In Translation - "Play" by Monkey Punch

A lost comic from the creator of Lupin the Third, now available in English!

In Translation - "Play" by Monkey Punch

Thanks to donations from readers, I’ve been able to afford an actual scanner! Pictures from my phone are a thing of the past, friends. It’s a brave new world. Thanks a whole bunch, I really can’t wait to share more stuff in (comically) higher quality with everyone :)

To celebrate, I’ve got a real treat for you.

Monkey Punch is a legend among legends. His creation, Lupin the Third, has dwarfed even the creator himself, the rascal thief becoming one of the most enduring and well known Japanese characters of all time. But Lupin isn’t all he did; not even close! And today I’m happy to present an example of that.

Only ever published in a 1969 issue of COM magazine and never reprinted in any collection (as far as I can tell—correct me if I’m wrong!), “Play” is a bonafide rarity from Monkey Punch, the kind that even most Japanese bibliography listings miss. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s great; a funny, fiendishly clever, biting piece of counter-culture irreverence. Like something you’d get from a Mad magazine when Mad magazine was genuinely hip and cool and maybe even a little dangerous. In other words: it’s Monkey Punch through and through!


You can also download it here in big ol' images if you want:

82.51 MB file on MEGA

Music of the Week: Night Food by Ego-Wrappin’

Jazz pop the way it should be: cool, confident as hell, and with the barely restrained energy of a young punk band. Devious ear-worm after ear-worm manage to avoid easy cheeseball traps, singer SLDKFJ’s rich, commanding voice briefly transforming the entire world into some raucous smoke filled den packed with love and violence and drinks. One of those albums I can return to any day of the week.

Book of the Week: Shoutaro's Fantasy World Jun by Shotaro Ishinomori

The avant-garde opus from one of the biggest names in manga history (and a title which, at the time, threatened to beat Tezuka’s Phoenix at its own game), Ishinomori’s free-flowing, symbolist exploration of creative anxiety and his career is the kind of comic that’ll have your jaw on the floor every time you turn the page. Frequently wordless and constantly swerving into radically different styles, Jun feels like comics at their most pure: raw, unfiltered visual expression, unshackled from the chains of narrative expectation or mass-market appeal.

Movie of the Week: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (dir. Mamoru Oshii, 2004)

This challenging, singular sequel deserves every inch as much love as its supremely classic predecessor. An almost overwhelmingly dense cyberpunk noir turned complex thesis on sentience, personhood, and the way we can’t help but give life to all the inanimate objects we create. Blending classical narrative elements—(in)famously, the dialogue is heavily reliant on quoting others—with Oshii’s aggressive post-modern minimalism, this is, for my money, one of the most essential movies of the 2000s. Staggering stuff in every sense.

Have thoughts about anything covered this week? Got a recommendation you’re dying to share? Want to tell me how handsome and cool I am? Leave a comment below!

oh, and I uploaded the movie pamphlet for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (1983) onto the Internet Archive