So one of the things that absolutely blew me away is that, for a dollar, you can buy a cup of ice cubes at most combini (convenience stores) located in/near train stations. You buy a cup of ice because maybe you bought a beer earlier in your train trip, and now it’s warm, and you want to drink the beer so you pour it into the cup of ice.

It is goddamned genius.

This woman doing just that at 10am on a Saturday reminded us that our puritanical bullshit about drinking was thousands of kilometres away, and so we bought a few beers from the vending machine on the train and joined her in having an ice-cold beer for breakfast. Life was very good indeed.

- Christopher


In between when I posted this blog entry while still in Japan on July 2nd and the end of my trip, I actually had occasion to go back and visit this installation one more time. I took a bunch more pictures, and learned a few more things. So in the spirit of… completeness… I’d like to re-post this entry with all of the new photos and information, as well as a gallery of photos of the Astro Boy blueprints I picked up. Hopefully you Tezuka fiends won’t mind it too much…! – Chris

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One of my regrets last time I went to Japan was missing out on the Osamu Tezuka installation at Kyoto Station. Despite the fact there was advertising for it everywhere, including those super-keen Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion statues/pointers, I couldn’t find it when I was there. This time though, I actually asked someone at the tourism office, and they told me exactly where it is. And so I went there, and took awesome pictures for all of you…!
So Kyoto Station in and of itself is a marvel. It’s a beautiful, high-tech reimagining of a temple-style building with a curved roof and open sides to let air flow through, but all done up in glass and steel. If you get a chance to visit, I do recommend it.
The Kyoto Station / Tezuka installation was, I believe, completed for an anniversary of Tezuka, and to commemorate the reopening of the station. It’s also located on the other side of the Kyoto Hotel Granvia, on the outside of the station, which explains why maybe I had a bit of trouble finding it last time. Here we see the entryway sign… which is also promoting a live stage-show of Beauty and the Beat, also happening in the same general area. Needless to say I didn’t stop in.
The main entrance is nice, with lenticular animations of Astro Boy (Atom!), Kimba, Black Jack, and another character I don’t know the name of. I still really love the little “fins” on the first ‘o’ in KYOTO, in the shape of Astro Boy’s hair. That’s just genius. Actually, since I’m a big fan of Big pictures on the blog, here’s a close-up of then Astro Boy lenticular. Unfortunately you won’t quite get exactly the same effect.
Pic
Pic
I think the thing that most impresses me about this whole thing is that with something like Disney, or Marvel, or DC, or whomever, it’s very much ABOUT THE CHARACTER. The creator (except maybe Walt Disney, and that’s a whole other kettle of fish) is pushed far to the background. This installation is “Tezuka World”, and Tezuka the creator is at the forefront of the work. I think that’s pretty incredible, and something for all of us in the comics industry to aspire to.
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So the installation is, honestly, mostly a gift-shop and retail oriented, with a few cool additions.
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There are quite a few statues of Tezuka’s characters scattered about, fun to photograph or take a picture with. As you can see, the film adaptation of Tezuka’s nutso graphic novel MW (translated into a lovely English edition by Vertical) is opening this weekend in Japan, and this isn’t the first installation I’ve seen dedicated to the film. Unfortunately to put up the big cardboard standee, they had to cover a kick-ass mural of all of Tezuka’s characters.
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There’s also a theatre set up, showing two different Tezuka cartoons exclusive to this installation! The one I saw was from the most recent Astro Boy series a few years back, and it was very kiddy. I mean, it was alright, but let’s just say it was pretty easy to follow despite the fact that the characters never stopped talking—in Japanese.
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If you buy a ticket to the theatre (only 200 yen! What a steal!) you get access to this cute little reading area, set up by the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Shown is one copy of every single manga that Tezuka produced in his lifetime. That’s a lot of work there…
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Honestly, none of this was a patch on the totally kick-ass Tezuka Manga Museum in Takarazuka, outside of Osaka. I still consider that the high-point of my last trip to Japan. But considering it’s only about 40 minutes from Kyoto station (and free if you have a JR pass…!) why not do both? :)
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So there’s a ton of photos of all of the goods in the Tezuka World shop below, if you’re a retail nut (or just a big Tezuka fan!) then make sure to check those out. But before I go, I wanted to share this. Mos Burger and Mister Donut have teamed up to create MODSDO, which is utterly insane and wonderful. Above, clockwise from top, is the MOSDO ‘burger’, the MOSDO “potado” (do is for donuts), a mango pudding, and a mix donut for people that don’t like to choose.
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The two burgers featured mini-donuts sliced in half, a sort of choclate crackle “burger” patty, and then either raspberry sauce (instead of ketchup) and raspberry mousse (instead of mayo) or green tea flavoured… something. It was surprisingly delicious, and honestly not that sweet.
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Maybe I just like puns too much, but the “potado” killed me. It’s unsweetened donut batter, extruded to look like French fries and then deep fried. And served with ketchup. Also, surprisingly pretty good! B- for flavour, A for texture.
Anyway, check out the full gallery below, and thanks for reading!
- Chris

