Anime and Manga Anime and Manga Prime example of outside

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					Anime and Manga 1

            Anime and Manga: Prime example of outside influences
                               Global Communications
                                       Dr. Evusa
                                   November 2010
      . Throughout this paper I learned how to look at the media on a global scale and
learned how to follow trends as foreign media is accepted and adapted in various markets.
      This paper proved to be extraordinarily interesting. I was always
interested in anime and manga since I was a child, however I did not
understand how popular it was in the United States. Due to the idea of
media imperialism and the idea that the United States was the only major
entertainment player in the world, I was curious to see where anime and
manga stood in the world today. It helped me to see that foreign media is
becoming a larger force in the United States as time goes on.
      I had to do a lot of research on the historical background of anime
and manga as well as research into how it started in the United States
market and how the popularity grew. I was also had to look into a lot of
public opinion of anime and manga and where the public and critiques
think that is gradually going. It was interesting to see how much this type
of media is gradually seeping into Hollywood, as there has already been one
live action movie made based on an anime and there are surely more to go.
If I pursue a job somewhere in script writing, I may be writing scripts based
on foreign media, such as anime and manga. I have to be able to
understand where that media comes from, what its particular significance
is and how I can create something in the United States market that
compares closely to the original product but still make it popular over here.
This paper and this class taught me how to do that.
      The United States is not the only major player in the world
entertainment industry today. It is a slow process but there pieces foreign
media that are seeping into the culture of the United States. This paper
helped me understand that fact.
Anime and Manga 2


      This paper discusses Japanese anime and manga and its beginning in

history, its discovery and major jumpstart in the Western markets, some

sales numbers, various aspects of its popularity such as cosplay, fansubbing,

the draw of certain shows, and the recent jump to the silver screen and the

demand for more titles to jump into a live action version on the silver

screen, such as Dragonball: Evolution.
Anime and Manga 3


      For the longest time, the world has pointed their finger at the United

States for affecting other countries’ cultures, particularly in the

entertainment department. Many have said that this is the only path that

this, what is termed to be media imperialism, goes through. Within the last

several years, I am willing to challenge that and say they are incorrect and

that other countries affect our culture in the United States, again

particularly in the entertainment department. One of the biggest examples

of this that I can pull together is the draw of the public to Japanese anime

and manga and some of the things that come with this genre. Yes, the

United States has known about Japanese anime and manga for a long time

but only has it been in about the last ten years or so that you can really see

an inflow of this culture. Some of the areas that come along with the anime

and manga are costume play, also known as cosplay, and the concerns that

go along with cosplay. It is surprising to see how quickly this culture has
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risen to a height of popularity, albeit still in an underground sense.

However, to understand all of this, we have to understand what manga is,

where it comes from, the varying perceptions of characters and what is

typically seen within a manga series.

                            History and Style of Manga


      Manga came about in the 1830s when Japan was stricken by

constantly rising consumer prices and many famines (Misaka, 2004, 24).

Due to this, “Ukiyo-e artists created manga that criticized the degenerate

behaviors of aristocrats and high-ranking samurai officials” (Misaka, 2004,

24-5). The intention of many of the artists of this time was to show that

government officials did indeed behave “in the same way as farmers and

other low-ranking classes and in doing so” they often “criticized the strict

class system in the society” (Misaka, 2004, 25). So, like in many forms of
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entertainment, it began as an attempt to ridicule the government,

otherwise known as satire.


        In several of the early manga depictions, there was a major theme of

“east meets west” (Misaka, 2004, 25). One such example comes from a

French painter who published a magazine by the name of Tobae, which was

aimed at caricatures and was released biweekly (Misaka, 2004, 25). Within

Tobae, aspects relating to the recent exposure to modernization and the

effects of that on society were typically the primary topics (Misaka, 2004,

25). One issue of Tobae “portrayed a Japanese woman going to a western

restaurant with her hair tied up in a modern style and wearing western

clothes but no shoes because the Japanese at that time were not

accustomed to wearing shoes” (Misaka, 2004, 25). The aspect of

westernization that was making its appearance in the early issues of

Japanese manga often played, and still plays, an important role in the
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storyline but is not the only idea used in the stories of manga (Misaka,


      Over time, another style of manga storyline was developed. It has

been dubbed as the “story manga” (Misaka, 2004, 25). Story manga often

is played out through a series of comic strip-like issues that have multiple

frames, as compared to the older, singular frame style (Misaka, 2004, 25).

