The rise of the manga

This is the moment of manga. I mean, I know you all knew that, but it’s not just a fast growing comic book category; when people look back at Aught Nostalgia, this well be remembered as the Manga Decade. Or at least that’s what our link round up tells us:

manga shelves final 565 The rise of the manga

Let us being with Chris Butcher’s photo of what 5000+ manga look like (check link for full sized picture) and continue with this story about Hollywood’s J-Pop mania:

“It’s become a veritable feeding frenzy,” one young and enterprising American producer said of Hollywood’s anime and manga craze over a dinner of German sausages in Silver Lake, a hipster enclave in Los Angeles. “In fact, we’re now looking to other Asian countries like South Korea, China, even Singapore. There are just too many people focused on Japan.”

Last summer’s Transformers movie–whose toys and anime series originated in Japan–was one of the biggest box office draws in an otherwise mixed or dreary 2007 for big-budget Hollywood productions. Appleseed: Ex Machina, about which I’ve written in this column, smashed all previous anime DVD sales records upon its release earlier this month, selling 100,000 units in only its first week.


This story (originating in a Japanese newspaper) can be seen as a bit of hype, but it’s unquestionable that the Manga Look is the look of the moment. And Japan is trying to export more of its cultural influence according to this article:

“Japan is a giant in animation and there’s many things that we can learn. There’s still a huge gap in skills,” Zhou Feng Ying, president of the Beijing Glorious Animation Co, told a seminar at the Tokyo International Anime Fair on Thursday. “It’s very important for us to grow through cooperation,” she added, referring to the animated “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” currently being produced by her firm and Future Planet, a Japanese company. That cooperation brings Zhou’s company access to international distribution and Japanese animation know-how honed over decades, while Future Planet gains a sharp cut in production costs and a chance to tap the potentially vast Chinese market. Such ventures are now seen as key for the industry, since despite decades of global dominance and a boom in the popularity of anime and manga comics, Japan’s foreign anime profits are still surprisingly small compared to the money made at home.


Meanwhile, previously normalized Manchester, Uk has been turned into Manga-chester thanks to a major manga art exhibit:
20082603man8 The rise of the manga

Urbis displays all of the above, from cutesy to violent, erotic to commercial, informative to distinctive, exploring the way Manga has permeated everyday life in the 21st century. There’s even a photo-gallery of how teenagers in both Eastern and Western countries are dressing like real-life Manga characters. Naturally, Japanese girls adapt the characteristic look with ease. Anyone else looks like they’ve had an unfortunate accident with Crayola and a fancy dress box.


In Florida, Bleach and Naruto vie for supremacy:

The two hottest manga series are undeniably Viz Media’s Bleach and Naruto. Both have been battling it out for years in Japan and in America, and neither is willing to give up the top slots in the manga translation ratings. Tate’s Comics is a store in Lauderhill that caters to manga, anime and comic-book fans. “Some series like Fullmetal Alchemist gain a lot of popularity quickly but don’t last long, while these two lose some of their fan base every now and then, but always manage to find their way back,” store manager Joann Minieri said. “Even then, they never get bumped out of the top five.”

Funimation has been making some of its anime available on iTunes, and now Starz’ Manga Entertainment channel joins suit:

Starz Entertainment’s original programming now on iTunes includes comedies like “Head Case” and “Hollywood Residential.” Manga Entertainment anime licenses that are now available on iTunes include “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex,” “Noein,” “Tokko” and “Tactics.” The programming is available on a per-show basis for US$1.99 or you can purchase an entire season. Manga Entertainment is the second major U.S. anime publisher to offer programming on the iTunes Store. Funimation Entertainment — publisher of Afro Samurai, Speed Grapher, Gunslinger Girl and other popular series — also makes programming available through the iTunes Store.

In the other corner, the Manga Shakespeare project is examined once again.


Larry Olson, vice president of marketing for Wiley, says that because of manga’s popularity, these books might get youngsters fired up about Shakespeare in a way more traditional texts or performances cannot. Also, because of their shortened passages and stimulating visuals, they might reach a wide range of ages and be especially helpful for visual learners (who account for as much as 30 percent to 65 percent of the students out there).

Finally, this may be the most important link of all, as nerd-friendly parents attend Anime Expo with their young children, and remain mindful but accepting

As I wrote about yesterday, my wife and I spent the weekend at the Anime Boston show at the Hynes Convention Center, but it wasn’t about connecting with our kids directly — that’s something we do as a couple. And part of the reason is because we like to scope out what’s hot and what’s new on the anime and manga scenes, so we can vet the content for our kids. I do the same for video games. I’m lucky enough to actually get paid (at least partly) to review video games, so that helps me justify keeping different console systems in the house and subscribing to various magazines, and even taking a couple of trips a year to trade shows to really get some good exposure.

Comments

  1. Steve Taylor says:

    Not only has it been the decade for manga,…but, may I point out that we may very well be living through, what I like to refer to as,…”The Golden Age of Iced Tea”.
    (A thought that would leave anyone wide-eyed.)

  2. I’ll bite.

    Why would it be the Golden Age of Iced Tea?

