I just received a copy of Tze-Yue G. (“Gigi”) Hu’s long-awaited Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building recently published by Hong Kong University Press, and distributed in North America by University of Washington Press ($28.00 paperback and $55.00 hardcover). Gigi, who teaches Asian Studies at the University of Oklahoma’s School of International and Area Studies, is someone I’ve known and liked for many years. Thus, when she asked me to write a blurb for her book, I was quite happy to do so. My blurb, which accurately sums up my opinion, was that:
Frames of Anime provides a wonderfully concise and insightful historical overview of Japanese animation; more importantly, Tze-yue G. Hu also gives the reader a much-needed frame of reference—cultural and historical—for understanding its development.
The Japanese-language edition of Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas, by Fred Ladd (with my assistance) has been published by NTT in a translation by Kumi Kaoru, the author of two books on Hayao Miyazaki. The Japanese title is Anime ga Anime ni naru made (How the Japanese Cartoon Became “Anime”’).
Kumi-san emailed me that “Nihon Keizai Shimbun (the Wall Street Journal of Japan) published a brief notice last Sunday, which he roughly translated (with some editing on my part) as:
Osamu Tezuka’s Tetsuwan Atom, which began in 1963, appeared in the US in the autumn of the same year as Astro Boy, and turned out to be a precedent-setting event for the international reputation of Japanese animation. Mr. Ladd, who directed the English dubbed version, wrote this memoir with the support of Mr. Deneroff, cartoon scholar. It is full of previously unknown stories about the very early days of anime’s English adaptation, such as how the adaptation staff beat their brains to soften the “violence” in Atom so that it could meet American TV standards.
It is available from Amazon Japan here (and presumably other outlets) for ¥2,940 (about $31.50).
Though the official publication date is March 2009, Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas: An Insider’s View of the Birth of a Pop Culture Phenomenon, Fred Ladd’s personal history of anime and his involvement in it, is now available and is priced at $35.00. (I am the second author, though save for writing some sidebars and doing the index, my role was mainly editorial.) It is available directly from the publisher, McFarland, and from a number of online retailers both here and abroad, including Amazon. (The latter indicates that copies will not be shipped until after December 24th.)
The above image of Osamu Tezuka playing the accordion (he apparently liked to surprise guests by showing off his musical talents doing this) is one of several supplied by Tezuka Productions that got into the final book. However, a number did not. Among the latter is the drawing of the right of Tezuka with Tetsuan Atomu (Mighty Atom)/Astro Boy.
The above is from Tezuka’s autobiographical manga, Paper Fortress, and Jungle Emperor obviously refers to the first TV version of Jungulu Taitei Leo (Jungle Emperor Leo)/Kimba the White Lion.