October 7th, 2009 at 8:52 pm (manga)
Weekly Shonen Jump, a predominantly manga-filled weekly magazine targeting young male readers, celebrated it’s 40 year anniversary last year. Though the Weekly Shonen is now just tip of the iceberg when it comes to serialized weekly and monthly manga anthologies, it’s generally credited with starting the burgeoning trend of serialized hodge-podge comic publications. A little bit of sports, a little bit of cars, some bikini girls (or character art), period stories, mecha, romantic comedy, supernatural, horror, and most any incongruent pairing you can imagine all sleeping under the same cover. The target audience is quite literally all boys.
Though they often feature comics I enjoy reading, the incredibly small snippet of story that you can glean from any given publication is quite often not worth the effort – call me a lackluster fan. In most cases, it pays to wait for a bound edition of the manga to reach publication, foregoing weekly cliffhangers (monthly and bi-monthly for the true masochists), not to mention Bible-esque bulk full of other comics. However, if they are gifts, found abandoned on trains or whatnot, there’s little harm in succumbing to the temptation of reading one. Just looking at all the pretty colors, cool character art, and occasional extras detailed in commuter train ads has nearly broken this perseverance more than once.
So basically, that brings me to the Sept. 18 edition of Young Magazine Weekly. I was interested in the new Rozen Maiden story arc, and it was a very thoughtful gift from Maru. I hadn’t read or purchased a serialized manga publication in over a year, and thus quickly became informed of my ignorance in regard to some interesting technological advances that have occurred in the time elapsed.
As I mentioned, the bikini girls are something of a staple, but why on earth do they have a cell-phone frame? The title reads “For the first time in history! Gravia and movies together via cell phone! Pitacchi.”
A comic-style illustration to the side explains the optimal way to view photos, scanning QR-codes to download supplementary photo and video data, and then using your cellphone display as a window into the 3D world. Silly naughtiness such as looking through their nurse uniforms, changing the angle of their provocative stare, listening to dialog… nothing serious. Some videos are to be played as you pan across the photo, creating something of modern “x-ray glasses” effect, as long as you follow the script, attempting to play into voyeur fantasy.
The photos themselves are perhaps more salacious when left to the imagination, foregoing the models’ occasional annoying demeanor and bad acting. But on the other hand, the additional content was included in the cover price, and expresses a unique merger of digital and analogue worlds. For the uninitiated, let these images serve as a brief introduction to the world of gravia and “idol factory” culture.