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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


                                   Abstract


      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


                                   INTRODUCTION


      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
Anime and Manga 4


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


History


      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
Anime and Manga 5


entertainment, it began as an attempt to ridicule the government,


otherwise known as satire.


Style


        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
Anime and Manga 6


storyline but is not the only idea used in the stories of manga (Misaka,


2004).


      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
Anime and Manga 7


      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
Anime and Manga 8


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).
Anime and Manga 12


      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.


Fansubbing


      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
Anime and Manga 14


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
Anime and Manga 19


manga to go through a possible evolution into the next stage of


entertainment.


                                     Conclusion


      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
Anime and Manga 20


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.


      2010.


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


      2010, from IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1098327/


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:


      http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62L0ZH20100322


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.


      2010.


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


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


      doi:10.1080/00332920600998320.


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:


      http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-03-22/warner-


      brothers-in-talks-for-live-action-bleach-film
Anime and Manga 23

				
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