In celebration of her 30th anniversary creating manga, Rumiko Takahashi is exhibiting a collection of her artwork. As of 2008, Takahashi has sold 170 million copies of her works, an achievement few other creators have managed. The exhibit itself will be held from July 30th through August 11th in the Ginza district of Tokyo on the eighth floor of the Matsuya building.
As the gallery show was announced, many companies are releasing products to tie into this special anniversary event. Here you can find an exclusive look at a few of the upcoming tie-ins related to Takahashi's Rumic World. It's been announced that It's a Rumic World will feature over 300 unique items for sale. Additionally, the announcment by Michihiko Suwa, producer of the Inuyasha anime that a brand-new, 30 minute animated special entitled Kuroi Tetsusaiga (Black Tetsusaiga) would be shown exclusively at the gallery. But of course, the main reason for attending is to see the original artwork of Rumiko Takahashi. Never shown to the public before, the gallery will display 150 pieces of art from the four major works of Takahashi's career: Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, Ranma ½, and Inuyasha.
Perhaps most exciting is that Rumic World will be covering the event, live! Messageboard member and frequent news contributor Star Hinson will be attending the event and sending back first hand information on the artwork, the animation and all the brand new products available at the event!
At the opening of the "It's A Rumic World" event, Takahashi was joined by Kappei Yamaguchi (the voice of Ranma Saotome and Inuyasha), as well as special surprise guests, the comedy duo "Renaissance" made up of Louis Yamada the 53rd and Tobiguchi-kun.
The exhibition contained 150 pieces by Takahashi, as well as a sculpture of Kirara and a full-scale recreation of Kyoko Otonashi's apartment from Takahashi's "Maison Ikkoku". After cutting the ribbon to open the exhibition with Kappei Yamaguchi, Takahashi remarked "I'm really happy and grateful. This is the first time I'm getting to see all of these at one time. As I look at them, it brings back memories from when I originally drew these pieces."
Yamaguchi said he was "pleased that so many people came and are so happy!" The members of Renaissance toasted Takahashi, and both said that they were fans of her past works. Some of the first visitors to the exhibition included many elementary and middle school students who were out of school for their summer vacations. Two elementary school students who came all the way from Toda City in Saitama said that they were most excited to see the Inuyasha section, as well as the recreation of Kyoko's room. An exchange student from Taiwan was also in attendance, who mentioned Takahashi's international appeal. There was even a set of second generation fans of parents and their children who both enjoyed Takahashi's work.
New goods went one sale at the event as well, including a new book based on the exhibition, and 1/6 scale Lum figurines, which proved to be quite popular with male fans in attendance.
Takahashi speaking at the opening.
The ribbon cutting.
Yamaguchi and Takahashi opening the show.
Yamaguchi saying a few words.
Rennaisance, Yamaguchi and Takahashi toasting.
The Tendo Dojo signboard and tea kettle.
A torii and katana at the entrance to the Inuyasha gallery.
While It's a Rumic World is a showcase for the artwork of Rumiko Takahashi, other artists works will be featured as well. In 2007 and 2008, 34 artists contributed illustrations of Lum from Urusei Yatsura as part of the new edition books for the series. Never before seen in color, all 34 pieces of art will be on display at the Matsuya building. Additionally, Rumiko Takahashi has completed some new pieces especially for the event.
To promote the It's a Rumic World event Yahoo Japan did a big feature on Takahashi and each of her works, showing many of the pieces that will be on display, and conducting a 100 question "Yes or No" interview with her, which actually proved to be rather revealing. Takahashi touches on each of her major series in the interview and briefly discusses her next work saying that she's not yet sure what it will be about.
Published in Yomiuri Shimbun on August 3, 2008...
Rumiko Takahashi (50)
“It feels as if I'm looking at my photo album”, she said standing before her 150 original works from the past 30 years. The same feeling will occur to fans as well. “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”,“Ranma ½”… I can remember that I was obsessed with her works. You'll even find parents visiting the exhibition with their children.
