South Korea differentiates from other Asian countries in its appreciation of the simultaneously cute and anarchic. Kids will claim mega-popular cartoon show Larva is cute, even while the main characters shit, fart and vomit all over one another.
Junko Mizuno would work well out here. The cult artist has been finding acclaim for years with her cute yet disturbing manga, even though English translations of her work have dried up in recent years. Case in point: the three volume Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu, her best work, which found American release back in 2009 with its first chapter…and then nothing came after.
Pelu’s quest to have a child continues to unfold across a surreal Tokyo cityscape populated by mythological creatures, loveable losers, living puppets, nymphomaniacs, and a visitor from Pelu’s own home world. Will Pelu finally gain the confidence to woo a bride? Can Pelu finally find a girl willing to stick around long enough to have his baby?
Volume 1 was a great looking, deeply weird thing of whimsy, and I can’t wait to follow Gigolo on his sexy quest. Let’s hope vol. 3 comes out sometime before 2020…
Asia Elsewhere is an occasional series looking at the visual and musical from China, Japan and beyond.