There have been a lot of changes in this world since 1977, the year Heavy Metal debuted. Our little magazine helped bring many European writers and artists—French, Italian and Spanish, primarily—to American readers. Following a different but ultimately successful path, Japanese graphic storytelling in the form of manga (comics and graphic novels, basically) and anime (animation) gained fans in America, starting in the mid-1980s. Translated, serialized comics of Lone Wolf & Cub (published by First Comics, beginning in 1987) and Akira (published by Marvel’s Epic Comics, beginning in 1988) paved the way for an explosion of interest in manga. Anime, too, saw its popularity take off around the same time, when shows like Robotech, Voltron, and Dragon Ball began to find American audiences.
American releases, or re-releases, of Hayao Mizaki films like My Neighbor Totoro and Castle in the Sky solidified the trend. Anime was here to stay. We’d be interested to know whether today’s Heavy Metal fan cares much for manga or anime. If you feel like weighing in with a comment here or on Facebook, please do.
In one week, Anime Expo 2015 will get underway in Los Angeles. It’s by far the biggest gathering of anime fans in the U.S.; last year, 86,000 people attended—more than double the attendance of the next-biggest con. Creators, animators, voice artists, and KISS (yes, that KISS) will be at Anime Expo 2015. And like any con worth a damn, the place will be crawling with cosplayers.
It’s likely that Yoko Littner will be there. Perhaps a handful of Yoko Littners, maybe dozens of Yoko Littners. According to a 2014 poll at Anime-Source.com, Yoko (from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, everybody knows that) is the second-sexiest anime character of all time. It’s easy to see why: the hot pants, thigh-highs, flame-decorated bikini, candy-apple red hair and six-foot-long sniper rifle—she’s got something for every fanboy.
This is one of the better Yokos you’ll see, by an Australian cosplayer named Katyuska Moonfox. To see more of her work, check out her DeviantArt page and join the nearly 750,000 fans who follow her on Facebook. (Her store at katyuskamoonfox.storenvy.com is currently being revamped—maybe bookmark it and check back later.)