telophase: (Near - dork)
Mostly posting this here so I'll remember it.

If you read Qwan, you'll remember that Qwan has a companion that's a small, headless, six-legged, flying pig/dog thing. I just ran across an ebook in my library called Chinese Bestiary that's a translation of and commentary on a Chinese compendium of pictures of and text about supernatural creatures, and the headless, six-legged, flying pig/dog thing is in it (in fact, on the cover). Here's the translation of the commentary from the book, plus the scholarly commentary on it. I've corrected the OCR errors that I could figure out.

(This is also way more commentary than most of the other entries get.)

Read more... )

Man, I need a Qwan icon.

Qwan 3

Dec. 4th, 2005 11:31 pm
telophase: (Genji - Christmas)
The reason I'm going to be behind [ profile] rachelmanija and [ profile] kate_nepveu in reading Genji for a bit - I got my hands on a copy of Qwan 3.

If you haven't heard me squee over it before, it's a manga by Aki Shimizu set in ancient China. Qwan is a mysterious boy who eats demons who doens't know who he is or what his purpose is, although he knows he has one, and who has a cute little headless flying dog-pig-thing. He hooks up with the scruffy Chieki - or more accurately, Chieki gloms onto Qwan as a way to get some quick cash by going into the demon-busting business - and sets off to find his purpose. On the way they meet the prostitute Shaga, who knows a lot more than she's letting on, a young girl who communes with insects and her villainous father, and learn that the scrolls of the Essential Arts of Peace may help Qwan remember his purpose.

The art is wonderful - detailed and quirky, with great character touches - and the story is delightful and quirky. Sorry, not going to try to rewrite that to take the second 'quirky' out - you'll just have to deal with it. Anyway, book 3 takes us out of the world we know and into a demon-type world out of Chinese myth, with all sorts of bizarre creatures. With mustaches. And beards. And we get to see Shaga sporting a cute little mustache along with her normal flowing hair, for reason that make perfect sense once you get to that point in the book.

Anyway, this is the sort of myth-based fantasy I love, where you get ... er, well, I can't describe it. Basically where the creatures just flat aren't human. (It's one of the reasons I love Spirited Away.) It's also got so much of a feel of an ancient China that never was that I keep expecting Master Li and Number Ten Ox to wander by. It's a worldbuilding that relies on an emotional, fairy-tale kind of logic, not a scientific one, if that makes sense. Kazuya Minekura, much as I love her, fails in this sort of worldbuilding (luckily she knows it and concentrates her efforts on the bits she excels at, which are character and relationships) - her demonic, magical world lacks the quality of the numinous* and her youkai, while loosely based on Japanese mythology, are mostly humans with pointy ears, funky tattoos, and a talent for magic.

I sort of lost track of where I was going, so I'll just wind up with: READ QWAN. NOW.

* WOO-HOO! Grad school word! Let's see if I can work in "paradigm" and "vis-a-vis" next!

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags