Le clan des Otori t.2

ClandesOtori2-covL’adaptation en bande dessinée du roman de Lian Hearn. 

Takeo, sauvé du massacre des siens par Otori Shigeru, est maintenant au coeur des luttes entre les seigneurs de la guerre. Kaede, otage des Tohan, est promise à sire Otori pour sceller une réconciliation politique. Pièges, trahisons, combats sanglants… Takeo et Kaede doivent parer les coups mortels pour accomplir leur destin.”

[Texte du site de l’éditeur et de la couverture arrière]

(Attention, lire l’avertissement de possible divulgacheurs)


T. 2, Page 8

Maintenant que le cadre de l’histoire est en place et que les personnages nous ont été présenté (voir mon commentaire sur le premier tome), le récit peut vraiment se mettre en mouvement. Kaede, otage des Tohan promise à Otori Shigeru (officiellement pour établir une alliance mais en fait pour l’attirer dans un piège), prends la route de Tsuwano. Shizuka, sa servante, a en fait été placé à ses côtés par Araï pour la protéger et lui apprendre le maniement des armes. Elles arrivent à Tsuwano une semaine avant les Otori et cette période est utilisée pour son entrainement. Lors des présentations officielles des futurs époux, elle est un peu déçu par sire Otori mais elle est irrésistiblement attiré par Takeo. L’attraction est mutuelle… Ils reprennent tous ensemble la route vers Yamagata pour une halte avant la destination finale: Inuyama. Les entrainements continuent et, pour Takeo, il s’agit d’aiguiser ses sens dans l’art de la Tribu. Mais sa compassion d’Invisible l’amène à prendre des risques. Arrivé à Inuyama, ils rencontrent le maître des lieux, sire Iida — leur ennemi! La nuit venu, Takeo se prépare à accomplir sa mission mais, avec la complicité de Kenji, la Tribu s’empare de lui avant qu’il ne puisse agir!

Le récit est un noeud d’intrigues et de complots mais qui se déroule avec brio et fluidité ce qui le rend captivant. On continue à en apprendre beaucoup sur chacun des principaux personnages. Le dessin, toujours dans un style brouillon et angulaire, m’agace encore un peu mais on s’y habitue vite et on finit même par le trouver charmant. J’aime bien la palette de couleurs. C’est une bonne lecture qui, en plus de nous divertir agréablement, nous introduit en douceur à l’univers créé par Lian Hearn. 

Le clan des Otori : Le silence du rossignol, t. 2, par Stéphane Melchior (texte, d’après l’oeuvre de Lian Hearn) et Benjamin Bachelier (dessin). Paris: Gallimard BD, octobre 2021. 80 pages, 23.7 x 31.7 cm, 17.80 € / $C 22.99, ISBN 9782075123389. Pour lectorat adolescent (12+). Extraits disponibles. stars-3-5

Vous trouverez plus d’information sur les sites suivants:

[ AmazonGoodreadsGoogleNelliganWikipediaWorldCat ]

© Liam Hearn, 2002. © Gallimard 2021 pour la présente édition.

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Miyazaki’s memoir

Miyazaki-StartingPoint-cov“In the first two decades of his career, filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki laid the groundwork for his legendary movies. Starting Point is a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs that go back to the roots of Miyazaki’s childhood, the formulation of his theories of animation, and the founding of Studio Ghibli.

Before directing such acclaimed films as Spirited Away, Miyazaki was just another salaried animator, but with a vision of his own. Follow him as he takes his first steps on the road to success, experience his frustrations with the manga and animation industries that often suffocate creativity, and realize the importance of bringing the childhood dreams of the world to life.

Starting Point: 1979-1996 is not just a chronicle of the life of a man whose own dreams have come true, it is a tribute to the power of the moving image.” 

[Text from the publisher’s website; see also the backcover]

Starting Point: 1979-1996, by Hayao Miyazaki (Translated by Beth Cary and Frederik L. Schodt). San Francisco: Viz Media, April 2014, 462 pages, 6 x 9 in., $ US 16.99 / $C 22.99, ISBN 9781421561042. For teen readership (12+).

Miyazaki-TurningPoint-cov“In the mid-1990s, filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki moved from success to success as his work found an audience outside of Japan. His animated films of the era, including Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo, were internationally lauded, and Miyazaki won an Academy Award® in 2003 for his popular and critical hit Spirited Away.

