Paging Angie Dickinson!

yamato_highheelcopNow that CMX has begun publishing the ridiculously entertaining Fire Investigator Nanase (a glorious mash-up of Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M, Silence of the Lambs, and Quincy, ME, if that’s possible), I’m thinking they might want to expand their roster of tough cookies to include Waki Yamato’s High-Heeled Cop (variously translated as Shin High-Heeled Cop and Hi-Heel Cop). There’s precious little information about this series (in English, anyway), but with a title like that, how can you go wrong? If Angie Dickinson was still making femmesploitation movies, I’d wager it would be a terrific vehicle for her.

And while I’m at it, would it be too much to ask of an American publisher to license Yamato’s Yokohoma Monogatori, NY Komachi, or Haikara-san ga Toru? I’ve all but given up on other classic shojo titles (you know the suspects: The Song of the Wind in the Trees, The Rose of Versailles), but perhaps there’s hope here…

14 Responses to Paging Angie Dickinson!

  1. davidpwelsh says:

    She looks so much like Bernadette Peters. And the dog looks so bored, which is just rude.

  2. Katherine Dacey says:

    In the dog’s defense, the high-heeled cop looks a little blase herself.

    I kind of like the idea of Bernadette Peters portraying her. Just think of the possibilities: High-Heeled Cop Rock!

  3. davidpwelsh says:

    “Broadway is her beat! Step out of the chorus and into the night!”

    Then, she’ll run into the boys from Fake, realize that they’re probably never going to be more than friendly acquaintances and/or lunch buddies, and go off to bust a ring of scalpers pushing counterfeit tickets to Hairspray.

  4. John Jakala says:

    Fire Investigator Nanase is out already? Oh man, I am so far behind in my manga reading.

  5. […] Welsh is making a wish list at Precocious Curmudgeon, and it starts with a Bernadette Peters […]

  6. JennyN says:

    It’s true that Schodt reproduces a very striking page of artwork from Haikara-san ga Toru in his classic Manga! Manga!. However, when I managed to get hold of the series a few years ago I found it disappointing; although my Japanese is less than rudimentary, there seemed to be quite a lot of the “zany” humour which was de rigeuer in shojo manga of the 1970s (think the early volumes of Eroica and which frequently doesn’t translate or hold up very well now. On the other hand, I would loooove someone to bring out a faithful reproduction of the deluxe version of Yamato’s Genji Monogatari – striking (and thoroughly researched) art, a smooth and surprisingly touching adaptation of the original huge novel, and magnificent colour spreads at the beginning of each volume, showing Genji and his ladies lounging elegantly in billowing silk robes. Kodansha brought out a few volumes of a rather clunky bilingual effort some time back, but I don’t think it was ever completed. Another one to add to the wish list…

  7. David Wise says:

    Actually, David, it’s “Quincy, M.E.” — not “M.D.” I should know. I wrote for it!

  8. davidpwelsh says:

    All due respect to Jack Klugman, David, but nothing will ever impress me as much as the fact that you wrote for Jem.

  9. Katherine Dacey says:

    Actually, David, the error was mine–I’ve corrected it. My apologies–it’s been a while since I’ve seen an episode!

    And John Jakala, you’ve got to get on the stick with Fire Investigator Nanase. It’s a very entertaining bit of formula, offering just the right amount of mystery and arson shop-talk to make it interesting.

  10. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    “I’ve all but given up on other classic shojo titles (you know the suspects: The Song of the Wind in the Trees, The Rose of Versailles), but perhaps there’s hope here…”

    This is a mini rant on my part–I’ve long followed your blog but not piped in before. But why is that the situation? As more and more manga gets translated–titles I never thought would show up and frankly more and more manga that seems virtually the same as titles we already have (I remember when as a teen so little shoujo manga came out I could afford to try out every title–that was a long time back)–it just makes me all the more frustrated that we don’t have these classic shoujo titles or authors being represented.

