Back in early summer last year I had the good fortune of attending Inoue Takehiko’s amazing The LAST Manga Exhibition, an extension of his Vagabond comic series that centers on the life of legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi.
Needless to say the exhibition was a huge success, no less due to the popularity of Inoue-san’s work. ( his previous manga, Slam Dunk, sold in excess of more than 100 million copies in Japan alone ) Tickets sold out wickedly fast each day, leaving thousands of loyal fans who couldn’t get a ticket going home disappointed. I only managed to get in on my 2nd day there, and that was after queuing up for a looong time.
(below) The exhibition venue, just outside the Ueno Royal Museum.
Inoue-san himself expressed regret that not everyone who wanted to see the exhibit could do so, and perhaps this was one of the reasons why the organizers of the exhibition released The LAST Manga Exhibition Complete Catalogue, which contains ALL the pieces of artwork ( more than 100 in total ) that was on display at the Ueno Royal Museum, beautifully reproduced in this book.
(above ) Short interviews with visitors to the exhibition and their afterthoughts. (below) A retrospective of the exhibition and interviews with Inoue-san, all with english translation.
(above ) English translation of every panel of artwork that appeared in the exhibition. This was not available during the actual event itself.
While the actual exhibition was probably the best way to indulge in Inoue-san’s giant sumi-e prints, allowing the viewer to partake in a more immersive experience through the astute use of space and scale in the museum, the catalogue is nonetheless the next best thing on offer.
A making of documentary dvd (picture above), containing a slideshow of all the panels is also available.
Availability : Unfortunately both the catalogue and dvd were on sale only during the exhibition, and cannot be purchased anywhere else. Folks who want to get a copy can try searching on Yahoo Auctions Japan, and maybe Ebay.24