I’ve always found the idea of an apprentice palatable. The idea of learning directly from a ‘master’ on real-world projects is, to me, a better way of doing things. Over my years in university I can’t count how many lazy students (including the lazy student in the mirror) I’ve met who slack off simply because they can’t feel the real world gravity of what they’re working on.
Just about every shounen mangaka has spent time as an apprentice: Eiichiro Oda (One Piece) began as Watsuki Noburhiro’s (Rurouni Kenshin, most notably) assistant, alongside Hiroyuki Takei (Shaman King). In turn, Nobuhiro (among others) were mentored by Takeshi Obata, of Death Note and Hikaru no Go fame. Naruto‘s Masahi Kishimoto claims to have been struck with an inescapable motivation to become a mangaka after seeing an Akira poster (penned by Katsuhiro Otomo), and all of these, including Hiro Mashima of Fairy Tail fame, are spiritual successors to Osamu Tezuka and Akira Toriyama.
And where, you ask, is this lengthy preamble taking us? Towards Yankee-kun to Megane-chan!
Like most everyone else, I’ve enjoyed watching Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. I haven’t seen many other series directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, but I’m well aware he’s earned a reputation for weirdness. Even still, I’m sometimes taken aback by how abstract and artsy Madoka can get, and yet, in contrast to fellow auteurs like Masaaki Yuasa and his Kaiba, Shinbo’s eclectic style actually appeals to a broader range of anime fans than elitists like me.
The holidays are long over and I bet some of you are enjoying brand new anime you received as gifts. For me, this year meant a leap from watching anime on my tiny computer screen to watching it on a beautiful LCD TV. Along with my new TV, I was also excited to pick up a Blu-Ray player. I was all ready to join the 21st century of video until I forced myself to step back. Are Blu-Rays worth the extra cost? Are they worth buying a disc that I can’t watch on my latop? Or should I keep buying DVDs and risk having to repurchase every series I own again in 10 years when I get tired of the poor video quality?