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The Illustrations of Takagi Naoko

Hello readers, if anybody had been lamenting just how fast the time had passed us by, rest assured that I was also part of the little group yesterday. We have officially passed mid-March if such an achievement is unlockable, and the monkeys are merry with bananas swinging back and forth for nine days. Somebody suggested Cinderella for an ideal movie over the holidays. Another mentioned the new Naruto movie which premiered just a few days back. Me? I wouldn't watch either. This is quite a sluggish period for movies, and probably everything else. I have been slowing down considerably with anime, but thankfully there is still Koro-sensei to tickle my feet. Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road is nearing its finale, and at last glance Midousuji had finally (?) lost grip of everything, leading to a serious tumble off his road racer. I wonder if I would be able to witness Sakamichi's unwavering determination that spells long-awaited victory once the anime hits the last episode. Anyway, those speculations would have to wait till the end of the month. The low input in the anime department however means a significantly bigger allocation manga-wise, and today's post is no exception!

Well, in some cases most Japanese publishers consider manga inclusive of illustrators' work, for example those of Takagi Naoko who has easily become a favourite illustrator of mine ever since I clapped eyes onto some of her earlier books. She first came under the spotlight with her cute, hilarious yet personally reflective depictions of life as a petite person. The 150cm Life series got me acquainted with Takagi-sensei's slices of life, and her brilliant works continue to mesmerise with their unique themes and refreshing takes on an otherwise mundane life that a lot of people have been living. Through Takagi-sensei, I became aware of her aspiration to become an artist which prompted the decision to leave her hometown for Tokyo at age 24. With savings that would deplete faster than the speed of a bullet train, Takagi-sensei struggled to live the peasant's life, working odd jobs and such to see through basic survival while putting together her portfolio with hopes of enticing a potential publisher. Her family constantly worried about her well-being, and their suspicions were confirmed with her initial return back home, hardly showing any sign of a changed life but instead a quiet plea for assistance. In any case, Takagi-sensei was firm about her hopes and dreams, choosing to fight for the slightest hint of an opportunity while keeping her gradually improving life together.

If I had to choose my favourite stories of Takagi-sensei, one would have to be the somewhat discomforting, eccentric yet subtly heartwarming interactions between her and the head chef of the restaurant where she used to work in the mornings. The head chef probably represented the typical man, husband and father in the Japanese community - his love for the people whom he care about would largely disguise possibly due to an ineptness or awkwardness at displaying affections. He reminded Takagi-sensei to eat her meals regularly no matter what, and during those memorable times at the restaurant he would whip up unbelievably huge portions of mouth-watering food for the staff's welfare. Gosh, could that set of French Toast get any bigger?

Another story would be the very first time Takagi-sensei tried conveyor belt sushi. Back in those days, conveyor belt sushi was a newly introduced concept, and many of Takagi-sensei's classmates had already been there. However, her father simply refused to have anything to do with that, making a trip there nearly impossible. Yeah, thankfully her mother had a day out with her once without the rest of the family who were presumably working late, and both of them decided to do dinner at the conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Naturally, Takagi-sensei was extremely excited for her virgin experience with conveyor belt sushi. In fact, the excitement had blown up a little too much that later became uncontrollable. Takagi-sensei got an earful from her mother after they left the restaurant some thousand yen poorer. Despite that, conveyor belt sushi would go on to become an essential part in their lives.

According to Takagi-sensei's official website, she has to date released a total of 28 illustration books! While I have yet to read all of the titles, I do hope that someday I would be able to accomplish that. I highly recommend any of her books on a lazy afternoon or whenever anybody feels like having a refreshing change in their reading habits. Be cautious though, several of her works feature extensively a wide array of gastronomic pleasures and such.

Eccentrically Yours. 

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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1 comment to ''The Illustrations of Takagi Naoko"

  1. I read naoko takagi book (Bubble, female dog 16yr ) and found that the book is greatly written.

    Naoko takagi is 150cm tall, but has talents on drawings.