Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World

Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World

Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World

Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World

Synopsis

Within the last decade, anime and manga have become extremely popular in the United States. "Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World" provides a sophisticated anthology of varied commentary from authors well versed in both formats. These essays provide insights unavailable on the Internet, giving the interested general reader in-depth information well beyond the basic, "Japanese Comics 101" level, and providing those who teach and write about manga and anime valuable knowledge to further expand their expertise.

The topics addressed range widely across various artists and art styles, media methodology and theory, reception of manga and anime in different cultural markets, and fan behavior. Specific subjects covered include sexually explicit manga drawn and read by women; the roots of manga in Japanese and world film; the complexity of fan activities, including "cosplay," fan-drawn manga, and fans' highly specific predilections; right-wing manga; and manga about Hiroshima and despair following World War II. The book closes with an examination of the international appeal of manga and anime.

Excerpt

When Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Sailor Moon arrived in the United States from Japan in the 1990s, manga and anime entered a transnational flow of cultural goods that spiraled outwards into ever more complex loops of influence, random, and marketing (Matsui 2009). By then, manga and anime had already crossed the horizons of European popular art and culture (Pellitteri 2010 and Marco Pellitteri, chapter 12, this volume) and had likewise reached Southeast Asian audiences and markets (Wong 2006). In one direction of the arrow, none of this was new; Raoul Walsh’s 1924 silent film The Thief of Baghdad, which starred Douglas Fairbanks, had within two years been adapted and remade as an animated film in Japan: Noburō Ōfuji’s 1926 Bagadajo no tozoku (The Thief of Baghdad Castle; see Miyao 2007). But what has made the manga and anime explosion of recent years different is that now Japan, and increasingly Korea and China, are exporting cultural goods to the Eurocentric Western world—and with extravagant aesthetic, cultural, and commercial success.

For at least some U.S. critics, journalists, and commercial commentators, manga and anime have constituted a bewildering intrusion or even challenge to the unquestioned (although parochial) view that U.S. production values embody the worldwide standard for comics and for animation. How could anyone else excel at cartoons when Superman and Batman define the comics, or when Fantasia and 101 Dalmatians define animation? If Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the 1988 ne plus ultra of innovative filmmaking, what was this Akira thing all about? The college students who formed the first definable fanbase for anime in the United States had it right when they said that they’d never seen anything like this before (Napier 2005). But they loved it— together with Robotech, Ninja Scroll, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

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