Monday, September 24, 2012

Intro and Bakuman

Hello! I'm JB and I will be a contributing blogger on ITIMBAO. I also maintain the movie blog The Tagline, if Hollywood movies are also your thing. I'll be using this space to talk about Manga I'm reading, anime I like, and any other related hobby content that I think might be entertaining. Anyway, today I wanted to talk about a manga that I've been reading for a while now that I've really been enjoying, and that maybe you are also aware of (it isn't exactly under the radar but whatever).

Bakuman is an ongoing manga featured in Shonen Jump, authored by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. A lot of you probably know that this is the same duo that produced the smash hit Death Note. Bakuman is a very different beast however, a manga published in Shonen Jump about two teenagers, Mashiro and Takagi who decide to become mangakas and end up published... in Shonen Jump. It's a really meta kind of manga and it gives a really neat (albeit highly exaggerated and dramatized I'd iamgine) insight into the process of making manga. I first picked it up on a whim around when it started being published in 2010, and immediately realized it was something special. Obata's art has always been awesome (I can't believe that a manga serialized in a magazine could have such detailed art really) but I am really drawn to the slice-of-life style mangas (Genshiken is one of my favorite mangas ever and you'll definitely be hearing about that in the near future) so Bakuman was a lot more appealing to me than Death Note. I'm frankly surprised that they are allowed to publish a series that portrays Shonen Jump in such an unapologetic way, but it's also really neat to read about.

One of the cool things about a manga that is at least partially about manga, is that now when I'm reading other manga, or watching other anime, I can see the tropes and cliches a lot more clearly than if I hadn't been given an inside perspective to making manga. Even more revealing is that a lot of the elements that Ohba implements into the details of Bakuman are clearly biographical (as like the Ashirogi duo in the manga, Ohba is publishing what would be considered a non-traditional manga for Shonen Jump). Now when I'm looking at a series like Bleach or Soul Eater, I'm thinking about them in terms of being serialized, trying to keep their rating up, and how they fit into a manga magazine aimed at a particular demographic.
It's not all about the manga though, this is also a dramatic story about interesting characters, but again its just so much fun to read and realize that Bakuman is exactly the kind of manga that Takagi and Mashiro are trying to write. While it might not have special powers or flashy battles, at its core Bakuman is about various characters battling against one another, not physically, but with their manga, all trying to be #1.

If you get the chance, you should really check it out! I just finished volume 14 and it's still as fun as when I picked up the first one. More than that, reading Bakuman always makes me feel inspired to work on my own creative things (I am an aspiring writer). I think that you'll enjoy it too!

Check it ouuuuuut.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Otaku Generation

I've often heard references to various anime fan generations, and while these generation names and time ranges are not always agreed on, I've always considered myself a part of the Cartoon Network generation. Despite the fact that my generation got it's start about a decade ago, I still feel like a noob in the world of anime because I waited until it went "mainstream" to get into it. Rightfully, I feel like I should have hopped on the anime banwagon during the Sailor Moon generation (I've actually seen this era referred to as a number of things, but for most girls it was Sailor Moon that really got them into anime, so I think, as a girl, it's pretty fair to call this the Sailor Moon era), especially since back when Sailor Moon hit the US I used to watch it on occasion and ache after the line of toys that were released along side it.

It wasn't for another year or two that I started to realize that Sailor Moon was something so different because it was anime, a term I had no idea existed until significantly later, thanks to the Sci-Fi channel's use of the phrase "Japanimation" to describe the late night cartoons I used to secretly stay up late to watch.

So, while Cartoon Network certainly wasn't my first introduction to anime, it was simply the first time that I was able to get it with any sort of regularity and in a quantity that actually allowed me to pick-and-choose what I wanted to watch. Before Cartoon Network's Adult Swim came along my experience with anime was limited to whatever I could get my greedy hands on: the first volume of Mai, the Psychic Girl that my public library had for some reason, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust because my friend just so happened to own it, and Iria: Ziram the Animation because the Sci-Fi channel played it over the span of a few Sunday mornings, and a small handful of those late night Sci-Fi anime screenings that I simply don't remember the names of, and some smatterings of whatever episodes of Sailor Moon I got the chance to watch. But I didn't even get a computer until 2000, and I had dial-up for years after that, and even if I had a faster connection, this was years before youtube and I had a very small number of friends who were also into anime who were in the same "But how do we get it?" boat as I was, so it wasn't until I discovered Adult Swim's late night anime programing that I really got into anime. I actually caught the last few episodes of their first run of Cowboy Bebop when I stumbled across it.

Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, and shortly later FLCL were the shows that really got me into anime, and while I wish it didn't take me so long to finally really discover anime, I'm content to have been a part of the first truely mainstream wave of anime and manga in the US and to have been able to ride that wave when it was at it's peak, back when TokyoPop was still around and releasing pretty much everything they could get their hands on and there were something like 3 different on-demand Anime channels, back before the whole western anime market sort of imploded in on itself.

The generation names might be a bit silly, and ultimately pointless since being an anime fan tends to be a slow and creeping sickness in the west and many of us realize that we had actually been watching anime all of our lives before we even knew what it was, but I still find it's pretty interesting to read about because it paints a picture of what fans that came before you were into and what sort of things were being imported out of Japan. If you're looking to read a little bit more about some of the previous anime fan generations, check out this post on Mainichi Anime Yumi, it's a couple years old so it's really only missing this current, as of yet unnamed, anime fan generation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Hello and welcome to I Think I Might Be An Otaku, it's just a little blog where I can go to ramble about whatever otaku and occasionally nerd-related topic I might feel like. I make a pretty poor otaku compared to most but I have opinions about anime and manga that most people just don't care about, a number of hobbies that originated in Japan, and a love of anime conventions so, well, I think I might be an otaku? This blog is just here to explore that possibility a bit more. Hopefully it will feature some various reviews on whatever convention that I happen to attend, my occasional misadventures in cosplay, ramblings about whatever mangaka I'm obsessing over at the moment, showing off whatever totally lame weeaboo crap I just blew my money on, and that kind of thing.

Besides this blog, I also run F Yeah Lolita, a blog about the Lolita fashion and lifestyle. While I am not actually a cosplayer myself (wearing Lolita on a regular basis sort of sucks the fun out of the thrill of dressing up!), I do enjoy helping with whatever cosplay project that my boyfriend, who runs both a largely Bruce Willis related movie blog and writes fiction about supernatural investigation, is working on.
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