Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Shirow Sensei & The MSHP

The Shirow - MSHP FAQ:

I never thought this would be necessary, but I guess it has come to the point. So this will serve two purposes:
To make it easier to access and find info about certain "popular" issues pertaining to Shirow Sensei and his works faster. Usually the infos already exist somewhere in the relevant sections at the MSHP but I guess not many people bother to read into all the details. Some might be here because people asked me about them. So, read this first, then attempt to find the info you want at the relevant sections of this site. And if you still can't find the answer, then only mail me about it. Usually when something is not here or anywhere around the MSHP it is either because (i) I haven't got the time to put the infos up, (ii) it is 'very common' Shirow knowledge, (iii) I myself is not sure about it, or (iv) its trivial and not important for a Shirow fan to know about (subject to personal perception and opinion).
Info about the MSHP. I hope it is very obvious that the MSHP is a personal fan site, driven purely by the love of Shirow Sensei's works and the desire to encourage the entire population of Planet Earth to at least know something about Shirow Sensei. It has no commercial intent or anything 'Official' to do with Shirow, his publishers or any company. I will elaborate on this further later. So, this section will also explain some things about the MSHP, how things work here, why certain things happen etc. This is going to be a long document, so read on.

Shirow Masamune + Works

Q: When Will Appleseed #5 Be Out / Is There Appleseed #5? A: According to the latest comment by Shirow Sensei that I know of (September 98- Newtype Magazine interview), Apple #5 will not happen. Shirow at the moment is ruling out #5, and although there is some hope he might do it in future, it wouldn't be anytime soon. If there's any hint or change in Apple #5's status, I will post it at the MSHP. Note that French Shirow fans do have a 'Book 5'. This is just the Appleseed Databook. Appleseed Hypernotes- published by Seishinsha in 1995, is NOT Apple #5. Its just a collection of the 'unfinished' 4-episode run of Appleseed in Comic Gaia. Shirow terminated the project and is considered a stand-alone work (along with Ep. 26- "Called Game" in Databook) and is not Appleseed #5.

Q: When Will Ghost In The Shell 2 Be Out? Is There GITS2? A: It IS out already. First released as a Hardcover limited edition to accompany the Ghost Solid Box (Kodansha Japan, ISBN4-06-336310-4 C0979), part 2 of GITS is called 'Manmachine Interface". Standard (i.e. normal) editions of MMI is on its way. The release date is currently expected to be in April 2001. English Edition?... A: I am pretty sure Toren and staff at SP are working 'round the clock to bring MMI to the English readership, but translations doesn't happen overnight. Give it some time, and check Studio Proteus' webpage frequently for any updates on the English edition. You won't miss it, not something as big as MMI in English. Shirow has agreed to work on the flipping, background and effects for the 'Foreign Version', and expect it sometime end of this year / early next.

Q: My friend told me GITS2: The Movie is on the way. Is this true? A: Toren Smith of Studio Proteus mentioned in his recent Manga Newswatch (Feb.18th, check their homepage for details) that Mamoru Oshii has apparently agreed to direct the GITS2 movie. Also, he mentioned a GITS TV anime series is in the works at Production IG. Still nothing official yet, but I suppose we can take Toren's word for it. Your friend should be correct! ^_^

Version 1.2

Date: 17/01/01
Subject to constant changes and revisions. Check for Updated versions of the FAQ.

Kurarisu / Clarice from MMI
Clarice will be your hostess for the FAQs!
Be nice or she'll get real nasty! ^_^
FanArt by Lucas. C Shirow/Kodansha

FAQ Contents:

  • Shirow Masamune + Works

  • The Shirow Goodies Shopping Guide

  • Lucas & The MS Hyperpage

Q: What is an 'Exon Depot' Series? Do they actually exist? A: There have been three 'Exon Depot' series by Shirow so far- Yamazakura (Wild Cherry Mountain) [4 pages, Comic Gaia #8, Decade of Dark Horse #4], Shimban (Judgement) [11 pages, Comic Gaia #12 92, July/August 97 Penthouse Comix] and lastly ARMS [4 pages, Kodansha's BUTA Young Magazine #15 (13th Jan 98), ARMS Calendar 99']. An 'Exon Depot' work is characterised as - (i) a short, stand alone story (ii) Full-color, CG or oil painting and (iii) No speech bubbles / no text. What Shirow is trying to do with Exon is to present a short story totally depending on the illustrations to convey the messages and carry the plot. The beauty of Exon further amplifies Shirow's abilities and artistic talents, and they are truly one of the highlights of Shirow Sensei's many works over the years. Shirow Sensei mentioned in Intron Depot that while so far the Exons remain stand alone works in various publications, somewhere near the end of his career he will hope to compile all of them into one collected volume. MSHP link: Exon Depot.