    Some I get–I think Kaze to Kino Uta might cause some potential problems, sadly, with censorship and it’s a LONG series. But Takemiya has so much out there–I am grateful to Vertical for their work on Terra E and Andromeda Stories (which technically are shonen and, with Andromeda, unisexual since it was in the short lived Duo magazine aimed at both genders) and it’s too bad those works didn’t seem to really catch on–but I was hoping it would lead to more by the classic shoujo authors. Even a modest work of Takemiya’s like her charming 80s London pansexual romance Spanish Harem (6 volumes) would be welcome and a nice change from the same old stuff we’re getting.

    Or how about a collection of Oshima’s famous short stories from the late 70s? Are the people holding the rights to Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles demanding a lot for it–that title is so well known even with fans here that it’s beyond bizarre no one has attempted it yet. Or Arabesque or anything else by Yamagishi?

    I *am* insanely grateful to CMX for the random titles they have done (my faves are Swan and Eroica, but I also really liked, despite some translation problems, the 80s megahit Cipher which seems to have made no impression here). But I wish I knew how they picked these titles–were they ones they could get cheap? Favorites of a translator? Anyone know?

    And truly what most upsets me is the utter lack of anything by my fave manga-ka (who pushes Takemiya to second place)–Moto Hagio. We have the old Viz stuff (essentially 300 pages of translated Hagio) and *that’s it*. I mean come on her work are the equivalent in shoujo to Tezuka–isn’t this why Viz has their Editor’s Choice line–to highlight these works that are important even if they migth not sell as well? Again so many of her works also I think COULD find a market–Marginal and Barbara would appeal to sci fi fans, Heart of Thomas is a classic “Boys love” (without the problems that Takemiyazaki’s Kaze might cause with censorship), Poe Family is about teenage vampires for crying out loud–popular stuff. Even a series of her random short stories would be welcome to me. I think it’s honestly an embarassment that no one has really even TRIED to market this stuff recently (slap a big sticker on it calling her the best loved shoujo mangaka in Japan–sell it anyway you can but just try–I think it might catch on).

    Every so often a company surprises me–CMX recently, Vertical with their stuff, I’m still thankful to Viz for doing a great job with Banana Fish one of my fave classic shoujo titles. It’s just frustrating that these works that, not to sound snobby, are by and large head and shoulders above the stuff we’re getting are not being even considered, it seems, by the companies. I swear if I win the lottery I’m gonna do it myself 😛

    /end rant.

  11. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    Oh and a followup–no less a source than the elitist (but often wonderful) Comics Journal did a HUGE, thorough interview with Haio and overview of her works with examples 3 or 4 years back now as the centerpiece of their Shoujo issue. Matt Thorn and those involved even clearly stated they hoped this would help awaken eyes to her maazing work that’s all but ignored here and what a hole in the shoujo manga marketplace it leaves. But it seemed to cause no reaction–really disappointing (that issue is a must buy for any shoujo fan, if you don’t have it, though the interview is also at Matt’s site )

    *goes back to hiding*

  12. davidpwelsh says:

    Don’t hide, Eric! I totally agree with you!

    The weirdest thing to me is that Hagio is still working. Didn’t she just wrap up Otherworld Barbara in the last couple of years?

    And while it isn’t classic shojo in the same way as Hagio or Takemiya’s work, I must renew my cry for more of Tezuka’s Princess Knight than one (admittedly much appreciated) chapter in Shojo Beat.

  13. Katherine Dacey says:

    Eric: I share your pain… I’d love to see Rose of Versailles or, better still, Windows of Orpheus in a deluxe English edition. (I’m more of a Slavophile than a Francophile!) I’d love some Moto Hagio, Keiko Takemiya, and Waki Yamato titles in English. And I’ve love to see Tezuka’s Crime and Punishment, Faust and Ludwig B. gracing the shelves of my local Barnes and Noble.

