Friday, November 11, 2016

Jump Ryuu - #21, Yoshihiro Togashi

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

Jump Ryu vol. 21 - Yoshihiro Togashi (1,290 yen + tax)
While Togashi may be better known now as the creator of Hunter x Hunter, I first encountered him with the Yu Yu Hakusho TV anime. At the time, Dragon Ball Z was huge on TV, but there was a growing number of anime fans that disliked the straight-forward Bruce Lee-style of combat there, and were gravitating to the more flowery, fantasy-like magic attacks in Yu Yu Hakusho. Personally, I never cared for that kind of combat style myself, so I considered YYH to be more jokey, ala Jackie Chan. On the other hand, I did watch the series just to see what the story was.

(Artsheet and blue sheet)

Later, Togashi started up Hunter x Hunter, and it seemed relatively promising, with a "kids on a quest" premise that echoed the original Dragonball concept. Unfortunately, Togashi fell ill in 2006 and the manga went on hiatus for several months. When he came back, the story had gone off-track with the invasion of Earth by a bunch of intelligent insects, which were eventually destroyed by a giant insect bomb. I lost interest at that point and haven't picked up the title again since then. But, I did want this issue of Ryuu for the DVD showing Togashi drawing the artsheet.

(DVD case)

The magazine follows the same format as always, with a Togashi timeline, an overview of his works from his debut to the present, and then a bit of discussion of his artstyle, followed by instructions on how to draw the blue sheet artwork. The Manga no Iroha section has example cover art from Dr. DMAT, Evil Heart, Captain Tsubasa and EX-ARM. Then we get the photos of Togashi's studio and the back of his head, comments from the Jump editors, and advertising for the next issue, with Hiroyuki Asada, the creator of Tegami Bachi. I am disappointed that there's no alternative DVD wrapper this time.


The DVD has the standard 3 chapters: Togashi drawing the character on the artsheet; a walkthrough of Togashi's studio, and the manga techniques section. Togashi has been drawing these characters for years, so he completes the pencil draft very quickly, in one pass. After that, he used a pen to darken in the lines of the original pencil sketch, then he erased most of the pencil, just leaving thin outlines as guides for the painting stage, during which he used a brush and watercolors. Again, the painting stage goes by very smoothly. Once the paint was dry, Togashi went back in with a nib pen and drew in the edge lines over the original pencil work.

The studio walkthrough is different this time in that the staff are actually at their desks working. It's a clean area and a bit spacious. A lot of the bookshelf space is dedicated to works Togashi likes, including Otomo and Tezuka. He's a big fan of Akira Toriyama, too. Of course, there's also a lot of reference materials. One of the main focuses is on the pens he uses, which are pretty standard. The chapter ends with Togashi talking about his experiences as an artist, with the camera alternating between his stomach and a pile of manga on his desk.

The manga technique section is on how to do explosion effects. (Start with a flat cloud and add straight lines and dust trails. Add the pen work, finish with the shadows on the ground, and you're done. Oh yeah, remember to include an adequate amount of debris and shrapnel.)

(Togashi's studio.)

Summary: The magazine is fine for anyone that wants to look at example artwork, or see how to ink the blue sheet, but otherwise it's kind of boring. The art chapter on the DVD is fun, because you can see the character being created from scratch. But, Togashi is yet another of those reclusive artists that doesn't want his face shown on camera, so the studio walkthrough is a disappointment. (I wanted to see him talking on-screen.) Recommended only if you're an artist and want to get into the manga industry.

Remaining Schedule:
Vol. 22 (Nov. 17) - Hiroyuki Asada (Tagami Bachi)
Vol. 23 (Dec. 1) - Hideaki Sorachi (Gintama)
Vol. 24 (Dec. 15) - Kazue Katou (Electric Town Bookstore)
Vol. 25 (Jan. 5) - Hirohiko Araki (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Jojolion)

I'm only interested in Araki. Sorachi might be interesting, but I consider his character designs to be stiff and cardboard-like, so I don't really want that issue for the artwork.

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