Q: What is Shirow's latest (manga) work? A: Apart from Manmachine Interface, for which Shirow is re-working for different versions and probably adding more episodes, Shirow did announce a new manga series, a fantasy themed one called 'Fujinsho' (?) in Kodansha's Afternoon magazine for release in summer 2000. And it remains an announcement 'til this day (17/01/01) with no further info. Also, expect the next "Intron Depot" (not sure if it will be called ID3, or some other name) within the next year or two. To be confirmed, will keep everyone informed.

Q: Is Shirow's GITS edited or Censored? What was taken out? A: Yes. All 'English' mangas are edited in a sense that they changed the dialogues and sound effects to English. Most mangas are also flipped to be more familiar to the left - right reading format of westerners. The same goes for all of Shirow's works so far. In GITS, there are a total of 2 full pages removed, and one panel re-drawn by Shirow. I have seen GITS versions in other languages (Chinese for one) that has the two pages removed, but the panel leading to the page left as it is. More details about what and why, see the FAQ below directly after this one.

Q: Is Shirow's work hentai / porn? a.k.a. The Jashin Hunter Headache. A: *sigh* No one can stop you if you decide to like Shirow because of this. But its a very very bad misconception. Jashin Hunter, Steam Angel & Neuro Heaven (posters for E-oppers), etc. are all commisioned work, i.e. it is NOT a pure Shirow work. Other parties paid Shirow to do those. I define 'pure' to apply to Shirow works like Appleseed, GITS, Dominion, Orion etc. where everything from paper type, concepts to the finished ready to publish pages were done by Shirow Sensei himself. Sure, but there is an Exon Depot series in Penthouse Comix. Explain that. A: The "Shimban" Exon Depot series originally appeared in Seishinsha's Comic Gaia (Vol.12 2nd Nov 92 ISBN4-87892-025-4 C0079, which btw, is classified as a comic for youths (shonen), so unless all Japanese young men are perverts...) and if you have the chance to read it, has nothing hentai about it. Its a powerful story about Gods, religion and the gullibility of mankind. In a semi-civilized, no concept of what is 'moral', middle-age barbaric world (read history books about life in early civilizations!) where you still have to hunt in forests for food don't tell me you expect the population to dress up in a 'decent' manner? Even a single piece robe is considered luxury and only for 'upper-class' citizens at the time. Just because the uptight goody-two-shoes 'mainstream' US comics industry can't handle mature works like Shimban, there's nowhere else to put it and get enough publicity to justify the printing and licensing costs (that's enough Lucas!). Sure, how about the infamous 'censored' pages in GITS (SProteus/DHorse ed.), and more recently the rude scene in MMI? A: Toren and the Studio Proteus staff has taken a lot of effort to explain to the public that the 'censorship' is necessary. GITS is a very very popular work in Japan, and it costs a lot of money to license the work, and bringing it to fans overseas. Add that with the effort required for translating, touch-ups, printing the colour pages, printing on good paper to preserve the quality, promotion, etc. etc. it is necessary for SP to make GITS available to as wide a market as possible. By including the sex scene, SP effectively closes out GITS to be an over-18 only work and that would be a disaster. That's not the case in Japan. Everyone reads manga there, over-18 or not, and its part of daily life. So the market is huge and a work by someone revered as a veteran manga 'master' in Japan, well, its not a question of market, more one of availability! But why in the first place?... Everything that Shirow did is for a purpose and nothing is done exclusively to appeal to perverts (Shirow doesn't need that to sell his works). In GITS, there is an exciting commentary accompanying the Motoko and girlfriends at sea scene. Shirow is addressing the issue of the future of virtual reality, and undoubtedly this form of "entertainment" is a stark reality, in fact might even be one of the most developed in the field of the VR technology due to its high demand. Shirow is presenting his view on how it would work, a combination of chemicals, cables, interface ports and connections... its an interesting concept. In MMI, details are unclear, but it doesn't just drop out of the sky and everyone suddenly have sex. I will revise this once I get something concrete about this issue in MMI. The same arguements apply to other works by Shirow where anything 'hentai / porn' is applied (and I don't know why too!).