Follow Miyazaki as his vision matures, as cinema-lovers worldwide embrace his creations, and as critics such as Roger Ebert take up the cause of animation and Miyazaki’s films. In a legendary career, these crucial years represent the turning point.”

[Text from the publisher’s website; see also the backcover]

Turning Point: 1997-2008, by Hayao Miyazaki (Translated by Beth Cary and Frederik L. Schodt). San Francisco: Viz Media, March 2021, 452 pages,  6 x 9 in., $ US 16.99 / $C 22.99, ISBN 9781974724505. For teen readership (12+).

>> Please, read the warning for possible spoilers <<

If Osamu Tezuka is Japan’s god of manga, Hayao Miyazaki is certainly their god of animation. I noticed that lots has been written about him in the last decade. Just recently I mentioned the book Hommage à Hayao Miyazaki and a special issue of the French magazine Animeland entirely dedicated to the studio he created, Studio Ghibli (for more books suggestions check the list at the end of this article). However, who better to write about Miyazaki but the man himself? Earlier last year, Viz Media has published the second part of Hayao Miyazaki’s memoir (折り返し点―1997~2008 / Orikaeshi-ten: 1997~2008, first published in Japan by Iwanami Shoten in 2008): Turning Point: 1997-2008, so I thought I would talk a little about it. The first part of his Memoir, Starting Point: 1979-1996 [出発点―1979~1996 / Shuppatsuten: 1979~1996] was first published in Japan in 1996 by Tokuma Shoten and Viz Media published it in English in 2014.

This is not the kind of books that you read from cover to cover as it is more of a reference book that you slowly read, bit by bit. It is also a little difficult to describe this memoir as it is not a retelling of his life and experience in a chronological manner like memoir usually are. It is a collection of essays, interviews, magazine or newspaper articles, lectures, speeches, notes for video releases, etc., that Miyazaki wrote or gave or that are written by other people. It is very interesting but it is not an easy reading…


“Dining in midair” (p. 218)

The first book is divided in eight chapters (besides a foreword by John Lasseter and an Afterword by Isao Takahata): On Creating Animation (with articles like “My Point of Origin” or “Thoughts on Japanese Animation” — see the table of contents for a detailed list of articles), On the Periphery of the Work (with articles like “About Period Dramas” or “My Theories on the Popularity of Manga”), People (“My Teacher and I” or “I Left Raising Our Children to My Wife”), A Story in Color (Miyazaki short manga story “Dining in Midair”), My Favorite Things (“My Scrapbook” or “My Car”), Planning Notes; Directorial Memoranda (“A Proposal to Acquire Film Rights” or “Why Shojo Manga Now?”),  Works (“On Nausicaa” or “Speaking of Conan” or “The Pictures Are Already Moving Inside MY Head”) and Biographical Chronology. I particularly enjoyed the translated short color manga “Dining in Midair” and the excerpts of Miyazaki’s scrapbook.

The second book takes a slightly different approach. It is still a collection of essays and articles but this time organized around a couple of specific works: Princess Mononoke (1997) [with articles like “On Japan Animation Culture” or “Recalling the Days of my Youth” — see the table of contents for a detailed list of articles], Spirited Away (2001) [“Room to Be Free: Speaking about Spirited Away at the Press Conference Held Upon Completion of the Film” or “Comments on Receiving the 75th Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film”], Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) [“I’ve Always Wanted to Create a Film About Which I Could Say, “I’M Just Glad I Was Born, so I Could Make This”” or “Feeling Responsible for the Future of Children and Not Wanting to Make Halfhearted Films”] and Ponyo (2008) [“On Ponyo” or “Memo on Music for Joe Hisaishi”]. It also included Miyazaki’s Original Drawings for Studio Ghibli New Year’s Cards (1997-2008) as a foreword, a Biographical Chronology and an afterword by Miyazaki.