Takahashi, a mangaka who is shy and doesn’t like to appear in public, has been holding “maybe the first and, at the same time, the last” exhibit at Matsuya Ginza until August 11. Seeing drawings of Lum-chan by 33 popular mangaka is also great and it convinces us that she is a heroine who stands the test of time.
“I think she was just easy for readers to understand. I hadn't considered doing something new that someone else wouldn't have,” she said. In spite of her words, the impact that the woman who brought eccentric slapstick and love comedies into the shonen genre has on the manga world is unfathomable.
She has just completed her youkai action story “Inuyasha” the other day after a 12-year serialization. The serious stories kept readers in suspense until the ending, but she stated with satisfaction, “shonen manga should have happy endings.” Asked about her next series, “I want to write comedies again, but I don’t have a clear idea for it yet.”
At right is the first released image of Kuroi Tetsusaiga (Black Tetsusaiga). The text says that the new anime will debut exclusively at the It's A Rumic World event, and shows Kagome and Rin in a more lighthearted moment, perhaps from chapter 501. As far as the series itself, its worth noting that the anime ended right around chapter 356 of the manga. The Black Tetsusaiga first appears in chapter 503, but has many other chapters which lead to its "birth".
We'll see if this covers the battle with Shishinki or just the Inuyasha vs. Sesshomaru fight.
Kuroi Tetsusaiga is not the only new anime to come out of the event, there is also a special opening animation featuring many of Takahashi's characters, and put together by "the cast and crew behind Inuyasha and Ranma ½ according to Shonen Sunday. In addition to the Kuroi Tetsusaiga special, there will also be a new Ranma ½ anime special entitled Okumu! Shunmin Kou (Nightmare! Insense of Spring Sleep), which is based on a story from Ranma ½ volume 34 by the same name, as well as a special opening (shown here) featuring Ataru, Lum, male and female Ranma, Inuyasha and Kagome. When Ataru tries to get fresh with female Ranma and Kagome, he finds himself on the recieving end of Inuyasha's "Kongosoha" and Ranma's "Moko Takabisha". The Kuroi Tetsusaiga episode will be shown on even days in August, while Okumu! Shunmin Kou will air on odd numbered days. Both are approximately 30 minutes.
This opening created exclusively for the exhibition is the first new animation featuring many of these characters in over a decade. It also marks the first time that that the casts of all three series have appeared together on screen.
All the original voice actors returned to play their characters, and in-jokes include Ranma thinking Inuyasha may have fallen into a cursed Jusenkyo spring, as well as Ranma and Inuyasha (both played by Kappei Yamaguchi) conversing with one another, and Inuyasha trying to attack Lum due to her being an oni. Of course the Maison Ikkoku characters do not appear due to this also serving as an advertisement for Shonen Sunday's 50th anniversary (Maison Ikkoku ran in Big Comic Spirits).
Originally there was slated to be an Urusei Yatsura special as well, but production delays kept it from appearing at the original "It's a Rumic World" event. Instead it debuted during the December 23rd showing in Sendai. For this OVA, the story "Za Shougaibutsu Suieitaikai" (The Obstacle Course Swim Meet) was chosen to be animated, which had originally appeared in manga volume 23.
Moving is always a stressful situation. Especially if you're moving halfway around the world! I've been preparing for my move back to America the past few weeks, and it's just about to come to a head. So I didn't get really excited about the upcoming Takahashi exhibit until I was in Ginza subway station walking toward the Ginza Matsuya department store with my mother and saw the first ad I'd seen for the show in person. That helped the idea sink in for me that for once I wasn't going to just be reading about some amazing event across the world in Japan and wishing I could go. I was actually going.