In the words of Shirow Sensei himself: 'Also as regards violence and Eros, I don't deny that these are important elements of my manga. But if I were accused of being a violence-monger or porn-peddler, my response would be "Oh yeah? Well.. it's too bad we had a breakdown in communication. Really a shame." ' (Intron Depot 1, page 48). And what a shame that would be, to misunderstand and misappreciate Shirow's works. (That's enough Lucas!! Ok! Ok! ^_^ Sorry.)

Q: I have just recently discovered Shirow Masamune. Which of his works would you recommend? A: Personally I'd recommend all of them ^_^. Seriously, everyone has their own taste and preference so I can only give my opinion on what would likely be interesting according to one's specific preference. If you like terrorism, SWAT and Special Forces work, military operations, cyborgs, practical mechas, futuristic lifestyle, with a touch of philosophy and international flavour I'd say go for Appleseed. Those who like their mangas with a touch of humour should pick up the Dominion series. Or if you want to play safe and go with the most popular in-thing in Shirow, get Ghost In The Shell. GITS deals with the dillema of cyborgs and what it means to be human, set against a cyberpunk backdrop. The second part Manmachine Interface is keeping up with the times where hacking and virtual reality is the norm. However, if the Science Fiction theme is not exactly your taste, then pick up Orion- a more fantasy-themed work where Gods from Japan's Shinto myths were given the Shirow treatment. If you are a new fan and likes Shirow's drawings, then you should get the newer works- Dominion Conflict, Appleseed Hypernotes and Manmachine Interface. Of course, the Intron Depot 1 and 2: Blades illustration collections too. For Shirow's older colour works in oil paintings, go for ID1. The more recent CG but mostly stand alone illust. go for ID2. Again, I don't think it matters much- just get any Shirow work you see. So far there has not been a single Shirow manga / book, old or new that failed to impress me. More details on the main works, refer to the relevant sections and reviews on the main page. At present, I have not done anything for Dominion yet, apologies.

Q: Who is the real Shirow Masamune? How do I get in touch with Sensei Shirow? A: "Masamune Shirow" is just a pseudonym, and Shirow Sensei would like to keep his personal identity private preferring his fans 'know' him through his works. I respect this very much, in fact even admire Shirow a lot for doing so, and I'll leave it at that. To know Shirow, all you have to do is go and buy one of his mangas or books. If you know a Shirow work, then you know Sensei Shirow (makes sense? ^_^). Of course, general biographies about Shirow are present with each work, age, bloodtype, career record etc. as is common practice with any other manga artist. In public, perhaps the most well-known Shirow 'symbol' is Takochu, or Mr.Octopus (?) literally a SD Octopus which had its fair share of adventures and appearances in Shirow's works. Another good way to appreciate Shirow's person is through the various interviews he had done, some of them exclusively English too. The good ones to check out are: T.Smith-Shirow+Aoki (Manga Mania #8 & SP Online), T.Ledoux-Shirow (Animerica 93') and F.Schodt-Shirow (Manga Max #1 and Jai2.com).
Some of you might think that you 'know' Shirow's real name and seen his 'portrait'. Trust me- I know what you know, just that I am reluctant to acknowledge it. Shirow's 'real name' which was reported at Puto's some time ago (now no longer mentioned) was sourced from an Italian manga-specialist magazine called 'Kappa' in one of their Shirow bio sections. Reliable? I have my doubts. Shirow's 'portrait' appeared in Bijutsu Shuppan-sha's Comickers 95' Autumn Sci Fi Edition in heavily 'digitised' form. It might be him, it might not be. I've "studied" the magazine in detail and there's no indication or reference in the magazine or article that the photo is Shirow himself, so it might be there just for the sake of decorations.

Shirow Sensei can be contacted through his publishers, the main one being Seishinsha. You can address them to:

Shirow Masamune Sensei
c/o Seishinsha Co., Ltd.