It is really a fascinating work if you are interested in Japanese animation and a must-read if you are a deep fan of the works of Miyazaki. It offers a huge amount of material that, as I already said, you won’t read in one sitting but it is definitely worth having a look. stars-3-5

For more information you can check the following websites:

[ AmazonGoodreadsGoogleNelliganWikipediaWorldCat ]

© 1996 / 2008 Studio Ghibli

Other recommended titles on Miyazaki:

  • (Collectif sous la direction de Victor Lopez). Hayao Miyazaki : nuances d’une oeuvre. Moutons électriques, 2018. 271 pages. ISBN 9782361835156 [ GoodreadsNelligan ]
  • Animeland Hors-Série (Juillet-Septembre 2021): Studio Ghibli. 144 pages. 12,50 € [ NelliganWebpage ]
  • Miyazaki: numéro spécial de Dada(no 197, janv. 2015, ISSN 1261-4858). Arola, 2015. 50 pages. ISBN 9782358800716. [ GoodreadsNelligan ]
  • ALPERT, Steve.Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man; 15 years at Studio Ghibli. Berkley: Stone Bridge Press , July 2020. 296 pages. ISBN 9781611720570. [Goodreads]
  • BERTON, Gaël. The Works of Hayao Miyazaki: The Master of Japanese Animation. [Goodreads]
  • CAVALLARO, Dani. The anime art of Hayao Miyazaki. Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2006. 204 pg. ISBN 978-0-7864-2369-9. $35. [Goodreads]
  • CHAPTAL, Stéphanie. Hommage à Hayao Miyazaki : un coeur à l’ouvrage. Ynnis, 2020. 155 pages. ISBN 9782376971313. [ GoodreadsNelligan ]
  • COLSON,Raphaël; RÉGNER, Gaël. Hayao Miyazaki : cartographie d’un univers. Moutons électriques, 2013. 357 pages. ISBN 9782361831356 [ GoodreadsNelligan ]
  • LENBURG, Jeff. Hayao Miyazaki : Japan’s premier anime storyteller. Chelsea House, 2011. 120 pages. ISBN 9781604138412. [ GoodreadsNelligan ]
  • NAPIER, Susan. Miyazaki world : a life in art. Yale University Press, 2020. 305 pages. ISBN 9780300248593. [ GoodreadsNelligan ]
  • NAPIER, Susan. Le monde de Miyazaki. Éditions Imho, 2020. 366 pages. ISBN 9782364810242. [ GoodreadsNelligan ]
  • NIEBEL, Jessica; DOCTER, Pete; KOTHENSCHULTE, Daniel.Hayao Miyazaki. DelMonico Books, 2021. 287 pages. ISBN 9781942884811. [ GoodreadsNelligan]
  • McCARTHY, Helen. Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, 1999. 240 pg. ISBN 1-880656-41-8. [Goodreads]
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Le clan des Otori #1

ClanDesOtori-1-covGuerre, amour, spiritualité et art incontesté du récit: une fresque puissante au cœur d’un Japon médiéval fantastique sublime. 

Le Silence du Rossignol vous entraîne dans une quête épique, au cœur d’un Japon féodal où se côtoient poésie délicate et terrible violence. Vengeance, traîtrise, honneur et loyauté, beauté, amour fou… Derrière les visages impassibles et les codes immuables se cachent des cœurs passionnés et des sentiments farouches.

L’adaptation en bande dessinée du roman de Lian Hearn.”

[Texte du site de l’éditeur et de la couverture arrière]

(Attention, lire l’avertissement de possible divulgacheurs)

Je n’ai malheureusement pas encore lu le roman original de Lian Hearn (Tales of the Otoriqui se décline en cinq volumes: Across the Nightingale Floor (2002), Grass for His Pillow (2003), Brilliance of the Moon (2004), The Harsh Cry of the Heron (2006), Heaven’s Net is Wide (2007), plus les prequels Shikanoko (4 vol., 2017) et Children of the Otori (2 vol., 2020)). C’est cependant sur ma liste de lecture (quoi que lire l’adaptation BD pourrait représenter la voie paresseuse…). J’ai toujours cru qu’il s’agissait d’un roman historique mais c’est en fait un récit de fantasy historique qui se déroule dans un Japon féodal imaginaire.


