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Anime Research Project

Manga and its History and Influences

Types of Anime
In the U.S.
An Underlying Theme
Works Cited
Long Enough

            Manga gets its unique style from particular artistic influences that date as far back as the 1100’s.  To best understand manga, it may help to associate it with America’s comic books.  Manga is filled with anime, or vise versa.  Many popular manga series are often turned into OVA or TV series. American comics are often known for their vibrant usage of color and the most common form is a comic “book.”  Anyone that owns an American drawn comic book knows that they really more closely resemble a magazine.  Unlike America, Japanese manga are released in black and white, small volumes containing several stories.  As someone who owns manga, I can vouch that these are have the feel of actual books, and are just as popular in Japan.  They can be released individually, but more often than not a book will follow (Le).

            Japanese manga is a driving force in the industry today.  This industry completely surpasses all other comic producing companies it is such a large-scale convention.  The exact number of magazines dedicated to manga is unknown; but there are thirteen weekly manga magazines at the core of the entire operation.  Manga magazines boast a larger fan base than any other non-manga magazines in Japan (History a1).

            Artists who draw manga are known as "manga-ka" meaning “comic artist.”  There are around 3,000 known manga artists in Japan, all of which have published at least one volume of their works.  It is more common, however, for these artists to work underneath the better known artists.   Only the best of the best, about 10% of the artists, are able to make a living off of only creating manga despite the large demand (History a1).

An example of manga

            In Europe it is common to divide manga into three categories, economic, erotica, and violent.  However, there is much controversy over this.  It is argued that there are so many different sides to manga that it is impossible to divide it so.  Like anime, it has many different genres, and when one tries to name them all they combine and split even further.  Also similar to anime, the issues and drawings change as the time do.  It runs anywhere from information manga, which are study guides for children, to public relation governmental manga, which deals with subjects such as history and science and are known as “textbook manga.”  This exploitation did not really start to take place until it was noticed that manga was becoming a veritable force to be reckoned with (History a2).

            Reading manga can be very much like watching a movie.  The most common type of manga is Historical manga, which mainly deals with samurai warriors.  Even these have a lot to do with economical issues of the country.  For example, when Japan lost in World War II, manga stayed away from historical themes for the better part of seven years.  Another popular form of manga is the comical approach.  These can be divided into subgenres such as satirical manga, which deals with social issues and features caricatures.  Another division is called nonsense manga, which pokes fun at everyday common sense.  Gag manga is another popular type of manga that started in the 1960’s and is sometimes used to define all comedic manga.  Shojo manga, which is only found in Japan, is one of the most popular types of manga.  It is written to target women audiences in particular.  These soap-opera “New wave” manga’s often take manga deprived countries by surprise.  These mainly Western-influenced comics take on a code and animation style all their own (History 2-4).

The show "Chobits" taken off of the manga "Chobits"

            Two of the largest manga publishers such as Viz and Tokyopop have also taken it upon themselves to distribute anime via the similarities between the two.  Likewise, Bandai, a company known for their anime industry, is all set to launch a manga program in the U.S. by the spring of 2005.  It is just like in the U.S.  If I read a good book or cartoon, I think it would be cool if it was turned into a movie, like Spider-man.  In Japan if someone is a particular fan of a manga series, they will want to see it as an anime (Reid). 

            Tokyopop itself publishes about 400 manga per year.  Manga is not as big a market in America as anime is, but they claim that all it needs is time.  Their anime branch has been ever helpful in marketing their manga series.  They send out less anime a year than most companies, but this is just a ploy, used to gain extra exposer.  With the extra money that they use to make commercials, or send their movie to DVD, it also encourages fans out looking for the books and merchandise related to those properties (Reid). 

            The San Francisco based company Viz, is the pioneering manga company in the U.S.  With this success they have gone on to distribute anime such as the popular Inuyasha series.  Anthony Jiwa, the marketing director, explains how anime and manga are linked.  Manga is so detailed that it provides a lot of background for anime movies that just didn’t have enough time to cover everything.  Somehow between Japan and America the wires have gotten crossed though.  I Japan the most popular manga series will be turned into an anime series or movie.  In America the most popular anime will constitute the manga comics that inspired them to be shipped over and sold (Reid).       

Subliminal Message: Give everybody in Com 350 an 'A' :)