Tag Archives: junko mizuno

Female Goth Mangaka Blog Carnival: Growing Up on Junko Mizuno

This post is for The Beautiful World‘s Female Goth Mangaka Blog Carnival. Click through to read and participate!

It started with a pop-up.

You might not believe it, or if you’re young enough, understand it. Pop-ups are a practically archaic form of internet advertising: on certain sites, ads used to pop up in separate windows, instead of nestling into new tabs or the edge of the screen. But it’s true: I discovered Junko Mizuno via a pop-up ad.

Exhibit A: The Beginning

Exhibit A: The Beginning

I don’t remember the site I was on. I think it was a personal site, which are also kind of archaic in the days of social media platforms. Back in the day (circa 2002), people had to build their own websites if they wanted to talk about themselves. Nowadays we have multiple platforms that let us talk about ourselves in various ways (hi, WordPress!), but back then, we made our own, and to keep them free, we had to have ads.

The image in the pop-up was a girl in a red sailor uniform with a silhouetted face, her eyes glowing the same color as her skirt, and her pigtails flared upward, ending in fiery plumes. She looked evil as hell — and I loved it.

The pop-up linked to Viz Media’s (nee Communications) web site, and was advertising the beginning of the release of Junko Mizuno’s fairytale trilogy – Cinderalla, Princess Mermaid, and Hansel & Gretel. The girl on the banner was a character from Hansel & Gretel, and I think only Cinderalla was out at the time, but I was excited by the unusual manga art and vowed to buy it as soon as I could get back to Borders. (Yet another relic of the past.) I was a high school freshman at the time, so getting anywhere on my own was a trial.

Thankfully, my parents were used to me begging for trips to the bookstore to buy manga, so on my next one, I found Cinderalla and took her home. I was nervous due to the shrink wrap around the book – denoting adult content – but thankfully my dad didn’t look too hard at it, and the cashier didn’t question a grown man buying a shrink-wrapped book.

I got the book home and devoured it, pored and obsessed over it. I tried out the drawing style and read it again and again. I Googled Junko constantly to learn as much as I could, and kept checking Viz’s site for news of new releases. I debated heartily about what to do with the stickers in the back. Some of them were racy and/or goth-looking and I didn’t want to put them on anything that could be seen by my very Catholic school or my sort of Catholic mom. So I snuck it in where I could and put only a tiny sticker of Junko’s signature skull and cross-bones rabbit on the back of my student ID.

As mentioned, I was a high school freshman then and quickly finding out how crappy it was to be a teenager. My teachers were mean, my peers were assholes, and the self-loathing was settling in. I retreated into my own world to keep myself from losing my mind, and getting to see even a small daily reminder that the entire world wasn’t all uniform-wearing robots was unbelievably helpful. For the next four years, every student ID I got was christened with a bunny skull and crossbones sticker. It was a sort of talisman, and it helped keep me sane.

Junko-Full1_2-Laptop-sig

Exhibit B: Sanity

Remember those personal sites I mentioned? Another web site relic of internets past was the collective, a bunch of sites often hosted on a single domain, dedicated to things like fictional characters, real life celebrities, obscure movies, etc. They were hand-coded by fans, and really only served to help spread information and promote the things they liked. It was a labor of love if there ever was one. And some of the most popular versions of those sites were fanlistings, which strove to bring together all the different fans of a certain thing. Like a rudimentary Facebook fan page, fanlistings asked people to submit their names, emails, and web sites to be listed – pretty much what the name suggests. And of course, for years, I owned one for Junko Mizuno.

I talk about fanlistings as if they don’t exist anymore, but they do. Just click the link above and you’ll be shown tons. But I haven’t used them properly in years, in the same way I haven’t made hand-coded websites since college. But for a good six years (2002-2008, RIP) when I was still making them, I kept up the “approved” Junko Mizuno fanlisting, which I first called “Ideas from Hell” and then “Hellish.” I often had people contact me via the fanlisting, asking to speak to or book Junko, and I had to explain (sometimes very slowly) I did not represent her. The “fan” part was clearly lost on them. (Junko’s then-official site did link to my fanlisting for a little while though, which was kind of amazing!)

