Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Casa della Weird: Visiting manga icon Kazuo Umezu at his office

by Chris MaGee

I have a confession: I actually like checking out that section at the back of In Style magazine where they show you... I don't know... Tina Fey's New York apartment or George Clooney's Italian villa. I guess I just like to see how the other half lives... Although I think it would be a hilarious idea if someone had a "Fabulous Homes of Film Bloggers" column! But I digress...

Variety Japan has the next best thing to In Style's home visits. The Japanese language film site regularly visits directors and industry insiders not at their homes, but at their places of work to discuss their latest projects; and recently they visited one of Japan's most eccentric celebrities to chat about a recent DVD release of one of his most famous creations. Who am I talking about? Kazuo Umezu of course!

The 72-year-old man/child has created some of the most singular and strange manga in history, from "Cat Eyed Boy" to "The Drifting Classroom", but with Toei having just released the DVD of Norio Tsuruta's live-action adaptation of Umezu's "Orochi: Blood" on March 21st Variety Japan headed to the legendary manga-ka's offices and they have the pictures to prove it.

A wild white/ red/ blue colour-scheme, an all-year-round Christmas tree decorated with ornaments based on his horror manga, stained glass windows featuring characters from his 1955 manga "Mori no Kyoudai (The Brother and Sister in a Forest)"... let's just say that Umezu gives Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch a run for it's money in the weird department.

You can check out all the pics, and a Japanese language interview with Umezu here.

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