I saw two more, larger, ads for the exhibit as we neared the department store, and as we walked up the stairs from the subway entrance, right across from Mochi Cream, was another poster and a podium set up with flyers advertising the exhibit, pens with a Kewpie Lum attached to the end, and a very friendly looking young man. I asked him what floor the exhibit was on, and he directed me to the 8th and highest floor of the store. The basement floors of Japanese department stores are almost like a supermarket. A really fancy supermarket. It's a custom here to take back individually wrapped snacks and sweets home to everyone you know when you travel somewhere in Japan, and this floor is usually filled with counters selling delicious (and sometimes strange) looking treats. This is where Ginza Matsuya was selling some designer treats promoting the Takahashi exhibit. Lum Chocolate Laden Torte designed by DEMEL selling for 3,150 Yen, Rumiko Takahashi Chocolate Graphics designed by message de Rose selling for 2,100 Yen, Lum x BABBI Animal Pouch selling for 2,940 Yen, Rumiko Takahashi x BABBI Assorted Set selling for 2,940 Yen, and Lum Macaroons designed by o2 Patisserie and selling for 1,365 Yen.
After getting in the elevator, my mother and I accidentally got off on the wrong floor somehow, but I'm glad we did because I never would have seen the huge posters advertising the event in the stairwells near the escalators if we hadn't. We finally made it to the top floor and past the handbags and women's clothes and were greeted with the biggest Lum and Genma I've ever seen. We quickly bought our tickets (1,000 Yen, about $10) and rushed inside. The first thing upon entering the area was the introduction animation featuring almost all the lead characters from Takahashi's main series. It was playing on a large television screen set into the wall. Turning left from there, a room introducing Takahashi had a brief biography of her on the wall, as well as a message from her to her fans. In a display case opposite that wall you could see some of the supplies she uses when she works. Then came the art.
Each series had it's own room, but the entrance to these rooms that you walked under was a lit up archway featuring panels from the first chapter of each respective series, which I thought was a really nice touch and a good way to introduce you to the room. The first thing you saw was a new drawing of Lum admiring an older painting of herself. And the first actual piece of art I saw as I turned left was from the title page of chapter 17. I was surprised at how PINK Shinobu's hair was in person, and thought it was very interesting that the white stars placed through her hair are actually little paper cut outs glued on top of the final painting. I was also interested in how bumpy most of the paper Takahashi used was since none of that texture usually comes through when reprinted. I was also a little surprised by the size of the works. Each one was about the size of a folder, with the actual art being maybe close to an 8x10. The posters were all poster sized, and felt larger than me. In the center of each of the rooms was a case, one side filled with the different kinds of books the series was printed in, and the other side featured the actual original pages of the manga. The Urusei Yatsura room showed a few pages from the final chapter. The final piece of work in each room was the original drawing of the new art featured at the beginning of the room.
Maison Ikkoku was next, with a newly drawn Kyoko joining Lum. I was very excited to see the entire poster collection and the original painting used on one of the covers of the Soushuuhen with Kyoko holding a red umbrella. I was probably most excited to see what is my favorite piece of Maison Ikkoku artwork though, the poster from the Omoi Collection illustrating the day Soichiro gets lost and Godai finds him. I always though she had painted the background orange and then painted the rest of the work over it, but the paper itself was orange! The Maison Ikkoku area was a little more separated into two rooms, because the second area had the life size model of Kyoko's room. However, before you entered this room, there was a small grassy patch which featured a life-size model of Soichiro's doghouse with Kyoko's broom laying nearby. The model of her room looked like any typical Japanese room, but it was nice knowing what the real thing would have looked like. Just outside her room was a small section of hallway featuring the infamous pink payphone. There was also a 1/50th scale model of the entire Ikkoku building, which was very well made and intricately detailed. A small light shined into where Kyoko's room was located. This room also had two cases, one with printed Maison Ikkoku books, and the other featuring the original manga pages from Kyoko and Yusaku's wedding day.
Next was Ranma ½, and a new Genma appeared in the introduction along with Kyoko and Lum. To the left of the entrance was a case with the Tendo dojo sign and a teapot. To the right was the original image used for the cover of the first English volume when Viz reprinted it in the smaller format. I never realized, however, that it was all part of one image connected with (that image of girl Ranma that's completely pink and only her shoulders and face). It's obvious how time consuming a lot of the art from Ranma ½ must have been to create, given the number of characters in the series, and the numerous pieces she had drawn where it seemed like every character who ever appeared throughout the run of the series made an appearance. Ranma ½ seemed to me to be the smallest of the four series collections, for some reason, but it still had a lot of great artwork. My mother took a liking to P-chan though she's never read or seen the series. The cases in this room also held printed books, and some original manga pages from the final storyline of Ranma ½. The last images before the next room were portraits of Girl Ranma, Akane, Shampoo, and Ukyo from the Memorial Art Book, and the original art for the first new image at the beginning of the room.
