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The Collected Toppi Vol.6: Japan

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This sixth volume contains five tales set in feudal Japan, presented in English for the first time: Tanka, Kimura, Sato, Ogari 1650, and Momotaro. Featuring a new foreword by celebrated artist Kent Williams.


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This sixth volume contains five tales set in feudal Japan, presented in English for the first time: Tanka, Kimura, Sato, Ogari 1650, and Momotaro. Featuring a new foreword by celebrated artist Kent Williams.

41 review for The Collected Toppi Vol.6: Japan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    The sixth (of seven) books collecting the works of master Italian illustrator Sergio Toppi contains his Japanese comics, mostly from the 1980s, with one from the ‘70s and one from the ‘00s. They’re an uneven bunch writing/story-wise but Toppi’s art is incredible throughout. The six stories all have a folklore-ish flavour to them - the last one, Momotaro, is one of the most famous Japanese folktales - so the storytelling style and morals are simplistic. Like in Kimura, one of the better stories, The sixth (of seven) books collecting the works of master Italian illustrator Sergio Toppi contains his Japanese comics, mostly from the 1980s, with one from the ‘70s and one from the ‘00s. They’re an uneven bunch writing/story-wise but Toppi’s art is incredible throughout. The six stories all have a folklore-ish flavour to them - the last one, Momotaro, is one of the most famous Japanese folktales - so the storytelling style and morals are simplistic. Like in Kimura, one of the better stories, which is about a master swordsmith who, under duress, crafts a sword for an evil prince, who uses it for bad, and a sword for a noble man, who uses it for good. Guess what happens when they fight? Yope. And the moral? Don’t be evil! Cheers. In Momotaro (“Peach Boy”, though Toppi dispenses with the peach origin so his name is arbitrarily meaningless), there are sorcerers, talking foxes, and demons; the talking fox knows everything, can do anything, and nothing is explained. So, just like most mythology. I can accept that here, though I don’t usually read folktales because they’re a bit too easy and childish for my taste. Kimura and Momotaro were my favourite stories here, though The Return of Ishi, about an elderly farm couple whose only son goes to war so they adopt a stranger, and Sato, about a disgraced samurai living the humble life, weren’t bad either. Tanka, about a poet who keeps her eyes closed permanently, and Ogari 1650, a weird revenge story presaging the atomic bombings of WW2, were plain crap - boring and confusing both. By far the main reason to check out this book though is Toppi’s first rate art. The black and white art is so skilful and detailed, the shading perfect, the character’s expressions so realistic, and the period detail looks authentic - he really takes you to the days of feudal Japan. I also really enjoyed the fantastical character designs of the sorcerer and demons in Momotaro. I haven’t seen a great deal of Toppi’s art outside of this book so this criticism may not pass muster, but it doesn’t seem like he does action well. There were at least two stories which had some compelling action sequences written but we didn’t really see them on the page - only the aftermath - which is a bit disappointing. Obviously if you’re a Toppi fan, you’re gonna check out this book, but also if you’re in the mood for some Japanese folktale comics with outstanding art, The Collected Toppi, Volume 6: Japan is worth a look.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Sergio Toppi was one of the great European comic artists. His line work is exquisite. This collects his short stories set in Japan, mostly based on Japanese folklore. Momotaro was my favorite. It's based on the Peach Boy story about a boy who can talk to animals and eventually slays demons. The other stories weren't fantastical but still good. Sergio Toppi was one of the great European comic artists. His line work is exquisite. This collects his short stories set in Japan, mostly based on Japanese folklore. Momotaro was my favorite. It's based on the Peach Boy story about a boy who can talk to animals and eventually slays demons. The other stories weren't fantastical but still good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    HBalikov

    I believe that the e-book I read was produced by ComiXology in black and white and is a faithful rendition of the original with the added advantages of zoom, etc. There is little to say beyond the basic facts: - Toppi is a master illustrator. - His skill with pen and ink provides intimate details of humans, demons, plants and animals. - His sense of composition is also masterful. Any one panel can hold my interest far beyond time to read the accompanying words. - Here he takes on a series of Japanes I believe that the e-book I read was produced by ComiXology in black and white and is a faithful rendition of the original with the added advantages of zoom, etc. There is little to say beyond the basic facts: - Toppi is a master illustrator. - His skill with pen and ink provides intimate details of humans, demons, plants and animals. - His sense of composition is also masterful. Any one panel can hold my interest far beyond time to read the accompanying words. - Here he takes on a series of Japanese folktales. They are presented, perhaps with one exception, in their “original” form. = He displays an empathy for the culture and “style” of Japan. It will be hard to resist “opening” this book again from time to time just to gaze at a random panel.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kaffeeklatsch and Books

    This graphic short story collection is an absolute gem! There are five Japanese fairytales included and adapted as graphic novels by Sergio Toppi. As an artist and illustrator myself I was blown away by the use of composition, style, facial expression, body language and use of white space throughout the book. I’m glad I’ve stumbled across this little collection and I’m sure to find more by the artist. I can recommend this to anybody who likes Japanese fairytales or just a beautifully inked graphic n This graphic short story collection is an absolute gem! There are five Japanese fairytales included and adapted as graphic novels by Sergio Toppi. As an artist and illustrator myself I was blown away by the use of composition, style, facial expression, body language and use of white space throughout the book. I’m glad I’ve stumbled across this little collection and I’m sure to find more by the artist. I can recommend this to anybody who likes Japanese fairytales or just a beautifully inked graphic novel in general. The text isn’t perfect by any means, but the art is worth it. Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Sergio Toppi was one of the masters of European comics, sadly passing away about a decade ago. What he leaves behind is nearly a century of amazing illustrations and comics, finally being collected for the English market here in numerous volumes. I was unaware of this series (The Collected Toppi) until I saw this collection of pieces he did that happen to be themed around, or take place in Japan, available for review. As a result, I will definitely need to seek some more of these out as I love h Sergio Toppi was one of the masters of European comics, sadly passing away about a decade ago. What he leaves behind is nearly a century of amazing illustrations and comics, finally being collected for the English market here in numerous volumes. I was unaware of this series (The Collected Toppi) until I saw this collection of pieces he did that happen to be themed around, or take place in Japan, available for review. As a result, I will definitely need to seek some more of these out as I love his artwork. Toppi first came to my attention when Heavy Metal Magazine either ran a feature on, or posted an article on their website about an impressive tarot deck he had released at some point. The images were striking, and I was amazed he was not more of a household name over here. The artwork is not atypical for European comics, but I can imagine that is because a lot of folks that came after him borrowed from his style considerably. “This sixth volume contains five tales set in feudal Japan, presented in English for the first time: Tanka, Kimura, Sato, Ogari 1650, and Momotaro. Featuring a new foreword by celebrated artist Kent Williams.” The thing that is most striking of these stories is the authenticity they hold. It may be that Toppi was a fan of Akira Kurosawa samurai films or some such, but these stories stand out from the typical “mysterious far east” tropes that many western properties had at the time. Things like The Mikado or a multitude of Asian martial arts films come to mind as being especially problematic in regards to weird notions of what Japan was. These collected stories span from 1976 to as late as 2001, and each one is rich with beautiful art and deep with intrigue in the scripts. Most are adapted from tales from Japanese history, which show’s Toppi’s commitment to authenticity. I enjoyed his take on the legendary blacksmith Goro Masamune quite a bit, especially. This is a no-brainer for anyone that enjoys European comics – do yourself a favor and start looking at these gorgeous volumes. Also, if you are a fan of Samurai films of the 1960’s and 1970’s, I’d imagine this would also be up there with something you would enjoy. They are available in hardcover volumes, which I assume would be most people’s preferred choice, or as a Kindle E-book. As far as I can tell, there are six volumes in this series that are numbered as this one is, and one on Biblical stories that appears to be in the same style.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    Toppi is such an amazing artist that he could have illustrated a shopping list and I would be enthralled. His hatching and line work is just jaw dropping, so while some of these stories are somewhat Japanese cliché, the way thy are presented is so stunning that it almost doesn't matter. And when the art is paired with a more unexpected story, amazing things happen. Looking forward to reading more volumes of his collected work. **Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange fo Toppi is such an amazing artist that he could have illustrated a shopping list and I would be enthralled. His hatching and line work is just jaw dropping, so while some of these stories are somewhat Japanese cliché, the way thy are presented is so stunning that it almost doesn't matter. And when the art is paired with a more unexpected story, amazing things happen. Looking forward to reading more volumes of his collected work. **Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    The Collected Toppi Volume Six: Japan From the blurb: 'This sixth volume contains five tales set in feudal Japan, presented in English for the first time: Tanka, Kimura, Sato, Ogari 1650, and Momotaro.' There is a sixth story contained in this volume called 'The Return of Ishi'. I'm not entirely sure whether it's not being listed is an error of omission or if it means that 'The Return of Ishi' was previously published in English somewhere else while the others were not. Regardless, it's a good sto The Collected Toppi Volume Six: Japan From the blurb: 'This sixth volume contains five tales set in feudal Japan, presented in English for the first time: Tanka, Kimura, Sato, Ogari 1650, and Momotaro.' There is a sixth story contained in this volume called 'The Return of Ishi'. I'm not entirely sure whether it's not being listed is an error of omission or if it means that 'The Return of Ishi' was previously published in English somewhere else while the others were not. Regardless, it's a good story so that's all that actually matters. 