Saturday, 8 September 2012



         Manga as people know it in the 20th and 21st centuries only really came into being after Dr. Osamu Tezuka, widely acknowledged to be the father of story-based manga, became popular. In 1945, Tezuka who was studying medicine, saw a war propaganda animation film called "Momotarou Uminokaihei".

Before Tezuka, most Japanese comics were drawn on one or four picture format dealing with social or political satire or humour. Tezuka introduced film like story telling and character in comic format in which each short-film like episode is part of larger story arch.Consequently, most manga artist adopted Tezuka-style drawing where characters are drawn in a simpler but exaggerated manner - most typified by large round eyes which is regarded as a defining feature of Japanese comic in the west.Tezuka was greatly inspired by the film and later decided to become a comic artist, which at the time (and somewhat even now) was an unthinkable choice for someone who qualified as a medical doctor and Ph.D in medicine.

Another important trend in manga was gekiga. Between the 1960s and the 1970s, there were two forms of comic serialisation. One, the manga format, was based on sales of comic magazine. The other, gekiga, was based on a rental format, much in the same line as the modern movie rental systems. However, gekiga's rental business model eventually died out in the 1970s, while comic artists in manga format significantly improved their graphic quality and story. Eventually, gekiga was absorbed into manga and now are used to describe manga style which does not use cartoonish drawing. 

The history of anime begins at the start of the 20th century, when Japanese filmmakers experimented with the animation techniques that were being explored in the West. Though filmmakers in Japan experimented with animation earlier, the first widely popular anime series was Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy(1963).

In the 1980s, anime was accepted in the mainstream in Japan, and experienced a boom in production. The start of the Gundam franchise, and the beginnings of Rumiko TaAn art movement started by Takashi Murakami that combined Japanese pop-culture with postmodern art called Superflat came began around this time. Murakami asserts that the movement is an analysis of post-war Japanese culture through the eyes of the otaku subculture.kahashi's career began in this decade. Akira set records in 1988 for the production costs of an anime.During the 1970s, anime developed further, separating itself from its Western roots, and developing unique genres such as mecha. Notable shows in this period include Lupin III and Mazinger Z. 

During this period several filmmakers became famous, especially Hayao Miyazaki.The 1990s and 2000s saw an increased acceptance of anime in overseas markets. Akira and Ghost in the Shell (1995) became famous worldwide. Series like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop were popular in Japan and attracted attention from the West.The same time period has also been characterized by a trend towards extreme emphasis on otaku subculture. Many shows are currently being shown on late night television that are often based on h-games and are made solely for a die hard otaku audience.


            According to Japanese culture scholar Susan J. Napier, manga (Japanese graphic novels) and anime (Japanese animation) are Japan's single greatest contribution to global culture. While Americans tend to view these art forms as being primarily for young people, the Japanese, with their more visually oriented culture, view manga and anime as art forms accessible to everyone from middle-aged salary workers and children to women of all ages. Although both manga and anime are products of the 20th century, their origins lay in traditional forms of Japanese art such as kabuki theater and woodblock prints.

History and Development of Manga

  • A modern woodblock print.
    Some scholars trace the origins of manga back to the Edo Period (1600 to 1868) of Japanese history, specifically to the "kibyoshi," a popular type of book illustrated using woodbloack prints. These books contained strictly erotic or humorous content and featured humans, fantastical creatures and even references to celebrities of the period. Manga appeared in its modern form after the close of World War II, and one of the most popular early manga, "Astro Boy," appeared in 1952. As the form evolved, acceptable topics expanded from Astro Boy's robot tales to include stories focused on female heroines, technology, erotica and even nonfiction topics such and dating etiquette. Because manga books cover such a wide range of topics, a huge portion of the Japanese population reads them; consequently, manga is an extremely influential artistic medium.

    Development of Anime

    • Anime evolved from manga.
      Anime evolved directly out of manga. Since manga, like its Western counterpart the comic book, is told in a serialized manner and uses panels, it transferred well to the serialized nature of television. In 1963, the first anime series, "Astro Boy," based on the manga of the same name, debuted on Japanese television. The popularity of anime television shows in the mid-1960s led to increasing opportunities for animators to work in the film industry. In the 1970s, animation studios primarily produced films based on anime television shows, but with the 1980s and 1990s, more original material found its way onto Japanese and, eventually, Western movie screens.

      Common Genres and Themes

      • A young shoujo heroine.
        Initial anime series like "Astro Boy," with its emphasis on robots, were aimed at children, principally boys. However, as the art form progressed, more genres were formed and popularized. For instance, "shoujo," anime and manga focused around a young female character, became very popular in the 1960s and continue their popularity today. "Hentai" anime deals with erotic and/or pornographic themes, while the "yaoi" genre deals with homoerotic themes and is a popular genre with young women. Anime and manga also delve into complex themes and issues such as man's relationship to technology, the search for identity in a modern world, and coping with history.

        Anime in America

        • Anime has become quite popular in America.
          Many contend that anime made its first introduction to American audience with the popular, although briefly broadcast, series "Speed Racer," which ran from 1967 to 1968. In the 1990s, the overwhelming popularity of series such as "Pokemon," "Dragon Ball Z" and "Naruto" cemented anime in the mainstream American mindset. Anime films such as "Akira" (made in Japan in 1988 but released in American in 1990) introduced adult audiences to the distinct style and complex themes of Japanese animation. Today, legendary Japanese anime director Hiyao Miyazaki has achieved huge critical and financial success in the West with films such as "Princess Mononoke (1997)," "Howl's Moving Castle (2004)," and "Spirited Away," for which he won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

          Continuing Issues and Debates

          • Manga and anime are somewhat controversial.
            Among cultural studies scholars, the value of anime and manga is somewhat contested. Since these art forms are an expression of mass media, many see their popularity as a denigration of the richness of Japanese culture. But those who believe Japanese animation and manga are worthy of intellectual exploration cite the complexity of the themes dealt with in many of these films, as well as the influence these works of art exert on the cultural imagination. Many people outside the academic world worry manga and anime negatively influence the masses and that people who passionately read and watch (called "otaku") are especially likely to commit crimes or under-perform in school. Of course, this negative criticism has done little to stem the tide of popularity both manga and anime continue to enjoy.

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