Last Saturday was the finale of the inaugural Nakano Anime Bunkasai ("Nakano Anime Culture Festival") at Tokyo's Nakano Zero complex, bringing the week of exhibits and talk shows to an epic close with the all-star, 113-song (!!), 5 1/2-hour (!!!) Anison Power in Nakano concert.
Wow. Just...wow. This "Cyborg 009" page was one of the original pieces of Shotaro Ishinomori art on display Sept. 20-27 at the 2008 Nakano Anime Bunkasai.
All week, the Nakano festival celebrated the 70th anniversary of the birth of Shotaro Ishinomori with a three-part exhibit: his world-record (the Guinness Book confirmed it!) total of manga works, vintage merchandise for them, and a gallery of his original art. The exhibit would close a couple of hours before the concert's start, so Spoony and I headed down early to see it. I wore a Cyborg 009 T-shirt from the Ishinomori Mangattan Museum, one of my favorite places on the planet...and was tickled to find that the contents of the exhibit were actually on loan from there.
Another of the "Cyborg 009" pages on display--and one of the most meaningful: where Ishinomori-sensei had originally intended to end the series. Publisher pressure forced its return, and "Cyborg 009" eventually became his lifework. Signage at the exhibit explained that he'd planned to have a final "Cyborg 009" story appear in 2000. That sadly did not come to pass; he died in 1998, just days after turning 60.
My first encounter with anything Ishinomori--Ishimori at the time--came in 1980 as an exchange student in Tondabayashi, just learning to read. In the little bookshop on the local Daiei's second floor, with Aniki's "Moero Arthur" opening theme "Ore wa Arthur" looping nonstop from the toy department beside it, I was sliding various manga tankoubon volumes off the shelves for a peek at their covers...and was abruptly floored by the cover illustration of Akita Shoten's edition of "Cyborg 009" #1. It was like I'd known this image in a previous life and suddenly remembered it. Nothing has startled me like that since, but several of his manga really resonate. He was a genius, and it was great to get to see some of his actual art in Nakano, right up close.
Holy cats, did I feel old...
Part of the exhibit gathered LP and EP records for the animated and tokusatsu versions of a slew of Ishinomori creations. Most were in a glass showcase, but a neat Columbia-sponsored corner was set up with a phonograph, three LPs, and a sign inviting people to try playing them to see what it's like.
In the gallery of original art, a few people started shooting photos. Until then I'd just assumed that photography wasn't allowed, but, nope, there weren't any signs forbidding it--so I shot a few too, and then, with closing time just minutes away, shot a couple of quick videos of the room. They're not great, but they're short, and in case they might be of interest...
The rest of the day turned out to be pretty darn Ishinomori-riffic too, with Anison Power in Nakano opening with a cut from the Cyborg 009 Symphonic Suite, and presenting an Ishinomori memorial portion that included Ichirou Mizuki singing two verses of "Genshi Shounen Ryuu" opening theme "Genshi Shounen Ryuu ga Yuku"--his anime debut, and the song I'd hoped most to hear him sing live someday! And hey, when MoJo sang "Seiun Kamen Machineman," Machineman himself, Osamu Sakuta, even showed up!
Anison Power had other surprises too, and a parade of great performances. More about it soon (need to identify a couple of songs first...)!