Hitoshi Ashinano’s views of Mount Fuji

First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is

– Donovan

What’s most striking to me about Hokusai’s Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji series is its vast variety in motifs. From great waves to farming fields to temples to tea houses to town bridges, like markers on a map the 46 paintings collectively portray the vivid plurality of the Edo everyday. Yet, with the lingering omnipresence of the stately mountain as their nexus – whether taking up much of the surface area or just a spot in the background – an almost metaphysical connectivity is suggested. At the end of the day they are, despite their vastly different environments, all parts of the same sociocultural unity. As suggested by the series title, the mountain is the same but the views of it are all different – from different angles and in different contexts. The result is a collection of scenes that are perceptually linked yet disparate, that are all parts of the same world yet indicate different views of the world.Read More »

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Inside Mari and the other gender

Mangaka Shuuzou Oshimi is an avid explorer of sex, gender and sexuality. From adolescent stories like Avant-garde Yumeko and Sweet Poolside to explorations of sexual desire in Devil Ecstasy and Yuutai Nova, he has repeatedly delved into fascinating questions on the topic in often times uncomfortably intimate detail. Boku wa Mari no Naka, or Inside Mari, is without a doubt his most thorough work in this regard to date. Following twenty-something hikikomori Isao Komori who one morning finds himself inside the body of high school girl Mari Yoshizaki, the series poignantly uses a (seeming) body swap premise to investigate questions of bodily experience, performativity, and the divide between the Self and the Other.Read More »

Retrospective 2015

The annual celebratory extravaganza known as Christmas has just reached its conclusion and New Year’s is only a few days away, as I’m in the midst of an ironically stressful school break. In order to prevent my blog from complete inactivity during this hectic holiday season, I’ve decided to lazily put together some of my highlights in various mediums from the past year. But since I’m not one to actively follow seasonal stuff to any greater extent, this is not going to necessarily focus on things that have come out this year, but instead things that I personally have consumed.Read More »

Shintaro Kago’s violently captivating guro-absurdism

The works of manga artist Shintaro Kago are interesting to say the least. I first stumbled upon him in conjunction with Flying Lotus’ album You’re Dead!, to which he provided the artwork. On their own, these pictures are undoubtedly a real eye-catcher with their peculiar blend of body horror and spiritual imagery, but it’s in combination with the music that they become especially intriguing, as they so immensely encapsulates the album’s overwhelming nature and themes around death and afterlife.Read More »