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Doujinshi: A Different Industry

By Kokoro-chan and Professor Spork

"NO! KAKASHI'S DEAD!” Someone posted on a random forum.

The news spread like wildfire. Kakashi, one of the most popular characters in Naruto, had been killed off. Fans cried, fans cursed, fans mourned. It was the end of an era. Naruto manga sales went up.

Masashi Kishimoto was just sitting at home reading the morning paper when he heard yells from outside. Peering through his curtains, he discovered that the source of the shouts weren't exactly enthusiastic fans trying to greet him, but an angry mob, complete with sacks of rotten tomatoes and flaming torches. He had no idea what he'd done wrong.

The last character he'd killed was ages ago. His phone rang. It was his publisher, asking him why he told the fans he was going to kill Kakashi Hatake. Kishimoto paused. What the heck? He wasn't planning on killing Kakashi. A 5kg stone crashed through his window.

The real story came out soon enough. You see, Kakashi had been killed, but not in the actual manga. He had been killed in a famous Doujinshi, and the mentioned post came from a fan of that story. By the time this bit of information reached the enraged fans, however, Kishimoto's house was on fire.

The above example, though fictional, has similarities to events that have taken place regarding Doujinshi. For the uninformed, Doujinshi is the Japanese term for manga, novels or other works by amateurs, mostly fans. These are basically self-published fanart that, given the mastery of the artist in question, can equal or even surpass the original material.

It's not necessary for Doujinshi to be always derivative work; they can be original, like many good amateur fiction. In case of fan-creations, however, fact remains that they're based on other people's work and don't always get the approval of the original author.

Doujinshi Mangaka are mostly an underground group of artists practicing their own style as they please and Japanese copyright laws, therefore, don't technically support publications of this kind. And yet, 'Comiket', the official Doujinshi convention, is permitted at least twice a year and usually met with huge participation on the readers' part.

Although notorious for often featuring explicit content, Doujinshi acts as a convenient platform for a world of possibilities and potential creative talents. Experimentation of different styles often help shape a great artist and it's no surprise that prominent Mangaka like CLAMP, Rumiko Takahashi (Inu Yasha), Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina), Kazuhiko Katou (Lupin III) and Yoshihiro Togashi (Yu Yu Hakusho) had originally started out as Doujin artists.

The most compelling thing about these fan-creations is possibly the fact that readers get to choose their storyline. People who didn't like how Death Note ended could go check out a fan-written fiction where L and Light meet and face off again in the afterworld.

Someone who wanted a rematch in the real world could read an account where L comes back before the series reached its final chapter. With so many stories up for grabs, you can always find the one you're looking for, no matter how absurd.

Often fanfiction writers collaborate with Doujins and put together the storyline and art to create something truly wonderful. Or devastating. Some of these amateur artists are so good they don't leave room for doubt. Others are so bad they make you wish you'd never laid eyes on their works, but when you're looking through fan-creations, you have to be prepared for some scars.

Many Doujinshi have a storyline tremendous enough to capture attention like the original piece never could, and eventually the readers of such a story lose sight of the difference between fan-made and original.

As with fanfiction, emotional elements are often in action when it comes to fan-based works like Doujinshi. Original authors who are receptive about works of this kind usually keep a keen eye out for Doujins following their work.

Narrow-mindedness is uncommon in creators and they welcome the possibilities of manifold storylines involving characters they themselves had created. However, some authors may be a tad bit possessive about their work and the do-as-you-please treatment of their characters might end up downright upsetting them. Looking at Doujinshi from an original Mangaka's point of view, therefore, can be very interesting.

Then comes the fact about the Doujin artists. Working on characters and storylines that are not really yours can be very tricky. The point of fan-Doujin is to create alternate storylines of existing material. For this, one has to trick the reader first into thinking that it's the same work done by the original author and for that a high level of artistic mastery and observation skills are needed. Otherwise the spell doesn't work and the reader just cannot bring himself to accept the whole thing.

A puppy-eyed Ichigo or buck-toothed Sasuke would hardly appeal to the well-informed fans; same goes for a bespectacled Naruto (God, That even sounds wrong!). And although it may seem easy to work with pre-defined characters and storylines, the real picture is quite gruellingly the opposite. That's why it's often said that to produce first class Doujin, you have to be a first class fan first.

