So this show called “imagine-nation” is running in Japan: It’s a show in English about mostly “otaku-y” stuff like manga and video games, interviews with artists and producers, etc.

This time, they have a huge interview with Saibara Rieko. Who is hands-down my absolute favorite manga artist in Japan. I’ve been a fan of hers every since I saw her stuff back in 1998 in Tokyo Walker, and her “Chicken Head Travel Journal” manga series about her travels all over 3rd world asia. She does awesome things, then uses manga (and often interjects real photographs as well as a kind of “Scrapbook”) to describe those events.

Here’s a lengthy Japan Times article about her, including translations of some of her manga.

And a second article about her life, and a one-on-one interview (huh, didn’t know she was that poor, or got thrown out of high school)

I was flat-out shocked that someone did a piece on her: Even though she’s really popular with adults in Japan, she has absolutely zero “otaku power/cred”. NOTHING. Her drawings are cheap and sweet and often terribly offensive, her journeys through south asia and south america are incredible and interesting and full of cool vignettes but nothing about Akihabara or panty shots or mecha. None of her works are becoming (or can become) anime, so no one will ever hear of her in America, which is a total fucking shame.

Anyway, after reading her unique comic style I pretty much became obsessed with this kind of “travel journey” manga, and even saw the format replicated in RPG-themed actual play manga as well. In fact, I’ve kinda waffled on doing my own slice-of-life/journey manga about stuff that I did in Japan, or stuff that happened at work or the like.

Anyway, Saibara Rieko: Awesome. Adventurous. Tumultuous. And an explorer of using manga in totally new ways.

Here’s a link to the d-addicts torrent post: http://www.d-addicts.com/forum/viewtopic_82786.htm

Here’s a direct link to the torrent file: http://torcache.com/torrent/8038072E8EB14D13B08E680015B97424CF5CE3C3.torrent