I closed my websites in 2009, and the fanlisting along with it. Very few people were keeping up their hand-coded sites by then, social media was becoming prevalent, and Tumblr’s star was just starting to rise. I joined right before I moved to Philadelphia to finish up college and not long after created Fuck Yeah Junko Mizuno, because I couldn’t stay away. Maybe I didn’t run her fanlisting anymore, but I still wanted to keep updated with her work, and what better way then running a multipurpose microblog that provided art and news?

Exhibit C: "Something Blue"

Exhibit C: “Something Blue”

(And if the name sounds weird, sorry, calling a fan Tumblr “fuck yeah [blank]” was pretty popular around the end of the 2000s. I just haven’t come up with a better name for it in the meantime. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.)

In 2012, as detailed in previous entries on this blog, I won a contest with the jewelry designer Morphik and received a free blue leather cuff bracelet with Junko’s piece “Wedding” on the inset. I plan to wear this during my wedding as my “something blue.” A few months later, I got to meet Junko herself at the Kid Robot store in San Francisco, where she signed the cuff and I told her I planned to wear it when I got married. According to the Morphik designer, she as “blown away” to hear that:

This is really special for me as the owner and designer of this bracelet. Thank you for honoring morphik by being selected as a item for such a special day. Junko told me you got to meet her in SF. She was really blown away that you pick her work to be in your wedding.
a comment left on my wedding Pinterest board

When I met her, Junko recognized me as the person who won the cuff and we spoke briefly about the “essay” I wrote to win it. The theme of the contest was keeping art in your everyday life, and I wrote about how putting her bunny skull and crossbones stickers on my student IDs kept me sane throughout high school. She told me she did the same sort of thing when she was in school and hating it, and that looking at the work of her favorite artists made it bearable, too. I was touched to have something like that in common with her. I might have been out of high school for six years at the time, but I like to think learning that made my high school self feel retroactively better.

This entry is already pretty long, and I haven’t even talked about why I like Junko Mizuno’s art so much. But suffice to say I do. Maybe that’s a post for another time…

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Blog ABCs: P through Z – The End!

Fact: updating daily is impossible. Let’s finish out this nonsense.

P is for Pink

Pink is the color my bedroom was painted when I was a wee thing. I whine and moaned and told my parents that I want a red room, but they weren’t interested. I was getting pink walls (and subsequently, a pink bed, since we had enough paint left over) whether I liked it or not.

Fast forward a good 20 years and it’s now one of my favorite colors. As a kid, I knew my favorite color. And it certainly wasn’t pink. As an adult, I hate the question; how could you make me choose?! But pink is definitely up there.

Exhibit A: A semi-bad hair day from college.

Q is for Quiet

I’m not gonna lie, I’m just trying to finish this thing. But damn do I love the quiet. Now hush and let me be.

R is for Reading

I wish I could say I’ve loved reading all of my life, and though I did spend a lot of my parents’ money on books as a child, I almost never read them. They just kind of sat on the shelf and sometimes I flipped through them, but I didn’t really read them. I don’t know what exactly I thought they were good for,  but eh. I’ve learned.

Now, reading is, in fact, my jam. I try to read at least 50 books a year, and though I’m not always successful, it’s not for lack of material. I have a stack of at least ten borrowed books on my desk. I have an iPad with five apps dedicated to ebooks. I abuse my library card. The local book exchange can’t get rid of me. I don’t want to get up and count the number of bookshelves I own, but it’s definitely more than a one bedroom apartment should have.

S is for Sailor Moon

from bishoujosenshisailormoon.com

from bishoujosenshisailormoon.com

Wow, this is kind of a big subject. Let’s start with history.

On a summer’s day in my youth, I was hanging out with my cousin in park near her home in New Jersey, when she asked me an innocuous question “Do you like Japanimation?”

