The Other Side of Lost in Translation


Re-thinking about Manga & Anime part 1

I wrote an article about
the rising popularity of manga and anime in U.S.
And as a part of research work for that,
I went to New York Anime festival a couple of weeks ago.
And just looking at what kind of kids in there
told me a lot about this phoenomenon.

First of all, I had thought
I would see a sea of American Otaku boys there.
But I had been very wrong.
Actually half of the kids were girls
and many of them were in Cosplay.
When I saw those girls in Cosplay
dancing to the video of "Lucky Star",
it really dawned on me what really had captured those kids.

The basics of comtenporary mangas were established
during '50s and '60s by the artists like
the late great Osamu Tezuka, often called "The God of Manga"
who produced many great works like "Astro Boys"
"Dororo""Buddah""Black Jack""Phoenix""Kimba, the White Lion"
which Disney stole the idea for their "Lion King."

From the very early stage, manga developed into
three very distinguished categories,
Shonen(Boys) manga, Shojo(Girls) manga
and Gekiga which is manga for grown ups,
not necessarry sexualy explicit.
Plus Yon-Koma(Four frames)manga, which is comic strips
and also Ero(Erotic, pornographic) manga.

Unlike American comic books,
Weekly or monthly Japanese manga Zasshi-s(magazine)
have a magazine-like format and contain lots of manga
with very different styles and genras like hero-worship,
action, sport-theme, school-theme, horror and comedy.
And their main characters also have wide range of variations.
As you know, main characters of many of American comics
are grown up heros like Superman, Batman and Spiderman,
which makes many of them Hero-worshiping stories.
On the other hand, main characters of Japanese mangas are
usually kids, closer to the age range of their readers.
Also they can be super heros but not always so.
Actually very often main characters of mangas are
not even cool kids of classes, they can be geeks or dorks,
they can be isolated, they can be poor
and they can be unattractive too.

In Shojo(girls) manga, which American culture
does not have anything similar,
the story like a shy and average looking girl falls in love
with a prettiest boy in school is very common.

One manga Zasshi contains about ten mangas, I guess.
So even if you are a little different kinda kid,
most likely you will find some mangas that
you can relate yourself.
Yes, in Mangas, no matter what kind of kid you are,
you can find something you can relate yourself
and dream a kids' dream in there.

to be continued.


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