T. 1, Page 15

Le Japon de la seconde moitié du XVIe siècle est en proie d’une guerre civile qui oppose trois clans: les Tohan à l’Est (dirigé par Iida Sadamu), les Seishuu à l’Ouest (dirigé par Dame Maruyama) et les Otori au centre. Ces derniers ne possèdent plus que le Nord car, après la défaite de la bataille de Yaegahara, le Sud a été cédé aux Noguchi, vassaux des Tohan. On retrouve également les “Invisibles” (un groupe de pacifistes [des chrétiens] qui se cache dans les montagnes et est persécuté par les Tohan) et la “Tribu” (une caste de ninja aux pouvoirs surnaturels). Lorsque son village est incendié par le seigneur Tohan, Tomasu est recueilli par Otori Shigeru qui l’adopte et le renomme Takeo. Peu à peu celui-ci se découvre des “talents” spéciaux qui le révèle comme une membre de la Tribu. Shirakawa Kaede est une otage des Noguchi que Iida Sadamu désire marier à Shigeru pour établir une alliance entre les Otori et les Tohan. En fait, ce mariage n’est qu’un prétexte où se croiserons des complots d’assassination. Lorsque Takeo et Kaede se rencontrent, ils tombent amoureux…

C’est un récit complexe où l’on voit se développer les destins de Takeo et Kaede au travers diverses machinations politiques. C’est bien écrit et captivant. Toutefois, le dessin appartient à cette tendance récente qui offre un style brouillon et angulaire (comme Johann Sfar) que je déteste. Mais, bon, c’est un genre et on s’y habitue à la longue. L’adaptation m’apparait excellente et dans l’ensemble l’ouvrage nous offre une bonne et agréable lecture. C’est une intéressante façon de découvrir l’univers créé par Lian Hearn. Un deuxième tome est paru en octobre 2021.

Le clan des Otori #1: Le silence du rossignol, par Stéphane Melchior (texte, d’après l’oeuvre de Lian Hearn) et Benjamin Bachelier (dessin). Paris: Gallimard BD, mars 2021. 96 pages, 23.7 x 31,7 cm, 17.80 € / $C 22.99, ISBN 978-2-07-512334-1. Pour lectorat adolescent (12+). stars-3-0

Vous trouverez plus d’information sur les sites suivants:

[ AmazonGoodreadsGoogleNelliganWikipediaWorldCat ]

© Liam Hearn, 2002. © Gallimard 2021 pour la présente édition.

[ Translate ]

Unbeaten tracks in Japan

41u2qa+Cp-L“The firsthand account of a British adventuress as she treks though the Japanese outback in 1878, traveling alone among “degenerate” Japanese and “savage” Aino, and recording it all for posterity in this book, a classic of its kind.” [Promotional text]

“Isabella L. Bird’s voyage to Japan in the 1870s reveals a country steeped in ancient customs and a rugged landscape of beautiful, flowing hills and country pathways.

As of the first Western women to author a book about the Japanese islands, Isabella Bird was keen to relay her observations as accurately as she could manage. The isolationist policy of Japan, which forbade any foreigners from travelling inland, had only recently been lifted. Bird was thus able to witness the urban culture of Tokyo and the rural areas surrounding it, together with the large, northerly island of Hokkaido.

The author offers her observations of the architecture and customs of the native Japanese, and later the Ainu minority ethnic group. Northern Japan’s rural culture is revealed as being enormously different from the modern society the world knows today. Modern residents or aficionados of Japan will however recognize many surviving hallmarks, such as the supreme hospitality and generally well-mannered behavior of the locals.

Despite hailing from and exhibiting the values of the condescending culture of Victorian England, Bird manages to relay a good impression of Japan prior to its rapid modernization in the 20th century. Her views reflect their time; although she had a Japanese translator and guide as a companion, she was unable to grasp the social graces of the area, and acutely felt herself an outsider. She does not lapse into despondency however; instead, she by turns indulges in good-natured mockery of Japan’s insular society.”  [Text from the back cover of the Pantianos Classics edition]

>> Please, read the warning for possible spoilers <<

I first learn of Isabella Bird when I started reading the manga series by SASSA Taiga dedicated to her traveling in Japan (see my comments). Isabella Bird was a real British adventuress that traveled around the world to relieve her back pain and melancholy as well as to satisfy her curiosity. She first went to the United States in 1854, then in Australia, Hawaii (called at the time Sandwich Islands), and back to the U.S. in Colorado to see the Rocky Mountains in 1872-73. Five years later she went to Asia, travelling through Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. In 1889, she went to China, Persia, Kurdistan and Turkey. In 1897, she went back to China and Korea to travel up the Yangtze and Han rivers. Her last voyage in 1904, at the age of seventy-two year-old, was to Morocco where she wanted to meet the Berbers. 

