My friend Ted Anderson is a huge fan of the new My Little Ponies series, a show I wouldn’t even know existed were it not for his tireless efforts to spread the My Little Pony gospel.
I still haven’t seen it yet so I’ll reserve comment on that, but there is a Japanese children’s cartoon that I really love called Oden-kun. The first episode heads this entry.
It’s not one of those ironic, winking-at-the-adults shows; instead, it’s sweet and earnest. (Although the super-long intro in this episode is weirdly dark.) Oden-kun just has a quality to it that always makes me smile, and I’ve met other adults in Japan that felt the same way. I suppose in that sense it possesses that rare quality that Peanuts has, in that it could be enjoyed by nine year old girls or 34 year old cartoonists.
English subtitles are available by pressing the “CC” button. Enjoy!
Regular readers may recall that for the second half of March, I donated all Paypal profits for copies of Tonoharu sold to the Red Cross, to benefit Japan earthquake/tsunami relief. The promotion ended yesterday. I sold ten books, for a total of $155 going to the Red Cross. My thanks to all those who purchased books during that period!
So that ends that, but I’m still involved in a couple another relief efforts:
1) The JET Alumni Association of Minnesota will be holding a benefit for Japan on Saturday, April 16th at Moto-I Sake Bar in Uptown Minneapolis. All proceeds will go to the JETAA USA Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. All the details can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=203477753010794
2) My friend Adam Pasion is creating a comics/art anthology called Aftershock: Artists Respond to Disaster in Japan, with proceeds going to Japan relief. I’ll be contributing something. I’ll update with more details when I have them, but in the meantime, check out the website: http://aftershockcomic.blogspot.com/
YouTube Direct Link
Here’s a neat old Japanese cartoon my dear friend C.W. Kelly sent to me a while back. Has a very Fleischer-esque feel to it.
*Reminder* Until the end of this month (i.e., for the next seven days), I’m donating the profits from Paypal sales of Tonoharu: Part One and Two to the Red Cross, to help with the earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan. (Details here)
So far I’ve sold five books, with a total of $77.50 donated to the Red Cross (my thanks to those who ordered!). I think it’d be cool to get that total up to at least $100, so if you’ve always wanted a copy of Tonoharu, please consider making that purchase now! Otherwise, please consider donating directly to the charity of your choice. Thanks!
Just a reminder that I have two presentations that are just around the corner:
This Friday, January 28th, 2011, I’ll be speaking at the University of Minnesota about Japanese Calligraphy and how it has benefited me as a cartoonist. All the details can be found here.
Then just a few days later on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011, I’ll be talking at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design about my comics, and my experiences with self-publishing. Details for that one can be found here.
So if you’re in the Twin Cities area, come out if you can!
(Note: I’m running myself ragged trying to finish up these presentations, so there will be no new blog entry this Friday.)
Living in a foreign country is a premise that is ripe with dramatic & comedic potential. Many prose books have tackled the subject, but not so much in the realm of visual narrative (i.e. movies, tv shows, and comics). One of the reasons I created my graphic novel series Tonoharu was to try to fill this baffling gap. I’ve never understood why there are dozens of mediocre medical dramas and cop shows on tv, but not really any that depict the unique & exciting experience of life abroad.
A notable exception debuted late last year, in the form of the web series entitled English Teachers. Each of the eight episodes is about seven minutes long, so the whole run can be watched in less than an hour.
I have mixed feelings about the show. For one, the characters are written a little too broadly for my tastes. Also, the stories feel a bit rushed; they try to cram in standard sitcom plots into a third the running time, so conflicts are often introduced only to be immediately, unsatisfyingly resolved in the next scene.
But hey, it often takes a while for a show to hit its stride. And overall, I like English Teachers, and think it has potential. The casting and acting are good, as are the production values. And while there are aspects of the writing that frustrate me, I have to admit I want to keep watching. Here’s hoping the series is popular enough to warrant a second season.