Googling Doujinshi rarely gets one anywhere, and it takes much time and effort to find good, non-explicit Doujinshi. Unfortunately we can't point out any sites specifically featuring such Doujinshi, although Livejournal has numerous communities featuring such work. The excellent thing about Livejournal is that the warnings and reviews can be viewed before the contents, helping one avoid any… unwanted experiences.


ICONS

They're all over the place, everywhere. Maybe you're crazy about them, and yet you don't know who or what they exactly are. They can make you dress a certain way, or eat certain things. And despite not having any particular story to tell, they're famous. Ever wondered why? Well, we have. Here are the facts behind some well-known characters in our everyday lives.

The Zoozoos- by far the most popular one in this list. Despite what everyone thinks, the Zoozoos are NOT animated. Did I hear your jaw dropping? Yes. They are, in fact, humans in costume. These cute little critters made their debut during the second season of the IPL, and since then they have been the world's most adored bunch of egg-heads. After official merchandise and a Facebook fan page, there is now demand for a full-length animated film. Things are definitely heating up in ZooZoo-land.

Hello Kitty- It's that little cat on your kid sister's school bag. It does absolutely zilch, and yet, it's everywhere! The makers of Kitty, Sanrio, say that this is exactly why it's so famous. “Kitty doesn't have a mouth, so customers can project any emotion they like onto her.” She can be happy or sad according to what you want her to be. Others have found more serious meanings to the little white cat, Kitty being drawn without a mouth supposedly symbolising how females have no voice in a patriarchal society.

The Playboy Bunny- Playboy first used the bunny on the cover of its men's magazines as an effort to set themselves apart from other similar publications. The tuxedo gives it an appearance of sophistication, while the bunny is known to be… ah, particularly prolific. The logo was meant to be a fun take on this, and today it has evolved into an elite brand found on everything from silver-plated jewellery to luxury jet planes.

Chester Cheetah- this slinky cheetah will do anything to get to his Cheetos. Many of us probably didn't know his name, or even that he had one. Smooth-talking and suave, he's been the official mascot for the snack brand for a long time now. He even has a couple of videogames to his name. One source claims that he was created by Hawley Pratt, the same guy who created the Pink Panther. Now that makes a lot of sense.

Mr Mango- while not animated, Mr Mokhles is one character that none of us can forget. From heartbreak to traffic jam frustration, Mokhless is always ready to cheer you up with his singing. Maybe if we had more bald-headed guys with guitars out on the streets, the world would be a nicer place to live in.

The Ferrari Horse- The prancing horse that we know as the emblem of the famous carmaker was originally featured on a fighter plane that was shot down during World War I. The pilot's mother has famously told Ferrari to use the logo on his cars. “It will bring you luck,” she had said.

Crazy Frog- Created in 2003 by a 17-year-old and originally called “The Annoying Thing”, Crazy Frog was meant as an animation to go along with a ringtone developed by a mobile phone content provider. He was such a hit that he eventually featured in a British compilation album for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. At one point, Crazy Frog really did live up to its original name, with complaints against it being aired too frequently in the UK.

The Uro Cola Kids- They were the stars of what was probably Bangladesh's first fully animated advertisement. Their funky moves even put Michael Jackson's moonwalk to shame. These sim-like characters would sing, dance to the 'rhythm of life' and drink Uro Cola. And oh, those shades!

By TheAlien4mEarth


The Lies They Tell About Us

There is supposedly a time and place for everything. Today, here, right now is the moment and the space to discuss the misconceptions that women have about men.

Women are expert jumpers, gold-medallists in fact, when it comes to jumping… to conclusions. Hence, they cleverly deduce and propagate half-baked lies about us, verbally feeding a frenzy they themselves have created. It's now the time to dispel these ridiculous beliefs and put things right once and for all.

'All Men Lie.'
This is not a misconception in itself but the way it is frowned upon is where the problem really lies. See, men don't necessarily enjoy lying. In fact, they too like to be honest. But women make this quite impossible.

The tendency to pepper the male specimen with questions that clearly cannot be answered truthfully is a big issue here and plays a significant role in forcing the men to lie. 'Do I look fat?'; 'Did you meet him AGAIN?'; 'Can you skip work today and go to the park with me?' etc. are questions we must always lie to.

The consequences of the truth are what make us lie. Women can't handle the truth. They break up because of the truth. Thus, although we men aren't liars, women force us to lie.

'He doesn't even notice how I look.'
Actually, we do notice how the girls look. But mentioning that usually gets us into trouble. Hence, we have just chosen never to observe girls around us and that includes you as well.