It is extraordinary enough for a woman to have been travelling so much almost alone but it is even more interesting that she wrote a lot about it as she published around twenty books describing her journeys. It seems that most of her books are the collection of letters that she wrote to her friends and relatives describing in every details everything she saw during her travelling. 

She went to Japan in 1878 (at the age of forty-seven year-old) with the goal to explore Ezo (Hokkaido) and meet the Ainu — she seems to have an interest in learning about the indigenous people of each country she visited. However, she chose to travel from Tokyo not by the easier sea route but by the more difficult inland road, first to Niigata and then Aomori and Hakodate — hence the title Unbeaten Tracks in Japan. It must have been a very difficult journey. Almost every day she wrote to her sister Henrietta back in England, describing to her the Japanese landscape and its vegetation as well as the culture of its people (their houses, clothings and usages). Her observations are particularly interesting because she describes Japan at a time of change, ten years after the Meiji Restoration, witnessing the last remnants of the samurai culture as well as the beginning of the modernization of Japan. The book collecting all those letters was first published in 1880 and an abridged version was published in 1885.

Now that I have read the original words of Isabella Bird I can better appreciate the manga. We can see that, if the anecdotes and the facts told in the manga seem fairly faithful, the character’s open and understanding attitude toward the Japanese people is not entirely truthful. In the manga, she barely makes any negative comments in her description of the Japanese while in her work, Isabella Bird has the condescending, and even sometimes contemptuous, attitude towards the Japanese that one would expect to find in any British aristocrat of the time. And her translator and guide Ito, which is the key to every scenes in the manga, is hardly mentioned in her book (and when she mentions him it is often to mock him; although, she brings the subject of his previous and unfulfilled contract with the botanist Charles Maries).

She describes the Japanese as busy people, talks about their “miserable physique and the national defects of concave chests and bow legs” (p. 9), or being “so lean, so yellow, yet so pleasant-looking, so wanting in colour and effectiveness” (p. 10). She adds “I never saw people take so much delight in their offspring (p. 56) (…) but it is not good for European children to be much with them, as they corrupt their morals, and teach team to tell lies” (p. 87). However, she finds them polite, civil and honest (p. 75). In the deep country, she finds that people are poor, almost naked and quite dirty. She keeps even harsher words for the Ainu. She calls them “magnificent savages” and “children” (p. 175), “a harmless people without the instinct of progress” (p. 168) characterized by their “apathy and want of intelligence” (p. 173). They are often naked, drink too much sake and the Japanese (including Ito) say that they “are just dogs” (p. 181). She says that “They have no history (…) their houses and persons swarm with vermin, they are sunk in the grossest ignorance, they have no letters or any numbers above a thousand, they are clothed in the bark of trees and the untanned skins of beasts, they worship the bear, the sun, moon, fire, water, and I know not what, they are uncivilisable and altogether irreclaimable savages, yet they are attractive, and in some ways fascinating (…)” (p. 184). So, it is not all bad as she even finds them “charming in many ways” (p. 202) and that they are sometimes “superb-looking men, gentle and extremely courteous” (p. 168).

It is a very interesting book but, unfortunately, the epistolary travelog of Isabella Bird in Japan  is a little laborious to read as it is long and consisting mostly of descriptions. I must admit that I kept falling asleep and could read barely a dozen pages every night. Therefore reading this book was quite an enterprise, but all worth the effort because it offers a unique view on the Meiji’s Japan. It is a good reading but mostly for the Japanese history fanatics as well as for those who read the manga and are curious to learn more about Isabella Bird herself.

Unbeaten tracks in Japan: An account of travels in the interior, including visits to the aborigines of Yezo and the shrines of Nikkô and Isé, by Isabella L. Bird. London: John Murray, 1885. 136 pages. The book is available for free download on Amazon Kindle, Google Books and Gutenberg Project. stars-3-0

For more information you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBiblioGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

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The Garden of Words

GardenOfWords-dvd-cov“When Takao, a young high school student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, decides to skip school one day in favour of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters Yukino. Older, but perhaps not as much wiser, she seems adrift in the world. Despite the difference in their ages, they strike up an unusual relationship that unexpectedly continues and evolves, without planning, with random meetings that always occur in the same garden on each rainy day. But the rainy season is coming to a close, and there are so many things still left unsaid and undone between them. Will there be time left for Takao to put his feelings into actions and words? Between the raindrops, between the calms in the storm, what will blossom in the garden of words?”

