea, or just like Rumiko Takahashi or Harumi Hosono.

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