manga

Godzilla – I Choose You!

Like many children of the 1990’s I started my mornings with a healthy diet of Pokémon, Sailor Moon and Hamtaro. Never did it occur to my five-year-old self that this simple morning ritual was the beginning of my life-long love for not only anime and manga, but the Japanese language and its culture.

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Me, a real-life anime

My adoration of Japanese popular culture made watching Godzilla an interesting experience. Viewing this cult-classic made me reflect on how I, a white, Australian female view and understand Japan.

First and foremost, I initially found Godzilla (the actual monster) to be a bit of a joke. Now I’m pretty accepting when it comes to mythical creatures. I’d give my right arm for Pokémon to be real. But honestly, how the heck was I meant to take that lumpy cross-eyed lizard seriously? I knew Godzilla was a pop-culture phenomenon – I’ve even stayed in a hotel in Shinjuku where Godzilla is literally climbing out of the roof.

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Hotel Gracery, Shinjuku (Hornyak n.d.)

But what I didn’t realise was that Godzilla was so much more than just an ugly puppet – it was actually a parable for the horrific Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings that devastated Japan in 1945. In fact, a character in Godzilla explicitly states that “Godzilla [is] a product of the atomic bomb that still haunts many of us Japanese.”

This shocking realisation not only heightened my interest in the film’s storyline, but also caused me to sympathise with both the Japanese people and Godzilla itself. The heartbreaking visual of the inconsolable little girl screaming for her deceased mother made me contemplate the horrendous and very real impact of the atomic bombings that devastated Japan. Simultaneously however, I felt sympathy for Godzilla. The monster was misunderstood from the very beginning and was brutalised by the terrified citizens. The scene where Godzilla was being shot at whilst walking through the ocean caused me particular distress, as I realised that this scene had been referenced in Pokémon. The enormous dragon Pokémon, Dragonite, is a direct reference to Godzilla, and is described as “the biggest Pokémon ever…[who has]…travelled the world looking for friends…because it is alone.” Just like Godzilla, Dragonite is violently shot at and returns to its ocean home, friendless and misunderstood.

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Pokemon (Right) and Godzilla (Left) 

Watching Godzilla has truly opened my eyes to the importance of this monster in its Japanese context – it is an enduring symbol of the horrors of WWII. I also learnt how our culture influences the way in which we interpret and understand texts from cultures different to our own. So Godzilla, if you are out there, hit me up for coffee. I’d love to get to know you better and hey, maybe we can invite Dragonite too?

References:

Hornyak n.d. Hotel Gracery, Shinjuku, image, Shinjuku Station, viewed 27 July 2017, <https://www.shinjukustation.com/hotel-gracery-shinjuku/&gt;

Godzilla n.d. image, Den of Geek, viewed 27 July 2017, <http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/books-comics/pok-mon/46416/pokemon-the-ray-bradbury-homage-hidden-in-a-classic-episode&gt;

Dragonite n.d., image, Pikachu made me do it!, viewed 27 July 2017, <http://pokemon-made-me-do-it.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/13-mystery-at-lighthouse.html&gt; 

Kon’nichiwa Australia! Looking at the prevalence of Japanese culture in Sydney.

Another blog in the machine.

Australia is a multicultural nation. We pride ourselves on diversity and being open to new cultures and the Japanese culture is no exception. In recent years manga, anime, cosplay and all things Japanese have all exploded into Australia culture and the cultural and media exports make Japanese culture a soft power deserving of our attention. Through my digital Asia studies I have discovered how much Japanese culture is available for consumption in Australia and it’s popularity among Australian audiences.

There are some who believe that the rising popularity of the socially constructed ‘cool Japan’ and products that have an essential ‘Japaneseness’ about them serve to reduce bad feelings toward Japan that came after WWII (Allen 2006). What creates this idea of ‘cool Japan’ are the innovative technology and interesting cultural products that Japan are able to export to Australia, and Australian consumers can’t get enough of them. From sushi and…

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Broad Case Study – Visual Novels

Visual novels are an emerging media format. They sparked into prominence as the go to way to write eroge manga as the immersive elements of a game format gelled with with the eroticist effects the pieces were aiming for. As this trend flowed on, the range of topics covered grew, and while it is definitely very easy to find eroge Visual Novels, they are now a much broader medium of storytelling.

As with any immersive gaming experience, there are elements of RPG-ness to them, so I will be exploring if we can call a visual novel a JRPG.

Aswith any RPG game, there is the concept of perspective and in my experience with Visual Novels they are usually froma  first person perspective of one of the characters that interacts with the world and people around them. If we accept the loose definition on a video game as being an electronic interactive experience, coupled with this role play element, we can identify that it is possible for some, if not all visual novels to be RPGs. The issue I have with this academic response is that I view my time with visual novels as akin to reading a book as that is how most of the dialogue is presented, and I wouldn’t consider a book to be a game.

Personal issues aside, I thinkt hat one of the most interesting aspects of this case study is that if we take the premise that visual novels are RPGs, they become very strong candidates for JRPGs not made in Japan. As a result oft he source material and intertexual links to Japanese manga, the resultings tories use similar settings, and as a format with nothing but storytelling lends itself to the JRPG archetype. This results in similarities between the aim and stylings, however the gameplay is where I draw issue.

Gameplay in a visual novel, fromm y experience fits intot he choose your own adventure archetype. This is a common gameplay element for Western RPGs that focus on immersion through choice. The Japanese approach is, as referenced in my previous post, about the story of a predetermined character.

This minor scrutiny in the argument for visual novels as JRPG comes down to definition. Academically, if visual novels have gameplay, they should be able to be JRPGs, especially in the case of manga adaptions, however as this is autoethnographic, I will tell you that my view is that I don’t think visual novels are there yet, and if they get there, it would require some more gameplay for me to call one, even a Japanese one, a JRPG.

That time of the year…

So now comes the time where I take a long hard look at everything I’ve researched, and try to narrow it all down into a singular topic. This part is hard. I feel as though the information I have collected can equally contribute to what I would like to express within my research essay. The hardest part will be coming up with a question to really narrow my focus. Hoppes (2014) believes that “the research question may not be evident to the writer and is one of the last puzzle pieces to fall into place.” (pp.66) Which has certainly become the case for myself. Judging from what Hoppes has said I need to look closely at all the information I have collected, and brainstorm a number of questions that could be relevant to the topic.

Looking back at my previous posts I can most definitely see a connection. Each aspect of Sailor Moon I have looked at from a Western perspective in comparison to the Eastern perspective. Whether that be the changes within in content, the exportation of both the anime and manga, and the globally accepted female characteristics.

I feel that having watched the anime as a child provides me with an advantage when looking at it from a Western perspective. However I also feel that my nostalgia may affect my ability to look at the show from a critical level. The one thing that may play to my advantage is that I have watched the original dubbed version as a child, and I am now watching the new re-booted Japanese version (with subtitles, because I am unfortunately not that talented) as an adult. This experience is allowing me to garner a whole new out-look of the series as a whole. I eventually plan on reading the manga, but unfortunately that won’t be for a while, because – you know – assessments, and stuff.

So to finish off this series of blog posts I leave you with an article explaining pretty much everything you need to know about Sailor Moon, and a comparison of both the original and new and improved anime. Later Sailor Scouts!

sailor-moon-old-vs-new-usagi

Hoppes, S 2014, “Autoethnography: Inquiry Into Identity”, New Directions For Higher Education, no. 166, pp.63-71

My experienced of manga and anime

Autoethnography is a form of self-reflective, it is quiet a new concept and method. It ‘is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno) (Ellis, C, Adams, T E, Bochner, A P 2011, pp273). So in order to understand my experience of looking at manga and anime in different countries, we should start with a little bit of my background of how I first experienced manga and anime. My first experience of anime come at an early age of 8. At that time, a lot of cartoons that broadcasted on television in Thailand is Japanese anime and the first anime I remembered watching is Digimon Adventure. At that time, I have no idea whether it is Japanese anime or cartoons from other countries. It is one of my favorite anime of all time. I can remembered that it was broadcasted at 19:30 and I usually eating my dinner in front of television, watching Digimon Adventure. That is my first experienced of anime I can remembered and I had watched countless animes (maybe cartoons, I really don’t know what is what at that time).

