Questions from the Big Giant Heads (Part One)

As promised, the first part of the ‘the all encompassing answers to every question I’ve ever been asked…probably’.

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Steve Kyte artwork from SMC

As part of the process of getting Schoolgirl Milky Crisis ready, the Big Giant Heads asked around the anime industry if, you know, a book of my speeches and articles was a good idea. These are some of the very nice replies they got back:

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My 1919

My 1919

My 1919 VCD Cover

Last week I was at the Imperial War Museum for the launch of the Makers of the Modern World series – a massive set of biographies covering all of the main delegates at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. The Paris Peace Conference was a legendary gathering of the greatest minds of the 20th century, and not just among the diplomats. A young Ernest Hemingway covered the conference as a journalist; Lawrence of Arabia was an adviser to the Arab delegation; even Ho Chi Minh was there, working as a pastry chef while trying to put the case for an independent Indochina.

The Makers of the Modern World is proper, posh history (I’ve written the books on the Chinese and Japanese delegates) but talk at the party turned to the Paris Conference in works of fiction and film. The young Indiana Jones, according to Lucasfilm’s chronicles, was working there as an interpreter. A Dangerous Man (1990) starred Ralph Fiennes in what was intended as a semi-sequel to Lawrence of Arabia. And then, of course, there’s My 1919.

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Schoolgirl Milky Crisis Cover

The artwork has been handed in, the pages are laid out, the spelling has been checked. Schoolgirl Milky Crisis is almost ready for the printers. But the Big Giant Heads had one last surprise up their sleeves – the index, the final, crucial adornment of a book. It’s the author’s recognition that his book might be put to unexpected uses by readers and researchers in unforeseen disciplines. Far too many Japanese books don’t have one, and it makes life very difficult for researchers if one isn’t there.

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It was the best of shows. It was the worst of shows. Whenever I had to cover my tracks, I simply called it Schoolgirl Milky Crisis.

I have been writing about Japanese comics and animation for almost two decades, taking potshots at anime, manga and related fields, spreading scurrilous gossip and telling tall tales. And my friends in the business didn’t seem to mind, as long as they had plausible deniability, which meant that sometimes, even though the real name of a work was obvious to everyone, I needed to call it something else.

So I picked three random words out of nowhere: Schoolgirl Milky Crisis. At first, it was one of many fake titles, along with such creations as Warriors of the Test Card, Geek Gets Girls and Devil Devil Beast Beast. But there was something about Schoolgirl Milky Crisis that captured readers’ imaginations, and the non-existent show began to crop up regularly in my columns on the UK Sci Fi Channel’s website, in Newtype USA, and later in the Judge Dredd Megazine, NEO, and SFX Total Anime.

As time passed, colleagues approached me with woeful grievances and axes to grind. They would press documents into my hands naming names and stirring trouble. All they asked was that if I talked about this terrible show or that awful production experience, I should make sure everyone knew it was Schoolgirl Milky Crisis.

This blog is just a taste of the kind of things in the book that is due for publication in early 2009. The book contains serious newspaper articles, seminar speeches, frivolous web journalism and bitchy gossip from the specialist anime press. There is hard, useful information there, even in stories about gloves full of custard and snowball fights with martial artists. As part of the selection process, my editors and I have focussed on material that educates and informs, even if also discussing the ethics of sending celebrity guests to bondage clubs.

Schoolgirl Milky Start!