French festival exposes Japan's female manga underground
Sunday 30 January 2011
Underground mangas by Japanese women artists that explore the sordid and the absurd are getting attention at one of the world's biggest comic-book festivals.
"The Japanese underground covers a variety of suprising styles and this exhibition is a chance to look at mangas in another way," said Erwan Le Verger, coordinator of the manga programme at the Angouleme international comics festival.
Works by the biggest names in manga are on view at Angouleme, southwest France - despite a downturn in sales among French manga fans this past year - and the festival is also offering a taste of "J-rock" or Japanese rock'n'roll.
But it is the section titled Manga Underground: Women's Point of View that is eye-catching and provocative.
In turns, the storylines and characters can be shocking, virulent, violent, gothic, romantic, even naive, in settings that delve into reality or flee into fantasy.
"These artists are (cultural) sponges who retranscribe what they feel in an instantaneous manner in their words and action, with no editorial constraints and no public to please," said Le Verger.
With their bold and unusual work, the women underground artists at Angouleme are already well-known in their home country, where publishers have been bringing them to the surface in their quest for new talent.
They include Kahori Onozucca, who specialises in mangas in the "yaoi" genre that focuses on homosexual relationships for a female manga audience.
She concocts sexual intrigues in which sensuality and sentiments intertwine.
In a video interview for the festival, Onozucca described in Japanese how her album "Jornada" - drawn in the style of traditional romantic mangas - inverted the roles of men and women in pornography.
"Despite the contrast, readers found the result surprisingly authentic," she said.
Known as the queen of horror, Kanako Inuki has children tell worrying stories in which characters are often disfigured.
Akino Kondoh mashes up dream and reality, plays with the absurd and expresses a very sombre and introspective view of the world as seen by prepubescent girls.
Besides manga, she works in a number of other media, such as painting, video and animation.
Intriguing as well as disturbing, Junko Mizuno excels in the brutal tension between cute childlike drawing and sordid themes such as gentle baby dolls devouring children.
Many of her books are adult adaptations of fairy tales, including "Cinderella", and in France she illustrated the cover of "Bye Bye Blondie" by feminist writer and film director Virginie Despentes.
Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandalbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
Game of Thrones actress Aimee Richardson begs for 'other princess work' after Myrcella Baratheon part is recast
Cultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
The Walking Dead season 5 will see deaths of 'favourite characters', suggests Andrew Lincoln
Star Wars Episode 7: Simon Pegg hints at role
Big Bang Theory: Filming delayed by contract disputes over actors' pay
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >