Monday, March 01, 2004


Pretty Girls 1000 [Puriti Gaaruzu 1000] by Ryo Mizuno, one of the books I bought at the SF Kinokuniya, is not manga per se, but it is cartooning. The title is definitely a misnomer: while it does consist of a large number of drawings of girls (there may well be 1000, though the lack of page numbers makes it difficult to count), they are not pretty. Instead, the face or head of each girl is grotesquely distorted in a different way. Natsue, for instance, where her eyes should be, instead has two mouths from which large tongues protrude. Kino's eyes and nose are replaced by small panda faces. Moemi's head is a single gigantic breast with ears and hair attached. Ayuna's "head" is a wooden post with three oversized pairs of lips attached, and so on. This may sound reminiscent of Basil Wolverton, but (aside from the fact that the art style is quite different), Mizuno's aim doesn't seem to be to gross people out. Instead, it's... well, I don't really know. The obsessive nature of his project, and the attention to detail, suggest a fetishistic interest, but it's hard (though not impossible) to believe that Mizuno is turned on by all of these various deformities. The little paper sleeve around the book's jacket calls it "Yabai! Demo fushigi ni kawaii," which means something like "Awful! Yet strangely cute," and that's sort of my impression as well.

The price is 1,100 yen (Kinokuniya charged $15.40), the ISBN is 4-04-853467-X, and the publisher is Kadokawa Shoten.


Japanese names, like Chinese names, have the family name first, and the given name second, and that's how I've been writing them up till now. However, I've been noticing that when the Japanese themselves write Japanese names in romaji (our alphabet), they usually put the given name first and the family name second: not just when writing for the benefit of Westerners, but in publications that are entirely in Japanese. So I'm switching over to this system, beginning with the post above (thus Ryo is the artist's given name, and Mizuno is the family name). If and when I have time, I'll re-edit earlier posts to make them conform to my new policy. Until then, you'll just have to bear in mind that if I talk about, say, Kotobuki Shiriagari, it's the same person whom I earlier referred to as Shiriagari Kotobuki.

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