Shinkosan Building 710,
1-13-38 Hishi-honmachi,
Nishi-ku, Osaka-shi, T550, Japan
or
(in Kanji)

Please make it in Japanese. If you want to pass on something in English, address it to the US-based publishers Studio Proteus or Dark Horse (address available at the book sleeves or through their websites) and they will forward your correspondence. And make it clear that you wish for the letter to reach Sensei Shirow. That is the general procedure to do this. Caution that Shirow Sensei is a busy guy and I don't think he makes it a habit to reply each and every fan mail, but as far as Japanese fans are concerned, Shirow Sensei is very aware and in touch with their opinions and preferences. I can't personally help you to forward mails or something to Shirow Sensei, and can only point you in the right direction. I'm just a hopeless fan. ^_^

The Shirow Goodies Shopping Guide

Clarice Shops for Shirow...
This situation does NOT look good...
But somewhat familiar... ^_^
FanArt by Lucas. C Shirow/Kodansha

This "frequently asked question" deserves a whole section by itself as I get them most often. Whenever someone asks me how to get [insert Shirow item here], I almost always give the following recommendations. As a Shirow collector myself, I understand how tough it is to source out Shirow stuffs, and rightly there are some items which are hell to find or buy. But if its the general Shirow work, there should be no problems whatsoever tracking down a copy. Here are some sources (online & real world) where I think you should be able to get your Shirow stuff, and I've dealt with before. So they are very reliable and offer excellent customer service. Note that most of the online stores require payment by credit card, but the key is reliabilty. I'll also do some sort of mini shopping-tips / guide for Shirow goodies in this section.

Contents:

  • Online Shopping
  • Real World Shopping
  • Shopping in The UK
  • Your Local Comics Specialty Store
  • Shopping in Japan (Tokyo)
  • Shopping Tips and Guide
  • Other Shopping FAQs
I will be constantly reviewing and updating this section when I come across anything useful or get asked some more questions.

Online Shopping

Otaku.Com - Excellent source for Japanese manga / anime related books and merchandise, including CDs and DVDs. Otaku.Com is currently based in Nagoya, Japan and I have been getting stuff from them quite often over the past few years. Currently, the catalogues are kept trimmed and bare minimum but equipped with the right info (title & author *obviously!*, publisher, ISBNs, etc), you can write in to Alex or other Otaku staffs and if the book / item is still in print / production, you should be able to get one without any problems. There are also a lot of Otaku items on e-bay now, and most of the older and rarer Shirow stuffs usually end up there. Oh well... And they are listed on Seishinsha Online's Links, so I guess that pretty much indicates their reliability. Visit the website to find out more. The English editions and US DVDs are dealt with at the UK branch, Otaku UK.

Things From Another World / TFAW - The best source for English (Dark Horse) editions. This is sort of like the Official commercial leg of Darkhorse Comics where you can get almost anything Dark Horse without any problems. Since all of Shirow's English editions (except a few odd ones like the Manga Books Appleseed which is UK-exclusive) are under the Dark Horse / Studio Proteus label, they should be available there, as long as they are still in print. They even offer the Shirow statues, posters etc. Do a search for 'Shirow' or the title you are looking for, and you will find it.

Anime and Comic Japan - I haven't shopped here yet, but this is definitely a reliable site as they are directly linked by Seishinsha as an online source for Shirow's books (Seishinsha only I'm afraid, so no GITS or Gum Comics etc.) for overseas fans. Looks good. They have a whole section devoted to Shirow and they have a good range, currently including the "hotly" in-demand (ugh! >_<) Jashin Hunter, Appleseed Hypernotes, and even the Shirow Calendars from Rebirth 99' right up to Angel Star 01' (17/01/01- subject to changes as time progresses). And you can write in and ask if you are looking for something which they did not list. Payment method is by credit card.

Franken: Future Comix Shop! - This is another online shop I visit and deal with often. The items on offer are Shirow digital pictures, again only Seishinsha's stuffs. They do the annual calendars in digital form, and is pretty good value for money. They also offer Shirow illustration packages. The delivery method is via a software called e-parcel and payment by credit card is ok. Main site is in Japanese, but watch for the 'English' button at the menu bar. Once you get yourself registered and installed the required software, you are set to get the digital Shirow goodies on offer. Very cool concept, and excellent customer service.

Real World Shopping

Kinokuniya Books Ltd. - This is a Japanese Book Chain that has branches worldwide. It usually carries quite an impressive selection of manga and artbooks from Japan, but what's good about Kino is that you can actually put in special orders to get your books direct from Japan. Usually the following are required (as complete as possible- makes their job easier too and you won't get the wrong book) to do a special order: Title (Kanji preferred, but English is ok as long as you have the ISBN or if its something unique like 'Appleseed' or 'Orion'. Something like 'Learn to Speak Japanese' with no specific publisher or ISBN is very confusing), Author, Publisher and ISBN (most of the time pretty crucial to pinpoint the exact book). If you have the prices in Yen, the staff can convert for you into your local currency price on the spot. I'd say this is the best way to shop for your Shirow manga or artbook overseas. And they allow you to unwrap and view the books at the shop too. ^_^ Listed below are their overseas stores, with addresses, tel # and fax #.

