Monday, March 21, 2011

Entry 113: Tsunami Relief

The subject of this week's Periscope Studio sketch challenge is Japan. The idea is to have a week of pieces that we can auction off and have the proceeds donated to tsunami relief.

Edit-- This piece is now sold.Check out other pieces up for auction from other Periscope studio members here. All of the pieces are for tsunami relief. (I might bid on Aaron McConnell's piece myself.)
And a big thanks to everyone who bid.

I had pretty much told myself that I wouldn't be participating in many more Periscope sketch challenges for a while because I need to be focused on work. But when the idea of doing a Japan week was suggested I was immediately on board. There are probably a lot of artists who feel this way, but for me this is a chance to give a little back to a country that has given me so much. Many of my greatest artistic inspirations are Japanese. Which brings me to the piece itself.

I considered doing a piece directly related to the tsunami and everything that's happened there but it seemed so depressing. I turned to the idea of Japanese pride. I thought about all of the amazing and super cool things Japanese culture has brought to the world. I actually felt as though Japan itself was going to look at what I did and judge whether or not it was in the right spirit... I'm not sure what that means, but it made me think of the end of Akira (the manga).

---Spoiler Alert---

At the end of Akira, after Tetsuo has been killed and the UN can finally reach the shores of the devastated Neo Tokyo with supplies and medical aid, Kaneda is there. He's clearly assumed a leadership role-- after all, he was always a leader-- and he tells the UN essentially to beat it. We don't need your help. Just then Kei rides up on Kaneda's bike. Kaneda hops on, they ride off into the city, and you get to see these two strong characters finally joined together. Maybe things are going to be okay. What can stop these two? The ghosts of Kaneda's friends, Yamagata and Tetsuo, appear riding along side them. They zoom out ahead and vanish and we see the city start to rebuild itself. The last shot is of Kaneda and Kei riding into a perfectly reformed Neo Tokyo as the last bits of debris fly back into place. It's a beautiful and hopeful ending.

Akira is my very favorite comic series ever. The only thing that challenges it's #1 spot for me is Tezuka's Phoenix, also a Japanese book.

Click over to the Periscope Studio Tumblr to see the other pieces that will be available.


p.s. click the "japan love" tag for past Japanese related posts.


  1. Awesome art. Never seen AKIRA... will look out for it. My fascination with all things Japan came early, when Australian TV aired MONKEY, the cult Seventies tv series based on the ancient Chinese tale JOURNEY TO THE WEST. I pity all who have never seen an episode of MONKEY :)
    LOVE Japan. The whaling thing is the only aspect of the society stopping me from moving there :)

  2. Do you hear that sound? Its the sound of me breaking all of my lead holders : ( Great piece!

  3. This was a breath of fresh air for me, on the heels of the horrible casting news for a Live Action Akira. It's gorgeous.

  4. :D
    Thanks for the note, Dustin. Your Akira piece is badass and quite touching (an unlikely combination). Brilliant concept! I never knew how Akira ended. The last few issues came out months between each other in the states, didn't they? I know I haven't read that final issue. I hope it's not true that you'll be skipping out on future sketch challenges. The party's just getting started!