Oh no, Naoki! Not you too!

Anime News Network’s Maine-born, cute pen-wielding Rebecca Silverman lives out our fantasy with a brief interview with Naoki Urasawa, the world’s greatest living genre cartoonist. Among the awkward translated exchanges:

ANN:What are your thoughts on the legal digital distribution of manga?

None of my works are [legally] available digitally. I prefer physical books.

Crap. None of Urasawa’s books are currently available digitally in the US, and looks like it will be a while before we can LEGALLY go on vacation with a complete run of 20th Century Boys to catch up on.


  1. I’m so sad, because unless Monster goes digital, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read this, and I REALLY want to. The prices for some volumes are ridiculous. I prefer print, too, but I’ll take what I can get.

  2. Everyone has a right to be a Caveman. Steven Spielberg bought up lots of moviola editing machines around 2003 as mostly everyone else was moving to Final Cut Pro and Avid digital systems. Bill Gates didn’t see the Internet coming and later thought Google was a joke.

    I think we hear about people who reject the new or progress, but we never hear later when they admit to themselves they were missing out and finally get on board.

  3. Too bad, since Pluto pacing is perfect for flipping through it in a screen; I actually read all of it in 7 seven hours.

  4. @Citizen Cliff

    Dude, no. You’re wrong about Gates and you’re wrong about Ursawa. Gates saw the Internet coming and did a pretty good job positioning Microsoft to maintain relevancy. He just didn’t agree with Scott McNealy that the network was everything. And really, who foresaw cloud based storage in ’96? No one.

    Ursawa isn’t rejecting progress, he’s stating a preference for a medium.

    Also, Ursawa is one of the absolute best living cartoonists. He can do whatever he likes.

  5. Studies have shown that reading things digitally often results in lower reading comprehension, less memorization, and a more passive engagement with the material — vs. reading the same things on paper.

    I read things both digitally and on paper. I’m not anti-digital, but there are disadvantages.

    Some people are befuddled when they sense that reading things on paper is in some way better. And they point towards things like “the way a book feels in your hands” or “the smell of the paper”. It’s really none of those things. It’s simply the fact that a backlit screen and the omnipresent distraction of the entire internet being one click away often prevents people from becoming engaged and immersed in the work.

  6. So how much does that hold up when you’re reading on an e-ink device with no (efficient) internet capacities to speak of, such as a kindle? That seems to be missing both factors involved in making reading digital more distracting.

    I have found it is much easier for me to read Western comics on my Nexus 7 because the pages are clear and crisp and entirely lacking on the reflective gloss most Western comics have. Unless I’m out in the glaring sun, there is no such distracting gloss on my digital screen and I find it is much easier to be absorbed.

    I think your points may very well be valid for reading on a laptop/computer, but I think tablets and eReaders don’t suffer from the same issues.

  7. Ah, Urasawa is an artist after my own heart. I can’t imagine losing the sensory experience of having a real book in my hands to adopt some glowing, chattering, networked contraption.