'Tanka' - A young princess keeps her eyes closed, refusing to look at the world after her idyllic existence is ruined by war. A humble ronin implores her to open her eyes to the world that still remains. 'Kimura' - A legendary sword maker must compromise his principles to appease an evil tyrant. 'The Return of Ishi' - An elderly peasant couple anxiously waits for their son to return from war. 'Sato' - A small boy learns the truth about a revered warrior of legend from a local hermit. 'Ogari 1650' - A once mighty ronin is forced to become a humble laborer. 'Momotaro' - In a time of great unrest an orphan child, raised in the woods by a kindly old man, seeks his way in the world and becomes a symbol of hope to the downtrodden. Oddly, these stories seem less exotic than some of the previous volumes. Where others have been whimsical, almost magical tales of heroes, villains, life lessons and hard truths these collected stories are more mundane. Snapshots of everyday lives lived with great ritual but little wonder... The art, as always, is amazing. The standouts are 'Tanka', which is inspired by an actual person (as explained at the end of it), and 'Momotaro', which is the only one to really capture that folklore-ish mystical quality that was such a hallmark of the previous volumes (highly recommended). The only real clunker in the bunch is 'Ogari 1650' which I found to be contrived and insubstantial compared to the others in this collection. If I were to judge solely on the artwork - great black & white illustrations that bring to mind the kind of fine art copperplate engravings of long ago - this would be a five star book all the way but I'm just not terribly impressed with the actual storylines so I'm giving this 3.5 stars bumped up to four stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    See reviews passim regarding this series about how great I think Toppi is at visually creating his comic short stories. My memory doesn't give me any clues as to whether I lauded his actual storytelling craft, but the first piece here made me do it. I didn't know of the royal poetess the tale concerns itself with, but if she penned one of the first tanka verses and nobody really knows the truth of what it means, this makes for a delicious back-story to that poem, and it's just such a wonderfully See reviews passim regarding this series about how great I think Toppi is at visually creating his comic short stories. My memory doesn't give me any clues as to whether I lauded his actual storytelling craft, but the first piece here made me do it. I didn't know of the royal poetess the tale concerns itself with, but if she penned one of the first tanka verses and nobody really knows the truth of what it means, this makes for a delicious back-story to that poem, and it's just such a wonderfully fun, high-brow yet perfectly accessible entertainment. It also proves you can feature ronin and warriors and hacky-slash stuff, without the need for all the genre action filling the page. There're a massacre and lots of sword-play in the second piece, too, but again it's pretty much all off-page. What this proved to me was that Toppi was a master at getting to the core of lots of storytelling worlds, without ever patronising – the stereotypes of the measured Japanese way of thinking, social restrictions, respect for craftsmanship etc are all here but done with perfect cultural sensitivity. The third work in this collection has all the hallmarks of a traditional Japanese folklore tale, too, while someone dares to get their sword out and use it in the fourth, which is fine stuff – if the bearer of a twist you see from miles off. Nobody would see the reveal in the next piece coming, but that's because it's blatantly stupid, proving that throughout his extensive career, and with so many publications to cater for, Toppi was more than capable of naffness. That's not a description of the final story, a longer-form piece that again has all the hallmarks of folk tale (a fox gifting a quester a sack containing just what he needs for every eventuality, and so on), and all the respect I talked about. You could see a fully animated cartoon version of the fantasy at play here, but you can also see that with these pages such a thing is unnecessary. It's wonderful, and caps a really strong themed compilation of someone ranked amongst the greats. All the volumes from this series I've had the privilege to see have been well worth my time, and this has the one misfire to prevent it from being five stars. The gap is shoji-thin, mind.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Another great collection of illustrated stories by Toppi, this one all about Japan. This is the sixth volume in a collection of Toppi’s work, each volume highlighting a different region or culture’s folklore. Each volume has been delicious in its lines, Toppi was truly a master of his art, the stories themselves are dark but really bring out the essence of the theme. With the Japan volume, each story is centered on war. There are plenty of samurai and ronin, and enough mythical creatures to make Another great collection of illustrated stories by Toppi, this one all about Japan. This is the sixth volume in a collection of Toppi’s work, each volume highlighting a different region or culture’s folklore. Each volume has been delicious in its lines, Toppi was truly a master of his art, the stories themselves are dark but really bring out the essence of the theme. With the Japan volume, each story is centered on war. There are plenty of samurai and ronin, and enough mythical creatures to make things interesting. The opening story sets us off on our journey with a Princess who has been left with nothing and the volume ends with Toppi’s version of Momotaro. This last story is my favorite. If you enjoy graphic novels or art, or are interested in Japanese folklore you will enjoy this. Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Misa