US Kino Stores:

  • San Francisco: 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, U.S.A.
    (TEL)415-567-7625 (FAX)415-567-4109
  • San Jose: 675 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129, U.S.A.
    (TEL)408-252-1300 (FAX)408-252-2687
  • Seattle: 525 South Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104, U.S.A.
    (TEL)206-587-2477 (FAX)206-587-0160
  • Los Angeles: 123 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street, Suite 205,Los Angeles, CA 90012, U.S.A.
    (TEL)213-687-4480 (FAX)213-621-4456
  • Costa Mesa: 665 Paularino Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, U.S.A.
    (TEL)714-434-9986 (FAX)714-434-6861
  • Portland: 10500 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Beaverton, OR 97005, U.S.A.
    (TEL)503-641-6240 (FAX)503-643-1059
  • New York: 10 West 49th Street, New York, NY 10020, U.S.A.
    (TEL)212-765-7766 (FAX)212-541-9335
  • New Jersey: 595 River Road #B-101, Edgewater, NJ 07020 U.S.A.
    (TEL)201-941-7580 (FAX)201-941-6087
Asian Kino Stores:
  • Kuala Lumpur LOT 10 Store: 50 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    (TEL)3-244-1689 (FAX)3-244-1587 (I use to shop and hang around here a lot on weekends! Heh. ^_^)
  • Pusat Bandaraya Store: Lot 662, 25, P.T. 1212-1215, Section 40, No.190 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (TEL)3-294-0722 (FAX)3-294-0723 (Might have closed together with SoGo. Pity. This is my favourite chain. My ID, Young Mag Dual Device and Gemcat 98 is from here. ^_^)
  • Kuala Lumpur City Centre Store: 2nd Floor C/O of Japan SDN.BHD Suria KLCC Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (TEL)3-382-0230 (FAX)3-382-0233 (Pathetic selection of J-books and manga. Special Order system should be ok though)
  • Penang Store: Wisma Gama, No.1 Jalan Dato Kramat,10150 Penang,Malaysia
    (TEL)4-227-5062 (FAX)4-227-5067 (I've never been to this one yet. Been awhile since my last visit to Penang too)

  • Singapore Main Store: 391 Orchard Road, #03-09/10/15, Ngee Ann City Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Singapore 238872. (TEL)737-5021 (FAX)738-0487
  • Liang Court Store: 177C River Valley Road, #03-50, Liang Court Shopping Centre, Singapore 179036
    (TEL)337-1300 (FAX)338-1278
  • Bugis Store: 200 Victoria Street #03-09/10/11/12 Parco, Bugis Junction, Singapore 188021
    (TEL)339-1790 (FAX)339-1792

  • Plaza Indonesia Store: Jalan M.H. Thamrin, No.28-30, Jakarta 10001, Indonesia
    (TEL)21-310-7575 ext 205 (FAX)21-310-7724
  • Plaza Senayan Store: Jalan Asia Afrika No.8, Jakarta Pusat 12070, Indonesia
    (TEL)21-579-00055 ext 313 (FAX)21-579-00067

  • Bangkok Store: 6th Floor Isetan Dept. Store World Trade Center 4/1-2 Rajadamri Road, Pathumwan Bangkok 10330, Thailand (TEL)2-255-9834 (FAX)2-255-9837
  • Sukhumvit Store: 3rd Floor, Room301-3 Emporium Shopping Complex, 622 Sukhmvit 24 Road, Klongton, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand (TEL)662-664-8554 (FAX)662-664-8559

  • Sydney Store: 20 Young Street,Neutral Bay,N.S.W.2089, Australia
    (TEL)02-9953-8855 (FAX)02-9904-1944 (for the Aussies! Get your Shirows here!)

