Suspended Animation Dreams


“Hello Baby” Oneshot by Takeshi Obata and Masanori Morita, Translated by Hakujin – Balls To The Wall by metalsonic700

Takeshi Obata is an amazing artist, as he’s proven time and again through works like Death Note and his illustrations for many  novels and video games, but I think the true key to Obata’s greatness is knowing who to partner with. After all Obata never writes his stories – he collaborates with authors and illustrates their stories.

A lot of his work has been with modern young writers who are popular like Otsu Ichi and NisiOisin, and he’s worked on balls-tightening stories like Death Note and Bakuman that have broken boundaries to appeal to kids and adults alike. The guy knows how to pick his partners to make riveting, mass-appealing stories with great success. Hello Baby is like an amalgamation of Obata’s success.

It’s almost hard to believe that this one-shot was published in a shounen magazine (though I’ve noticed Jump SQ seems to be going for a more mature young audience, with stories like Ao no Futsumashi, Kurenai, and Tegami Bachi that could really appeal to all ages.) The themes of sex, pregnancy, violence, gangsters, the break-neck pace, and the tragic ending all seem like things that would be definitively seinen, and yet here it is in Jump SQ. Not that I’m complaining. By all means, lets raise our kids on excellent manga like this! And then maybe they’ll write better stories at fourteen!

An iconic shot that Id love to emulate in live-action

An iconic shot that I'd love to emulate in live-action

Hello Baby is interesting in that is is brief and reads fast, but still gives us a lot of information about the world and the situation. We seem to grasp information about some kind of customs involving ‘manhood’ obtained through killing and people living with an assistant to their goals. Among these people, going to prison for 10 years is an acceptable consequence of manhood, and, at least from the main character’s point of view, an acceptable amount of time for a woman to wait for her man on the outside (yeah, good fucking luck there, pal.) Wee also gain information about a syndicate who has control over a conglomerate of hospitals in some kind of dark city area.

Brilliantly reductive exposition

Brilliantly reductive exposition

What’s great is that none of this information is ‘exposed’ to us. There is no dialog explicitly telling us the nature of this world, it just comes through naturally in the dialog and actions of the characters. The main character never tells us outright that his parents were killed by the mob leader, but when he is unable to stab the guy, we are given the reasoning that ‘someone whose parents were killed cannot bring themselves to knife someone.’ None of this information stops the pace as the story brilliantly rises in tension before crashing beautifully into a chaotic twist ending that grabs the reader straight by the nads and yanks them right out. What a cunt of an ending! Brilliant.

I want this manga to be made into a short film. A Studio 4c or Madhouse short would be fine, though I’d even more like to see a live-action interpretation of it. If I had the budget…


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[…] I actually thought this was one of Obata’s most unique design series. She should check out Hello Baby! She also blogged ep 2 already, but I’m not reading it […]

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