Sunday, September 11, 2016

Jump Ryuu - #17, Masakazu Katsura


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

Jump Ryu vol. 17 - Masakazu Katsura (1,250 yen)

Back in 1990-91 when I was first starting out reading manga, there was a guy in Texas named Donovan Floyd (I think that's the name) who ran a small fanzine. He promoted Video Girl Ai very actively, and I got hooked on it soon after. In fact, VGAi was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Japan and read more manga, since it wasn't available for sale in the U.S. in English at the time. Eventually, Ai ended and was replaced by Shadowlady, DNA^2 and  I''s. Unfortunately, while the artwork was still fantastic, I just couldn't get into the subsequent stories at all. Either the plots were too convoluted, or childish. Since they all ran in Shonen Jump, I knew that I wasn't the kind of audience the manga was targeted for. Regardless, I drifted away from Katsura's titles and haven't been inclined to go back at all. But, I still have a soft spot for Ai-chan, and I felt compelled to get this volume of Jump Ryuu when it came out.


(Special art page, plus the blue page.)

The magazine follows the same pattern as with the earlier issues. We get Masakazu's timeline with his debut in 1980, up to the present. The 3-page "Road to Jump" talks about his manga up to Zetman. "Jump Studio" has photos of Katsura's workspace, which is very cluttered (and includes a picture of the artist himself). "Jump Ken" (which is kind of like a research section) has 4 pages of character studies from most of his manga (lots of examples of cute girls). The 2-page Blue Page section focuses on toning and drawing very fine lines (for thought boxes and hair).


(Extra DVD sleeve.)

Manga no Iroha looks at toning in example artwork from Assassination Classroom, One Piece, World Trigger and Kuroko no Basuke. And, the magazine ends with 2 pages of comments from the Jump editors, the manga contest, and advertising for volume 18 and Osamu Akimoto. This next issue promises to be really interesting because Osamu's manga, Kochira wa Kameari, is ending this month after 40 years, and the final volume should be #200. I'm looking forward to that.


(Regular DVD sleeve.)

Anyway, the extras include the beautiful alternative DVD wrapper, the girl drawing, and the blue page. On the DVD, we have the regular 3 chapters - the artist drawing and coloring the girl sheet, the tour of the studio, and the manga class. To get it out of the way first, the class is on how to hand-draw cross-hatching. The drawing chapter is absolutely amazing. It's heartening to know that even someone as talented as Masakazu has trouble getting started on a sketch. He took at least half an hour trying to figure out what he was going to draw, and kept on erasing the entire drawing several times after false starts. He had a lot of difficulty settling on the style for the sailor dress, too. When he did get something he liked, he xeroxed it and used the copy on a light board to trace the finished pencil onto another sheet. He also used spray fixer to keep the pencil from smearing. When it came time to color the picture, he mainly stuck to watercolor markers with soft tips, switching to real paints only when he needed to remove unwanted marks. Even here, he had trouble getting the colors to come out the way he wanted, and reworked them several times, especially on the dress sleeves. The final result, though, is FANTASTIC.


(Page showing part of what's on the DVD, with Masakazu at top, in his studio.)

The studio walkthrough was good because we get to see Masakazu's face as he talks. His workspace is cramped and filled with reference materials, manga and toys. Lots and lots of Ultraman figures, plus a Ghostbusters Sta-puf guy. He usually has 3-4 assistants, depending on how much work a project requires. He does talk about his family a little, and about his experiences as an artist working for Jump publishing. Overall, I'd say that the magazine is ok, but the DVD itself is well worth getting just to see Masakazu drawing a Masakazu girl. Highly recommended. Next up is Kochira wa Kameari, which I want. After that are the guys on Death Note and Bakuman, which I'm not so sure about. Then, we'll see.


(Finished inked blue page.)

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