Wednesday, January 2, 2013

     

Inspirational Reads 2012

When I'm interviewed and asked what inspires me, I usually simply say "travelling", or "art". It's hard to name specific works by someone that's not mainstream for it to mean anything to anyone, so I usually don't.

But if you'd ever been curious, here's a closer look -- a list of books comprising mainly of mangas, and then some novels, artbooks and photobooks that have been inspirational for me in 2012.


Omae ga Sekai o Kowashitai nara by Fujiwara Kaoru

I'm starting off with this manga because the last shoot I did in 2012 was inspired by the art in this series. 

Vampires! I like vampire stories. But I would love this story even if there weren't any vampires at all.

When I first read this many years ago, despite how I loved it, I was left confused by the ending. After a long series of readings, from Hagio Moto's The Heart of Thomas, to her interview mentioning Hermann Hesse's works, to reading Hesse's Demian, and then to finally end up somewhere with the demiurge, I finally realized that the child who created Kanna and Ren's imperfect destinies in this was actually an echo of the Demiurge creating an imperfect world. And suddenly everything clicked into place, it was like a mini epiphany of sort and left me in wonder. That echo, whether intentional or not, to have my readings come a full circle to explain an earlier unknown made it feel so... fateful. And for that reason alone this story is special to me. 

But well, I also love angsty, helpless, predestined sad stories.

My favourite thing though, is Fujiwara Kaoru's artwork, I love her style so so very intensely. I've yet to finish processing the shoot inspired by her work, but I'm really excited about them so keep an eye out for when I get around to posting the photos, I hope you guys will like it. :D

She also has an artbook titled "Tomei na iro shita Shojo no Tame ni" but I can't seem to find a link of it online.

Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura

One of my all time favourite artists. Intense fight scenes, kickass characters of both sexes, totally badass weapons, and... clear depiction of people losing their body parts.

I get such conflicting feelings reading his work because it's so gory and messed up and... wrong... but beautiful at the same time.

If you've no time for manga, there's this: The Art of Blade of the Immortal.

I really want to do a BotI shoot, something I'll perhaps attempt in 2013 if I can find the cosplayers. 

Warnings: Violence/gore/nudity

Warnings #2: If you decide to check out more of Samura's work, just a fair warning, he has some really really really messed up stuff (adult/torture/gore I can't even adequately say). Keep out of reach of children.


Genshin - Toshiaki Kato

Toshiaki Kato is so obscure I couldn't find a proper cover pic of Genshin on Amazon Japan. -_-

His work is kinda like an art nouveau version of Ayami Kojima's, I'm also often reminded of Suemi Jun (for the angels), Yoshitaka Amano and Gustav Klimt (I mean, gold, hello).

But it could just be because I like seeing artists I like in every other artist's work that I also like? Wish I could get my hands on more of his books, but alas there aren't many.



Captive Prince by S. U. Pacat

Kind of a really intense, fast-paced, focused and homosexual version of Game of Thrones. (I might just be biased because GoT doesn't seem to know where it's going.)

A lot of plotting and tension and stunning characterizations which I'm super in love with. Reading Captive Prince makes me wish I could write.

Can't wait for the final book vol3 to be out soon.

Warnings: Violence/adult situations, read at your own peril for there be some boy on boy loving.

*There be a real summary on Amazon! Whee.

The Seventh Swan by Jaida Jones

No photo preview! So make do with my mug cover placeholder.  

It's a fairytale inspired by a bunch of fairytales. Starts off a little slow methinks, but builds up quickly, the rest reads like a dream.

Summary in author's words:

Based on a whole lot of fairy tales (including The Tinder Box and The Twelve Dancing Princesses, as well as the tale from which the title is taken). A tale of two brothers trying to fix a curse.


The Fairytales of Hermann Hesse

I saw this at one of Yale's bookstores when I was just getting into Hesse's works. At that time I had just read Demian and Siddhartha, and was attempting The Glass Bead Game.

This collection is a pleasant surprise for me, for that was a time when I have not read any fairytales in a while, and it made me curious what sort of stories someone like Hesse would spin. The stories gave me a lot of visuals and once in a while I find myself re-reading the book for inspirations. Follow the Amazon link for editorial reviews that actually tell you something about the book. :D



Hikaru no Go by Hotta Yumi / Obata Takeshi

Inspirational no matter how many times I re-read it, always!

Maybe because the path to becoming the best is something we can all relate to as we work hard in whatever we choose to do, love and are passionate about.

Alongside with Omae ga Sekai o Kowashitai nara, Hikaru no Go is one of those mangas I find myself re-reading every year.





Claymore by Yagi Norihiro

I saw the anime a few years ago, liked it, but put off attempting the manga because I really hate series that take forever to update. For some reason I finally caved in 2012 and checked it out, love it is all I can say really I guess.