Inuyasha was the last series room and the introductory art had the half-demon himself joining Genma, Kyoko and Lum. This room had a large red Tori in it, that had two sutras stuck on it, one had Inuyasha's name and one had Kagome's on it. A real katana sat in a case in the center of the tori, and a large Kirara floated overhead. The Inuyasha room felt brief, as the Ranma ½ room had, but there were still a lot of lovely images. I particularly liked an image that had Naraku, Onigumo, Kanna, Kagura, Koga, Sesshomaru, Kikyo and Inuyasha on it and was originally a poster for Sunday GX. The newer art felt much more flat than the first art in the Urusei Yatsura room had, but it was still gorgeous. The case in this room held original manga pages from the chapter the new anime short was based on, rather than the final chapter. However, there the original rough sketches from the final chapter, were on display and amazing to see.
Around the corner was a short hallway dedicated to the Mermaid Saga, Rumic Theater, Rumic World, and One Pound Gospel. I wish they had left a little more space to show off some more of these pieces, especially Mermaid and One Pound Gospel, but what I did see was very nice. They also had some real boxing gloves in a case. A girl caught me taking a picture of the Firetripper poster and ran over to tell me no photos, but she was the first and while I wasn't being overly sneaky about taking pictures, I wasn't being completely obvious about it. And I hadn't seen any signs saying no photos! There were a few pieces from Mermaid Saga, including the cover from Mermaid's Forest and Mermaid's Ashes and the dvd covers from the Rumic Theater anime. There was no new art in the One Pound Gospel pieces, which was a little disappointing. And only a few pieces for Rumic Theater and World, including the large Firetripper poster, as well as a Maris poster, and a color piece from 1 or W which I'd never seen before.
While there were a good amount of people present, the exhibit didn't feel crowded until the end of the Rumic Shorts hallway where the new Inuyasha anime was being shown. That room exited right into the My Lum room. Then it suddenly felt packed to the gills. The anime was already started when I got to that section, so I headed into the My Lum room to wait for it to restart. I did have to be sneaky with my camera here, so needless to say a lot of my pictures didn't turn out. I really hope they print a book or some kind of special thing later with all the color My Lums, because a lot of these were really beautiful. Some turned out to be originally in black and white, but the majority of them were vibrantly colored. I was about 1/3 of the way through them when the anime showing let out and I decided to head that way. Most of the seats were taken by the time I got over there, so I just stood against a back wall. It played on a big screen tv that was inset into the wall, as the introduction anime had been. There was no opening or ending theme, it just started all of a sudden. It took me right back to watching the series again, the music was great, and it looked really good too. I was unfamiliar with the chapter they based the episode on as I haven't read that far ahead yet, but I thought it was a good episode. More action oriented than interaction from the group of friends, but I don't think that would have made as exciting an episode. I wish I could have seen the new Ranma ½ short too, but I was only able to visit for a day. Hopefully they'll bring them out on a special dvd at some point. It didn't feel like 30 minutes, so I have a feeling it was a regular 22 minute episode. The room was packed full of people eager to see it though, and I certainly enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy how crowded the My Lum room became after the anime showing let out though. The artist's comments were typed up on plaques under the artwork, so everyone lined up and filed by each drawing, but stopped to read the comments. I couldn't make out everything written, so I was more interested in the artwork and was getting a little frustrated at the slow moving pace. After I had seen all the pieces, I headed out into the store.
