Turns out there really is no limit to how long you can create labors of love for your favorite anime shows, especially if you helped in the Golden age!
Comiket is one of the most hotly anticipated events in the otaku calendar, and it’s not hard to see why. The recent summer chapter of Comiket 2018 featured the usual lineup of gorgeous cosplayers and the top-notch organization that keeps the well-greased wheels of Japan’s number one convention turning smoothly. While both the cosplay and the company stands draw huge crowds, for many the true point of Comiket is the sheer volume of fanmade goods: comics, charms, cosplay items and accessories of your favorite characters are packed into the halls, with some of the most well-known artists selling out in a matter of hours.
Of course, because these goods aren’t official, they’re usually extremely cheap when contrasted with official merchandise. Fans often only charge the cost of the materials for the product, meaning you can score some seriously sweet loot of your favorite franchises without draining your wallet.
Twitter user @KuroShia4 was scanning the shelves of reasonably priced items when he was brought up short by a beautiful canvas tote bag, emblazoned with a pretty picture of rabbit androgyne Nanachi from whistle-while-you-spelunk anime Made in Abyss.
▼ The bag in question, priced at 300 yen (US$2.70) for large bags and 200 yen for medium and small (translation below)
In the tweet, he writes:
“Me: Oh neat, they’re selling tote bags at this Comiket. This one is gorgeous! Who drew the picture?
40-something Comiket pro: Looks like it’s by that one woman who used to work as Osamu Tezuka’s assistant back in the day. She’s 75 or so now.
He added, “By the way, this tote bag was sold by the fan group “Chibi-sensei”. They’ll be selling this cute Nanachi bag at Winter Comiket too, if they get approved!” and told followers to take note that as first-time sellers, they may increase their prices when they next sell at the convention.
Judging by the replies from the thread, an increase in price won’t be much of a problem. Several commenters lamented how low this woman was underselling herself, considering she herself was a vital part of animation history, and begged her to add a zero or two to the asking price. Others took the thread as a chance to post nostalgic screen caps from a documentary on the 28th Comiket back in 1985, where Tezuka himself appeared as a guest.
▼ Tezuka appears in the top left corner
A different theory appeared later through a tweet from @SaikiFumiyoshi:
▼ “Based on her age and the era of Tezuka’s peak activity, I think it’s more likely that this is just someone who was employed by Mushi Production (Tezuka’s animation studio) rather than someone who was his personal animation assistant.“
When @KuroShia4 replied “I don’t have proof because it’s just what I heard in person, but it felt like her work had a direct influence from Tezuka…”, @SaikiFumiyoshi wrote:
▼ “It’s gotta be about 50 years or so ago now, but Osamu Tezuka’s Mushi Production had departments for producing both manga and anime. They (especially the anime department) employed many young women, so I was just theorizing that maybe that was the situation with this artist.”
Regardless of the veracity, with so many users clamoring to buy the Nanachi bag (even at a higher price!) and promising to go to Winter Comiket in hopes of procuring one, Chibi-sensei can look forward to a triumphant return to the anime circuit later this year. With a bit of luck the fanmade goods section will be full of even more weird and wonderful treasures that all generations of fans can enjoy!
Source: Twitter/@KuroShia4 via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@KuroShia4