Pretty lady monsters everywhere fought by badass pretty ladies, can't complain.

Warnings: Violence/gore/nudity






Liar Game by Kaitani Shinobu

Psychological, kinda like Death Note in some ways except Akiyama is always winning, but that's ok cuz he's hot badass.













Noblesse by Son Jae Ho / Lee Gwang Su

Vampires! Action! Pretty art!

I'm only bothered by how I keep thinking Rai is the main character but more often than not it feels like the focus is on Frankenstein. Not that I'm complaining because Franken's awesome anyway. Just feels like Rai should play a more active role. 

But regardless! Pretty boys, fantasy, action and sci-fi, all my favourite things rolled into one, I approve.

Also Tao reminds me of tobiee.




The Breaker series (Part I, Part II) by Jeon Geuk-jin / Park Jin-hwan

Action! Again! I don't know why but I just really like action stories in all sorts of mediums. I swear I'm not a violent person. ._.

This story is a bit interesting (almost amusing?) to me cuz it totally adopts Chinese wuxia stuff from Jin Yong into the modern world and it works.

Warning: Violence






Vinland Saga by Yukimura Makoto

Vikings! A little Berserk-ish but the story kinda spiraled out weirdly. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet cuz it hasn't been that many volumes, but, warriors! Fighting! I also really like the chapter cover arts, quite a number have gone into my inspirations folder. 

Warning: Violence








Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

It's McQueen. Everyone buy a copy, go.















Miles Aldrige: Acid Candy

One of the things I don't do much is talk about my favourite photographers or films. Because try as I may, paintings and drawings just inspire me much more than photographs and movies can and I really don't know why.

But the colours and fantasy in Miles Aldrige's works is something I have always loved, this is one of my favourite photobooks in my collection.  Warning: Nudity


Not much photobooks at all I'm afraid. I do buy them, but impact on me in 2012 wise... not so much. Maybe there'll be more in 2013? Stay tuned for that post next year. :D


PS: For the curious, I certainly did re-read Gundam Wing's mangas lol. 

11 comments :

bcarr said...

Post can't be real, there is no Gundam Wing in this list.

J. Luiz said...

Great selection! I'm gonna check the ones I'm not familiar yet! have a great 2013!

Zhang Jingna said...

LOL Omg Brad... I think somewhere in my contract with Life it says I can't watch Gundam Wing more than 100 times in 10 years.

Reginald Atkins said...

awesome peek into an incredibly creative mind (secondarily I love Gundam Wing)

Serena A, said...

Yay, manga recommendations! I am so going to check those out. =D

Lacelette said...

Eeee so awesome to see what makes you tick! Yay action! I don't know if you really enjoy horror/phsycological stuff, but if you ever find the time try giving Uzumaki by Junji Ito a read: http://www.mangahere.com/manga/uzumaki/ I read it a couple of years ago with Dir en Grey blasting in the bg, which I'm sure only amplified the messed-up atmosphere of this series, lulz. But regardless, I found myself paying a hell of a lot more attention to detail after ogling at the art style.
Your Toshiaki Kato post intrigues me, seeing as I have always been a bit of a rabid Kojima fan. Might just have to get my dirty little hands on one of his books... Thanks for posting this, it was really interesting! :)

Zhang Jingna said...

@Lacelette: Toshiaki Kato -- if you google image some you can see more of his works, it's not as dynamic as Kojima's work, but I really like it ._. And nooooooo Junji Ito's stuff are too scary!!! I saw Uzumaki's movie and one random day years later I was bored and went to read synopsis of his works on wiki and I couldn't sleep -_______-

Philip Ho said...

I like the breaker very much even though part 2 is a bit draggy. for japanese works you should try MxO, Immortal Regis, Beelzebub. for Korean works, try God of High School, Girls the Wild n Veritas. Tower of God n Tao are not bad as well. Korean manhwa is very nice.

Tabitai said...

I LOVE Noblesse!! I'm so glad someone else has been reading it too (every time I mention webtoons to my manga reading friends, I get funny looks).

Happy new year, by the way!! I hope you have some spare time for us regular folk in Japan after (or before) meeting Sugizo -hopeful eyes-

Risata said...

i love claymore a lot too <3 i'm always curious about the transformations and how do they look like than xD;

Ah! Happy New Yeare :D

Geraldine Wee said...

Blade of the Immortal! Hikaru No Go! Two of my favourite mangas. Darn. Stopped collecting mangas ever since having kids. Lol. Gotta be fair- ian had to stop collecting his comics too. :) Was v happy to see u on telly the other day and am sure wherever you are, you will remain the inspired inspiration that you are. - Geri