Yes, I know that we're all desperately awaiting news of the Death Note movie, but in the meantime there's this.
Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata's second collaboration Bakuman is being dramatised for the silver screen. It will appear in 2015.
Bakuman is the semi-autobiographical story of two Japanese school-boys trying to make it in the world of manga creators. Ohba and Obata undoubtedly pooled their own experiences into making it as realistic as possible.
Takeshi Obata will be personally involved in the Bakuman film, as a consultant staff member. No word as yet whether Ohba will also be on board.
It will be directed by Hitoshi Oune, known for the movies Moteki, Koi no Uzu and The Vortex of Love.
Already cast in the title roles are Takeru Satoh (Mashiro Moritaka, aka Takeshi Obata in disguise) and Ryunosuke Kamiki (Akito Takagi, aka a very good manga writer like, for example, erm, Tsugumi Ohba).
The actors have already co-starred in the upcoming film Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen (Eng: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno) another manga movie adaption. Their roles are, respectively, Kenshin Himura and Sōjirō Seta. Which should be deliciously confusing, when both films are out!
Bakuman follows the fortunes of Mashiro, a talented teen artist determined to make it as a mangaka. He co-opts his classmate Ryunosuke to write the stories.
Together they traverse the roller-coaster journey involved in breaking into the tough manga industry. While most definitely a story, with plot-lines and all, the manga also serves as a kind of career guide, for people seeking to follow in their footsteps.
Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata began their collaboration on Bakuman in 2008, two years after Death Note was over. It ran for 176 weeks, with chapters serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump, ending in April 2012. Bakuman has already spawned an anime adaptation, which was aired between 2010-2013.
Is anyone excited about this? Personally I'm quite meh about it.
Back in the day, I rushed to grab the first of the twenty volume paperback Bakuman manga. I thought I'd be reading something akin to Death Note. I only made it as far as the third installment in the collection before giving up.
It wasn't that the story was bad. Quite the opposite, as would be expected by this pairing. But it certainly wasn't Death Note, and the overt sexism burned.
Nevertheless, my teenage nephew read on to the end with all signs of enjoyment. I guess that I wasn't the target audience. How about you?
Manga artist Makoto Niwano took the young Obata under his wing, mentoring him and allowing him some practical hands on experience under his guidance. It was probably on works like The Momotaroh, which was being published around that time.
By 1989, the executives at Shonen Jump felt that Takeshi's art had matured enough to give him his big break. That came with Takeshi Obata's debut series Cyborg Jii-chan G, which he both wrote and illustrated.
That was followed by Arabian Majin Boukentan Lamp (1991), Rikijin Densetsu (1993) and Ayatsuri Sakon (1995). Each of those had their own writer, Takeshi supplied only the artwork.
His name was really made in 1998, when Takeshi teamed up with Yumi Hotta for the wildly successful Hikaru no Go.
The coming of age tale earned Takeshi and Yumi a joint Shogakukan Manga Award in 1999 - one of the genre's most prestigious accolades.
Takeshi Obata's fame, whilst working Hikaru no Go, was such that he was one of the artists chosen to contribute to Adidas Manga Fever - an anthology of stories created to mark the FIFA World Cup 2002.
In addition Shueisha asked him to contribute the artwork for its manga Hajime.
In 2003, Obata and Hotta took home the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize's Creative Award for their manga series. It must have seemed that nothing in Takeshi Obata's career could ever top thatmoment.
And that was when he was approached to illustrate Death Note.
I think it's pretty safe to assume that this has been the highest point of an already soaring career to date. It assured world wide celebrity for the artist and, amongst other things, spawned this blog. It also saw Takeshi nominated for the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Artist (comic/manga industry's equivalent to the Oscars), but he unfortunately lost out to Chris Ware for Acme Novelty Library #18. (Who?)
In addition to the main manga serialization of Death Note, Takeshi Obata also provided the cover artwork for its spin-off novels: Another Note and L Save the World. But we won't hold that against him.
Since Death Note, he's never been out of work. There was
Blue Dragon: Ral Ω Grado (2006), Hello Baby (2007), Urooboe Uroboros! (2008), Otter No 11 (2010) and now All You Need Is Kill (2014).
In the middle of all that, he teamed up again with his Death Note co-creator Tsugumi Ohba to produced their how-to-be-a-manga-writer-and-artist guidebook disguised as a manga story - Bakuman. It debuted in 2008 and, though its never received anything like the attention of Death Note, it's been fairly well read.
And that's about it! It turns out that there wasn't much to learn behind the art after all, unless anyone else here has any facts or gossip that they want to share. In the meantime, here is Takeshi Obata doing what he does best.
Watch Takeshi Obata at Work on Bakuman
Lucky Death Note fans in Japan will be able to buy the re-issued manga from today.
Shueisha have published these versions to tie in with the 10th Anniversary of Death Note first appearing in Shonen Jump. But other than the the novelty value, there's nothing much to recommend it.
The story told is precisely the same as other editions of the Death Note manga. There are no new chapters nor tweaks in the original story.
However, each volume - which will be released monthly - will come with a bespoke character card.
They'll add up to seven overall. When placed side by side, those cards create a long mini-poster. The same effect will be achieved by lining up the front covers of the manga volumes too.
In addition, these volumes are available in eBook form, as well as the usual paper editions.
We know him best as the artist behind Death Note, but Takeshi Obata has now taken on another project about a young man trying to outwit his adversaries.
There's a supernatural element too. However Keiji Kiriya is not armed with a Death Note. He's got a gun.
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