VN REVISITED: Fujimaru Book-n-Record

posted in: 2 - Books and Manga | 0

Originally published in two parts — July 2009

Growing up in the pre-home video era often meant the only way to relive your favorite movie or TV property was the now extinct book-n-record. I positively wore out my GI Jo Adventure Team, Frankenstein and Planet of the Apes comic book / 45rpm sets from Power Records as a wee lad.

powerrecords

The Japanese had it just as good – the formats being rather similar: 8-16 page booklets featured art inspired by anime, manga, live action genre films, etc. Short, simple adventures corresponded to narration and sound effects on a 45rpm flexi-disc, with a property’s signature theme song often on the b-side.

I find the real charm of these sets to be the original artwork, produced by the licensor, sometimes with great skill in replicating the look of a famous artist, but just as often displaying some totally off-model mutations.

This set, from 1964-5, is a rather faithful adaptation of Shirato Sanpei and Hayao Miyazaki‘s collaboration Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru (aka Samurai Kid).

fuji-record1.jpg

fuji-record2.jpg
‘Fujimaru of the Wind’ was a young ninja apprentice with a mastery of swirling wind storms. He was a chip off the old Sanpei block – hanging in the treetops in a tunic and shortpants, needing only his shortsword and a few shuriken, etc/ and so forth. He was a friend to animals, and sworn enemy of fire-breathing wizard Japusai.
fuji-record3.jpg
LOVE these ninja heavies!!!

fuji-record4.jpg

fuji-record5.jpg
I dunno about the furry one-sy he wears, but how cool was the era when kids with swords were role models! This show was rather weapons-laden…
fuji-record6.jpg
And he gets to KILL ninja! Sure, no gore, but c’mon – wack a guy in the head with a Wakizashi and what’s the result?

fuji-record7.jpg

fuji-record8.jpg

fuji-record9.jpg
How awesome is this nut-punch technique!
fuji-record10.jpg
Fujimaru’s mystical gimmick was the control of wind, and whipping up a tornado of leaves was a common escape. Ninja are either extremely susceptible to allergies, or terrified of yardwork…
fuji-record11.jpg
Most of the sets I’ve seen adopt the common Japanese publishing practice of running several more interior pages in 2-color process to save printing costs. Clever use of halftone angles and dot-pitch make subtle browns and beiges out of black and orange inks.
fuji-record12.jpg
Fujimaru’s girly pal Midori gets caught up in the inevitable hunt for the hot-potato secret scroll, aided by a somewhat Deputy Dawg-esque cast of animal sidekicks.

 

Fujimaru had a rather large friend from above his whole life – a giant eagle. It was all part of a well-balanced mix of genuine historical weaponry and credible martial arts with superhero-like powers and outright magic. Blend it all with goofy animals for comic relief and a snappy theme song by a kids chorus, and that’s your formula for successful boy’s adventure anime in the 60’s.

fuji-record13.jpg

fuji-record15.jpg

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fuji-record16.jpg
OK, that animal on the far left, the one with the same haircut as my mailman… what exactly is that? Monkey? Wombat? Proto-Ewok?

fuji-record17.jpg

fuji-record18.jpg

fuji-record19.jpg
Fujimaru’s whirlwind could turn Japusai’s fire right back on him in spectacular fashion! I love the character design of the old wizard…

fuji-record20.jpg

fuji-record21.jpg
These terriffic action poses are right out of the credit sequence to the TV anime. The show was adapted from a popular Sanpei manga, and animated by the now legendary Hayao Miyazaki.

fuji-record22.jpg

fuji-record23.jpg

fuji-record24.jpg

fuji-record25.jpg

Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru ran on Toei’s TV network from Jun. 7, 1964 – Aug. 29, 1965 – the same year as Johnny Quest here in the U.S. But while JQ was about the apex of boy’s adventure cartoons in the States, Fujimaru was just one in a long line of weapons-carrying, ninja-slaying, super-powered shinobi role models for Japanese kids.