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This was crazy amazing work of art, I could not be overcome with awe in the presence of such a masterpiece. I felt like I was watching some old Samourai Japanese movies. The tales were so fascinating due to the artist work that you find youself so immersed in the stories till the end. I've already seen Toppi's work but I've never got interested in finding or reading more, I was always more attracted to Hugo Pr Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This was crazy amazing work of art, I could not be overcome with awe in the presence of such a masterpiece. I felt like I was watching some old Samourai Japanese movies. The tales were so fascinating due to the artist work that you find youself so immersed in the stories till the end. I've already seen Toppi's work but I've never got interested in finding or reading more, I was always more attracted to Hugo Pratt's books since I discovered him when it comes to Italian's comic books creators. In Europe these great artists are not forgotten because they continue to be republished so that the new generations could discover them as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marice

    I'm very impressed with the art style. The artist worked with straight lines and changing perspectives. It feels quite linear, without appearing static. There are bold contrasts between black and white, but the illustrations are still very detailed. The stories themselves are rather short, they mostly adapt the theme of war and its consequences like loss or guilt. The illustrations impressed me more than the stories, but I still enjoyed this collection very much. 3.5 Stars I'm very impressed with the art style. The artist worked with straight lines and changing perspectives. It feels quite linear, without appearing static. There are bold contrasts between black and white, but the illustrations are still very detailed. The stories themselves are rather short, they mostly adapt the theme of war and its consequences like loss or guilt. The illustrations impressed me more than the stories, but I still enjoyed this collection very much. 3.5 Stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Isabella

    Thank you to NetGalley and Magnetic Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This collection of short stories set in ancient Japan are hauntingly beautiful and amacingly drawn. I expecially enjoyed the first one about a woman, who watched her world crumble and now refuses to open her eyes and watch the destruction of what once was. Highly recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    PJ Ebbrell

    I have come later to Toppi as he was mentioned by various comic creators over interviews of the last year. The art work is incredible and I love this black and white work. The stories are more folk takes but still works.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gwynplaine

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chad Brock

  16. 5 out of 5

    Annina Luck Wildermuth

  17. 4 out of 5

    Readin' Rainbow

  18. 4 out of 5

    Armando Milicevic

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vasilis Fotsinos

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ginevra

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Ferguson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bornfirst

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  25. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Federico Etchegaray

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ana

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anders Nyberg

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mai-chi

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jared Martin

  32. 5 out of 5

    M.i.

  33. 4 out of 5

    dReads

  34. 4 out of 5

    Barry

  35. 5 out of 5

    Andreana

  36. 4 out of 5

    Malena

  37. 5 out of 5

    Nine

  38. 4 out of 5

    Mikebo

  39. 4 out of 5

    The_Mad_Swede

  40. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  41. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad

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