Frankly speaking, sometimes it's hard to notice what's different. Hair-cuts for us mean we come out with shorter hair but apparently this principle doesn't apply with girls. When girls trim their hair, the length remains exactly the same as before. Maybe the shape changes. They call their puffs and brushing on the right side instead of the left side a 'hair-cut' also called 'layers' or something.

Well, sorry sister, but its not evident at all. Plucking your eye-brow is also hard to see and we do not have your wardrobe memorised to know when you bought a new garment, because a) there are way too many clothes there and b) it is not that we don't notice, it's just we can't notice a freaking difference.

'Men are disgusting. They don't even shower.'
What? Where the hell did you get that from? Of course we shower. We shower everyday, almost. Sure, we don't have our nails done or our toe-nails clipped and shaped on an everyday basis, but that doesn't mean we are unclean.

What are you guys even talking about? Men are out most of the time and nothing pleases them more than a long, relaxing bath. Do not try to make up misconceptions to make your little jokes.

'Men have a dirty mind and a dirty sense of humour.'
Allow me to disagree. We do not have a dirty sense of humour. It's just that women don't have a sense of humour to begin with. So anything they don't understand (meaning most things), is blamed on the fact that we are insensible and dirty. Perverted, even. But that is not true at all.

We don't have dirty minds and we don't always share dirty jokes. We are just human beings who like to laugh at things that are supposed to be funny. Our jokes have nothing to do with being perverted or racist. It's your narrow-mindedness which deludes you to give our jokes such blasphemous traits.

'They just love to rough-house because they are like animals.'
Yes, sure we like to box around a little and break a bone or two, but it all ends there. Women, on the other hand, wage cold wars which last for decades. Men are more expressive about their emotions, so when someone mouths off, a fistfight usually ensues.

Women like to wait. And boy, do they have patience! 'I know what you did, but I'll bring it up next month, just before your important meeting at work, so I can mess with you a little.' Revenge is a dish best served cold and at most inopportune times and just because we like to rumble, we are the bad guys? Anyone who has seen an angry woman, knows that hell hath no fury as such. The misconception here isn't that we like to fight; the misconception here is that women think they don't. But they do and in much more horrendous ways.

'He wants to keep me away from his life.'
Not at all. We want you to become a part of our world. But, therein lies a most perplexing problem. Although you express a desire to be entwined in our world, we all know what that would mean. TONS OF NON-STOP NAGGING AND COMPLAINING. 'He's so bad.'; 'She looked at you wrong.'; 'I think you all are up to something.' It's like, jeez mum, tone down a little. The problem with the induction is that you will always, and I mean always, find something to complain about and ruin things. Thus, you keep yourself at a distance subconsciously. Don't blame us.

I am not saying women are evil or anything. Sure, they can't park a car and walk too damn slow, but it's cute in a way, isn't it? All that is being said is, stop wasting so much time stereotyping us. And STOP spreading these vile rumours about us.

By Osama Rahman

****** **** *******

It has come to light recently that men think of us as silly, bobble heads that live on glitter, high heels and phone conversations. While we do like all those things, that's not what we're all about.

We're just not something pretty for you to look at; we have brains too, to match our great looks! Brains that are capable of doing so much more than just calculus. Below are some common myths than men convince themselves about the fairer sex to help them sleep better at night.

Myth#1 - Women can't drive
The other day, a friend sees a man driving in a tiny clown car and loses it, 'Why is a man driving that ridiculous car? I expect a woman to drive that, but then again, women can't drive.' WRONG AGAIN you ridiculous man.

Yes we don't really care about roadsters and BMW's (well, not all of us anyways), to us a car is car is a car -- it is merely a device to get us and our shopping bags from point A to another shopping mall.

Here's a fun fact for you guys out there, Statistics have shown that 77 percent of men are most likely to die behind the wheel than woman. And when we get lost, which is very rare by the way, we ask for directions to a reliable source instead of wandering around like lost sheep too hopped up on our 'male pride' to ask for help.

Some men may argue that we let our yippy dogs and our yappy friends into the car causing us to lose focus on the road, but hey it's not our fault we're great at multitasking. Sorry fellas.

Myth#2 Women can't do math
On The Simpsons reruns the other day, they had an episode about how the boys and girls were separated in Springfield Elementary causing the girls to talk about their feelings and develop self confidence during math class while the boys spent their math class learning actual mathematics. What is that? Are the stupid male creators of The Simpsons implying that we don't know how to do math? Apparently, some men agree.

