Otaku USA Magazine
Secrets of the Otaku-Verse: Episode Eight!

My goodness! Another episode of Otaku-Verse Zero has been posted on the Internet! Thus do I emerge from the ether to provide you with making-of information and behind the scenes skinny to enhance your viewing experience!

The first major thing about this episode is… VIEWER MAIL! Attentive watchers will have noticed that we’ve been making co-host Yuu Asakawa read that darn email address at the end of every episode since the very beginning. Now, finally, we start to dig into the mail bag to directly address your questions and concerns, a task we’ll happily continue to do from here on out. So consider this an open call to send your missives about the show to (as Yuu would say) [email protected].

Now, on to the meat of the show itself… manga creation software program ComiPo! Where to begin? Around fall of last year, I began to hear rumors about a startling new kind of computer program in the works in Japan, one that could potentially change the way that manga was made and consumed. Such hearsay turned out to be true: the software in questions was called “ComiPo!”. One of the people close to the project invited me down to Web Technology Com Corp.’s offices in Ikebukuro to get a live demo from chief producer Keiichi Tanaka. A few weeks later, I posted a full report on my blog which can be read here.

Tanaka-san and I stayed in touch. Eventually, he sent me a demo of  the actual ComiPo! manga to test drive for myself. After figuring out installation and getting my feet wet with the controls, 3D models, and backgrounds I spent about a week obsessing over a 4 page story-driven manga. But the more I played with ComiPo!, the better my layouts became and the earlier pages suffered by comparison. So I threw the fruits of my labor in the trash and started over again with a one page commentary on ComiPo! itself. You may now view my first manga created using the software here.

Meanwhile, the buzz around ComiPo! in Japan was building to impressive levels. Tech magazines like Weekly ASCII wondered if ComiPo stood to do for manga what Vocaloid / Hatsune Miiku had done for music: make the act of creation accessible to the masses. Otaku around the world trembled at the power, the potential… The director of Otaku-Verse Zero decided that our show simply had to report on it.

And so I was given marching orders to make a new manga especially for the show: one that Yuu and I would read aloud. 24 hours later, I delivered the goods as seen in the latest episode. And I also was told to try and create a manga using ComiPo! on camera. If my fingers seems sort of unable to process this simple request with ease, I apologize: my butterfingers could not quite get a handle on the laptop’s mouse settings. Either way, pretty soon we were in Akihabara grilling Keiichi Tanaka in the studio about his game-changing creation.

Having spent a fair amount of time using ComiPo! now, I have to say I’m really impressed with how easy it is to work and how gratifying the results are. I’m also anxious for the upcoming English language version to be unleashed to see what you crazy kids will do with it.

In the meantime, tune in next week to see what manner of madness Otaku-Verse Zero throws at me next!

Patrick Macias is the editor in chief of Otaku USA magazine. His blog can be found online at www.patrickmacias.blogs.com