manga

Manga and Queer Culture- A Perfect Match? Part 2.

Over the past decade, manga, along with other quintessential elements of Japanese pop culture, have had a souring increase in popularity within the western world. Reflecting back on my own upbringing, what once was considered a niche source of entertainment for very few children, is now being used for discussion on pervasive social issues, as well as within academic research. This overwhelming increase in recognition and application has led to a wider interest in Japanese culture through the apt appropriation of these cultural materials as a source of poignant socio-cultural information. Manga has always presented itself as something that I am curious about, but I lacked both the urgency and connection to the medium to pursue this curiosity further.

As discussed within my initial auto-ethnographical account, Manga and Queer Culture- A Perfect Match? Part 1, my interactions with manga were both encountered by initial chance, and self-directed curiosity on the issue.

What’s interesting to me is the way in which constructing my narrative, for the purpose of discussing my initial interaction with manga, prompted epiphanies regarding the topic. Through following Ellis et al’s suggested narrative methodology in order to ‘bring readers into the scene – particularly into thoughts, emotions, and actions’ provoked an awareness of occurrences and intricacies which heavily influenced my motivation on the topic.

My first epiphany was with regard to my own privilege. Although the concept of privilege, and its function within society, is highly systemic, it is also exceedingly relative to the country in question. Japanese culture operates not only culturally different to Australia, but also socially on a lot of issues. Due to these socio-cultural biases and my lack of interaction with manga, I came to view manga as a revolutionary tool before seeing it as an entertainment medium.

The history of Japan is completely separate from what we know as the West. Its evolution regarding distinctive philosophies, socio-cultural structures and religious authority, understandably built Japan into the country it is today. Although there is no law against homosexuality within Japan, there is little discussion of LGBT issues at all. Topics and representations of homosexuality are frequently kept silent, and gay rights, including marriage, receives very little political discussion. This poses itself as a stark contrast to my own experiences within Australia, and this knowledge has prompted me to view Japanese LGBTQ+ culture as repressed and systemically discriminated against.

As evidenced within my initial account, I opened the post with an account of a marriage equality rally in which I attended. This comparison was done with clear intention and motivation, so as to reveal the glaring differences in culture, and the experiences of the respective LGBTQ+ communities to the audience. Focusing on the phenomena of ‘patterns of cultural experiences’ discussed by Ellis et al, we can witness repeated stories and happenings of similar minority groups (i.e. acts of discrimination and erasure), albeit at different points in time. This awareness promotes curiosity into the different cultural structures that facilitated the difference in evolution of this social groups acceptance. But also, because of the dual presence of queer communities in both cultures, it raises the question of how LGBTQ+ communities navigate their domineering culture through the appropriation of untraditional modes of communication.

japan_transgenderism_def

Source.

This epiphany highlighted, as well as indirectly structuring the way I would address the function of manga as not only a source of entertainment, but as a source of queer liberation in a culture that traditionally objects to the ‘unordinary’. This dual function is pertinent to its success as an escapist and revolutionary medium.

Manga provides audiences with a merging of visual and literary examples of Japanese culture, thus allowing manga the potential to be a rich and enduring source of cultural information (Dudley, 2012, p. 2). Emblematic of most cross-cultural texts however, manga’s ability to serve as not only a vehicle for Japanese culture, but also an important tool for social activism, depends on the way in which it is translated. Branching off Ellis’ comments regarding the ‘comparing of personal experiences with existing research’, it was evident that Japanese texts had the capability to operate in much the same way that Western socio-political inspired texts operate, an example of which being film. Traditionally, most manga sources are translated for the purposes of entertainment. Within the pages of manga, you are able to be anything  that you like- a supernatural being, super hero or a person of another gender identity. The narrative structure of manga assisted in easing my struggle with reading this text, especially regarding the lack of prior engagement I had with it.

1184816

Source.

Within the imaginary world constructed by manga, concepts of gender and sexuality are often quite fluid, so it is no shock that many LGBTQ+ people are turning to manga for sympathetic representations of their lived experiences. Within my initial account, I referred to two manga- Wandering Son (2002) and Bokura No Hentai (2012). Although both address similar topics regarding trans* identity, their execution varying drastically. Wandering Son, due to my own perceptions regarding trans* identity, was read with intense contempt. I unfortunately could not finish the text, revealing the way in which my own cultural framework influenced the way in which I viewed the text. As opposed to viewing the story as the starting point for queer representation on an evolutionary timeline regarding the acceptance of these identities, I viewed it as highly repressive contrast to what I am accustomed to in my own cultural space. However, reading Bokura No Hentai directly after Wandering Son however heightened my affinity for the latter text, due to the fact that it aligned more consistently to the social codes that I am used to, as well as my own moral compass.

References:

Bokura no Hentai, Mangafox, viewed 3 September 2017, http://m.mangafox.me/manga/bokura_no_hentai/

Dudley, J 2012, Manga as Cross-Cultural Literature: The effects of Translation on Cultural Perceptions, viewed 9 September 2017, https://scholarship.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/bitstream/handle/10066/14759/2012DudleyJ_thesis.pdf?sequence=1

Ellis, C 2011, Autoethnography: A Review, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, viewed 10 September 2017, http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095

Nicolov, A, 2016, How Manga is Guiding Japan’s Youth on LGBT Issues, DAZED, viewed 11 September 2017, http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/32647/1/how-manga-is-guiding-japan-s-youth-on-lgbt-issues

Wandering Son, Fantagraphic, viewed 4 September 2017, http://www.fantagraphics.com/wanderingson1/

Advertisements

Manga and Queer Culture- A Perfect Match? Part 1

Closing my eyes, I focus on the booming, crackling voice heard over the sound systems which had been strategically placed around Town Hall. Surging waves of cheers and applause heavily laced every remark made by opposition leader Bill Shorten, pre-empting the reaction of his words with a slight raise in his tone.

“All I see is a community filled with love and support for one another…” he exclaims, his words cradling the crowd within the temporary auditorium we have created.

Eyes open, I am overcome by a symphony of colour, as placards printed with ‘Love is Love’ and ‘Vote Yes’ obstruct my view of the stage.

I had been standing at the station for no more than 10 minutes when the train came bounding seamlessly towards us on the tracks. Headphones in, blasting a Spotify playlist entitled ‘Love is Love’, I was more than ready to engage with the rally occurring in a few hours’ time. More and more people arrived just in time for the train doors to open, donned with rainbow flags, shirts and faces.

The symbol of the queer community was being worn so proudly and unapologetically, which solidified both my own resolve and excitement for the rally.

Leading up to the rally, I naturally ease my overwhelming anticipation by engaging with queer theory and representation- not that common? Ok, moving on.

I remember reading a HRC report titled ‘The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down- LGBT Bullying and Exclusion in Japanese Schools.’

The opening narrative read as follows:

“In the world there are some weird people,” my high school health teacher said to introduce the lesson. Then she said sex between boys was the main cause of AIDS so we should stay away from homosexuals. That was the only time I heard about LGBT people from a teacher—except when I overheard them making gay jokes.

–Sachi N., 20, Nagoya, November 2015

Caught up in the cacophony of political debates, and social battles, I was completely blinded from my own privilege. In a country where we are campaigning for marriage equality, at least we have the representation to warrant a campaign.

Completely at a loss as to how Japanese society engages with queer culture, I took to google to find out. As someone who is a proponent of equality and representation, I was upset as to how little I knew about this side of the world. Enthralled by the litany of online sources on the topic, I took notice of a familiar, recurring word; manga.

1184818

Source

But if manga were a destination, it would be the north pole and I would be the south. I knew nothing, and that only furthered my curiosity.

For those who are asking similar questions I did, manga are essentially Japanese comics which have their own specific drawing style. Manga lends itself to a variety of topics from historical narratives, fantasy, and superheroes. Although manga has a very specific and unique style, it is not so much a genre as it is a format.

Japanese youth can find themselves seriously lacking in accessible information on LGBT issues, so they turn to alternative, escapist, fantasy literature to enter a world where queer people exist openly. Both manga and its animated version, anime, are places where transgressive behaviour is allowed or lauded and they’ve long been places where gay love stories are portrayed.

Although manga has been revolutionary in providing an escape for LGBTQ+ youth seeking out alternative narratives to the ones that they routinely see, there was one key issue that became rather abruptly apparent.

Seated within the quiet section of the library, already a whole Reddit thread deep I stumble upon a new word; yaoi.  Apparently emblematic of quintessential queer manga, I click the link in a haste, eager to find out more.

With a page closed fast enough to warrant a Guinness World Record medal, it was apparent that overtly sexualised ‘boy love’ content was a firm part of queer manga.

This issue is something that I am curious to address.

Although shocking, I did not let this deter me. Surely the queer community was not packaged into a fictive recreation of a pubescent boys mind (?!). Before long, I stumbled across Wandering Son (2002) and Bokura no Hentai (2012).
The similarities between the two were endless- manga form, tackled concepts regarding trans* identity in Japan, and completely foreign to me.

Growing up, I was never introduced to comic book culture. The bridge between comics and manga was not all too long, but I had never accessed either side. The images, text, composition and flow were so unlike any book that i have ever read that at times I was forced to pause as i decided which text bubble I were to read next. If my initial motivation were to have not taken place, it would be safe to say that i would have never interacted with the medium.

However, there’s no denying the enormous popularity of manga – an industry valued at $5 billion in annual Japanese sales. The fact that it’s read widely at every level of Japanese society and that people have respect for their manga heroes makes it a really effective vehicle for delivering positive messages and giving LGBT issues substance and respect. In fact, manga and anime provide such accessible media for young people to explore an alternative world free of society’s prejudices that the Human Rights Watch has created its own manga series.

This style of queer expression, in a context that often subverts the ‘unordinary’, has positioned itself as a stark contrast to my own experiences. With regard to the queer representations that I am used to, its positioning within a culture that often shrouds it in stereotypes which are rejected, and even my own (non-existent) interactions with comic/manga culture, it is obvious that I am stepping into uncharted waters.

My digital artefact will aim to investigate the role and function that manga has in facilitating queer representation, culture and improving general queer ideologies within the country.

References:

Ashley, K 2015, An Introduction to Manga, Greek & Sundry, viewed 2 September 2017, http://geekandsundry.com/an-introduction-to-manga/

Nicolov, A, 2016, How Manga is Guiding Japan’s Youth on LGBT Issues, DAZED, viewed 2 September 2017, http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/32647/1/how-manga-is-guiding-japan-s-youth-on-lgbt-issues

Peterson, B 2015, Japan’s Trans-Friendly Comic Book Revolution, Foreign Policy, viewed 3 September 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/30/manga-transgender-rights-japan-lgbt-anime-comics/

Utagawa, T 2016, Japan LGBT Manga 2016, Human Rights Watch, viewed 3 September 2017, https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/photo-essay/2016/05/04/japan-lgbt-manga-2016

Wilson, B 2003, “Boys’ Love,”Yaoi and Art Education: Issues of Power and Padegogy, Visual Cultural Research in Art and Education, viewed 3 September, 2017, https://www.csuchico.edu/~mtoku/vc/Articles/toku/Wil_Toku_BoysLove.html

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.

dmggg

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.

29-Gracery_Hotel_Shinjuku2

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.

dg

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…

View original post 811 more words

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.