I will continue with the translation of the J-popcon Chronicles, that I started here
One of the aisles was completely dedicated to the exposition of some artists' works. I had the opportunity to talk with some of them and get to know about their work and plans. The bad thing now is... that I want them invited to some convention in Spain!
The Japanese illustrator and mangaka Yamazaki Urita was invited to J-popcon, showing some pictures to the visitors, chatting with them, and making one of the workshops celebrated in the event. She currently works in Japan for an online videogame company, designing landscapes and characters. She likes Europe, has enjoyed herself very much in Copenhagen and she is delighted by the increasing interest of Europe in the Japanese culture due to manga and anime among other reasons.
You can read the interview she had at J-popcon here, and visit her website with some samples of her work here.
Who are Nosebleed studio? It's a Swedish manga studio composed of four authors: the Batista sisters, Joakim Walker and Alice Engström. They publish independently (although sometimes they release anthologies) and some of their stories have arrived even to the German market.
I had the opportunity to talk with one of these authors, Natalia Batista, who dedicates herself to shôjo and yaoi. She explained to me what the situation is for manga authors in the Nordic market, and the problems authors have to become known to the general public. Swedish editorials are not in general specialized in manga, so it is not easy that they decide to risk the publication of a manga drawn by national authors because of the fear that the sells are not as good as expected, due partly to the small amount of population in the Nordic countries (comparing them, for instance, to France, Germany, United Kingdom or Spain). Fortunately the situation has been changing for some time, because newly independent and specialized companies are being created for this purpose, creating more opportunities for those who want to work drawing manga.
They are young people, full of plans for the future, and always in motion, searching ways to advertise themselves by visiting manga and comic European conventions, keeping in touch with editorials, meeting other European authors and showeing their works on the Internet.
In the end I bought her one of her mangas, "Mjau!", manga similar to "Chi's Sweet Home", because it is about
the adventures and shenanigans of two little kitties living in a house, with the details that the kitties are shown as if they were little people.
She is a Danish author that is becoming more and more popular on the Internet thanks to her webcomics "Scandinavia and the World", "Niels" and "Love and Tentacles".
She was very busy during the convention, selling her works and talking with her fans, so I did not have a lot of time to talk to her. However, I managed to get to her for a bit of time, during which she told me that she had been working for 3 years on SatW, that she is becoming more popular thanks to the invitations to attend some of the European comic conventions, and that her plans for the future include working full-time on her webcomics, and the possibility of creating an animated series of SatW.
Scandinavia and the World, series through which I knew her, is a little bit like Hetalia, with each character representing a country. In the different stories the authors tell us in a funny way about the relationships between the nordic countries, their differencies, history and habits, combining it also with other non-Nordic countries.
You can read her webcomics in her DeviantArt account, and if you are specially interested in SatW you can read them here in a tidier way, and also be able to buy some merchandising. (I leave here the link for those webcomics related to Japan)
THE SHOPS' CORNER
Now, what would a manga convention be without the typical shops in which we like to buy all of our favourite Japanese stuff? There was an area exclusively dedicated to these shops, and they were quite specialized: one could find manga and anime in one of the shops, cosplay (and Lolita-style clothes) in another, kitty-related things in another (is that Hello Kitty?), bags and accessories in another one...The shop that sold Ramen and Pocky was quite popular, and just as one began to go down the stairs the delicious smell of ramen could reach and tempt people's noses.
Maybe you are asking yourself this: what language do Danes read manga in? Well, the answer is: in Danish or English. Those series which have not been translated can be imported. In this way they have access to a great variety of series. The prices are expensive, more than in Spain (usually, tankôbon that we can find at around 8€ in Denmark you have to pay around 10~12€ but of course, taxes in Denmark are very high, and the number of sold mangas is not as high as those in France or Germany. Besides, the series in English are imported, so that implies an extra in the final price).
It had XBOX 360 and PS3 videogames, like Sonic Generations or some fight games. There was a very interesting initiative, called Young Game Developers, where one could help create a videogame from scratch during the weekend, helping with ideas, graphics development or dubbing the characters. Once the game is finished it is uploaded to the Internet so that everybody can play it.
Summing up, I am very glad that I came. The fact of having less population does not prevent them from enjoying a manga convention with a lot of activities. I loved specially the idea of the manga café, I wish some year some Spanish convention would implement it, as well as the passion they put while cosplaying.
I will finish by talking about the only drawback that I have found: the price. In order to enjoy all of this the visitants must pay 30€ for one day, or 50€ for the whole weekend.
Special thanks to Søren and Allen for the help they provided me with during the convention.