With just over two weeks to go in its crowdfunding journey, UNICO: AWAKENING is doing gangbusters. The new manga project from Samuel Sattin and Gurihiru has already raised nearly double its initial goal of $50,000. That’s great news for fans of Tezuka’s wish-granting amnesiac unicorn baby.
But if you’re new to this whole world, there’s still a lot to get excited about… especially in terms of the talent involved! Lots of stunning manga artists lend their talent to this project, including these three. And they’re as excited for the new adventure as we are:
With art sometimes dubbed “Gothic kawaii” or “kawaii noir,” Junko Mizuno is a stand-out presence in the art world. Her manga series (including Princess Mermaid and Hansel&Gretel) blends the adorable with the creepy. And if you’ve seen any Unico (or Tezuka works in general), you know that’s the perfect vibe for the title.
So it’s unsurprising that she’s a long-time fan of the manga. “I still have the first edition of Unico volume 1 that my parents bought me when I was 8 years old,” she comments. “I read it over and over again and it has become part of me ever since. So excited it’s being reincarnated in the 21st century!”
Repping the soft, sweet side of Unico is Kamome Shirahama. Her manga Witch Hat Atelier is on its way to getting its own anime adaptation. Much like Tezuka’s own story, it features an aspiring witch who gets in way over her head with a sinister villain. You’ll also catch her work in Star Wars: Visions… she served as character designer for the Studio Trigger short “The Elder.”
Shirahama’s childhood experience is a familiar one: “When I was a baby and did not truly understand what I was taking in, I saw the Unico anime; it’s been burned onto my memory ever since. Now that I’m grown up, I’ve forgotten most everything from those days, but I still remember Unico.”
You’ll catch a lot of UNICO: AWAKENING participants on the covers of Western comics. But Peach Momoko has created her own Marvel AU! Starting with Demon Days, we get a look at what’s been dubbed the “Momoko-verse”: Marvel heroes through the lens of Japanese folklore.
She’s found a lot of joy in the series, much like we have: “I have always loved Unico’s cute character and innocent gestures. I have always received so much joy and courage by watching the small Unico stand up and being brave against anything. Unico will always have a special place in my heart.”
Be sure to get in on the Kickstarter before it ends, and claim some of these prints (and more) for yourself!
Have we got you in a vintage anime mood now? Check out some beloved Tatsunoko titles.