Commonly, the idea of the story within these numerous series is that they

follow the life of a single individual, often a hero or heroine and sometimes

maybe a group of heroes, that the audience can somehow relate to or

connect with and often “ reflects social phenomenon of the times” (Misaka,

2004, 25). This is one reason for the growing popularity of manga and

anime in the world today. However, it wasn’t until relatively recently that

manga officially found a foothold in Western cultures.

                         AN ENGLISH TRANSITION

Initial Release and Anticipated Future
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      According to Kaoru Miska in his article “The First Japanese Manga

Magazine in the United States,” it wasn’t until about November of 2002

that manga really started finding its popularity in Western cultures

(Misaka, 2004). It was about this time that the ever popular Shonen Jump

(translated as Boys Jump) magazine found an English publisher, VIZ LLC,

which is based out of California, to publish an English version of the

magazine here in the United States (Misaka, 2004, 23). While 250,000

copies of the newly launched magazine sold nearly instantly, it is not as

impressive as Shonen’s weekly average sale of approximately 3 million

magazines (Misaka, 2004). However, this did provide some confidence for

the publishers, especially in relation to the overall speed of the first sales.

Anticipated Future

      This confidence was evident in the market growth estimates ranging

anywhere from $250,000 USD to the potential of $1.5 billion USD (Misaka,

2004, 26). This proved to be very nearly accurate, at least according to
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Casey E. Brienza in 2009. Manga sales did indeed grow significantly, though

not as significantly as had hoped, with a final number of a “350%” increase

from “$60 million” in 2002 sales to “$210 million” in 2007 sales (Brienza,

2009, 103). There are many reasons for the popularity and many different

dimensions to the manga and anime communities, one of which was the

‘story manga’ ideal as previously explained by Misaka. Some of these

dimensions are the in-depth journeys of self-discovery and self-

enlightenment that many experience, cosplay and the corresponding

concerns, the acceptance of characters based on the culture, the ability to

unite people in strange ways and the desire to bring many manga and

anime titles to life on the silver screen.

                            A Study on Stereotypes

The Study

      One of the first things to remember when talking about manga and

anime and its growing popularity is the fact that it is accepted and viewed
Anime and Manga 9

based upon the culture consuming this particular product. A study by Mary

Jiang Bresnahan, Yasuhiro Inoue & Naomi Kagawa titled Players and

Whiners? Perceptions of Sex Stereotyping in Anime´ in Japan and the US

discusses this idea. Bresnahan, Inoue and Kagawa exposed equal numbers of

English and Japanese speaking students to the popular anime Dragonball Z

and surveyed their responses to particular ideals, namely the way they

viewed the characters and their roles (Bresnahan, 2006). Some very

interesting things appeared within their results.

                                 The Results

      Both the English speaking students and the Japanese speaking

students viewed the male characters and roles almost exactly the very same

(Bresnahan, 2006). The English speakers viewed the men characters as

“strong (91%), dominant (75%), and fun loving (50%)” (Bresnahan, 2006,

212). The Japanese speakers the men characters “strong (100%), free

(50%), and fun loving (43%)” (Bresnahan, 2006, 212). The difference in
Anime and Manga 10

the results comes in the way each culture viewed the female roles. The

English speakers had the following responses to the female characters:

“domestic (98%), emotional (89%), and prone to nagging (49%)”

(Bresnahan, 2006, 212). The Japanese speakers said the following about

the female roles: “domestic (99%), concerned with family (95%), and

encouraging kids to study (55%)” (Bresnahan, 2006, 212).

                          Where Stereotypes Might Lead

Breaching the Genders

      The way each of these cultures view the characters can dictate the

level of popularity of this genre. Granted, most of the manga and anime

titles out are young guy-oriented, such as the ever popular Bleach and

Dragonball Z, so this could dictate the reason the English speaking results

may have come about, but this would require more study to know for sure.

However, manga and anime are becoming less and less guy-oriented as

women are becoming more and more involved, especially during convention
Anime and Manga 11

time when it comes time to dress up or participate in cosplay events. There

is a quote provided by Benesh-Liu in an article about cosplay in America

that sums up the inspiration for participating in cosplay fairly: “"Watching

is escapism, you want to be a part of it” (Benesh-Liu, 2007). The problem

with this is that cosplay does come with its own set of problems.

Cosplay and Concerns

      According to Issac Gagne, there is a whole issue of sexualization that

has to be considered when contemplating participating in the field of

costume play, otherwise known as cosplay (Gagne, 2007). Cosplay is often

tied to aspects of the popular Gothic/Lolita culture and unfortunately that

brings about some issues (Gagne, 2007). Styles in both cosplay and

Gothic/Lolita culture are both very sexualized and both can border on the

pornographic side if one is not careful and bring with it some potential

problems (Gagne, 2007).
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      One problem that comes is the aspect of rorikon (Gagne, 2007, 140).

This is defined as “a man’s sexual attraction to young girls” (Gagne, 2007,

140). Because of the overwhelming amount of sexual images, especially from

the bondage –style clothing found in both cosplay and the Gothic/Lolita

culture, there is a dangerous aspect of potential sexual predators and more

that have to be watched out for when considering participating in either

(Gagne, 2007, 140). One concern that was mentioned during Gagne’s

study was that many of the girls were concerned with the fact that they

did not know where many of the randomly snapped photographs that were

taken of them by strangers in the crowd would end up and what shape

they would be, such as cropped in a particular way or altered in a way to

emphasize some kind of sexual nature (Gagne, 2007, 140). So while it is

popular, cosplay does have some concerns that need to be addressed and

considered before participation occurs. . Something else to note about the

popularity of anime and manga is that it can unite people whom one would
Anime and Manga 13

never think to include in the same group. One way this occurs is through

the fansubbing on the internet.


      According to Rusch, fansubbing has become a term adopted in the age

of the Internet where the community of fans took the Japanese versions of

popular anime shows and added subtitles in English at the bottom of the

screen (Rusch, 2008, 5). Although, again according to Rusch, this started

back in the day of the VHS but really saw a rise in popularity when

computers and home Internet became more and more of a common place

in the community (Rusch, 2008, 6). These people are not compensated at

all for the hours and hours spent on this process but they do it for the love

of anime and for those who love anime as well (Rusch, 2008). Rusch

provides an example from 2007 in his study of a fansubbing studio of sorts

named Dattebayo and how the anime and manga fan community banded

together to help them replace a server and software in order to keep
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functioning (Rusch, 2008). Dattebayo originally intended to leave a

donation option up on their site for a total of a month to see how much

they would receive in donations; however, that time period was not needed

as they received three times the amount they actually needed in about 20

hours (Rusch, 2008, 10). They only needed about $3,000 total and

received nearly $9,100 dollars all total (Rusch, 2008, 11). Dattebayo took

the $3,000 they needed and bought a new server and a faster connection

and donated the other $6,000 to Doctors Without Borders (Rusch, 2008,

11). This shows how united in their fandom anime and manga fans are. To

go to that length in less than 24 hours to help keep a fansubbing company

producing subtitled versions of the original Japanese editions of their

favorite anime shows is amazing and nothing short of dedicated. The love of

the English versions and the Japanese versions both unite the community in

amazing ways. There is another aspect that could be a factor in the

popularity of anime and manga and that is the in-depth journeys of self-
Anime and Manga 15

discovery and self-enlightenment that many of the characters in the anime

and manga universe undergo.

                            Some Reasons for Popularity

      John Raynard wrote an article titled Japanese Anime and the Life of

the Soul: Full Metal Alchemist which studies the way the belief concerning

the human soul plays apart in the popular anime and manga series titled

Full Metal Alchemist. In essence, the series Full Metal Alchemist follows two

brothers who have lost their mother, their father left when they were

children, one brother literally lost his body and his soul now resides in a suit

of armor while the other brother lost an arm and a leg and are now

working their way throughout the world trying to recover the missing parts

of themselves, both literally and figuratively, all in thanks to the trade of

alchemy (Raynard, 2006).

      Throughout this show, the older brother, Ed, evolves from the selfish

desires to recover his mother and moves onto to the desire to help his
Anime and Manga 16

brother and himself (Raynard, 2006). However, Ed encounters a problem

when he finds out that in order to use the philosophers’ stone, which is

needed to recover his arm and leg and his brother’s body, he must sacrifice

a human life (Raynard, 2006). This is a very common idea within this series

– the idea of equivalent trade (Raynard, 2006). This pretty much means

that to gain something one must give something of equal value up in return

(Raynard, 2006). Due to this discovery, Ed realizes that he cannot do this,

sacrificing a human life, and takes his brother and himself on a journey to

figure out another way and in doing so they both gain wisdom and

knowledge of the situation in the world around them and help others along

the way (Raynard, 2006). This, in part, is a story about growing up and

the two characters begin to grow into admirable young men, causing to

become role models or symbols of what young men might strive to become.

