A Random Thing: Akira Hiramoto and The Devil Blues

Ah, back to the land of anime and manga.  It’s been a little while, so I thought I’d do something.  This time, I’m doing a quick thing on Akira Hiramoto and his welcome departure from adult manga.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the work of Hiramoto-sensei, he’s a mangaka who is best known for Prison School, which is currently enjoying an anime adaptation this summer season.  However, the rest of Hiramoto-sensei’s works are generally in the realm of adult or ecchi manga that deal with rather erotic if not downright smutty situations that usually end in some sort of sight or word-gag.  Pretty standard stuff and it helped launch Hiramoto-sensei onto his current path.

Yen Press, 2011

I’m not much of a mark for that myself, I just have different tastes.  I have heard of the high popularity of Prison School, but I don’t usually allow things like that to sway my decisions.  I have yet to see Sword Art Online for gods sake.  However, I’m sure there is probably some level of merit to the manga, at least in it’s ability to sell.  Making something that sells can sometimes be independent of the objective quality of the material, but that doesn’t make the marketability a bad or negative quality, simply something else.

What was I talking about again?  Oh yeah.  You can check out the exact other works that Hiramoto-sensei has published at this link: https://www.mangaupdates.com/authors.html?id=276.  It’s mostly adult stuff, except for one manga.  Ore to Akuma no Blues, or Me and the Devil Blues is a manga interpretation of the legend of Robert Johnson, a famous Blues musician from the early 1900’s.  The legend detailed how Johnson, a worker on a plantation, was told to take a guitar to a crossroads.  There, he was met by a large black man, who is apparently the Devil.  The Devil took the guitar, tuned it up and played a few songs before handing the guitar back to Johnson.  From that day on, Johnson had mastery of the instrument.  As legend would have it, Johnson traded his soul Faustian-style for the ability to play the Blues.  Me and the Devil Blues adapts and continues the story of Johnson as he travels around America trying to understand his new-found ability.

Del Rey Manga, 2008

This story is such a departure from Hiramoto-sensei’s usual work that I felt the need to just point it out.  I really like Me and the Devil Blues and I had trouble understanding how someone with Hiramoto-sensei’s repertoire was even able to jump so readily into the story of a 20th century Blues pioneer.  Either way, I can’t say that I’m unhappy about it.  I’m perfectly fine with it… at least until everyone starts stripping and having sex.  Just kidding, that doesn’t happen.  At least not yet.

Well that’s it for now.  This was just a bit of a shout out to a nice manga made by a guy who… doesn’t usually make nice manga.  I’d say my usual thing, but I think that it’s only appropriate that Mr. Johnson himself take us out.  Take it away sir.

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