I had no idea what she was talking about, but not for long. She introduced me to Toonami, an after school programming block Cartoon Network showed on weekdays in the 90s and 2000s, which was populated by shows like Dragon Ball Z, various Gundam series, and yes, Sailor Moon. I recognized SM as a show I had sometimes caught very early in the morning years before when waiting to go to school, and happily began rewatching the original series and R season. In the early 2000s, Cartoon Network bought the rights to the S and Supers seasons, and though I knew all about them from doing lots of “research” online, I watched them all anyway, immediately dropping everything when I got home from school to turn on the TV.

To say Sailor Moon was a big part of my childhood would be incorrect. Sailor Moon is a big part of my LIFE. It was one of the first times I had ever seen a show, cartoon or live action, that was almost completely populated by girls and women. Books did it sometimes, but no one really liked those – and as I mentioned, I wasn’t great at keeping up with my reading as kid. But there was Sailor Moon on Toonami along side other cool action shows, with it’s femininity front and center.

And now, 15 years later, Sailor Moon Crystal is being simulcast all over the world, and it and the original series will soon be released on DVD with a new dub for an entirely new generation of girls to find and fall in love with. I’m elated for them.

And for  me too, of course. ;)

T is for Tattoos, planned

Hi, I’m Michelle and I don’t have any tattoos. But I want them.

Junko-Full1_2-Laptop-sig

 

Above is the first tattoo I plan to get. It’s the signature of mangaka and fine artist Junko Mizuno, whom I talked about a bit in the last post. I don’t want the entire picture above, just the bunny skull and crossbones, perhaps on the inside of my forearm. I’d love if Junko herself could sign it and I could then get that tattooed on as well, but I’d like to focus on just getting the tattoo first and seeing if I want to make any alterations later.

eye tattoo

The next one has a bit of an interesting story. When I was very young, maybe in kindergarten or first grade, I found the above drawing in my backyard. It had blown in on the wind and stuck in the grass. At first I thought it was amazing, and I was surprised by the two numbers written on the paper, since I was learning something similar in math class at the time. (That would be, having two numbers and circling which one was the larger or smaller number. Very difficult stuff when you’re six.)

And after 20 years, I still think it’s pretty awesome. I may redraw it to make it look cleaner, but I think I’d still like this somewhere on my body. I’m not sure where yet, but I’ll figure it out.

I’ve always wondered if this was someone’s original design and who they were, and if it’s not original, what it might be from. Watch, it’s just from a CD cover or something. But even if it is, it’s pretty damn cool.

Those two are so far my only planned tattoos, but who knows what else I might stumble across that I want to ink permanently on my body?

U is for Undecided

I really don’t know what to put here. I want to finish this meme. Here, have an appropriate image:

IMG_1891

V is for The Victorian Era

I’m not one to romanticize the past, but if I ever had too, I think I’d probably go for the Victorian Era. Everyone was much kinkier than you’d think and they all had amazing clothing. I mean, there was also a lot of disease and other horrible stuff, but hey. Pretty dresses!

W is for Wonderland

ttl7

You know what else happened during the Victorian Era? My most favorite books ever, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (And What Alice Found There) were published.

Anyone who knows me knows I love these books, and the many pieces of media, et al. based on them. I own a number of editions of both books, books of academic essays about them, a few movie versions, an Alice costume and plenty of memorabilia. And of course American McGee’s games. Slap something Wonderland-themed on your product and I will at least gaze longingly at it. I also know a shit-ton of trivia. Ask me anything. I probably know the answer.

X is for XD

‘XD’ is my emoticon of choice. I will use it in any and all situations, guaranteed. Yes, probably even ones it would be inappropriate for. Sorry, not sorry.

Y is for YA

I think this kind of speaks for itself. I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult fiction for the past couple years. Feel free to read some of my reviews. Next on my list is Soman Chainani’s “The School of Good and Evil.”

Z is for Zat’s All Folks!

Yeah, I’m done. So very done.

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ABCD… JKLMNO…

Wuh-what do you mean it’s not June anymore?! I swear it was just… ten minutes ago, tops!

