Welcome to Bodell’s Bizarre Adventures where I do shit and tell you about it! This is my first blog in this ‘series’ and they will come out as and when I do more shit (so hopefully more to come in September when I get back from Japan)!
Last weekend and friend and I drove down to London to visit some friends of ours who moved down there a few months ago for work. We had a great weekend, visiting the city on the Saturday and then going back to the house and having a bit of a party. I distinctly remember standing at the top of stairs watching two of my friends trying to put a third friend to bed whilst he stood in his doorway, wearing only his underwear, arguing… but at no point during this 5-minute argument did he stop dancing. This culminated in the very drunk friend breaking the door handle to his bedroom, which wasn’t great because the landlords were due to inspect the house on Monday.
Party stories aside, on the Sunday, we took the tube into the city and visited the British Museum as it currently has a manga exhibition running (unless you’re reading this after 26th August). We took our time getting to the exhibition, but once the three of us that went entered, my inner weeb couldn’t help but get a little excited… okay it was very excited! Typically, I’m more of an anime watcher than a manga reader because it’s easier for me to become invested that way, but I always love learning about all areas of both mediums.
The entrance had videos of various people in the manga industry talking about the medium and what it means to them, the first being Osamu Tezuka who is fondly known as the godfather of manga. Once you passed this section, you could see that the front and back walls had giant prints of various manga characters, along with picture frames containing original pages that the respective mangaka illustrated. I then moved left to find what almost felt like an indoor courtyard with walls surrounding it with various manga pages and TVs playing the anime adaptations of the manga.
After you leave this section there are various walls which were dedicated to different genres, such as sports, horror, sci-fi, and even a wall on homosexual relationships as shown in manga. Oh and there was also a massive fuck off colossal titan head.
As you approached the far wall, you come across an Ghibli exhibit which is playing clips from various movies on one screen, and clips from the Studio Ghibli documentary film, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of this so I can’t show that image, so here’s a GIF of my favourite scene in The Tale of Princess Kaguya which caused me to stop and stare blankly when it came on.
Behind the Ghibli exhibit, there were three pieces of artwork created by Takehiko Inoue (creator of Slam Dunk, Vagabond, and REAL) which were each of a character from REAL that inspire him, specifically for the exhibition. If you haven’t heard of REAL, it’s a sports manga following wheelchair basketball and what Inoue-sensei is currently working on. I’ve never read it myself, but I took time to take in the draftsmanship that went into each masterpiece. Alongside the works was a video of Inoue creating the artworks along with a paragraph about the series and the characters. Unfortunately, we also weren’t allowed to take pictures of these either so you’ll just have to get yourself over to London if your a big Inoue fan… or just wait because I’m sure they’ll become available somehow.
There were also two bookshelves filled with manga in both Japanese and English for you to read freely, as well as multiple QR codes to get free manga if you had the Shonen Jump app (which I don’t, and I had no internet to be able to download it).
I bought the exhibition’s book which was supposedly exclusive to the exhibition (although I’ve seen it on Wordery for cheaper) and been slowly working my way through it. It goes through the origins of manga and Japanese history so if that interests you, see if you can find it online! It looks like this:
I had a great time at the exhibition and recommend it if you’re able to get yourself to London, UK before 26th August 2019. If you want to book tickets, click here.