  • Taipei Chuko Store: No.45 Sec. 4 Chung Hsiao East Rd., Taipei, Taiwan
    (TEL)2-2721-2304 (FAX)2-2777-4027
  • Taipei Tienmu Store: 3rd Floor Dayeh Takashimaya Dept. Store, No.55 Sec.2 Chun Cheng Rd., Taipei, Taiwan
    (TEL)2-2832-0406 (FAX)2-2831-7345
  • Kaoshiung Store: 10th Floor No.59 Wn Fu San Road, Kaoshung, Taiwan
    (TEL)7-272-5120 (FAX)7-251-7870
  • Kaoshiung San Duo Store: 13th Floor No.217,San Duo 3rd Rd.,Kaoshiung, Taiwan
    (TEL)7-335-8002 (FAX)7-335-8005
  • Taichung Chung Kan Store: 12th Floor No.299,Sec.1,Chung Kan Rd., Taichung, Taiwan
    (TEL)4-2329-3086 (FAX)4-2325-5383
  • Taichung Ching Cheng Store: Kuang San Sogo Annex 10th Floor No.423,Sec.1,Chung Kang Rd., Taichung, Taiwan. (TEL)4-2321-0328 (FAX)4-2321-1285
Happy? Guess I've covered most of the world... Oh! Wait. Europe. I think there should be some Kino chains in Europe too. I'll find out and update.

Shopping in the UK - Look up the UK Anime FAQ and Shopping Guide, both online at the comprehensive Britanime website. If you can find manga / anime, you can find Shirow. ^_^ I don't know much about the rest of UK (London etc.) but if you happen to be in Bristol England, US edition Shirows can be found at the manga section of the local Forbidden Planet comic store (In Broadmead, City Center. 28-30 Penn Street, Bristol BS1 3AS Tel: 0117-929-8692). Recently (17/01/01) they have copies of Dominion 3rd Edition, Angel Star 2001, ID1 & ID2, Motoko Hard Disk and White Out figures... Forbidden Planet also runs a mail-order service, so ask at your local store. Superstores at Birmingham and London, other branches in Newcastle, Coventry, Croydon, Liverpool and Southampton.

Your Local Comics Specialty Store - It would be pointless if they don't carry Dark Horse titles. Usually you can order in stuff from Japan under the 'International' section of the Diamond Previews, and Shirow merchandise are very prominent. Though from my personal experiences, HIGHLY unreliable, but worth a shot when desperate. The English editions should be ok to order, as long as they are in print. Shirow's TPBs do get re-printed when there is sufficient demand but direct editions would be hard to source out unless your store has a fantastic collection of back issues.

Shopping in Japan (mainly in Tokyo) - I can't recommend much since I've never been there, but one place that I can guarantee carrying Shirow goods and books is the Manga no Mori stores. Details of some shops below (there are many more chains, but you can easily source out the addresses in one of the stores below). Also, it would be good to have a Japanese friend who knows reasonably well about manga to bring you around. Some second-hand manga stores can sometimes carry many many precious Shirow gems I tell you.

Manga no Mori Shinjuku Branch, 10am - 10pm daily
Tel: 03-3341-0921
Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-35-1

Manga no Mori Shibuya Branch 10am - 10pm daily
Tel: 03-5489-0257
Shibuya-ku, Udagawa-cho 12-10

Manga no Mori Ikebukuro Branch, 10am - 10pm daily
Tel: 03-5396-1245
Toshima-ku, Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-28-1

And do not miss out visiting Akihabara! What a sad life. I think if I ever visit Japan my itinerary will read something like Manga Shops - Akihabara + Games Shops + Arcades - Anime Shops - Hobby Shops (kits!!) - Kobe (Shirow!! & Kobe beef noodles!) - Osaka (Seishinsha!!) - more Manga Shops - Akihabara one more time... heheh. ^_^

Shopping Tips and Guide:

Here are some general tips / guides when shopping for manga / Shirow goodies. Things can get out of control and risky if there is no planning, especially for fans like me who are hard-strapped on finances. Also, shopping online via the 'net is still something quite new to a lot of people, but sometimes it might be the only way to get that special something that you need to carry on living (^_^). And not only for Shirow goodies, I think this can apply pretty well to other general anime / manga/ games related goodies. Hopefully this guideline will be useful in some ways to help the Shirow fan make informed choices, and not ending up a miserable customer.