[Text from the dvd cover]

>> Please, read the warning for possible spoilers <<

In an ode to the rain, Makoto Shinkai is offering us an exquisitely beautiful anime telling the story of the infatuation of a teenager for a woman nearly twice his age. Together, somehow, they will find a way — in their innocent and platonic relationship — to heal each other of their sentiments of alienation and doubt that is plaguing them. At the beginning of his life, he is uncertain of the path to follow. She is a young teacher bullied by her students to the point of having health problems. 

They are brought together in a park by the rain and by poetry. In the beginning, Yukari recite a Waka / Tanka from Man’yōshū (Book 11, verse 2,513): “A faint clap of thunder / Clouded skies /  Perhaps rain comes / If so, will you stay here with me?” Later, finally understanding was she said, Takao respond with the following verse (Book 11, verse 2,514): “A faint clap of thunder / Even if rain comes not / I will stay here / Together with you”…

It is impossible not to like a Makoto Shinkai movie. Beside a storytelling that is cute, nostalgic, thoughtful and poetic, we finds nice music and, above all, superb CG animation. The background art is so realistic that, in contrast, the standard animation of the character seems a little odd. It is a short movie but all the more excellent. Highly recommended.

The anime was adapted into a manga (illustrated by Midori Motohashi) serialized in Monthly Afternoon (June-December 2013) and published in Japan as a single volume by Kodansha, in English by Vertical (Oct. 2014, 220 pages, $12.95, ISBN 978-1-939130-83-9) and in French by Kazé (Déc. 2014, 208 pages, ISBN 978-2-82031-879-4). It was also adapted into a light novel serialized in Da Vinci (September 2013 – April 2014) and published in Japan by Media Factory (Kadokawa Shoten) and in France by Kazé (2014, 380 pages, ISBN 978-2-82031-880-0).

The Garden of Words (言の葉の庭 / Kotonoha no Niwa), Japan, 2013, 46 mins; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Makoto Shinkai; Char. Des.: Kenichi Tsuchiya; Art dir.: Hiroshi Takiguchi; Studio: CoMix Wave Films; Prod.: Noritaka Kawaguchi; Cast: Kana Hanazawa / Maggie Flecknoe (Yukari Yukino), Miyu Irino / Blake Shepard (Takao Akizuki), Fumi Hirano / Shelley Calene-Black (Takao’s mother), Takeshi Maeda / Crash Buist (Shōta, Takao’s brother), Yuka Terasaki / Brittney Karbowski (Rika, Shōta’s girlfriend), Suguru Inoue / Mike Yager (Matsumoto), Megumi Han / Allison Sumrall (Satō), Mikako Komatsu / Hilary Haag (Aizawa). Available on bilingual Dvd/Blu-Ray from Sentai Filmworks and currently streaming on Netflix. stars-4-0

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonANNGoogleIMDbNetflixWikipedia ]

Also, you can check the official trailer on Youtube:

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Miss Hokusai 2

Miss_Hokusai-2-cov“Elle fumait la pipe et n’avait pas bon caractère. Mais quel talent !Voici le second volume d’une chronique pleine d’humour à la découverte d’une femme libre et d’une artiste : la fille du génial fou de dessin Hokusai, dont elle partagea l’existence excentrique dans le quartier des peintres et des courtisanes à Edo.”

[Texte du site de l’éditeur et de la couverture arrière]


Page 7

Miss Hokusai (百日紅 (さるすべり) / Sarusuberi / lit. “Cent Cramoisi” qui est le nom que les Japonais donnent au lilas des Indes) a d’abord été publié en feuilleton entre 1983 et 1987 dans le magazine hebdomadaire Manga Sunday avant d’être compilé en trois volumes par l’éditeur Jitsugyou no Nihonsha en 1987, puis en deux volumes par Chikuma Shobō (format bunko) en 1996. Les deux volumes ont été traduit en espagnol chez Ponent Mon et en français chez Philippe Picquier. Ce manga seinen historique, écrit et illustré par Sugiura Hinako, nous raconte des épisodes de la vie de O-ei, la troisième fille de Hokusai, et de son entourage. Il a été adapté en dessin animé en 2015 par Production I.G. sous la direction de Keiichi Hara. J’ai déjà commenté le premier volume et le dessin animé dans un billet précédent.

