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About Anime & Manga

I had this information posted on the old anime page. That page is long gone though, so... here's a transcript of nostalgia! Old, unmodified and probably a bit factually incorrect too. Enjoy. ;)

About Me

I am a professional! This is what I watch for a living. Or, I live watching... maybe I watch them living? :P Anyhow, anime is great, in Japan it's already an accepted form of media for both old and young, and everyone in between. In the western world it's more like a coming trend, but it's here to stay.

I like watching my Anime with subtitles, since I've grown used to this way of watching anime and it just feels strange hearing Japanese characters speak with American voices. In older Animé the American voice actors were pretty crappy too, Japanese are great at conveying all kinds of emotions and sounds through speech. They even have words for different sounds, like we have for "Crash" "Boom" "Pow", etc, but a much wider array.

Anyhow, this here is a list of Anime I've watched and Anime I am currently following. The page has grown pretty gigantic in size and length since I added images, so if you have a slow connection, I feel sorry for you. ;) I don't watch (as) much (as I used to) nowadays, so this page is pretty much dead (irregular updates, not when I watch something new, but when I have time to write about it), but it will stay intact for future reference. You'll find a couple of informative articles I wrote in 2006-2007 below. Enjoy the list, it might serve as a recommendation guide on what to and what not to watch! Occasional comments and links to hosted fansites may appear. Bye Bye.

What is Anime?

Anime is a misleading term, in short it stands for Animation. When most people say "Anime" what they really mean however is Japanimation, a (as the name states) form of traditional Japanese animation. Some of the visual trademarks of anime are big sad-looking eyes, small mouths, spiky, brightly colored hair and really big robots with even bigger weapons of mass destruction that look dangerous even when standing still. There is however nothing traditional about anime. Despite the classification, anime series are far from similar, they are about as alike as the various specifies found on this planet. Animes are often based on Manga (read about Manga lower down on this page) or books, sometimes even pieces of fanmade fiction. Sometimes games. Sometimes movies. Sometimes they are made out of thin air, but mostly the base ingredient of an Anime is a Manga.

The Past

The first anime shorts were created 1917, based on old Japanese folk tales. They were usually around 2 minutes long. As animation become popular in the US it became more popular in Japan too, the stories became longer and higher-budget. During the 1930s and the coming of war anime turned more militaristic and was often used by the government as propaganda. In the US characters like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse were used to encourage people to fight. After the war the Japanese animation companies had to adapt to compete with American companies. Disney also had such control over the animated market in US that the Japanese releases which might have gained a large audience were smothered early without gaining even a chance to compete.

It stayed this way for over 20 years until finally American animation ran out of storylines and good animators.The Japanese series Astroboy came 1963, depicting a robotic boy who wanted to be human, saving the world daily with his super powers (he even had his own American movie made 2009). After this “Japanimation” became extremly popular for a time. American studios used the new material from Japan to find out what their audience wanted, and mimicked it, allowing them to regain at least a portion of their former grip on the animation market. In the late 1980’s, however, a film hit the mainstream that shocked and amazed the American populace. Akira was a combination of breathtaking animation and an intense, disturbing plot that appealed to more than just the small, exclusive groups that had become the sole followers of anime at this point.

It was a reminder that there are some things the US just doesn’t have the nerve or intellectual integrity to create, or at least to pioneer. After this, everyone realized that animation could be dark, disturbing and suited towards mature audiences as well as young ones. Things like Heavy Metal , a set of animated shorts created by different artists, which was known for having large amounts of gratuitous violence and explicit sexuality (but also superb animation), were created. Some of the main series that generated extreme interest in Japanese animation were Gundam, Sailor Moon, Dragonball and Ghost in a Shell.

The Present

Anime is constantly gaining popularity. Series such as Naruto, Bleach & One Piece have millions of followers in most countries around the world. Series that come out in Japan are now licensed for US production within a month of their release, and the US no longer has the same monopoly on cartoons as they did before. The Japanese style of animation appeals very much to very many, the content is more complex and often more interesting than much of the media produced in other countries. There is often a much richer and more interesting storyline than much of what you will see anywhere else.

The amount of Japanese animations created is countless and the amount of genres is to say the least large. You'll find anime series based on Fishing, Cooking, Racing and so many other things other than just the typical action or fairytale genres. Naturally many countries have tried to mimic the Japanese style of animation in their creations, and animations are not made only in Japan (though that is and will always be the center of Japanimation) but all around the globe.

The Future

I cant see into the future, but since I love anime I hope its popularity just keeps increasing and tons of great anime series keep being made. At the time of writing, the future of Japanimation does look promising!

About Manga

Manga is the Japanese word for comic book or Graphic Novel and is used in English as a reference to Japanese comic books (which often look more like books than comics, though they are filled with images instead of text, just like comics). Manga and Anime are very closely related, as artists frequently draw both, and Animes are often made based upon a Manga. Usually the manga is created first, and if it becomes really popular (and they have enough $$$ for the production process) then an anime series is made based upon it. All the large Anime series such as Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Detective Conan, DragonBall, etc - have a Manga version as basis.

The Past

Before there was any animation in Japan, people were being entertained by the pictorial art that was manga. Manga did not look like comic strips at first. It wasn't until the 17th and 18th centuries that the actual word 'manga' was used to describe this form of art. The term was coined by an artist named Hokusai, a person who had a very different philosophy on the art and woodblock portrayals that were typical of the time. A man with a somewhat rebellious nature, Hokusai was known to talk back to his teachers and continually challenge their methods of doing things. He would eventually do his own art, and it is thought that around 30,000 art pieces, some of which are grouped into collections and books, are made by him.

Hokusai did many different pieces, influenced by things such as the art and artistic philosophies of the French and the Dutch, but none seemed to be like his unique style which he called 'manga'. For Hokusai, 'manga' was not the art of drawing characters in a story or paying attention to minute detail in order to create entertaining and meaningful art pieces. Rather, Hokusai’s use of the term 'manga' (which literally means “whimsical pictures”) referred to his method of drawing a picture according to the way his brush or drawing materials glided across the page at random. Joseph Pulitzer was responsible for allowing the first humorous “comic strips” to appear in publication. Consisting of either sequential panels or single illustrations that told a story or made comedic points, the comic strip/cartoon was a source of entertaining diversion from the seriousness of the news and headlines. The Japanese picked up on the comic trend, and a few people back on Eastern cultural shores began drawing their own comic strips and caricatures.

When the war came, comics were used as propaganda for the governement. During and after the Second World War, there was a factory worker by the name of Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka was the precursor to both manga and anime. In manga, he was the first to come out with a novel-length drawn story (titled 'Shintakarajima', or 'New Treasure Island') in 1947. This graphic novel was about 200 pages in length, which was alone something that had never been seen before. Part of the appeal of Tezuka’s mangas were the intricately drawn scenes and techniques only seen in the mono-color films of the time, which may be a reason for its lack of color since Tezuka was trying hard to imitate cinematic techniques and sights, and all films were in black and white. Tezuka went on to draw not only many more famous manga stories, but also many kinds of them. He drew dramatic, action, adult e.t.c. which created the diversity of series you see today.

The Present

Today, manga is one of the biggest publication industries in Japan. Some anime fans have even said that they enjoy the manga versions of their favorite animes more than the animated versions! Almost everyone reads manga in Japan. Young, old, weak, bold. There are Mangas on everything, by everyone. It doesn't matter who you are, there's a manga out there waiting to be read (or drawn) by you.

The Future

Who Knows! Let us hope and pray that more Manga will be made the coming day. ;)

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