    The licensing issues are complicated. Several publishers have hinted at industry panels that Rose of Versailles and Song of the Wind in the Trees have been fiendishly hard to acquire, though they’ve been deliberately vague about the obstacles. The biggest problem is sales–classic manga doesn’t sell well. Occasionally, you’ll have a series such as Buddha that finds a crossover audience, but the two Takemiya series that Vertical released didn’t post terrific numbers. Younger readers aren’t interested in Hagio and other shojo pioneers; their interest in manga stems, in part, from wanting to be a part of the latest fan community and part of something that connects them directly to contemporary Japanese youth culture. The seventies shojo manga that looks so beautiful to us looks hopelessly old-fashioned to them, especially since they lack the historical perspective to understand their importance and don’t have mothers, aunts, or older sisters who can share fond memories of reading these books.

    Thanks for your thoughts, and thanks for reminding other readers about that great issue of TCJ! I finally got around to buying that issue a few months ago, and it was worth every penny.


  14. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    I’m a bit embarassed that after posting my thoughts I found your page about the “49ers” and trying to link together all the hard to find English info one could find–much of the same info I already rambled on about, but, hey, it can’t hurt to re-iterate and spread the word.

    David–yeah I wish we could get an update to the Comic Journal bibliography of her work (which is a GREAT piece of info–i wish we had as detailed info in English on the other 49ers work)–I do have the first vols of Akazanuka Hotel (?) and Anywhere But Here two works from th epast 2 years or so that are both anthology series aimed at a josei crowd I think. From what I can make out though they’re as interesting as anything else Hagio’s done. Otherworld barbara would be a great choice for a company to use to test the waters–it has the sci fi element that appeals to many people who may not love shoujo, it’s recent so can’t be called dated in temrs of style, and it’s only 3 vols or so (I mean i’d love to see Savage God Reigns–a truly powerful story I think–but because of subject matter and its LONG length that seems not likely.

    And now I feel out of the loop as well–I don’t read Shoujo Beat–what issue was it in? I was disappointed they had an interview with Keiko Takemiya (aroudn the same time that I got to meet the wonderful lady when she gave a lecture at UBC in Vancouver) but it didn’t lead to them translating any of her work. I’d welcome Princess Knight as well (I actually just got the three colume reprint of Osaki Muzino’s Fire! from the late 60s and I can see why Moto Hagio and others found her titles so groundbreaking–it’s WONDERFUL filled with 60s and 70s shoujo manga goodness not to mention the first sex scene AND flower power hippies and rock! I guess it’s hopeless to hink it’ll ever be translated but…)

    Kate – I do own the 2 volume English trsnaltion of Rose of Versailles Schodt did but becasue it’s edited much of the art flow is ruined. And I’m with you–I think I like (from what I can figure out) Orpheus’ Window even more–but it also may play into my love of Russian history (the sequel, that Ikeda didn’t draw but wrote, and her volume on Catherine the Great are less appealing to me though–though I wouldn’t turn down a translation of any of them).

    All your comments on why these titles haven’t been done, make sense (I don’t think Viz’s A Prime was much of a seller either–and I was constantly worried Banana Fish, a title that you’d think would have crossover readers, would not finish its run under them due to low sales) and I have heard that Ikeda and her publisher want a lot more for Versailles than people are willing to pay (which makes sense given what I’ve read about Ikeda and the fact the title is well known) though there’s a great deluxe 2 volume French edition that was handled well recently (but the French did grow up with the anime). However I think money is les sof a concern with titles by Hagio and others…

    And you’re right about the manga buyers–I was sorry that Vertical’s Takemiya titles didn’t seem to do too well (and even some of the reviews I read of them seemed to miss a lot of their power-). I guess I don’t quite get that way of thinking–I’ve been fascinated by these titles ever since reading Manga Manga in the late 90s when I was still in Junior High but I tend to be someone who really lieks to find out about the history of something I get intereste din–even as a kid and I know that’s not true of a lot of people. Still I really think for Viz to have a line like Editor’s Choice or Viz Signature and NOT having *anything* representing the works of these great women is, well not to sound too over the top, but kinda an insult. (I wonder if CMX has any mor einterest with 70s classic titles…)

    Thanks for the great blog and the chance to vent at any rate 😀

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