Behold this splash page from 8-Man (8マン), a 1960s cartoon drawn by KUWATA Jiro (桑田二郎) and written by HIRAI Kazumasa (平井和正).

Looking at this picture is like, say, listening to one of Telemann's solo fantasias. Its details — the immobile, expression-neutralizing monobrow, the weirdly fluid animal physiology — thwart our modern expectations of the genre, and yet these echoes of a more iconic age are swept up in the artist's determined progress towards the future of his medium. Also, that dog exploding into flames is one of the coolest things I have seen on a page in a long time.

8-Man was not a minor hit, incidentally. According to Hirai's site above, when 8-Man was animefied, it outrated Tetsuwan Atomu (Astroboy), and it was even imported to the U.S., under the title Tobor, the Eighth Man. He was so called because the division of the Tokyo MPD to which he belonged has seven squads of seven detectives each, yet he is a robot (Tobor, get it?) working independently outside that structure, making him... the eighth man. Robot.

Oh yeah, and he was reliant on special cigarettes to fuel his internal nuclear reactor. Yes: in sixties Japan, even the robot men smoked.

In closing, I give you 8-Man slapping a bunch of birds around.

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Fascinating, I had only been familiar with the SNK arcade game based on this series (which, despite being called tedious, I actually quite enjoy). Reliant on special cigarettes, that's awesome!


Do you a correct translation of the dialog final panel would be, "Damn, I'm-a smack down all y'all birds!"


I remember playing 8 man at that time in my childhood. He's a cool hero of mine.

Leonardo Boiko:

This was one of the first anime I've heard about here in Brazil, way before they hit mainstream.

Leonardo Boiko:

Also, I think the bird panel is kind of the manga antithesis to Hitchcock.


I thought that first image was a vague reference to a famous ukiyo-e, so I hunted it down:


But I'd only seen the two leftmost pieces of the tryptich in a local collection. I didn't know it had a third panel. So nevermind.


Because you have made that simile, I will have to get myself a CD of Telemann solo fantasias.


The live action movie, however was especially horrid, and worse when dubbed of course.


Charles: I don't think you're on entirely the wrong track. The dog looks kind of ukiyoe influenced to me.

Peter: If you're after a recommendation, I made the simile because I had been listening to this. Great album although as the reviewer says it is 60+ minutes of solo recorder.

Carl: Exactly.


Thanks for the recommendation. Sixty plus minutes of solo recorder is only unbearable if it's being played by elementary school students.

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