That didn’t take long: As Japanese anime and manga artists continue to draw hopeful images to cheer up the populace after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a group of American animators have taken a different tack and illustrated an actual e-mail from a colleague in Japan.
Joe Is Japanese is a graphic novel (currently serialized on the web) and animated cartoon about the adventures of a 35-year-old man and his animator pals in Japan. It’s loosely based on real life, so when the earthquake hit, and Joe’s real-life counterpart, Koga, sent the creators an e-mail about his experiences, they went ahead and made it into an 11-page comic, Koga’s Email. It’s a fascinating first-hand account of the quake—it’s one thing to read about it, another thing altogether to see it happen. (Yes, comics are better than plain prose!) Koga’s English is a tad unidiomatic, but the animators gloss nicely over that by depicting their own puzzlement in places. It’s a quick read and well worth the click.