Math is stupid but we certainly know how to do it. Yes, we might have unorthodox way of memorising trigonometry formulae's by using pop star names but it gets the job done and gets us A's. Plus math is very important to us; we need it constantly when we're honing our bargaining skills in shops cutting down 150TK t-shirts to 80TK.

Myth#3 Women are all alike
No. Just, No. Some of us like to be cougars, some of us like brains, some of us just want a fat wallet, some of us like Edward Cullen and some of us are all about Team Jacob, some of us like coffee, some of us like tea, catch my drift?

Myth#4 Women are emotional creatures ruled by shopping and chocolate
So we like to shop, big deal. Ever heard of retail therapy? Buying pretty things makes us happy, just like sports and big men knocking each other to the ground makes YOU happy. The world has seen incredibly successful women such as Oprah Winfrey, Madonna and Lady Gaga to know that women are just as professional as men. Like Marilyn Monroe said, 'Give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can take over the world.' Our shopping only betters us and makes us more awesome.

Myth#5 Women are all crazy
Including your mummy dearest? Word to the wise darling, if you keep attracting psycho chicks, it's probably cause your giving off psycho vibes yourself.

Myth#6 Women are too evolved and too independent to need Men
We will always and forever need you hunky men to brighten up our days and be the ice cream to our daily diets. Yes we are more independent now and not reliant on a man to take care of us, but we still just can't get enough!

Guys, it's 2011, please tell your brains to get down to the present, pronto!

By Musarrat Rahman


We Survived The El Fiascos!

It was bound to be gruesome; those eighteen days would be something to remember. Four El Clasicos.

And come the first match did, with all its flair and attitude; Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly the most physically gifted footballer in the world and the star player of Los Blancos, had said before the game, 'We either win everything or we don't.' With all the hype it really did sound like it would be Vader vs Skywalker Junior.

Sadly, the game ended in a boring tie; the funny bit was that goals from both sides came from two of the best players in the world. The prolific Lionel Messi and the superb Cristiano Ronaldo. Not only did they both score in the same game, they both did it in the same manner, by means of a penalty.

Khedira, Cristiano and Di Maria showed up in great form and style in the second El Clasico, which happened to be the Copa Del Rey final. Both teams had fought hard and strong through the rest of the Spanish clubs and both had proved they were the best in their league by landing spots in the finals.

The trio put pressure on the Barcelona defence during the first half of the game and soon after the Catalans put up a strong show and dominated the second half to enter the extra time with the score line tied at nil-nil. Not even Messi could turn tables that night as his arch rival, Ronaldo, slotted in a beautifully timed header to end Real Madrid's seventeen year no-win drought in the last minutes.

Barcelona were devastated, as they watched the coveted Copa Del Rey trophy being lifted and hoisted by the men in white. That is, until Sergio Ramos dropped it and it was run over by a bus.

Pep Guardiola, manager of Barcelona had stated before the third match that he believed, Real Madrid were favourites. After such losses, referring to both the final and the injury of Iniesta, we can't blame Pep for losing hope now can we? It seemed that Barcelona FC had finally been taken down. There was definitely bad blood there and a little bad mouthing from Mourinho (no surprise) created all the more tension for the game.

The whistle went off and thus started what was the most controversial El Clasico of the season. Barcelona's reserve keeper, Pinto, was shown a red card due to his involvement in undisciplined conduct which was followed by another red, this time shown to Real Madrid defender Pepe.

Pepe was giving marching orders after a poor tackle on Dani Alves; however, we're not exactly sure how 'poor' this tackle was. Alves was seen rolling up and down and then eventually taken away on a stretcher, but he was also seen to be sprinting like a stallion, literally seconds afterwards.

While no can be right in being dubious over Alves's Oscar deserving performance, Pepe's play isn't exactly flawless considering him and defender Ramos have reached double digits in terms of red cards this season. (He kicked a dude in the face)

The little Argentinean giant, Messi, found his footing shortly afterwards, as he hit a double, the second being an absolutely phenomenal goal which took his record up to 52 goals.

Mourinho in the meantime was sent off as well for his improper behaviour with the referee (flirty winks, a few thumbs ups and maybe one or two pouts).

Barcelona walked out, loud and proud, with a two to nil lead and with no Ramos or Pepe to protect Real in the second leg, their Champion's league troubles seemed to have passed.

