Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

Manga Road begins right outside of the train station and spans across the city. Various life-sized iron anime figurines are bolted to the ground. Ranging from superheroes to beloved characters, these structures stand out in the aftermath, still brightly colored. The road ends at the Mangattan museum, or Ishinomori Manga Museum, which was built in 2001. The edifice, comically shaped like a bubble and UFO saucer, boasts of Ishinomori’s original artwork, unique exhibits, and displays of Cyborg 009, characters from Android Kikaider, Robocon, and many more.


Ishinomaki is a quiet town whose main attraction is Manga Road and Mangattan (石ノ森萬画館), an oblong-shaped museum dedicated to Ishinomori. The city celebrates Shotaro Ishinomori (石ノ森 章太郎), a mangaka, or manga writer, renown for his creation of 1970’s popular anime Kamen Rider, among other long-running series. Ishinomori is often compared to American Marvel comic book writer, Stan Lee, an equally prolific creator of Spiderman and other heroes.

I trundled into the Ishinomaki JR station dripping sweat and smelling like karaage (から揚げ)—fried chicken.  Even three months after the earthquake and tsunami, trains still couldn’t run directly into the city due to reconstruction.  Relief workers and I transferred several times and then took a tightly packed bus whose exhaust fumes smelled crispy and tantalizing. Shooting footage of tsunami relief for a documentary—we were naïve to think we could come away unaffected.



Continue reading