  3. Jonathan says:

    I fully realize how big manga is right now, but for the life of me I can’t get interested in it. I have tried on several occasions, and it never seems to get any traction with me. I see what the appeal is, and truthfully I wished that’s how canonical superhero stories were handled. I’d love to have a “satisfying chunk” of Spider-Man every few months, but that’s just me. I’ve taken many recommendations from retailers and fans, and I’ve yet to finish even one volume of a manga.

  4. Steve Taylor says:

    Because Iced Tea,…like Manga,…is everywhere.
    It is ubiquitous in all of it’s infinite and refreshing varieties.
    Haven’t you noticed?
    There has been an explosion in the Iced Tea industry in the last decade, not unlike and somewhat parallel with, the rise of the Manga.
    Are the two related?
    No.
    No, they are not.

    But,…I’m just sayin’…

  5. I Actually went to the exhibition in Manchester, and it was great. If any body gets the the opportunity to go to it, they should. Also it’s totally free!!

  6. Jonathan, I think part of the problem is what’s being translated is often what appeals to the demo that is already reading manga. I’ve found about the only manga I’ve been able to get into is josei manga- which is aimed at young women- along with a select few other titles such as Dragon Head, Planetes, and Tezuka volumes. Maybe you’re getting suggestions from the wrong people because there IS good stuff out there, but like good Occidental comics, it’s often the stuff that’s harder to find (for me anyway- I prefer Ghost World to Ghost Rider).

  7. Every time I see a story about the popularity of manga, there is invariably a post from a spandex fan-boy along the lines of “I tried, but not mater what I read I just can’t get into manga.” You know what? It’s okay! I don’t understand why anyone reads super-hero comics! I can absolutely understand if you don’t like manga, I don’t get your compulsion to tell us about it.

  8. Bah. Bleach and Naruto. I wish One Piece had those sales. It outsells those two fellow Shonen Jump titles in Japan and most of the world, yet it can’t get a hold in America. I have two theories on why. One, Americans don’t think pirates are Japanese enough. Somehow the perceived Japanese aspect of Naruto’s ninjas and Bleach’s Shinegami help sell those better to a weeaboo audience. Two, One Piece tanked as an anime when 4kids neutered it. Sadly, manga seems to sell much better when there’s an attached anime that’s popular. Somehow, One Piece isn’t in the US.

    Meanwhile, I’m one of those sticklers who say that Manga Shakespere has nothing to do with manga. They’re just graphic novels, British in this case, misusing the term manga. They superficially imitate the art style and somehow they think they’re entitled to use a Japanese term. Bah. Then there’s the idea that this is a good way to teach Shakespeare. That’s a whole other can of worms.

  9. Pedro Bouça says:

    Uh, no actually. Although One Piece does outsell Bleach and Naruto in Japan (and is arguably a much better series), it is TROUNCED by those two series in the international market. In all the countries whose numbers I know Naruto is the big seller and Bleach outperforms One Piece!

    I think the artistic style in One Piece, although beautiful and original, is too “weird” for most regular manga customers outside Japan.

    Best,
    Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

  10. Ingrid Kalchthaler says:

    I’ve been hearing lots of stories to the contrary- the manga is on the decline in a big way in Japan
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-10-18-manga_N.htm. – that’s just one place I read it.
    what is the real story? Can you help!
    Thanks,
    ing

  11. Ingrid Kalchthaler says:

    I’ve been hearing lots of stories to the contrary- the manga is on the decline in a big way in Japan
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-10-18-manga_N.htm. – that’s just one place I read it.
    what is the real story? Can you help!
    Thanks,
    ing

  12. Ingrid Kalchthaler says:

    I’ve been hearing lots of stories to the contrary- the manga is on the decline in a big way in Japan
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-10-18-manga_N.htm. – that’s just one place I read it.
    what is the real story? Can you help!
    Thanks,
    ing

  13. I LOVE FULL METAL ALCHEMIST! I agree that it doesn’t seem to have the same pull as naruto and bleach but those animes last longer and full metal is short. Though I have to say that full metal is more thought provoking than naruto in alot of cases. i like both of those shows but i love full metal. i think what it is is that alot of people like those shows but not enough LIKE fma. theres just some of us that LOVE it. and i agree about one piece too, america killed it. and about manga shaekspeare, its a good idea but they shouldnt attach manga to it.

  14. I LOVE FULL METAL ALCHEMIST! I agree that it doesn’t seem to have the same pull as naruto and bleach but those animes last longer and full metal is short. Though I have to say that full metal is more thought provoking than naruto in alot of cases. i like both of those shows but i love full metal. i think what it is is that alot of people like those shows but not enough LIKE fma. theres just some of us that LOVE it. and i agree about one piece too, america killed it. and about manga shaekspeare, its a good idea but they shouldnt attach manga to it.

Trackbacks

  1. […] At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald rounds up numerous articles about the popularity of manga and another set about retailing. Both make interesting reading, as do the comments that follow. I particularly like this, from the inexplicably blogless Simon Jones: I always put down the success of manga being due to it’s utterly mercenary nature. That’s not to say there’s a lack of art or anything to it, but it knows what it’s audience wants. […]

  2. […] At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald rounds up numerous articles about the popularity of manga and another set about retailing. Both make interesting reading, as do the comments that follow. I particularly like this, from the inexplicably blogless Simon Jones: I always put down the success of manga being due to it’s utterly mercenary nature. That’s not to say there’s a lack of art or anything to it, but it knows what it’s audience wants. […]

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