A collection of short works by dôjinshi artist Tomoyuki Saito (who has lived in San Francisco for many years), this book mostly consists of a short-lived 4-page feature from Dengeki Daioh magazine, in which Saito describes the United States for Japanese readers. These “essays in manga form” cover American holidays such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day, the Powerpuff Girls and other pop icons, American obesity, and the comics and anime scene circa 2000. Saito is a talented chameleon capable of swinging between several art styles (but always featuring lots of cute girls), and her observations are witty and personal. The rest of the book consists of dôjinshi, often dealing with American pop culture.
“As long as there’s sex scenes, I can draw whatever I want” might be the motto of Naoki Yamamoto, an offbeat seinen manga creator whose favorite American artists include Gary Panter and Robert Crumb. Suekichi, a college student who works at an avant-garde theater troupe, inherits a fortune in trust from his dead grandfather, but his future plans are complicated by a girl who might just be after his money: the inscrutable, protean, sexually insatiable Aya. The result is an occasionally pornographic comedy of love, money, and marriage, with a large supporting cast of weird characters. Yamamoto’s art has a gangly, hand-drawn look, and the whimsical, self-referential story provides many opportunities for surreal, artsy humor (one of the minor characters wears a mask from the 1980 cult film Forbidden Zone). Loosely plotted but enjoyable and unpredictable. Genius Doctor: Black Belly Miss
Anime/manga/multimedia franchise set in a future society, where humans have retreated to domed undersea cities and everyone rides Jet Skis through canal streets. The manga focuses on a different main character than the anime does: Ai, a school-skipping Jet Ski test driver who becomes involved in an intrigue involving terrorists and female secret agents in skimpy bodysuits. Shiki’s art is slick and detailed as always, with sleek, gleaming machines and sharp-featured human characters. The story is also well told and remarkably coherent by his standards. Unfortunately, it ends abruptly, and ultimately functions merely as a teaser for the anime.