Ce deuxième volume nous offre quinze histoires relativement indépendantes les unes des autres. On y voit encore le travail que O-ei fait comme assistante de son père,  Hokusai, le célèbre artiste d’ukiyo-e de l’ère Edo. Toutefois, plusieurs des histoires mettent de l’avant des personnages secondaires, souvent dans des aventures amoureuses qui impliquent des courtisanes. De nombreuses histoires ont aussi une thématique fantastique, évoquant ces histoires de fantômes dont la culture japonaise est friande. 

Malheureusement, la nature anecdotique des histoires et le fait qu’il est difficile de distinguer entre eux les nombreux personnages rend la lecture un peu pénible. Chaque récit est intéressant en soi mais l’ensemble manque d’homogénéité et reste un peu confus. 

Étant plus une historienne qu’artiste, Sugiura Hinako n’avait pas de véritable talent pour le dessin. Le style de ses mangas (fait de lignes simples à l’encre avec du zip-a-tone pour les textures) est donc frustre, plutôt grossier et peu attrayant. La pauvre qualité graphique du manga n’est racheté que par le fait qu’il est inspiré du style traditionnel des ukiyo-e (estampes japonaises) et des kibyōshi (romans illustrés) eux-même et qu’il tente de reproduire très fidèlement les détails architecturaux et vestimentaires de l’époque d’Edo et plus particulièrement de Yoshiwara (le quartier des plaisirs de l’ancien Tokyo). C’est cet aspect historique authentique qui rends le manga intéressant malgré tout.

Donc, laborieux à lire, le deuxième tome est beaucoup moins intéressant et organisé que le premier. Cela reste une lecture intéressante mais seulement pour les amateurs de l’histoire du Japon. La façon la plus agréable d’apprécier ce récit reste encore le dessin animé.

Miss Hokusai, tome 2 par SUGIURA Hinako. Arles: Éditions Philippe Picquier (Coll. Picquier Manga / BD ), août 2019. 346 p., 15 x 22 cm, 19,00 €  / C$ 27.95. ISBN 978-2-8097-1419-7. Un extrait est disponible sur le site de l’éditeur. Pour lectorat adolescent (14+). stars-2-5

Vous trouverez plus d’information sur les sites suivants:

[ AmazonBiblioGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

© Masaya Suzuki • Hiroko Suzuki 1996. Tous droits réservés. © Éditions Philippe Picquier 2019 pour la traduction française.

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43th Japan Academy Film Prize (2020)

The Japan Academy Film Prize (日本アカデミー賞 / Nippon Akademī-shō) is the Japanese Academy Awards (Oscars). It is awarded each year by the Nippon Academy-shō Association. The nominees were announced on January 15th and the winners were revealed at the ceremony held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa on March 6th. (Sources: Japan Academy Prize, Google, IMDb, Wikipedia).

See our entries for the previous years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2007.

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Full Awards list (winners in red) after the jump:

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Where I belong

Shabondama-posterAfter committing robbery, Shoto’s flight from the cops takes him to the mountains of Miyazaki in southern Japan where he helps an injured elderly woman. This serendipitous encounter will softly coax him into changing and set him on the path to redemption. The Japanese countryside comes to life through beautiful cinematography in this simple and unhurried reflection on what it means to have a place where to belong.

[ From Cinémathèque québécoise ]

A petty criminal (who was shaped by his environment or bad parenting) do something bad, escape to the countryside, feels guilty, meet with nice people, sees the error of his way and seeks redemption… I must say that Where I belong doesn’t feel very original as we’ve seen this type of movie often in Japanese cinema. However, it is still a nice feel-good movie. It offers a touching story, which is beautifully shot and with good acting. It’s an entertaining flick that offers a good time. Nothing more. The best part is probably that it is showcasing the nice landscapes of Miyazaki and giving us a glimpse at the Shiiba Heike Festival.