Other Miscellaneous Shopping FAQs:

Q: Can you (i.e. Lucas) help me get [insert certain Shirow item(s)], please? A: Usually the answer is, unfortunately, No. Unless I know you personally, under special circumstances or you have helped me out in some way or another. I have had some very very bad experiences helping a Shirow fan buy those "hard to get" items, so I'm not prepared to go through all that again. Besides, I don't have much money to spare either, just a University student trying hard to make ends meet. Another disadvantage of getting stuffs through me is the extra postage incurred as your items will need to be shipped to me in England and I in turn ship them out again. Postage from England (and Japan / US) isn't exactly cheap. So even though its against my principles to gain anything helping you guys out, the postage builds up your cost, and takes up my time. Its still best if you try and get them on your own first. Sorry. However if you really really need my help and there's no other way, mail me and we can try and work something out.

Lucas & The MS Hyperpage

Management and General Background - The MSHP dates back to sometime in mid-97, a very low key and badly done Shirow fan page and it still is today, although there are some slight improvements in many many areas. The motivation for this page stems out of frustration at not being able to find some decent info on even the most common books, like Intron Depot 1. I can't order my books in! Hence, I wanted to at least provide some kind of information page on Shirow Sensei's books, all the necessary ISBNs, publishers, prices etc. to help other fans get their copies and not let anyone suffer like I did last time. This expanded to include reviews and summaries of Shirow Sensei's many main works to help the fans make better, more informed choices. This soon included some of the more 'rare' (supposedly) Shirow merchandise I manage to get in my collection, which I think is quite hard to find anything about in English. Of course, this was soon joined by the Shirow News pages with the latest on what's happening with Sensei Shirow and anything related. Then more recently, the additions of my personal sections and the Fans Center- a collection of resources that I prepared so that all you online fans can keep in touch with each other, share your informations and do other hopefully fun things.

Ex-MSHP Main
The MSHP Ver2.0, 1999, now a distant nightmare...

At the present state- the primary aims and "mission statements" of the MSHP are simple: To promote Shirow Sensei's wonderful works to a wider readership worldwide, to provide a resource center for Shirow fans to find information and hang out, and lastly as a personal tribute to the talents and wonderful works of Sensei Shirow Masamune.

On the management side, the whole of MSHP is painstakingly designed and maintained by me alone. The HTML codes were done on Notepad, and all the images scanned and edited, all information sourced, researches done and articles written by myself. Whenever I quote something, or take images from other sources I always credit and if appropriate linked the source. I'm always trying my best to keep within the copyright allowances and many many times are tempted to make a text-only page. However, like they say, a picture speaks a million words and sometimes I need it to explain something, and I know it is something very useful to fans overseas (somehow Japanese fans don't need pics to keep them interested in a fan-page. Admire and respect~). More on the issue of pictures later, but for now, suffice for me to stress that I try my best and really have no intention to breach any copyrights or do anything commercial with this page.

Q: Can I link to the MS Hyperpage? A: You are more than welcome to do so! The MSHP is link free (which simply means you don't need my permission to link). If you want me to return the link, drop me an e-mail. Below are my page banners, which you can take and put in your own directory. The link address / URL is listed below.


mshbnrv1.jpg / size = 4kB

mshbnrv2.jpg / size = 7kB
URL for Links: http://members.tripod.co.uk/masamune_shirow/

I do not promote the MS Hyperpage a lot, so I'm counting on all the kind links provided by others to help direct visitors here, so if you are in charge of one of the sites that is linking to me, many thanks.

Q: Can I use your images / articles on my page? A: Since it is on public domain, I don't see why not. But just keep in mind that most of my images were heavily edited and are specifically done for some content in the MSHP, it is not made for 'Galleries' in the first place. While its entirely up to you whether to credit and link me for the images or not (usually most websites don't, so what can I say?), I must stress and emphasize that you please, PLEASE at least credit Shirow and the Publishers. I do this all the time and I don't want any pictures sourced from my page to end up without the relevant statements. The pictures used on the MSHP are all scanned by myself from my own books, collections etc. whenever possible and when I do use images sourced online, I will provide a link and credits to the source. As for articles and reviews- these you have to link and credit me, as they are entirely my own effort.