FUJIMARU book-n-record (PART 2)

posted in: 4 - Collectibles | 0

The adventure continues…

Fujimaru had a rather large friend from above his whole life – a giant eagle. It was all part of a well-balanced mix of genuine historical weaponry and credible martial arts with superhero-like powers and outright magic. Blend it all with goofy animals for comic relief and a snappy theme song by a kids chorus, and that’s your formula for successful boy’s adventure anime in the 60’s.

fuji-record13.jpg

fuji-record15.jpg

fuji-record14.jpg

fuji-record16.jpg
OK, that animal on the far left, the one with the same haircut as my mailman... what exactly is that? Monkey? Wombat? Proto-Ewok?

fuji-record17.jpg

fuji-record18.jpg

fuji-record19.jpg
Fujimaru's whirlwind could turn Japusai's fire right back on him in spectacular fashion! I love the character design of the old wizard...

fuji-record20.jpg

fuji-record21.jpg
These terriffic action poses are right out of the credit sequence to the TV anime. The show was adapted from a popular Sanpei manga, and animated by the now legendary Hayao Miyazaki.

fuji-record22.jpg

fuji-record23.jpg

fuji-record24.jpg

fuji-record25.jpg

Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru ran on Toei’s TV network from Jun. 7, 1964 – Aug. 29, 1965 – the same year as Johnny Quest here in the U.S. But while JQ was about the apex of boy’s adventure cartoons in the States, Fujimaru was just one in a long line of weapons-carrying, ninja-slaying, super-powered shinobi role models for Japanese kids.

We’ve got some imagery from the anime itself and the inspiring manga coming in the future.

FUJIMARU book-n-record (PART 1)

posted in: 4 - Collectibles | 0

Growing up in the pre-home video era often meant the only way to relive your favorite movie or TV property was the now extinct book-n-record. I positively wore out my GI Joe, Frankenstein and Planet of the Apes comic book / 45rpm sets as a wee lad.

The Japanese had it just as good – the formats being rather similar: 8-16 page booklets featured art inspired by anime, manga, live action genre films, etc. Short, simple adventures corresponded to narration and sound effects on a 45rpm flexi-disc, with a property’s signature theme song often on the b-side.

I find the real charm of these sets to be the original artwork, produced by the licensor, sometimes with great skill in replicating the look of a famous artist, but just as often displaying some totally off-model mutations.

This set, from 1964-5, is a rather faithful adaptation of Shirato Sanpei and Hayao Miyazaki‘s collaboration Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru (aka Samurai Kid).

fuji-record1.jpg

fuji-record2.jpg
'Fujimaru of the Wind' was a young ninja apprentice with a mastery of swirling wind storms. He was a chip off the old Sanpei block - hanging in the treetops in a tunic and shortpants, needing only his shortsword and a few shuriken, etc/ and so forth. He was a friend to animals, and sworn enemy of fire-breathing wizard Japusai.
fuji-record3.jpg
LOVE these ninja heavies!!!

fuji-record4.jpg

fuji-record5.jpg
I dunno about the furry one-sy he wears, but how cool was the era when kids with swords were role models! This show was rather weapons-laden...
fuji-record6.jpg
And he gets to KILL ninja! Sure, no gore, but c'mon - wack a guy in the head with a Wakizashi and what's the result?

fuji-record7.jpg

fuji-record8.jpg

fuji-record9.jpg
How awesome is this nut-punch technique!
fuji-record10.jpg
Fujimaru's mystical gimmick was the control of wind, and whipping up a tornado of leaves was a common escape. Ninja are either extremely susceptible to allergies, or terrified of yardwork...
fuji-record11.jpg
Most of the sets I've seen adopt the common Japanese publishing practice of running several pages in 2-color process to save printing costs. Clever use of halftone angles and dot-pitch make subtle browns and beiges out of black and orange inks. OK, printing lesson over - quiz tomorrow.
fuji-record12.jpg
Fujimaru's girly pal Midori gets caught up in the inevitable hunt for the hot-potato secret scroll, aided by a somewhat Deputy Dawg-esque cast of animal sidekicks.

More kid-vs-ninja mayhem coming in PART 2!