For manga, the first manga I read was when I’m in year 7. I didn’t buy that manga but it is a manga that some left it under the table I was sitting and that is the first time I read from right to left. However, the first manga series that I can remember is Katekyō Hitman Reborn! (Reborn). Similar to the first manga I read, I did not buy it. In year 9, a friends who sit next to me bought a manga call Reborn. He bought it every time new volume came out and that is the first time that i follow a manga, seeing it story line and seeing character development of manga.

Even though I already experienced many manga and anime since I was young, I actually start to really like manga when I read One Piece. After reading One Piece, I start to read a lot of manga and get hooked in manga style of comic and arts.

Now, after looking at manga and anime circulation in many different countries around the world and compared to my experienced, I found that there are many factors and reasons why manga and anime will become popular or not and every countries have its own factor that limited the popularity of manga and anime. Some of the factor and reason why manga and anime are popular or not are :

  • Public exposure of manga and anime
  • accessed to manga and anime
  • interactions with other who share the same interested in manga and anime

One of the most important reason is whether anime was broadcasted on television or not. If it was on television or other mainstream media, a huge number of consumer will have a chance to experienced anime and decided if they like this style of art or not. The reason why we should look at anime that broadcasted on television is because in most countries, manga become famous because of anime. For example, in France, manga became popular when many original Manga linked to popular Anime such as Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon were published and that is when the Manga boom in France began (Vanhee, O 2006).

Similar to many countries, manga in Thailand also became popular because of anime. In Thailand, anime is broadcasted on television almost everyday for very long time and a lot of people have been exposed to it and liked it. However, the problem is that it is hard to get a hold of manga as finding a store that sell them is hard especially in a small town (another factor that determine whether manga will be popular or not). In Bangkok, where I live, finding manga is relatively easy. At my school, there is a old lady who would set up her shop and sells manga near the school gate. There are also many stores that sells manga both in department store and other stores around the city. Another example of this can be see in South Korea where finding manga now is still a bit hard but it was a lot harder to find manga in the past. From 1945 – 1998, Koreans had no legal way to access original manga as South Korea enacted a laws that restricting the distribution of Japanese media.

 

Reference

Ellis, C, Adams, T E, Bochner, A P 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Historical Social Research, vol.36, no.4, pp273-290.

Vanhee, O 2006, ‘THE PRODUCTION OF A ”MANGA CULTURE” IN FRANCE: A SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF A SUCCESSFUL INTERCULTURAL RECEPTION’, accessed 10/09/2014.

Fighting for love, justice and… feminism?

One of the aspects of Sailor Moon that drew me towards the show was its portrayal of strong female characters. There were an abundance of super hero cartoons on television at the same time as Sailor Moon; however the heroes were almost exclusively male. To watch school girls who were so much like me, kick some dark kingdom butt – it was exhilarating. My eyes were opened to a whole world of possibilities , but to think that watching Sailor Moon as a child could have some sort of link to feminism as an adult seems incredible.

Kahn (2014) believes that the link between Sailor Moon and feminism lies within the characters that Takeuchi has created. “Usagi can be emotional, flighty, and boy-crazy,” characteristics most females can relate to. The Sailor Scouts are all so different that even if you don’t fully relate to Sailor Moon (Usagi) there are 8 more planets that could suit your fancy.

“They are avatars of death, as with Sailor Saturn, whose power is to bring about the apocalypse. They are elegant, thrill-seeking race car drivers like Sailor Uranus, in love with world-class violinists like Sailor Neptune, and they are ace students like Sailor Mercury.” (Kahn, 2014)

The video that I’ve posted by Ravenclawgirl29 gives a pretty decent outlook on the feminism values within Sailor Moon. Although the speaker gets a little lost on her own tangents occasionally she provides some great points. In particular the point raised on how all shows that are marketed as being ‘gender neutral’ are predominately male characters, with a few females thrown in every once and a while. Sailor Moon was one of the only shows in the 90’s marketed as ‘gender neutral’ with a mostly female cast.

So if you have watched the video, what do you think? Do you agree with the points raised by Ravenclawgirl29?