Q: Why are there no Image Galleries on your site?!? It sucks! A: Well, too bad. The MSHP does not and never will have a Shirow image gallery. While because of this I realise the MSHP is not popular and is probably a million hits or so behind many other pages with high quality Shirow galleries, I will not do it. The only people who have the right to make available and distribute the pictures are the rightful owners- in this case Shirow himself, the publishers and those who were specifically given permission to do so. You can find a monthly Shirow gallery in Seishinsha's Homepage (which is very cool, and is the only Official Shirow gallery page), but keep in mind that they are for personal use only. I have nothing against image galleries but I feel that it is not right to have a page supposedly 'about Shirow' or a 'Shirow fan page' when the contents are just pictures. These require no more effort than cut and paste. While it is good to have maybe a small selection of images as samples of Shirow Sensei's talents, it is plain wrong to do it until a degree where someone can say 'Oh, I don't need to buy the book. All the images are online already'. Now that is criminal and absolutely appalling. Regardless of whether it is a 'rare' picture or not, this is not an excuse to do it. This issue of what constitutes as 'acceptable' is outlined in the Studio Proteus' FAQs under the 'I'd Like to do a Homepage...' and 'Fan Art and Copyright Laws' headers. Read through that and take note. In particular for the MSHP contents, the 'review and fanzine-type' situations are noted, for which I hope this page is within the allowed limit. Now, this is entirely different when I deal with my own fan arts. For my personal fan arts, I don't mind providing them in a gallery in high quality, because the pictures were done by myself and I can do whatever I want with them. Under these circumstances I'm terribly generous. However, if its someone else's fan arts, the arguements above apply again, and I will not distribute or display the pictures unless given permission to do so by the artist. So if you're looking for Shirow galleries or high quality pictures, sorry, you've come to the wrong place. For your Shirow fix, go buy the Intron Depots and other artbooks. Please.

On a side note, the MSHP will have a Shirow Art Gallery- but it will be a fan art gallery with drawings and artworks submitted by Shirow fans. So you will find that here, and I'm sure you will find it very interesting. This is after all a Shirow fan page, for Shirow fans.

Q: When do you update? Why are you so late / not updating at all? A: I usually update based on two main criterias: News and time. Whenever there is something really significant and new about Shirow Sensei, I will make it my priority to update. And as I usually do everything on my own from scratch, reviews, essays, layouts, design etc. I usually spend a lot of time just completing a simple page. So when I am burdened with work (University or otherwise- which is rightly my highest priority in life all the time) I just simply don't have the time to do it. Therefore, my updates frequency can be erratic. When I do not update at all, it is usually because I am not around, travelling, working, etc. and have no access to my Shirow materials or personal online PC. I will always try my best to put up some notice if I'm taking a 'break'. Which leads me to another issue: Q: Why is the MSHP incomplete? Why are you not providing reviews on everything in your collection? A: I am currently an overseas student studying in England. Every summer break I bring my Shirows home where they belong with the rest of my beloved collection. Hence, what I have on-hand to do reviews and updates are mostly the more recent things that I acquire. I try my best to do as much as possible when I'm back home with my collection but due to (i) a crap Pentium 133MHz ancient PC [lowly 2.1GB Harddisk! >_< UGh!], (ii) budget low-quality scanner, (iii) the distraction of the cool holiday life at home with my Shirows, mangas, anime and Dreamcast, (iv) the fact that I almost always do summer placements away from home for more than half my summer break, and (v) most important of all- spending quality time with my parents and family. I am always trying my best, and trust me that I feel as frustrated as you are with all the backlog and unfinished jobs here at the MSHP. Please be understanding.

Q: The design for your website is horrible! Don't you ever learn how to do a website properly? A: No I never had the opportunity, nor the time. My HTML skills are entirely self-taught, with some basic help from a good friend initially. Until this day I'm stuck with doing things on Notepad and honestly speaking, I don't have much experience with HTML editors or similar softwares. I'm more concerned about content and do not think it is really necessary to do my page until it 'looks professional'. What good is a cool-looking, mouse-over effects, feature filled site without any contents? Its like a shell without a ghost! ^_^ Besides, this is at the core, just a personal Shirow fan page. And I would like to keep it in this somewhat amateur-ish and practical manner, as everything is done with my own personal effort and I value it more that way. Another good thing is older version browsers will not have any problems handling the MSHP, but in this day and age, I doubt browser versions would be any big problem. Things might get messy here sometimes, but I think navigating this page is pretty straightforward. I am also using Photoshop at a very basic and amateur level. I don't have anyone to teach me, and I don't have enough talent to do anything nice. Nuff' said.


To get in touch with me, please refer to the contact page. I will be keeping that page updated with my contact status, and the methods you can use to get my attention. That's all for now. Hope this is useful and answers most of your Shirow / MSHP questions. - Lucas. 22/01/2001.


== Back To MSHP Main