Home Media & Entertainment Ace Attorney Manga Artist & JapanKyo.com Creator Present B & B Bad Sisters, an Original Manga NFT Universe

Ace Attorney Manga Artist & JapanKyo.com Creator Present B & B Bad Sisters, an Original Manga NFT Universe

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The story of how it was that NFts, cryptocurrency, and Japanese juvenile delinquents inspired the creation of the multimedia project B & B Bad Sisters

If you were following the news in the first part of 2021 you no doubt remember that NFTs were making headlines. Short for non-fungible token, NFTs are essentially digital certificates of ownership that are linked to some kind of asset. In theory you can link an NFT to just about anything, from property rights to concert tickets. That being said, it was the NFTs linked to digital art that were making most of the headlines earlier this year. That’s due to digital artists like Mike “Beeple” Winkelman whose works were selling for the equivalent of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency (primarily Ethereum/ETH).

Meeting a Manga Artist

This is the part of the story where I, Tony Vega, come in. I’m not an artist and aside from the occassional doodle, I don’t draw. I work for a magazine. I edit articles. I run JapanKyo.com and I produce podcasts about Japan (Japan Station, Ichimon Japan) and Hawaii (Transmissions from Hawaii). Nevertheless, this whole NFT thing caught my attention. That’s because even though I’m not an artist, I happen to know one. His name is Kazuo Maekawa and he’s a professional manga artist with over 20 years experience working in Japan. In the West he’s best known as being the illustrator of the Ace Attorney manga adaptations (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney & Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth) but he has illustrated many other series that never made their way out of Japan.

An example of the amazing work of Kazuo Maekawa (created for Wasabi)

I met Maekawa several years ago when he was visiting Hawaii. I ended up interpreting for him at a free workshop he gave on drawing manga. I also interviewed him for an article that ran in Wasabi Magazine. I would go on to interview Maekawa two more times and he would also end up drawing four different covers for Wasabi. But all that is a bit besides the point. To make a long story short, when I heard about this whole NFT thing, I decided to email Maekawa.


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You Should Make NFTs

When I reached out to Maekawa I told him about what was going on with NFTs. I explained to him how these are digital tokens that exist on the “blockchain” and I shared some information about the cryptocurrency space in general. I mentioned that I thought this could be an interesting thing for him to try. I offered him a few ideas and said that he could do whatever he wanted with them. I wasn’t trying to get into business with him. I just wanted more people to discover his work. After hearing my ideas, Maekawa expressed his interest but he said he’d do it if we worked on this together. Though I was already up to my neck with other projects, I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to work with a professional manga artist.

The Birth of B & B Bad Sisters

The main idea that I shared with Maekawa when we were first discussing NFTs and digital art was for him to create two new characters. Somewhat inspired by the whole animal ears/catgirl/nekomimi trope often seen in anime and manga, I told Maekawa that he could try drawing two girls: one wearing bull ears and horns and one wearing bear ears.

If you’re familiar with the stock market or the cryptocurrency market you probably know already why I chose a bull and a bear. The stock and cryptocurrency markets are characterized by the bull adn bear market cycles. When assets are going up in price, that’s a bull market. When prices are down, that’s a bear market. Being that this is such a fundamental concept to the cryptocurrency space, I thought this could be a nice jumping off point for Maekawa.

My idea of the bull and bear girls was extremely basic. There was no thought put into who these characters were or what their bacstories were. However, once Maekawa began to work on my proposal he quickly came up with something that blew me away.

The World of B & B Bad Sisters

Within a day or two after we agreed to start working together, Maekawa sent me sketches (see below). He explained to me that he decided to go with a visual style that was inspired by the aesthetic and culture of juvenile delinquents (furyoō/yankī/sukeban) and motorcycle gangs that was particularly popular in the 1970s-90s in Japan.

Eventually we decided that the two main characters would be sisters named Moh and Kumako Homma. Moh is a pun on the sound cows make (in Japanese mō) and Kumako follows the -ko naming structure that is common for girls’ names in Japan but the name literally means “bear child.” As for the last name Homma, that is an homage to Sōkyū Homma, a famous Japanese rice trader who is often credited with using (and perhaps creating) a system to track the rice market that continues to inform the way stock and crypto traders today interpret markets and price action.

Maekawa came up with some of the backstory for Moh and Kumako and then I helped expand on it. I gave Maekawa more information on the crypto currency space and he quickly came up with even more characters. Soon he had a name for the project too: B & B Bad Sisters. The “B & B” of course stands for “bull and bear” and the “bad” part is an allusion to the whole juvenile delinquent motif.

The Story of B & B Bad Sisters

The story of B & B Bad Sisters has turned into something quite expansive. Unfortunately though, we can’t reveal much at this point in time. However, what we can say is that it is very much informed by the real world history and dynamics of the cryptocurrency space. The one sentence summary is that Bull and Bear must bring peace to the city of Crypto Tokyo, an alternate version of Japan’s capital city where cryptocurrency is apart of daily life and crypto obsessed teens are wreaking havoc.

By the way, some of you might have guessed it already, but yes, Crypto Tokyo is absolutely a reference to Neo-Tokyo, the setting of Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic manga and anime film Akira. I just couldn’t resist using the name.

B & B Bad Sisters NFT Series 01 Release

After several months of hard work, we will be releasing the first batch of NFTs on August 6th at 11 PM via our NFT shop: https://opensea.io/kazuomaekawa.

After the first batch we will continue to release more over the coming weeks for a period of about two months. This will make up the first series of NFTs. Two of these NFTs will come with ownership rights to aluminum prints as well. This first series will focus solely on Moh and Kumako Homma, a.k.a. Bull and Bear. However, we are already working on plans for future series as well. So there is plenty more to come.

If you would like to find out even more about B & B Bad Sisters, check out the links below.

You can also listen to me talk about this in podcast form via the player below.

There is so much more I would love to share here but it’s still too early to reveal much more. Both Maekawa and I love working on B & B Bad Sisters and we see huge potential in it. I am currently hard at work on a full story that we hope to be able to tell in the near future. But these things take time. So for now, just check out the website and follow us on social media! And if you really want to support us, then why not trying buying a B & B Bad Sisters NFT?

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