From Ukiy-o paintings to your phone and tablet screens, Tamamo’s reign over the Japanese cultural imagination is still as strong as ever.
Directed by Tatsuo Satou and with a screenplay by animator Masaaki Yuasa, the 2001 Japanese short film Cat Soup is a contemporary cult classic among fans of the experimental anime genre. Based on Chiyomi Hashiguchi’s 1990 manga Nekojiru, the film would never be seen by the mangaka herself—it was produced three years after her suicide in 1998, under supervision from her husband.
The first time I re-watched the Yu-Gi-Oh anime as an adult, I realized Seto Kaiba—the cocky teen CEO rival to the series’ protagonist Yugi Muto—seriously needs therapy. Now I look back at those pretty, leather-clad boys and think about all the VHS tapes of the show I recorded as a kid—my awkward adolescence was fucked up, but then, so was the concept of ancient Egyptian monsters terrorizing children in modern Japan. Actually, it’s no wonder that I ended up being a hyper-conscious mess—just look at Kaiba and his maniacal obsession with his signature monster card in the game of Duel Monsters that completely defines the Yu-Gi-Oh world: the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Kaiba’s trying to compensate for something he never had as a child, something I also desperately want to reclaim again.