Where I belong (しゃぼん玉 / Shabondama / lit. “Soap bubble”): Japan, 2016, 108 mins; Dir./Scr.: Shinji Azuma (based on a novel by Asa Nonami); Phot.: Wataru Miyamoto; Ed.: Shinya Tadano; Music: Yuki Hara; Cast: Kazuyuki Aijima, Mina Fujii, Kento Hayashi. ©2016「しゃぼん玉」製作委員会. stars-3-0

For more information you can visit the following websites:

[ AsianWikiGoogleIMDbJFDBOfficialYoutube ]

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Japanese film festival 

The 36th edition of the Japanese Film Festival will be held from Friday September 20th to Sunday September 22nd at the Cinémathèque québécoise (335 De Maisonneuve Blvd East, Montreal, QC). This annual event is presented by the Japan Foundation in collaboration with the Consulate General of Japan in Montreal. It offers four free Japanese movie screenings (in Japanese with English subtitles; Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis; no reservations required).

Where I belong (しゃぼん玉 / Shabondama): Japan, 2016, 108 mins; Dir./Scr.: Shinji Azuma (based on a novel by Asa Nonami); Phot.: Wataru Miyamoto; Ed.: Shinya Tadano; Cast: Kazuyuki Aijima, Mina Fujii, Kento Hayashi.

[ AsianWikiIMDbJFDBOfficialYoutube ]

After committing robbery, Shoto’s flight from the cops takes him to the mountains of Miyazaki in southern Japan where he helps an injured elderly woman. This serendipitous encounter will softly coax him into changing and set him on the path to redemption. The Japanese countryside comes to life through beautiful cinematography in this simple and unhurried reflection on what it means to have a place where to belong.

Friday September 20 at 6:30 p.m. / 18h30

The Night I Swam (泳ぎすぎた夜 / Oyogisugita yoru): Japan/France, 2017, 79 mins; Dir.: Kohei Igarashi / Damien Manivel; Phot.: Wataru Takahashi; Ed.: William Laboury; Music: Jérôme Petit; Cast: Takara Kogawa, Keiki Kogawa, Takashi Kogawa.

[ IMDbJFDBOfficial ]

In the early hours of the morning in snowy northern Japan, a boy is woken up by the noise of his father leaving for work. Later, the boy deviates from the path to school and heads towards the fish market where his father works. This Japan-France coproduction has no dialogue, no narration, but instead captivates its audience with the power of images and everyday sounds, revealing in poetic silence the charming simplicity of a child’s world.

Saturday September 21 at 2:15 p.m. / 14h15

Drowning Love (溺れるナイフ / Oboreru naifu): Japan, 2016, 111 mins; Dir.: Yûki Yamato; Scr.: Yûki Yamato, Kishu Izuchi (based on the manga by George Asakura); Phot.: Takahide Shibanushi; Ed.: Kenichi Hirai; Cast: Nana Komatsu, Masaki Suda, Daiki Shigeoka, Mone Kamishiraishi, Nazuki Amano, Mickey Curtis, Masami Horiuchi.

[ AsianWikiIMDbJFDBOfficialWikipedia ]

Two of Japan’s rising stars take on the roles of a teenage fashion model from Tokyo and a successor to a family of Shinto priests, portraying together dreams of freedom and fragile teenage love, intense and tragic.

Saturday September 21 at 4 p.m. / 16h00

Summer Wars (サマーウォーズ / Samâ uôzu): Japan, 2009, 114 mins; Dir.: Mamoru Hosoda.

[ ANNIMDbOfficialWikipedia ]

When a timid high school math whiz unwittingly unlocks a rogue AI program able to destroy the real world, calling on the bonds of family and human compassion might be the only way to counter this menacing mayhem. A timely 10th anniversary screening of this Mamoru Hosoda and Madhouse masterpiece which seamlessly blends the beauty of traditional Japan with Superflat colorful computer graphics.

Sunday September 22 at 2 p.m. / 14h00

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FFM 2019


Monday morning, the president of the Montreal World Film Festival, Serge Losique, has announced in a brief press release that “the festival will take a break this year to better prepare the 2020 edition”. The statement mentions Losique’s poor health as the reason for this year’s cancellation of the event. This comes to no one’s surprise as the festival had been declining severely in the last few years and it was plagued with financial troubles. Let’s hope that the festival will indeed use that time to recover and that the gap will not mean the death of this once-famed international event. They also said that more details on the 2020 edition will follow shortly.

I am disappointed because I was looking forward to have my yearly dose of Japanese cinema. However, it was to be expected. I should have made arrangements to free myself to attend the Fantasia festival instead…

Press review:

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