Last Sunday, I trekked out to 石巻市 or Ishinomaki to catch the last day of the Gegege display at the Mangattan museum there. I love this city! I've been there thrice before but this was my favourite visit to date.
First time was in the company of Emi, a friend/ tour guide who used to drive me all over the prefecture, climbing mountains, going to spas and on this occasion, patiently allowing me to go fanboy while viewing all the exhibits. She wasn't a fan so it is no surprise that our relationship remained purely on a tour guide: tourist basis. Second time was with buddy Stefan and his mischievous son who we all had to keep an eye on rather than viewing the goodies on display. Third time was more enjoyable but it was in a hungover state after moving Liverpool Andy to that city thus all the showcases were seen through bloodshot eyes!
This time I went solo and could take my time ogling the artwork, playing the games, watching videos, reading manga and wandering at my leisure. It all started with the awesome train. Though I didn't get to travel in the Mangattan express, I did manage to snap a few pics of the train heading in the other direction.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by statues of 009 and Masked Rider characters. Here we see 009, 003 and 001 in her arms and Kamen Rider 1 eying me.
After that, it was just a 10 minute walk to the museum and along the way, I met a guy who was taking his rabbit out for a walk. I just knew this was going to be a great day!
Of course, one cannot stride through the city without encountering several other statues such as Ganbare! Robokon, 009 proudly looming over the sidewalk, and yet another Kamen Rider.
Even the up'n'comin artists get into the action with graffiti enhanced storefronts.
The maps are very user friendly as well showcasing the town as well as where you can find various sculptures of Ishinomori's characters.
I finally made it to the Museum, looking suspiciously like a space ship. I suspect it flies around when no one is looking.
I head straight to the Gegege display and wasn't disappointed. There were several pages of original artwork, character designs & mockups, photos & sculptures. None of which one is allowed to photograph. They had 2 large canvasses that were photographable and I leapt at the chance. Here you can see the giant wall, ぬりかべ (Nurikabe) looming over me (though the janitor I got to take the pic isn't very expert at the task.)
The other mural was a compilation of several of the characters and I snapped a few closeups of the cooler ones, a few of which I'm unfamiliar with!
I watched a cool little 10-minute movie of this character. A charming story of an artist who visits a little girl in a small town and discovers the mayor and priest are grifting the locals. He also sees this mysterious woman occasionally which makes the young lass very jealous. They confront the grifters who pull an arrow on them but are saved by the mystery girl who just so happens to transform into a dragon. Pretty cute story with several pages of artwork from the original manga on the walls.
After looking at all the displays on the unphotographable 2nd floor, I nudged my way by a few kids to scoot on some of the amusement rides. First up is the Cyborg 002 Flight where for 200￥ I can ride his back for a four minute flight from New York to Ishinomaki! Price includes a free photo sticker! (I got 4, anyone want one?)
I also hopped on the Cyclone Bike Ride but I couldn't get it to go so I gave up my turn to an 8-year old girl who immediately got it up and running.
There is also an aptitude test one can take to check your suitability for working at the Hotel Platon. I didn't fare well, I suspect I rate as a bellboy!
After that frivolity, I head upstairs to the Library/ Multimedia Workshop Area. Fairly peckish, I had a Curry-rice before checking out the stacks of manga.
The Sandman made me all sleepy so I retired before publishing this. Since I'm due at work in an hour, I'll have to continue tonight.
Stay tuned: Same コウモリ-time, same コウモリ-channel.