DSCF7714

One of my regrets last time I went to Japan was missing out on the Osamu Tezuka installation at Kyoto Station. Despite the fact there was advertising for it everywhere, including those super-keen Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion statues/pointers, I couldn’t find it when I was there. This time though, I actually asked someone at the tourism office, and they told me exactly where it is. And so I went there, and took awesome pictures for all of you…!

So Kyoto Station in and of itself is a marvel. It’s a beautiful, high-tech reimagining of a temple-style building with a curved roof and open sides to let air flow through, but all done up in glass and steel. If you get a chance to visit, I do recommend it.

The exterior of Kyoto Station features all kinds of great signage that tells you about events going on there, and especially about the Tezuka installation. Here you can see the various signage, all pointing viewers in the right direction. Long-time readers will remember that I did not ACTUALLY see the little arrows on all of these signs, pointing me in the direction of the space, because I’m a dork. I seriously just thought it was a stylized design element… Ah well. Found it this time!


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The Kyoto Station / Tezuka installation was, I believe, completed for an anniversary of Tezuka/Atom, and to commemorate the reopening of the station. It’s also located on the other side of the Kyoto Hotel Granvia, on the outside of the station, which explains why maybe I had a bit of trouble finding it last time. Here we see the entryway sign… which is also promoting a live stage-show of Beauty and the Beast, also happening in the same general area. Needless to say I didn’t stop in.

DSCF7690

The main entrance is nice, with lenticular animations of Astro Boy (Atom!), Kimba, Black Jack, and another character I don’t know the name of. I still really love the little “fins” on the first ‘o’ in KYOTO, in the shape of Astro Boy’s hair. That’s just genius. Actually, since I’m a big fan of Big pictures on the blog, here’s a close-up of then Astro Boy lenticular. Unfortunately you won’t quite get exactly the same effect.

DSCF7692

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I think the thing that most impresses me about this whole thing is that with something like Disney, or Marvel, or DC, or whomever, it’s very much ABOUT THE CHARACTER. The creator (except maybe Walt Disney, and that’s a whole other kettle of fish) is pushed far to the background. This installation is “Tezuka World”, and Tezuka the creator is at the forefront of the work. I think that’s pretty incredible, and something for all of us in the comics industry to aspire to.

So the installation is, honestly, mostly a gift-shop and retail oriented, with a few cool additions.

DSCF7694

More pics and info under the cut! Click:

Keep reading…


Christmas!!!!So even on my best days I’m no Robot 6 or Comics Reporter, and on my worst I’m like one of those sites where you can’t tell whether or not my site is still active. About 90% of the time I’ve got a post in me, but I just don’t have the time to get it out… or the inclination to deal with the follow-up discussion that post will create (seriously, I’ve got a POD post that’s like 90% written and I just don’t want to post it because I don’t want to have that discussion… but I digress).

But it’s Christmas. And I really am fortunate for a lot of the things in my life, and as strange as it sounds (even though this is the ‘naughties) my blog, and all of you folks that read it and link it and talk about it, is one of the things I’m truly grateful for. So I’d like to, if I may, try and give back to all y’all with a full week of posting, of what this blog would be like every single day if I had my druthers. While my druthers are unlikely to appear until I get fired from The Beguiling or leave TCAF (neither is likely, thankfully), I figure that I can pull off one week of this… even if it’s going to be the busiest week of the year.

First up? Those of you in your feed reader will notice all of last week’s DORK strips have gone up, 5 new ones in a row. Reading at the website? Scroll down. A whole bunch of Evan Dorkin goodness (meanness?) all at once.

As for the rest, sit back and enjoy, as I endeavor give you a near-perfect week of Comics212, everything you love and hate about the site, firing on all cylinders, until Christmas day.

Best,

- Christopher


The Muppets, by Chip Zdarsky

One of my favourite things this year is when Chip Zdarsky drew a bunch of muppets for their anniversary. I know, right? There’s a whole interactive thingy at http://www.nationalpost.com/muppets/index.html. This is one of my favourite things from this year.

More Chip Zdarsky goodness at his Flickr photostream.

- Chris



Dudes I am so busy I am sorry for not updating. Soon, I promise. It will be awesome.