Though, technically, the actual anniversary won't be until sometime this September, which is when Sukeban Arashi debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump back in 1974, the man himself has been celebrating it since the end of last year, so why wait any longer? Also, I'm winding down to Review #150 & to counteract the (potential) horror of that title I want to celebrate & review stuff that I like... Which I've already been doing since Champion Joe, but whatever.
When Masami Kurumada celebrates his 40th Anniversary as a manga-ka, he certainly doesn't do it in a simple fashion. For example, this isn't simply a "40th Anniversary"; this is the "Masami Kurumada Hot-Blooded Art of Painting 40th Anniversary"! Also, this isn't a simple celebration, & then nothing, but rather the entire year is seemingly filled with all sorts of Kurumada-related news. The coolest of all, though, is that fact that you can send your thanks & congrats to the man himself!
That's right, Masami Kurumada is taking celebratory messages from fans all over the world! Regardless of what language you speak, though Japanese, English, & either Spanish or Portuguese are the most common ones, you too can congratulate the man himself for being a part of the manga industry for as long as he has. Simply put in a "Handlename" & say what you want! Personally, though, I'd refrain from demanding he get back to Saint Seiya Next Dimension; there are already tons of messages like that & it honestly sounds kind of selfish & non-celebratory. I mean, come on, I think the man knows that people want more of that manga, but at the same time I think he's earned the right to draw whatever he wants.
Now then, here's a sample of what's already happened or been announced in relation to this Anniversary:
•Kurumada's entire catalog of manga that Shueisha owns, including their "Home-Sha" re-release of B't X & all of Kurumada's one-shots & short-lived manga, are now available digitally in Japan.
•Saint Seiya TV is getting a Blu-Ray release this year across two sets, one this June & the other in September. Sure, it's only an upscale, but it's something/
•Bandai's line of Saint Seiya Myth Cloth figures is celebrating its own 10th Anniversary this year as well, no doubt exciting fans of those (extremely well-done) figures.
•June 21 marks the theatrical roadshow debut of Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary, a full-CG re-imagining of the Sanctuary Chapter of Saint Seiya. Featuring a (beautiful) theme song created by Yoshiki (of X Japan), as well as simply looking really...damn...good for a CG anime movie, this is easily the most anticipated part of the celebration.
•On the same day as the movie's debut, Toei Animation will be holding a special exhibition of Kurumada's works.
•A new manga drawn by Yun Kouga (Gestalt, Loveless) debuted this past January in Champion RED magazine called Kurumada Suikoden ~Hero of Heroes~, a crossover manga featuring "all his heroes". Though, as of the the three chapters out presently, there are some notable exclusions (like anyone from B't X), the fact that Jingi Kikukawa & Toukichi Kuroda from Otoko Zaka, Zaji from Raimei no Zaji, and even the Chaos Emperor from Fuma no Kojirou have all been seen already really does make it seem like this crossover will stay true to its promise of "all".
•Finally, Masami Kurumada is picking up where he left off with the title that was meant to be his Magnum Opus, Otoko Zaka. At present it's only scheduled to run for eight chapters, giving the manga its first new volume of content in 30 years, but I personally doubt that's all Kurumada's aiming to do.
Naturally, as a fan of Kurumada's works in general, I still hope for more to come from this year-long anniversary celebration, like maybe one last season of the Ring ni Kakero 1 anime to finish the manga's story, maybe an anime adaptation of Otoko Zaka to help promote the manga's return, or even a B't X anime reboot, seeing as the manga & Monthly Shonen Ace itself are celebrating their 20th Anniversaries this year. Regardless, I have eight review slots open until I hit #150 and while I will be taking my time to get to that milestone, so no cramming everything into one month, every title I review up until that point will be Kurumada-related. Similar to JAM Project March, though, I will reveal what I'll be reviewing as part of this celebration, complete with what Review # each of them is:
142. Ring ni Kakero Image Album
143. Evil Crusher Maya
144. Fuma no Kojirou (Live-Action)
145. B't X (Manga)
146. Saint Seiya Soushu-hen (with my thoughts on Cinedigm's recent DVD release)
147. Saint Seiya Hades Sanctuary
148. Saint Seiya Hades Inferno
149. Saint Seiya Hades Elysion
Those of you who have read my previous Kurumada-related reviews might note two things about these upcoming reviews; if you don't, though, I won't hold it against you. Anyway, the first thing is that the next review will be for something I declared during my first year of doing this blog as something that would "never happen". Well, I've since gotten my hands on all of the songs in that Image Album, and after finding out that it was an early work by the legendary Joe Hisaishi, of Studio Ghibli fame, I can't really say "never" to it. Also, I'm finally getting to reviewing the live-action tokusatsu/J-Drama adaptation of Fuma no Kojirou, which I had mentioned way back during my Yasha-hen review from December 2010 (my first ever Kurumada-related review, in fact).
For those who haven't read any of my Kurumada-related posts & are somewhat interested (or bored, which works fine with me, too), then look forward to this: I'll be re-posting them over at Twitter. Starting this Friday, May 30, I'll be uploading one Kurumada-related post every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday. That's 28 posts (I'm ignoring my speculative & news posts, as well as any lists involving a Kurumada work), and that should last me until the end of July; hopefully by then I'll be nearing the end of these reviews. Yeah, I know Masami Kurumada isn't all that important to most anime fans here in North America, but (damn it) I want to celebrate the man's 40th Anniversary the best way I can.
Here's hoping some of you will join in for the celebration, because it's going to last for a while.