Kahn, J 2014, Nostalgia As A Weapon: The Sailor Moon Renaissance Is A Feminist Mission Behind The Lines Of Pop Culture, Comics Alliance, http://comicsalliance.com/sailor-moon-feminism-renaissance-nostalgia-women-role-models/

Sailor Moon – The Global Phenomenon

So as I have mentioned previously I will be talking about a different aspect of Sailor Moon over the next few weeks to really mesh out just what my final project will be about. To really give you an idea on how much I know about Sailor moon, I will give you a bit of context. I first started watching Sailor Moon when it aired on Agro’s Cartoon Connection sometime within 1992-96. I was obsessed. There is no other word for it. I owned my own moon wand, and legendary silver crystal. I had the action figure and the costume. I grew my hair long so I was able to turn myself into ‘meatball head’. I was going to be Sailor Moon and no-one was going to stop me.

As it turned out, I was not the only one in the world who acted like this.

Looking into the global phenomenon that is Sailor Moon I have discovered a number of interesting facts. The first is that fans have continued to stay loyal to both the anime and manga, even after it stopped playing on global televisions. Social media pages are flooded with fan-art, fanfiction and discussion about both the manga and the anime. Even a simple search through Tumblr came up with a number of results. The popularity was great enough for a re-boot of the anime series to become a reality.

Sailor Moon Crystal premiered May this year, and is fast becoming just as popular as the first. At the moment it is exclusively Japanese with English subtitles. However, American Company Viz Media has recently purchased both the original and new content. Watching the new and (in my opinion) greatly improved anime has once again sparked my love for the super heroine that is Sailor Moon.

So what is it about this crime fighting Sailor Scout that the world seems to love?

Dailot-Bul (2013) believes it has something to do with anime being a unique genre that global audiences had never seen before. “In practical terms, the mixture of Asian and non-Asian traits has provided the manga and anime industries with a distinct export advantage.” (Cooper-Chen 1999, pp.297)

However, with popularity comes criticism. The original Sailor Moon anime was criticised for not being close enough to the manga. The re-boot criticised for being too different to the original. Personally, I am just enthralled that I get to fall in love with Tuxedo Mask all over again!

Cooper-Chen, A 1999, “An Animated Imbalance: Japan’s Television Heroines in Asia,” International Communications Gazette, vol.61, no.3, pp.293-310

Daliot-Bul, M 2013, “Reframing and Reconsidering the Cultural Innovations of the anime boom on US television,” International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol.17, no.1, pp.75-91

Anime and Manga in U.S.

Consumption of Manga and Anime in U.S. is very high and it is very popular. Finding Manga and Anime in U.S. is quiet easy compared to other countries, such as India. There are a lot of Manga and Anime store around the countries and there is also a website that help you find the store. Manga and Anime is very popular in U.S. and North America, according to ICv2, 55 percent of graphic novel that was release in North America in 2008 was Manga.

Popularity of Manga and Anime come from the fact that it is easy to find a store that sells them and it is also easy to buy online. Many big stores such as Kinokuniya, Walmart, Best buy and Barnes & Noble do sell Manga in their store. Even though U.S. have a long history of comics dominated but ‘you now may have to go to the bottom shelf to find your favorite Spider-man or Batman title’. Online is another great place to but Manga and Anime. One of the biggest online store Amazon also sell Manga and Anime and sometimes at lower price.

Now, let us look at fan and fan culture of Manga and Anime in U.S. Fan of Manga and Anime can interact with each other through website or at convention. There are a lot of Manga and Anime related conventions that being held in U.S. One of the biggest Anime Conventions in U.S. is Anime Expo with estimated attendance of 61,000 in 2013. Internet has provide fan with ability to interact with other who share the same interest and that is why huge amount of activity is taking place online. Fan can interact with each other when they meet in the convention that being held or online. There are countless Anime and Manga club in many cities all around the country. There are at least 15,000 website related to Manga and Anime listed on Google. Furthermore, an online community website Livejournal hosts 425 communities focusing on Anime and 395 communities focusing on Manga. Nowadays, fan not only just consume the content but they also creating content such as fan art or fan fiction.

After exploring and looking at Manga and Anime culture in U.S., its occur to me that Manga and Anime is very popular which is quiet surprising. I know that Manga and Anime is quiet popular but i don’t know that it is this popular. I presume that superheroes comics is dominating U.S. market but Manga actually more dominating (In 2008, 44 percent of the North American graphic novel sales is Manga).

