topThe debt-ridden Hayate Ayasaki looked good in the promotional video of the Hayate the Combat Butler anime. Motonobu Inoue, a manga artist known for his unique sense of style in works such as To-kon Yuma and Bijyu (Beautiful Beast) R, started a new series called Orubim in Akita Shoten's Champion Red (which went on sale January 19th). The protagonist of the new manga is a boy who has hundreds of millions of yen to pay back in loan.

The technique of having the protagonist be in debt for an incredible amount of money is one way to show him/her as an unlucky person, and this technique is used quite often to bring more drama into a the manga.

So who's the king of debt? Find out who is the most debt-ridden manga hero from a ranking compiled by the blog Shinpen Zakkan in "Who's the Loan King? Searching for the Most Debt-Ridden Manga Hero":

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topSankei Web recently published a multi-part article on the famous anime and manga creator Leiji Matsumoto, who talks about the importance of copyrights. In Part 3, the article sums up its points and discuss what the future holds for both the industry and the consumers.

The Fear of Falling into the Abyss

"Big brother is similar to dad and both are silent /
Wonder if they sometimes drink together"

A line from a classic enka (Japanese ballard) song, "Kitaguni no haru."

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topSankei Web recently published a multi-part article on the famous anime and manga creator Leiji Matsumoto, who talks about the importance of copyrights. In Part 2, Leiji Matsumoto discusses the differences between imitation and creativity.

Battles on Copyright - Mimicry is not Creativity

Matsumoto, who is currently in charge of copyright issues at the Japan Cartoonists Association, is proposing to extend the copyright limit from 50 years to 70 years.

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topThe Gundam anime experienced a small boost in popularity with the recent release of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime DVD Box. The original 43-episode Gundam anime was first aired in 1979, and now the DVD box set is experiencing positive sales. ITmedia News interviews Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, the art director and character designer of Gundam, who talks about Gundam and his recent works. (by Koh Shimada)

Q: The DVD box set of the "First Gundam" is very popular.

A: Gundam is a very mysterious thing for me. I really don't see why Gundam is still popular after so many years. Sometimes I have to see it on due to the necessity of my job, but I think it's a poorly made work.

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imgFebruary marks the 1 year anniversary of Hunter X Hunter's hiatus in Shonen Jump. Created by the (in)famous Yoshihiro Togashi in 1998, Hunter X Hunter has experienced many breaks during its serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump. Toward the end of 2005, Hunter X Hunter's serialization stopped for over a month due to Togashi's illness. The manga returned in January 2006 only to go on hiatus again 4 chapters later. While the announcement in Jump stated that the series would resume serialization in early April, a year later the series has yet to return.

From TV Anime Resource Center comes information on Hunter X Hunter's irregular schedule, as well as its effect on the anime version of HxH. Also included is a chart that lists all the Hunter X Hunter-related announcements in Shonen Jump from 1998 to 2004, and more.

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topSankei Web recently published a multi-part article on the famous anime and manga creator Leiji Matsumoto, who talks about the importance of copyrights. In Part 1, Leiji Matsumoto discusses the pains and burdens a manga creator and his or her family faces, and the importance of copyright protection.

Battles on Copyright - Leiji Matsumoto Talks about Creators' Thoughts

"Creators fall dead in front of the wall of creativity." Veteran manga creator Leiji Matsumoto expresses the "labor pains" of creators in these words.

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liberationGengoroh Tagame is a manga artist who specializes in BDSM and erotic manga. His works include G-men, Gunji, SM-Z, and more, most of which contain graphical violence and sex scenes. Recently one of Gengoroh Tagame's manga, Arena, was reviewed by the French newspaper Lib??ration. In his blog, Tagame writes about his surprise when he found out Lib??ration included with the review uncensored illustrations from his manga, most of which would have never made it to print media in Japan.

*Note links in this article may contain explicit materials that are NSFW, you have been warned.

Review and Illustrations Appear in French Newspaper Lib??ration

A few days ago, I received an English email that read:

"I'm the writer of a French newspaper called Lib??ration. I'm planning to write a review of your manga "Arena," which will include some of your illustrations. Could you send some of the high-resolution images on your website to me?"

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Mushishi topOn January 23rd, Director Katsuhiro Otomo and actor Joe Odagiri attended a public meeting during the preview event of the live-action movie Mushishi. Mushishi is based on a popular manga title by Yuki Urushibara (the pen name of Yuki Yoshiyama) that is currently serialized in Afternoon. The manga has sold over 2.9 million copies, and was nominated for the Kodansha Manga Award in 2006.

Director Katsuhiro Otomo (known for anime films such as Akira) adapted Mushishi into a live-action movie after his 16-year break. The movie was screened twice during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah under the title Bugmaster (23-24th January), and all tickets were sold out. Offers for the rights to distribute the film overseas are rushing in from the U.S, Australia, Korea, and various other countries (10 total). A number of press came to the preview event, some audience even stood to watch because they couldn't buy reserved seats. Mushishi will appear on the screens in Japan on 24th of March.

Cinema Leaf has posted an interview with Katsuhiro Otomo and Joe Odagiri, who played the role of Ginko (the main character of Mushishi).

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topRecently Digital Femme published two articles via MangaBlog) regarding Japanese manga and discrimination against black people. In response, Japanese blog Dekadenbiyori posted its own view on the matter.

The article looks at racial expression involving black people in manga through a Japanese fan's perspective. *Note that the post on Dekadenbiyori was written by a Japanese blogger for a Japanese audience.

Discrimination in Japanese Manga

I recently picked up an image from a manga. Can anyone tell what's wrong with this image? This picture has aroused criticism from a blog in the U.S. Can anyone tell (addressed to the Japanese fans) why this picture is being criticized?

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topNHK's latest "Professional: Styles of Work" series featured Naoki Urasawa, mangaka of Monster and 20th Century Boys. In the article, Urasawa talks about what professionalism means to him: "Professional is...the fact that there is a deadline, and the people who do their best until that deadline."

Humans are Complicated

Naoki Urasawa is one of today's "superstar mangaka," his works have sold over a 100 million copies. One of the reason Urasawa's manga attracts so many fans is due to his manga character's expressions. Urasawa could express deep emotions with a simple touch of his pen:

"I feel that I have done well when I draw my character's face like he is feeling the pain, or he is feeling sad, or he is worrying...the character can have all kinds of emotions."

Occasionally Urasawa even places his character in front of a mirror to inspect his own artworks.

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