Japan’s Jazz Manga Takes A Closer Look At Munich

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Musical mangas as those featured in mangakakalot are popular in Japan but rarely make it to Germany. Now with “Blue Giant Supreme”, a tape has appeared in German, which plays in Munich and offers an interesting look at local customs.

Manga Comics Present Jazz Music

The songs of saxophonist John Coltrane (1926-1967) provided the inspiration for Blue Giant Supreme, a Japanese manga about a young jazz musician. The book has now been published in German by Carlsen Manga Verlag.

Manga about music might be unusual in Germany, but it’s a popular genre in Japan, says manga journalist Sabine Scholz. The country is connected to the USA in a very different way than Germany and a lot of jazz lovers live there.

“That’s why there are also comics about this style of music there because the Japanese use everything in their manga,” says Scholz. There is a wealth of musical manga in Japan, both for young readers and for adults. “Unfortunately, they rarely come to Germany because the sales prospects here are rather poor.”

In “Blue Giant Supreme” the Japanese jazz musician Dai sets off for Munich. “There he wants to become the best musician in the world and start his career,” says Scholz. But at first, he gets rejected everywhere and almost loses his courage. One day, however, he meets an enthusiastic old lady on the banks of the Isar, where he always practices. When he plays music by Miles Davies for her, he finds new courage.

Read also: All about jazz, uniquely American music

Jazz Manga Research in Munich

The illustrator Shinichi Ishizuka did a lot of research in Germany and shows Munich with well-known views. Since then, a jazz bar has been an important meeting point for Japanese tourists, the journalist explains.

In fact, there is already the award-winning predecessor volume “Blue Giant” in Japan, which is still to be published in Germany, according to Scholz. However, the publisher preferred the second volume “Blue Giant Supreme” because it is much more accessible to the German audience with the Munich setting. In the manga, the Japanese view of German customs and behavior is actually very interesting.

Conservative drawing style

“Obviously something is lost with this reverse order,” says Scholz. In the issue, one learns little about the career of the main character and her motivation. A few charming details were also lost, for example, that Dai practiced on the banks of rivers in Japan. “But Blue Giant Supreme also works very well in terms of storytelling without any prior knowledge.”

She can recommend the comic to a broad adult audience, both in terms of content and appearance, says Scholz. The drawing style is rather conservative, with a lot of realistic details, and is reminiscent of well-known Japanese artists.