Otaku culture goes Worldwide (Pants)
For a good chunk of years now, CBS has been home to two Worldwide Pants-produced late night talk shows: The Late Show With David Letterman and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. During that time, guests from a variety of walks of life have graced the stages of the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York for Letterman and the CBS Television Studios in Los Angeles for Ferguson. TV and movie stars are a given. And, of course, there's The Manga Cookbook and Hatsune Miku.
... wait, what?
Indeed, in what seems to be a total booking coincidence, two properties with ties to anime/manga fandom will make their way to the same mainstream American broadcast TV station within a span of a month. Earlier this month, the Manga University-published cookbook, which features recipes for Japanese dishes from chef and registered nutritionist Yoko Ishihara coupled with illustrations by Chihiro Hattori, showed up on the lectern of Ferguson's cyborg sidekick, Geoff Peterson. The two even bantered about it during the show's ending "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?" segment:
According to Glenn Kardy, Manga University publisher, the story of The Manga Cookbook's journey to the show began back in April, when Ferguson announced he would be leaving The Late Late Show in December. Kardy subsequently tweeted the following on Manga University's Twitter account:
It’s a sad day for Japan, everybody: @craigyferg has announced that “Super Happy Fun Time Hour With Robot and Old Man” is going off the air.
— Manga University (@mangauniversity) April 29, 2014
Those of you who follow The Late Late Show know that Ferguson has joked in the past that "Super Happy Fun Time Hour With Robot and Old Man" is what his show's called in Japan.
Let's let Kardy take the story from here, as told to me via email:
I guess he took notice, because he started following Manga University on Twitter. Which meant I could now send him a private message. And I knew just what I wanted to ask.
Every night on the show, a different book can be seen atop the lectern where Ferguson’s sidekick, the robot-skeleton Geoff Peterson, stands. I’d always thought how cool it would be to see a Manga University book there. Now I had my chance. I contacted him to see if he’d help us get a book onto his show. And he agreed!
I chose to send him “The Manga Cookbook” because I thought he’d find its quirkiness appealing. So, I knew that the book was going to be on the show, but I had no idea Ferguson would actually talk about it on the air.
Kardy was "blown away" by the mention. "His comment was priceless — 'I like this. This is like Pokemon for hungry people,'" Kardy said. "He also tried to teach Geoff how to hold the chopsticks, which was hilarious. I couldn’t have asked for a better script!"
Sales of the book -- which you can buy on the Manga University website, by the way -- have been robust since the book's appearance.
"Now, if I can only figure out how to get “The Manga Cookbook” an appearance on 'The Big Bang Theory' …" Kardy said.
Meanwhile, over on The Late Show, the most famous of the virtual Vocaloid superstars is scheduled to perform on Oct. 8, ostensibly to promote "Hatsune Miku Expo" events in New York, including an art exhibit running Oct. 9-19 and a concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom Oct. 17-18. (There's also a concert and a Halloween party Oct. 11-12 in Los Angeles.) Now, I'm really curious to see what kind of reception Miku gets -- unless I'm mistaken, I'm inclined to believe that most of the younger audiences who understand her appeal are more inclined to watch The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, or Jimmy Kimmel Live!, or Conan O'Brien's show on TBS. Whatever happens, though, I'm sure it'll be quite entertaining.