J is for Junko Mizuno

junko-mizuno_kappa_miyo

Junko Mizuno is a well-known illustrator and mangaka, and I do not suggest Googling her if you’re prudish or squeamish. The above picture is one of her more Safe For Work pieces, and even that is a kappa eating sushi – and if you know anything about kappa, it’s entirely possible whatever’s in those roles is pretty gross. She known for taking cute and girly imagery and turning it creepy and gruesome. Though everything is very stylized and nothing is particularly horrific, her art still often depicts things like naked women, monsters, chopped up body parts, organs and all sorts of unwholesomeness. While depictions of nudity and gore would usually make me assume the artist wanted to be shocking or controversial, with Mizuno’s art, I feel she’s actually depicting her thoughts and feelings. Instead of seeing a painting of a sexy woman with blood on her, I see a woman creating artwork featuring women looking gruesome and cute at the same time. It reads so much more as empowering than titillating.

K is for Kris

And now for something completely different.

Kris is my little brother. We don’t talk a lot, because he’s a college student and lives on the opposite coast, but my little brother remains very important to me. I never felt like some children do when they have younger siblings, that the new child is their “baby,” but I feel I had a big part in raising him, and even if we don’t talk and interact a lot, he remains a big part of me.

L is for ______

I have been racking my brain for something to put in the ‘L’ spot, and I think I’ve finally realized it’s not going to happen. I even originally forgot the letter L when I wrote out a paper list of ideas for this entry. I give up. L is too hard.

M is for Michelle

Hi, that’s me. I’m Michelle. I’m important to me. Or I try to be.

N is for Netflix

Ah, I know, isn’t this list supposed to be of stuff near and dear to my heart, or something like that? Well, I just started using Netflix a little over a month ago and I already really like it. And I totally didn’t just put it on here because I couldn’t think of anything to write about when it came to the letter “N.” Probably.

I guess I’m so into it, not only because it something new to me, but because I haven’t had actual television/cable in years. I’ve mostly kept up with TV through web sites like Hulu which only show you recent episodes if you don’t pay for the backlog. And while I do have to pay for Netflix, I feel like it’s actually worth it. I have unlimited access to their archive, no commercials to deal with, access to original content like Orange is the New Black, and I’m able to catch up on the back log of shows I’ve always wanted to watch while also keeping up with the newer stuff via Hulu.

And for someone like me who enjoys watching lots of terrible horror movies whenever I want, it’s amazing.

So yeah, maybe not as important as my dog or my hometown, but I still really like it. Get back to me in a few months and we’ll see how much I still like it after the honeymoon period ends.

O is for Olive

IMG_1519

Oh my God, let me tell you about my dog.

Olive is my two year old Chihuahua/Jack Russel Terrier mix, and she is my goddamn baby. She’s also the biggest brat in the universe, scratches, bites, growls, and stabs me with her knobby joints, but I will always be her mommy.

My boyfriend and I got her a year and a half ago in mid-2012 when I started my then-second job. I had been feeling lonely all by myself in our new apartment and, missing the two dogs I’d had as company when we were living with his parents, Erik and I came to the decision that we could get a dog once I got another job. I did, we met Olive through some connections with a local animal rescue, and we brought her home the same day we met.

She was very tough to take care of at first, because being both Chihuahua and Jack Russel meant she was extremely nervous but also extremely aggressive. She still has bad days where her inner jerkbutt takes over, but for the most part she’s mellowed out and has become our little butt. She still growsl/barks when she wants water and tries to scratch my face to wake me up in the morning, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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There and Back Again (A Short Overview of the Last Six Months, Part 1 of ?)

I like that this blog still gets about five to ten hits a day, despite the fact that I haven’t been able to update it frequently. Apparently, I’ve written enough posts about My Little Pony and weird sex in Haruki Murakami novels that I no longer need to update. (True facts: I got a search engine hit for the “freshly made ear” quote from 1Q84 today. I’m never going to live this down.)

My life has been pretty busy since I got my second job. I’ve been there seven months now and I feel like that already might be too long. But I’m not going to complain about it here. That’s what LiveJournal’s for. (At least until the Russian’s finally kick us all out.)