I immediately purchased a thick softcover program book which contains most, if not all, of the Takahashi pieces shown at the exhibit. Sadly, it does not include the My Lums or screenshots from the animations, would would have been amazing additions to the book. They were also selling the event posters, and postcard sets featuring most of the artwork from the exhibit. The exhibit opened last Wednesday, and I attended on Saturday, and they were already sold out of many sizes of the shirts they were selling, though I still managed to get a couple. They were, of course, selling the newest editions of Takahashi's manga as well as Inuyasha dvds, and tins of individually wrapped candies and crackers that I saw many people buying. The large sake bottles with the four variant Maison Ikkoku labels were not being sold here, but the small Maison Ikkoku sake that comes with a Piyo Piyo sake cup and a large bottle of yellow sake with Lum on the front were being sold. I picked up a few small things, keychains, fans, book covers, and my mom even got a couple for herself, the Kewpie Akane holding P-chan and the Kewpie Oyuki phone charms. The most expensive items for sale were the 1/6th scale Lum Figure for 15,000 Yen and four framed reproduction prints, sold individually at 20,000 Yen apiece. The prints were of Lum, Ranma and Girl Ranma (in a circle, just their heads, boy ranma was blueish and girl ranma was orangeish), (can't remember the MI one right now), and the Inuyasha group (the group sitting in a field, recent art I think). A girl next to me in line bought the Inuyasha one and it was pretty nice, but way too heavy for me to get one home.
All in all it was a really great show. I was surprised to see a few of the pieces were slightly crumpled or had some stains on them, but that was mostly in older pieces, so I suppose it's to be expected somewhat. Most of the works were roughly the same size, but there were a few pieces that were small, and very cute I thought, and also some larger posters. The Firetripper poster was probably the largest poster I've ever seen. It was really interesting to see how her style slowly evolved from the beginning of the room to the end and onto the next series. It was also exciting to see her art so close up, close enough to see the layers of paint, and white out covering minute mistakes. It's such a shame they don't reprint or attempt to get more of the color art out in books, or hold more exhibits like these. I don't see any reason why pieces like Takahashi's shouldn't have their own place in a museum, as it is rightfully art. I'm so glad I had the chance to see so many of her works in person, as well as one of Hiromu Arakawa's, and so many of the other My Lum artists as well. I had a really great day, and I think my mom even enjoyed herself. Although I admit, I did feel pretty guilty that I was there and Dylan and Harley weren't. I tried to enjoy myself tripley as much to make up for it. Three hours well spent!
The first ad for the show in Ginza Station.
A poster on a column in Ginza Station.
Food for sale: Chocolate torte, chocolates, animal pouch, & macaroons
Multi-colored Lum macaroons.
Approaching the gallery in the Matsuya building. The Opening Animation can be seen at left.
The ticket-taker going into the gallery.
The entrance to the UY gallery, a new drawing of Lum.
Kyoko joins Lum at the entrance to the MI gallery.
A new illustration of Genma with the girls at the entrance to the Ranma gallery.
Inuyasha joins the onlookers at the entrance to his gallery.
The new shinsoban editions on sale at the event.
The Lum posable figure and Ten. You can change Lum from her school uniform into her bikini.
Assorted Rumic World candy tins.
Takahashi's drawing tools, apron and cushion.
A few of the Maison Ikkoku exhibt from the Urusei Yatsura section.
Lum awake at night.
A sumi-e painting Takahashi did of Kotatsuneko.
A watercolor of the Urusei Yatsura gang as kids.
Lum at the beach.
The final pages of Urusei Yatsura.
Godai getting out of the hospital with Kyoko.
Godai thinking of Kyoko.
Kyoko losing her bikini top.
After the graveside meeting.
Kyoko under an umbrella.
A scale model of Maison Ikkoku from the front.
And the same model from behind. The light indicates where Kyoko's room is.
A full scale recreation of Soichiro's dog house.
Kyoko's room recreated as full-scale.
Takahashi's original drawings from the final chapter of Maison Ikkoku.
An early drawing from Shonen Sunday.
Akane from the 1992 calendar.
Another Akane drawing.
A group shot of most of the main cast.
Drawings from the final chapter of Ranma ½.
A Shonen Sunday cover showing the main cast.
Inuyasha with Kagome.
Inuyasha and his antagonists.
Some rough sketches and thumbnails from the end of the manga.
Finished pages from the manga.
The entrance to the Inuyasha section.
A drawing from Mermaid Forest.
Drawings done for the Takahashi Anthology DVD covers.