Jason checks out Hideki Ohwada's politically-charged mahjong manga, The Legend of Koizumi.
Reviewby Christopher Macdonald
A Guide to Japanese Animation (1958-1988)
Black & White
Published by: Protoculture
Written by: Andrea Baricordi, Massimiliano De Giovanni, Andrea Pietroni, Barbara Rossi, and Sabrina Tunesi
Translated from the Italian by: Adeline D'Opera
Presented by: Claude J. Pelletier
"Anime, A guide to Japanese Animation" was first published in Italian in 1991 and translated into English just this year by Protoculture Addicts. The book every anime produced between 1958 and 1988 in chronological order, over 1200 titles. Each entry gives the original, Japanese title, production company, genre and other relevant information about the anime. Also included for all but a very few titles is a brief synopsis of the title's plot. Black and white pictures, screenshots and box covers, are also included for many of the titles, over 400 illustrations total.
The book is divided into chapters, one chapter for each year. The introductions to each chapter offer a great deal of insight into the most important releases of that year. These introductions, when read one after the other, make up the most comprehensive history of anime available in the English language. The first chapter also includes information about the very first Japanese animation and the birth of the Japanese animation industry.
Unfortunately the amount of detail given on each title varies somewhat, this is very understandable considering the very limited resources the authors had to work with, but the book would be that much better if every title included a synopsis. Also missing from the entries is information regarding the production staff, none of the entries include any information whatsoever about the directors, animators or scriptwriters.
Anime features a set of indexes at the back, 5 indexes in total. Each one organized alphabetically either by the original Japanese name, the English name, the French name or the Italian name. The fifth index is again organized by the English titles but only includes titles that have been released or shown in North America. These indexes, and the fact that they are available in several languages, are a great feature.
Anime is an absolute must for any person professionally involved in the Anime industry in North America. If you work at an American distribution company, write articles for one of the many anime related magazines or operate one of the top anime news websites you must get this book. As reference material Anime is absolutely invaluable.
The chapter introductions alone make Anime worth consideration by any one who is interested in the history of anime. I would recommend Anime to anyone who is interested in knowing what the first OVA was and when it was released, or the first Giant Robot anime. Unfortunately, if you buy this book only for the chapter introductions, it is somewhat expensive at $25 for fewer than 35 pages of text.
Why would you consider Anime if you primary interest is only in those 35 pages? Because this is the ONLY book in the English language that offers this information.
This is a great book, the only one of its kind, and an absolute must for some people. For other people interested in anime it is merely "recommended reading", but regardless of their reasons, anyone interested in anime will find something that interests them in "Anime, A guide to Japanese Animation."