by Chris MaGee
One of the biggest joys of putting together the Shinsedai Cinema Festival this year (with the help of Jasper Sharp and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of course) was getting to meet and hang out with the filmmakers who made it to Toronto to present their films. One that left a real impression on me both artistically and personally would have to be Akino Kondoh. She was just the classiest and sweetest young woman. I'm sure she'd be a bit embarrassed to be singled out as a very talented filmmaker as she stressed repeatedly that she's an artist first and an animator/ filmmaker second, or more precisely that she sees her animated films "Ladybug Requiem" and "The Evening Traveling" as extensions of her 2D work. Well regardless of distinction I am a big fan of Kondoh's work either drawn or filmed, so when I heard from her recently about the imminent release of her manga "Eiko" from Paris-based publisher Le Lezard Noir I knew I wanted to mention it here.
As Kondoh explained during her stay in Toronto Eiko, the main character of this newly translated 144-page manga, was a character that Kondoh first drew at the age of 18 and she quickly became her artistic alter-ego. Eiko is the heroine of both of Kondoh's two animated shorts and I can only hope that the bob-haired girl will also be front and center for Kondoh's third animated film which is currently in the planning stages. Click here to check out some sample pages from Akino Kondoh's manga "Eiko" like the one above.