Anna: I thought that it would be good to kick off the Takehiko Inoue feast with a short discussion of how we found ourselves co-hosting and why we both wanted to get involved in having an online discussion of Inoue’s manga. This has been in the works for some time, but I seem to remember a discussion of artist-centric feasts coming up on the MMF e-mail list and we both were leaping at the chance to talk about Inoue more. It seemed like an ideal excuse to host together, because I’d read many volumes of Vagabond and you’d focused more on Inoue’s sports manga. Does that sound right to you? Why did you want to host a Inoue MMF?
Michelle: That’s how I remember it, as well. Primarily, I wanted to co-host an Inoue MMF simply because of my intense love for Slam Dunk. Although I am not much of a sports fan in life, I love it in manga. I love rooting for the underdog, even if he turns out to be a hulking teenage delinquent with an inflated sense of his own awesomeness, and I love watching the protagonist find something in life he or she truly cares about.
But I’ve also been collecting Inoue’s other, more serious works, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to explore those. I remember one day I had a $10 credit at Border’s and was browsing the manga aisle, trying to decide what to get. Out of curiosity, I opened the first VIZBIG volume of Vagabond. I took one look at the absolutely gorgeous art and went, “Okay, this is the one.” So, not only are there good series to talk about, there’s also amazing art to talk about!
Anna: I also wanted an excuse to explore Inoue’s sports manga, and I ended up reading the first half of Real in about a week in preparation for the feast. It is just that good. For me, I think that Vagabond is one of those series I would use as an example of the best manga has to offer in terms of both artistic and literary value. I read the first couple volumes of Vagabond in the regular editions, but I really took to the series when the VizBig editions were released. It is the type of manga the reads wonderfully when you are consuming multiple volumes in one sitting. The timing of this feast is fortunate too, because it was recently announced that Vagabond was starting up again in Japan after a hiatus. What are you hoping to see with the Inoue MMF?
Michelle: I’m very happy to see Vagabond back on the schedule! VIZ has already solicited volume 34, too (due in October)!
What am I hoping to see… Well, I guess I’m hoping to see a lot of people trying Inoue that they weren’t familiar with—either Slam Dunk fans like me trying the seinen stuff, or the seinen fans trying the shounen Slam Dunk—and falling in love with it. His art is great, but the story is where my heart lies, so if even just one person dips their toe into Slam Dunk only to wind up smitten, I would be very happy indeed.
How about you?
Anna: I’d just like to see more discussion of Inoue’s works in general. It always struck me that his manga should have a bit more online buzz among English language blogs, considering the high quality of his work. I’ve stockpiled a few volumes of Slam Dunk, so I might be one of those people trying it out for the first time and winding up smitten too!
Michelle: I hope so! I should add, though, that dissenting opinions are entirely welcome! If you try Inoue and he’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine! Don’t be afraid to submit your link to us; we’re secure enough in our Inoue appreciation to weather some criticism!
Anna: Note – The Inoue Manga Moveable Feast runs from June 24-30, 2012. Here’s the original announcement post. Send current posts for linking to Michelle (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Soliloquy in Blue. If you have older posts that you would like featured on the Inoue MMF archive page, contact me (email@example.com).