There are many reasons why I believe Manga and Anime became popular in U.S. One reason is because fan can feel that they are not alone and there are a lot of people that share the same interest and it is also easy for them to interact with each other. Another reason is because of the mainstream exposure to Manga and Anime which is easy to find and access. Many stores sells Manga and Anime including big store such as Walmart and it is also easy to access and read online, many Anime also broadcast on television. In some countries, Anime is hardly broadcast on television or other mainstream media and that result in small number of new Anime or Manga consumer because they don’t know what its like, only someone who have friends that interested in Manga and Anime or someone who watch it on other media will be it consumer because they will know what its look like and decide whether to like it or not. On the other hand, many Anime has been broadcasting on U.S. television and that result in huge number of people see it and many might like it and become Manga and Anime fan. HERE are some of the anime on U.S. television from 1963-2008.

 

 

Manga and Anime in India

Each week, I will be focusing on one countries and looking at Manga and Anime culture in that country. I will look at Manga and Anime fandom, how they interact with each other and also how they receive the content, foe example, is there any television channel that broadcast Anime or how they receive a Manga.

I will be focusing on India this week. After looking at many articles and fan site. I found that Anime and Manga popularity is increasing. However, finding source of Manga and Anime legally is quite hard. Not many store in India sell Manga and finding store that selling Anime is even harder and it is not available in video rental store. Anime become popular after Animax India launch in 2004, with the arrival of Animax and increasing popularity of Anime, many children’s channel had increase their number of Anime.

Manga and Anime fan in India interact with each other through social media, club and event. India have many event that related to Anime and Manga. In 2011, India host it first ever Comic Con and India will host its 5th Comic Con in 2015. Comic Con is not only event, there are many other event such as Anime Con. There are many Manga and Anime club in India, for example, The Bangalore anime and manga fan club have more than 2000 members even though they only have 500 members 2 years ago. Another big club is Mumbai Anime Club, this club host many event and they also have more than 2000 members.

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Picture from Mumbai Anime Club Cosplayers

My experience of reading Manga and Anime is usually through website but I was first experience Anime through TV. My first Anime is probably Digimon and it is still one of my favorite Anime. For Manga, during my high school, many of my friends was reading Manga and I read it when they finish or when I have noting to do at school and thats is when I start to like Manga. Finding Manga and Anime is not too hard in Thailand. There are many store that sell them and many poplar store that sell movies usually have Anime section. Which is a lot easier to find compared to India and Australia (I never see store that sell Manga or Anime).

This song from Digimon Adventure 02 brings back so many childhood memory.

 

This one from Digimon Adventure

After looking at many sites and learning about Manga and Anime culture in India, I think that there are many limitations for it to gain popularity. As finding Manga and Anime in store is hard, many have to go to online source in order to read or watch Anime and Manga. They also have to be able to read Manga or watch Anime in English because finding the source for Manga and Anime is already hard but finding it in Hindi is even harder. Furthermore, one of the best TV channel for Anime (Animax) is not available on most DTH operators now and that result in people have less exposure to Anime. With less Anime, new viewer who never experience Anime before won’t be able to know if Anime is good or not and thats make it so that Anime will only popular in a small circle of people who already experience Anime but Anime and Manga popularity in India is increasing and Animax might be back on DTH operators.

Reference

Pillalamarri, A 2014, ‘Japanese Cultural Influence Grows in India’, The Diplomat, 29 August, accessed 1/09/2014, http://thediplomat.com/2014/08/japanese-cultural-influence-grows-in-india/ 

Tanna, S 2012, A Study of Circulation of Manga and Anime in India, accessed 1/09/2014,http://asiancultureindustries.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/a-study-of-circulation-of-manga-and-anime-in-india-shilpa-tanna.pdf

 

Group Project: JRPG, Manga, Anime

Group members

Alex Belle

James Ayre

Pakkapon Potranandana

So our idea is to look at manga, anime, jrpg and compare it to Western comics and rpg. We think that JRPG tend to have a anime or manga look to them and with a focus on main story and character development, it make us think of JRPG as a game version of anime or manga. As manga shows value of Japanese in focus on a story and character development than action in RPG games or Western comics. Manga is usually paced a lot slower than Western comic, with less emphasis on action. Western comics will usually dedicate full-page spreads to action while manga tend to dedicate full-page spreads to emotional reactions. We found that these different are very similar to the different between JRPG and RPG. So we thinking of looking at these different, also looking at fandom and different between manga and anime of the same series (Naruto manga vs Naruto anime)