Japanese Anime and Manga
Japanese animation movies, anime, and manga comics are media beloved by the Japanese subculture. Once used to be considered only for children, this media has acquired a wider fanbase including adults and is not considered just for children anymore.
Anime is a shortened word for animation and usually is a series of 30-minute episodes which are broadcasted on TV. Many anime are created about stories from paper-based manga magazines, and some are from novels, video games and picture books. But some anime has an original story. Each television network schedules the days of the week and time slots for anime.
In addition to anime on TV there are other forms of anime such as animation film, which are shown in movie theaters, original video animation ("OVA") that are available on video, DVD, Blu-ray Discs, and those available on the Internet.
Some voice-over actors who dub anime characters are very popular. Some followers watch anime to listen to the voice of their favorite voice-actor.
Types of Anime
There are many types of anime. "Doraemon," "Crayon Shinchan," and "Sazae-san" are extremely popular with the general population. "Pretty Cure," "One Piece," and "Major" target boys and girls, while "Gundam," and "Neon Genesis Evangelion" are anime that target adults. "Love Live !" and "The Familiar of Zero" are popular among some otaku (people who are obsessed with video games and comics) fanatics.
Readers go through the story of manga through frames with drawings, text and speech bubbles. Manga are first exposed to the public through newspapers and magazines, and then usually published into a book. Recently web comics published on the Internet are also available.
How to Read Manga
In Japanese, a manga story advances from the top right-hand corner of the page to the left, then right and down to the frame of the second level.
Manga uses many techniques and unique conventions. Lines or thoughts of characters are shown as text in a speech bubble. Various shapes of bubbles and font sizes of the text are used in order to express different emotions. Sometimes hand-written text is used outside of the bubble. Onomatopoeias and mimetic words are hand-written within frames.
One of the characteristics of manga are the various signals added on or around a character or within a bubble to express the emotion of the character. Water drops (sweat) are used to indicate panic or sadness. Three or four curved lines on the skin mean surfaced veins and express anger. Also, nose bleeds from becoming too excited in a sexy scene are an expression particular to Japanese Manga.
How to read a manga story
Sweat that expresses "panic" is shown
Categories of Manga
Manga can be categorized byits target audience or by the types and forms of expression. In terms of types, there are school manga, comical manga, fantasy manga, and romance manga. Some manga cover more than one type. Categories by target audience and expression forms are as follows:
- Manga for young children:
Targeting young children and elementary students. Number of pages and frames are small and the story is simple. Examples: "Anpanman" and "Doraemon"
- Manga for boys:
Targeting boys from higher grades of elementary school to high school. Many are stories on battles, science fiction or sports. Examples: "Dragon Ball", "Conan", etc.
- Manga for girls:
Targeting girls from higher grades of elementary school to high school. They have pretty pictures and often depict romance between boys and girls. Examples: "Sailor Moon" and "Garasu-no-kamen"
- Manga for men:
Used to target high school boys to men in their 30s, but is recently attracting attention from younger generations and women fans. Many stories cover mysteries and social issues that are not discussed in manga for boys and girls. Examples: "Uchukyodai" and "Golgo 13"
- Manga for women:
Targeting women in their 20s and older. Many stories are about family, raising children, work, and also recently the number of essay style manga are increasing. Examples: "Saito-san" and "Bokura wa Minna Shindeiru"
- Manga for adults:
For adults (Over 18 years old in Japan). There are many sexual and cruel scenes. Examples: "Tayutayu", "Angel Guts", etc.
Categories by Form of Expression
- Comic: the story is told in several pages.
- One-page manga: the story is told in one page.
- 4-frame manga: Four frames make up the story; the introduction, development, turn and conclusion are depicted in each frame.
- 1-frame manga: the story is told in one frame.
Price of Manga
Prices vary depending on design, the number of pages and the size of the book. Market prices are indicated below (as of 2014):
- Paperback pocket edition: 400 to 600 yen
- Pocket edition: 600 to 800 yen
- B6 size: 600 to 900 yen
- A5 size: 600 to 900 yen
Comparison of comic book sizes
Anime and Manga as "Cool Japan"
Japanese anime have been broadcasted overseas and are enjoying popularity. Manga are translated and published in foreign countries and recently manga books that are bound and open from the right side just like the ones in Japan are increasing.
The popularity of anime and cosplay events, where people dress-up just like anime or manga characters, is also spreading among young adult fans in countries throughout the world.
Focusing on the popularity of Japanese anime and manga, the Japanese government is marketing it in other countries as "Cool Japan." The Cool Japan" initiative is meant to convey the uniqueness of Japanese culture, which includes video games, cuisine, budo, classical Japanese dance and many other forms of expression. The "Cool Japan" initiative aims to communicate the message about the wide variety of Japanese cultural expressions and cultivate them to followers.