Mourinho was a no show at the press conference and of course later at the game; his assistant coach was seen to be giving orders from his side of the grass. David Villa, Messi and Pedro led the attack and fired shot after shot at keeper Casillas, who managed to hold ground with unparalleled skill.

Ronaldo frightened the defence with his lofty touches and soon after Higuain scored. Much to their horror, the goal was ruled off as Mascherano was seen to be involved in yet another controversial tackle with Ronaldo.

With Iniesta back in the team, Barcelona was at their prime and one slick through ball from said mid fielder found Pedro who slotted in the first goal past Casillas. Real bounced back just after ten minutes with a fabulous tap in from Marcelo. Of course by then it was all over. Camp Nou (rumored to drown out the noise of air planes and also referee's whistles, as Van Persie says) provided Barcelona with all the support they needed.

In the domestic league, Barcelona F.C. resides in the top with eight points away from Real Madrid with Valencia C.F. and Villareal C.F. trailing behind as third and fourth respectively.

So there you go, Barcelona has advanced ahead to the finals on a 3-1 aggregate to meet Manchester United. Time to paint faces and bring out the trash talk… and a lot of popcorn, too. Adios.

By Munawar Mobin


Past Luminaries of the Pool

Football and cricket are the two sports most people love to watch and play yet it is debatable whether these sports should actually receive the bulk of our attention.

Football urges its players to fight for the ball using intricate movements of the legs; however when this translates to players delivering kung fu kicks to their opponents with malicious intent, it becomes difficult to justify how the concept of fair-play fits into the sport.

Cricket on the other hand, proclaims itself to be a gentleman's game. But this bat and ball game can easily be called one of the most injurious non-contact sport on the planet.

Swimming offers a refreshing break from these two excessively watched sports as it is not only a sport but also a recreational and useful activity that could prove vital to your survival because the majority of this planet is covered by water (which you should already know from primary school geography lessons). And there's the added benefit of being able to watch the greatest swimmer of all time in action when most greats of the other two games like Bradman, Viv Ricahrds, Pele, Maradona are either mere illustrations of history books or parts of poor quality videos.

On a more serious note however, swimming deserves to be known as something more than the Michael Phelps show. That's because luminaries of the pool in the pre-Phelps era deserve some plaudits too for their exceptional achievements at times when performance inducing swimsuits and other modern equipments were not part and parcels of the game. Here's a look at four swimmers who deserve some minute share of the limelight along with Phelps:

Mark Spitz
Mark Spitz is the man whose achievements were only surpassed by Phelps in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the 1972 Munich Olympics, Spitz won gold in every event he participated in and even claimed he could have won gold, had the 50m freestyle been an Olympic event at that time as it is now. Further, Spitz set a new world record in each of the seven events whereas Phelps failed to set a world record in the 100m butterfly event. While this does not prove Spitz is a better swimmer than Phelps, the world should regret not being able to watch Spitz and Phelps competing in the same pool.

Johnny Weissmuller
Weissmuller's five Olympic gold medals might be nothing compared to what Phelps already possesses, however as a swimmer who has never lost a race, his record is still impressive to say the least. Weissmuller used swimming to win the battle against polio and his medal tally deserves special recognition because he competed in the early days of the sport.

Vladimir Salnikov
Salnikov's record in long distance swimming is exemplary because he is the first man to break the 15 minutes barrier in the 1,500m.

Salnikov won three gold medals in the American-boycotted 1980 Olympics in Moscow but was deprived of the opportunity to add to his medal tally four years later when his country, the former USSR returned America's favour and didn't compete in Los Angeles Olympics.

When Salnikov went back to Seoul in 1988, at the age of 28, he was considered too old but still managed to win the 1500m race, which is a remarkable achievement by any standard.

Ian Thorpe
The only swimmer on this short list who had the opportunity to compete against Phelps and utilise the benefits of modern technology. Yet this list would be incomplete without him because before being overshadowed by Phelps, the 'Thorpedo' won the 200m freestyle in Athens Olympics 2004, which has been dubbed the "Race of the Century”.

His competitors in the event were Phelps, Grant Hackett and Pieter van den Hoogenband. Five Olympic gold medals is already a good achievement in the Phelps era but should he be able to qualify for the 2012 Games, Thorpe will have another chance to renew his rivalry with Michael Phelps. And that should prove to be a treat for fans of the sport.

By Nayeem Islam
Source: sports.espn.go.com


 

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