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Intron Depot 3: Ballistics
by Masamune Shirow
Terry goes ballistic over more Anime

Masamune Shirow is the greatest manga artist to have ever lived! I recently became obsessed with this imaginative genius after picking up a copy of his manga, "Ghost in the Shell". I was a fan of the movie and wanted to read the graphic novel it was based on after picking up Shirow's first collection of art, Intron Depot 1. I devoured "Ghost in the Shell," and quickly picked up Intron Depot 2: Blades, and Man Machine Interface: Ghost in the Shell 2, (the sequel published by Dark Horse comics.) The thing about Masamune Shirow, and the reason this elusive and private artist has such a enormous international following is simple: he is one of the most imaginative and original artists to ever put pencil to paper. His illustrations are like images plucked from a futuristic world, or somewhere that can never exist. Image after brilliant image of cartoonish warrior women in battle gear and armed to the nth degree, are as playful as they are sexy, but they are always distinctively "Shirow."
His new book, Intron Depot 3: Ballistics, is a bigger step towards a more digital look to his art and though it is still so much his own, his style has evolved for the better. The Intron Depot books run about $50 bucks apiece, but if you are a fan of manga or science fiction and fantasy art, you should have these books in your collection. It is rumored that Intron Depot 4 & 5 are both coming out soon, and that his collection of erotic work may also see the light of day. This, coupled with a new anime series, "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex," and a movie sequel to the Anime movie, along with t-shirts, a calendar, figures and lunch boxes, proves that this is the year of Masamune Shirow, (and we are the better for it.)
So, if you are tired of the same old kind of escapism, look no further than the Intron Depot art books. You will pick them up at least once a week to relish the glory of Shirow. Buy all three.

Terry Osterhout
September 2003

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