Taiyo Matsumoto, though Pink is reasonably lighter fair than Sunny, or even Black & White.
I read an okay amount of erotica and have even reviewed some on this blog by way of some Dark Horse rereleases of erotic work by Milo Manara, and even some of the work by Vittorio Giardino. What made Pink so refreshing to me was to finally see (for me, at least) frank eroticism told from the perspective of a woman. I understand that romance novels exist, and female led erotica is a thing, but in comics, I had yet to encounter much in the department of a woman giving a true female perspective of the form. Every so often one encounters a female writer or artist on a similar project, but mostly they are paired with a male counterpart who is either leading the story with their own take on the female mindset, or indulging in their own visual fantasies, rendering the piece often times more palatable to a male readership. With Kyoko Okazaki's work though, it's her writing paired with her drawings (reminiscent of her work as a fashion illustrator) that give me the impression that I'm seeing her own views on beauty, sexuality, and even violence (again, reminding me of Taiyo Matsumoto's personal approach to all of his work).
Hideaki Anno, is responsible for some of my favorite pieces of animation?). The film even used Ringo Sheena's Heisei Fuzoku album as the film's soundtrack, as Sheena herself served as the film's music director.
While we're on the subject of film, and to bring the focus away from Japan for a moment, let's talk for a second about Claire Denis and her recent film, Bastards, which has been kind of polarizing audiences lately. A lot of people loved it, some people thought it was hollow, I thought it was pretty good; I don't think I would be chastised for calling it unforgiving and more than a little bleak. Eeeeeeeither way, Claire Denis is a French film director who has been making films about as long as Naomi Kawase, and like Kawase, her films are very humanistic, and it can be argued that both directors extend their reach no further than the immediate issues relating to their own countries' distinct personalities. While Naomi's Japan is populated with a rural plight and more singularly focused local outlook, Claire's France extends beyond her borders to Africa, and it can be argued as a product of France's long history of imperialism compared to Japan's resurgence into rural isolationism after World War II; despite a rapidly growing economy decades after the war and a growing Western influence, Japan remains incredibly divided in terms of development, and can be illustrated no better than in Naomi Kawase's own film, Moe No Suzaku (萌の朱雀). Conversely, Denis' opening salvo, Chocolat, focuses on the much more colonial lifestyle of a French family living in Cameroon. Both films manage to feel incredibly personal, and both films are able to speak to a larger societal issue in their respective countries. Even the neo-noir feel of Bastards manages to feel in some way very specific to France, and to the French people.
Speaking of France, I wrote last year about one of my favorite comics I had read in a while. I am speaking, of course, about Aya Of Yop City, whose writer, Maguerite Abouet, absolutely delighted me in her close-to-home telling of a thriving economic community in 1960s Côte d'Ivoire, but since I have failed to get around to writing about it in an article of it's own, I would instead like to talk about my other favorite read from that year, Miss Don't Touch Me, by French pair Hubert and Kerascoët. Made up of illustrators Sébastien Cosset and Marie Pommepuy, Kerascoët gets their name from the village in Brittany where Marie grew up. I honestly don't know a lot about Marie Pommepuy other than that she originally studied medical design at L’école Estienne, but the illustration work I've seen from Kerascoët is wonderful, and Miss Don't Touch Me stood out to me as a spectacular piece of graphic storytelling. I've been looking forward to their next English translated work, Beautiful Darkness, for a while, but it got pushed back to February 2014 from October of this previous year, so hopefully I'll be able to talk about that pretty soon.
While it wasn't my intent to ramble quite so much in this article, the main thing I wanted to talk about was the silly question of female creatives working in a more male populated field. While one could argue that I could have remained more focused in some areas, I had mentioned here before that I try to remain positive throughout this blog rather than talk about things I don't like, and I feel it to be a more positive idea to talk about some outstanding pieces of work rather than get too far down a hole of cynicism. I encourage readers, if they haven't yet, to take the time to watch that episode of The Point, and explore the other articles mention here, as well as ones I may have missed. The first step we can take is to keep an open dialogue between creators and fans, and for all of us to help these communities that we take part in by speaking up when we see this sort of thing happening; sometimes the biggest fault is complacency.
I want to also mention that this short list of creators and works is by no means definitive, nor is its opinions regarding sexuality to be taken as a measure for greatness. The worth of any creator, female or otherwise, is not reliant on an openness towards sexuality or an aptitude for displaying that in their respective field. I hope that this article helps to bring to some light both the talents of and issues being dealt with by many women in the arts. I also understand that I have overlooked quite a few individuals in an attempt to keep the format of this blog at pace, but again, I encourage readers to follow any links on here and spend some time doing what they can to keep their eyes open in their own communities.