This is an awesome innovation on what many people would say is a dying medium. And the best thing about it is that it doesn’t resort to digital or technological gimmicks. It just takes two very analogue things and makes them even better.
Mieru Record is a combination of a music box and a manga comic strip. With the former you usually have a cylinder, but there are types which use a punched tape strips of paper for the music box to “read” as musical notation, like the book music read by mechanical organs.
Mieru Record, a project which explores ways to fuse sound and manga, added manga cells to the music box punched tape strip, creating a manga music box organ, the Mieru Record with Otowa.
In other words, it is a book that you listen to — and music that you read.
The idea is that the sounds and music accompany the manga strip both in terms of the melody and also the speed. As you turn you control the speed of the soundtrack, which in turn controls the speed with which you read the manga images that are revealed.
See how it works in practice with this video. Note how you slow down to read the parts with dialogue and then speed up over the more visual cells.
I guess this is like the pianists who used to accompany a silent film back in the days before talkies.
Mieru Record is a project that started earlier this year and this Mieru Record with Otowa is still only a prototype, so don’t expect it to be on sale any time soon.
It worked with seven manga artist to create the music box’s music roll paper, and the results were exhibited in a book store and gallery in Tokyo over the summer.
With more sophisticated music roll strips and organs we reckon you could create all kinds of audio manga experiences.