Ancient Roman Manga

The incipit of an item from ANSA:

Tokyo, March 29 – An Ancient Roman time traveller who shuttles between his own era and modern-day Tokyo is the hero of the comic strip awarded this year’s global manga prize.Lucius, a Roman architect who specializes in designing public baths, stars in a strip called Thermae Romae, which has been announced as the winner of Japan’s 2010 Cartoon Grand Prize. Created by the Europe-based Japanese artist Mari Yamazaki, the comic tells of how Lucius, a resident of Hadrian’s Rome in the 2nd century AD, is transported into 21st-century Tokyo. The architect is sucked into a hole in a vast bathhouse in Ancient Rome and is ejected into a modern Japanese equivalent, a sento, where at first he doesn’t even notice the difference so similar are the two structures. After the first incident he learns to travel back and forward After the first incident he learns to travel back and forward between the two cultures, although he believes the voyage carries him merely to a far-off country, not another time.

Inspired by his trips into modern Japan, he develops similar innovations for the Ancient Romans, where his suggestions for fruit milkshakes and showercaps are an instant hit. Yamazaki, 42, is originally from Japan but has spent much of her adult life in Europe. She moved to Italy at the age of 17 to study fine art, where she met and married a comparative literature student and history buff, who helped inspire the character of Lucius. But the idea also came from Yamazaki’s own passion for Japan’s public bathhouses. Speaking at the award ceremony by video link from Lisbon, where she lives with her Italian husband, the artist said she still missed sentos despite her many years in Europe.

I haven’t seen a copy in English of this yet; here’s an info page of sorts with what seems to be the cover art if you want to keep your eye open for it ….

2 thoughts on “Ancient Roman Manga

  1. After checking the usual sources for such things, it seems that there isn’t even any unofficial translation up yet, and I can’t find anyone working on one. Hopefully this award will bring it some attention.

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