Back in June, I was finally able to meet Junko Mizuno at the KidRobot Store in San Francisco. She was there doing a signing for the launch of the 12th Dunny line. I had never met her before, though I had been enamored by her art since my high school years in the early 2000s. Before making my move to The Bay, my fiancee would rib me about how I was only moving here so I could find out where she lived and camp out of her lawn, John Lennon fan-style. Utter fabrications, of course. I’m not that much of a creep, I promise!

If you remember, a few months back, I won a bracelet from the company Morphik along with a small print of Junko’s work entitled “Wedding.” I plan to wear the bracelet for my wedding (whenever that happens) as my “something blue,” and I brought it to Kid Robot for Junko to sign. I was supremely flustered when she remembered me from the contest! She signed the blue leather cuff, I thanked her profusely, we had a little conversation about art helping us through tough times and the guy in line behind me (who was very nice, especially when we were waiting for hours and I was blabbering on about how excited I was) took a picture of us.

Please excuse my face. I was actually ecstatic at the time, but also bad at emoting.

All in all, it was a magical day. I took off from work to go to the signing (please don’t tell my boss), so I was in SF early enough to explore Haight Street, a place know for its hippie love cults, ultra cool shops and a ganjalistic scent that rivals Downtown Berkeley. I was also able to visit Loved to Death, the store featured on the Science Channel’s show “Oddities: San Francisco.” Wednesday Mourning is just as lovely in person.

I didn’t think to take a picture of the signature, but I might remember to sometime within in the next six months. ^^; I also wish I could apologize to the other artist who was signing that day, because I was so high on meeting someone I revered so much, I completely by-passed him when I left the store. Whoops. I hope he knows it wasn’t personal.

And in case you’re wondering, the Dunny in the blind box I purchased was Tara McPherson’s Wiggle Land.

More semi-real updates coming eventually.

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Exciting & Free: Puppies & Bracelets

I’ve acquired two new, precious things recently, and, as luck may have it, they were both free. First, of course, is my puppy, Olive.

Olive is the first dog I’ve ever owned, and I’m so happy and lucky to have her. She’s 9 months old, a chihuahua mix and probably one of the smartest dogs I have ever met. She already knows “sit”, tells us when she has to go out, and otherwise uses her puppy pads – which she learned to use in a matter of days! If I was a better photographer, there would be tons of photos of her all over this blog, so just be glad I’m not.

Olive was free thanks to Maddie’s Fund, a wonderful organization that tries to get as many dogs and cats adopted as possible. We were just lucky to meet her so close to the upcoming adopt-a-thon, where she would have been had we not already taken her home. My fiancee and I plan to donate to the fund when we can.

The second thing is a beautiful cuff bracelet from the up-and-coming jewelry retailer, Morphik.  They recently had a contest in which you told them what sort of piece you’d like to own, and how the artist featured who created it impacted your life. My favorite artist of all time, Junko Mizuno, is featured on the site, and I wrote about how I’d love to wear her “Wedding” print on a blue cuff for my upcoming wedding as my “something blue”, as her art has kept me going through tough times, and that I’d like it to be there for happy ones, as well.

A mock-up from the site. As I mentioned, I’m not much of a photographer.

The bracelet arrived today, and I was stunned by the quality. The cuff is turquoise-dyed leather, extremely durable, but light. The piece on the inset is like a miniature fine art print; it’s detachable, and can be displayed in the small, beautiful box it comes in, complete with a hook on the back, so you can hang it on the wall if you want. This allows for display AND handy storage, especially if you acquire another print and want to start wearing that instead. The prints are held in place with a strong magnet and won’t fall out, though you can pop them out easily through a hole on the back of the cuff when you want to change them.

I’m so glad to have won this piece, because it is extremely beautiful and is going to be playing a big part in my future. I’ve had it posted on my Pinterest wedding board for a while now, so I’ve been hoping it would! I plan to order some more pieces eventually (you know, when I don’t have a wedding to pay for), and I’m especially excited for any new artwork that may find it’s way onto Morphik’s site.

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