That's right, this LET'S ANIME column will be all about fans! You know, the kind you hold in your hand and move back and forth that kinda keep you cool? Oh, you thought we were going to talk about the OTHER kind of fan, the kind that moves from the couch to the computer and isn't EVER cool. Well, too bad.
Nope, today I'm clearly in the category of "what the hell", the kind of thing you notice out of the corner of your eye when you're digging through some Crazy Grandma antique mall out in the butt-end of nowhere, when you CLEARLY are not expecting to find evidence of the Mighty Power Of Japanimation. And you blink a few times and you ask yourself if you just really did see that, and then you ask the clerk for the key to showcase #G-7, and then you buy the thing and take it home. That's exactly what I did when I found these things.
Crazy googly-eyed Japanese fans! And not the kind that camp out waiting to ambush their favorite idol singers, either! Nope, these are little paper souvenir fans with cartoon characters printed on 'em.
The first one is an androgynous festival child wearing his or her matsuri happi coat. In the background, a crowd of revellers hoist what may or may not be the Ark Of The Covenant.
This was a promotional piece advertising the '57 Tokyo International Trade Fair, at which I bet you coulda picked up North American Tetsuwan Atomu merchandising rights for twenty bucks and a carton of Luckies. Quick, where's my time machine?
Next up is our favorite comic-strip husband, Dagwood Bumstead!
A slightly puffy, rosy-cheeked Dagwood poses with a minimalist Daisy. Star of "Blondie", a comic strip that enjoyed tremendous if inexplicable popularity in Japan, here Dagwood gets the kind of fat, slick brush line he'd never get in American comic pages, except for that week Walt Kelly and Chic Young traded strips. But what of the Japanese comic tradition? Will the Japanese powerhouse of manga-style comic art be represented in googly-eyed fan form? But of course.
Machiko Hasegawa's Sazae-San, the modern Japanese housewife who first appeared in 1946 and whose animated television series has been continually broadcast since 1969 (!!), here recieves the ultimate accolade Japan can offer by being depicted upon a cheap, possibly unlicensed paper fan. What the hell a paper fan featuring Sazae-San was doing locked in a showcase in an antique mall in Ohio is a mystery best left to professional archeologists. I am only thankful to whatever cosmic forces placed it in my hands, in all its googly-eyed glory.
OH NO MOMMY'S DRUNK AGAIN
More "what the hell" stuff to come here at Let's Anime! Stay tuned!