       Journeys like this are very identifiable and relatable to many of the

fans, harkening back to the idea of the ‘story manga’ that Misaka spoke
Anime and Manga 17

about. This aspect and the corresponding ones spoken about before are

things that have contributed to the history and the current popularity of

manga and anime. The question that needs to be addressed now is where is

manga and anime heading to next? The answer is simple and has already

been seen a few times before: the silver screen.

                           The Jump to the Silver Screen

      The world has already seen several anime shows make it to the silver

screen in their animated forms, such as the ever popular Pokémon

franchise, but it had yet to see a live action variation of any of the popular

titles. That is, until April 2009, when Dragonball Z made its live action

silver screen debut under the title Dragonball: Evolution (Dragonball:

Evolution (2009), 2009). Granted, while it did not do as well as the

producers of the film had hoped it would, it still showed that there is a

growing market and demand for this type of film. It perhaps sparked a new

era in the world of anime and manga.
Anime and Manga 18

      With the advent of Dragonball: Evolution, while nothing official can be

confirmed at the current time, word had circled the internet for the last

several years that the film production studio, Warner Bros, has been

courting several different titles for the filming rights so they could create

live action versions of them (Warner Brothers, 2010; Kit, 2010). Some of

the titles being spoken about in these rumors range from Akira, Deathnote,

Bleach, and Ninja Scroll (Warner Brothers, 2010; Kit, 2010). There has

also been a name of a potential producer tossed out on the Bleach front –

Peter Segal (Warner Brothers, 2010; Kit, 2010). Sources on all of this

information range from the Anime News Network to more factual or more

professionally accepted sources, such as Reuters. Again, while nothing has

been officially and publicly confirmed straight from Warner Bros, as far as

research has shown, there is enough information and articles appearing over

time that show that there is definitely a growing demand for anime and
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manga to go through a possible evolution into the next stage of



      Anime and manga are both still very much in an underground state

of popularity, but time is showing the growth in the demand and

popularity of this foreign material. To start as something satirical in the

Eastern part of the world and move on to the Internet, starting a

potentially controversial fashion and costuming trend, become such an

addiction for people to donate nearly $9,100 to be able to watch the

original Japanese versions but be able to understand them in English and

now start transitioning to the silver screen shows that the United States is

not the only entertainment influence in the world today. Of course, there is

more information and more research that could be covered to delve even

further into this idea but the information explained helps to provide but a

glimpse at a growing world influence. Studies on cross-cultural media and
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entertainment and how different cultures adapt or even straight out accept

foreign ideals would prove useful in this situation.

                                     Works Cited

Benesh-Liu, P. (2007). Anime Cosplay In America. Ornament, 31(1), 44-

      49. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Brienza, C. (2009). Books, Not Comics: Publishing Fields, Globalization, and

      Japanese Manga in the United States. Publishing Research Quarterly,

      25(2), 101-117. doi:10.1007/s12109-009-9114-2.

Bresnahan, Mary Jiang, Yasuhiro Inoue, and Naomi Kagawa. "Players and

      Whiners? Perceptions     of Sex Stereotyping in Animé in Japan and
Anime and Manga 21

      the US." Asian Journal of        Communication 16.2 (2006): 207-

      217.Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 31 Aug.


Dragonball: Evolution (2009) . (2009, April 10). Retrieved November 30,

      2010, from IMDB:

Gagné, Isaac. "Urban Princesses: Performance and “Women's Language” in

      Japan's        Gothic/Lolita Subculture." Journal of Linguistic

      Anthropology 18.1 (2008): 130- 150. Communication & Mass

      Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 31 Aug. 2010.

Kit, B. (2010, March 22). "Bleach" manga being adapted for big screen.

      Retrieved November 29, 2010, from Reuters:

Misaka, Kaoru. "The First Japanese Manga Magazine in the United

      States." Publishing        Research Quarterly19.4 (2004): 23-
Anime and Manga 22

      30. Communication & Mass Media Complete.        EBSCO. Web. 31 Aug.


Ranyard, J. (2006). Japanese Anime and the Life of the Soul: Full Metal

      Alchemist.             Psychological Perspectives, 49(2), 267-277.


Rusch, A. (2008). Fansubbing Collaboration: How Fans of the Anime Bleach

      Produce an Unconventional Community. Conference Papers --

      National Communication Association, 1. Retrieved from

      Communication & Mass Media Complete database.

Warner Brothers in Film Talks for Bleach Manga. (2010, March 22).

      Retrieved November 22, 2010, from Anime News Network:

Anime and Manga 23