Sharing Time: Covering Matsumoto

(Sep 16, 2009)

This week I thought I’d write about other people’s artstuffs instead of my own.  A sort of ramble about things that are getting me jazzed lately.

A while ago, I heard about a new manga series drawn by Taiyo Matsumoto called Takemitsu Zamurai (roughly translated, I believe it means Samurai with a Bamboo Sword).  I’m a huge fan of both Matsumoto (his translated works include Tekkon Kinkreet and No. 5) and samurai stories, so this sounded like a winner.  Oh… except it’s not available in English!  However, I did come across these covers for the series, which are gorgeous!

takemitsu_zamurai-1 takemitsu_zamurai-4

takemitsu_zamurai-5 takemitsu_zamurai-6

I really love the combination of ukiyo-e print aesthetics with Matsumoto’s warped and exaggerated figures.  These also remind me of another aspect of his covers that I like, which is a willingness to experiment with medium and style. In this case, rather than use linework to create the cover drawings (as he does for the pages inside), the figures are defined mainly by shapes and areas of color.  Stylistically, it’s still recognizable as Matsumoto’s work, but makes for a more distinct-looking package.

I thought I’d also show some of my favorite Matsumoto covers that show off his unusual approach to comics cover design.

This is a cover from his series Hanaotoko.  I really wish I could find better scans of the other two volumes… The collage style he uses for these books is pretty awesome.


Some beautifully sparse covers for his Ping Pong series.




I’m hoping more of his work will become available in the States.  Right now only his books Tekkon Kinkreet and Blue Spring are currently in print.  However, one of his books, Gogo Monster, is set to be released by Viz Media pretty soon.  And I’ll keep hoping to one day read about this bamboo-wielding samurai…

3 Responses to “Sharing Time: Covering Matsumoto”

  1. Yeah! I love his Ping Pong series! I was actually introduced to the movie first, and loved it. I was unaware that it was a manga series until a couple of years ago when I came across some scanlations on the web. It’s interesting to see him depict life based in reality……..

  2. I have yet to see the Ping Pong movie, but it’s definitely on my list of movies to rent. I heard the filmmakers tried to stay true to the look and feel of the manga, so it’ll be interesting to see how it works.

    If you’re interested, Hanaotoko is another series by Matsumoto set in everyday reality.. from what I remember, it’s more comedic than his other work. It’s also available in scanlation form.

  3. […] I should have it done early tomorrow). Some of you may remember a post I did a while back about the book cover work of Taiyo Matsumoto.  Well last week an English translation of his book GoGo Monster was released, and I felt it was […]

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