by Langa Mohlala
We have all become open to trying new things during quarantine, including cutting and/or dyeing our hair, creating dating app accounts out of boredom, exercising and trying new foods.
Who’s to say that we can’t try a different form of entertainment, such as Anime?
Before we judge the weeaboos (Anime super stans) and the otakus (Anime ‘nerds’), let’s first understand the history behind Anime and Manga and their impact on society.
According to Lily Cernak of Kawa Kawa Learning Studio – a website that teaches English speakers Japanese online – anime “has existed […] since the beginning of the 20th century”.
Originating in Japan, it has a complex history, first being used as propaganda in the Second World War before being solely used as entertainment. Some of the earliest successful Anime productions include Astro Boy (1963), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Dragon Ball Z (1989) and Spirited Away (2001).
Manga is Japanese comic books and graphic novels that are often read and doted on by Anime enthusiasts and are traditionally read from right to left. It is believed to have originated as early as the 12th century in the form of drawings on scrolls and evolved into the comics we know and love between 1945 and 19522.
The most popular Japanese Manga include One Piece (published from 1997-present), Naruto (1997-2015) and more.
(Caption: Katsushika Hokusai’s book of drawings, seen as one of the earliest historical forms of comics.)
Manga is stereotypically thought of as the picture form of Anime – the latter being seen as more exciting because it is animated. However, this is not always the case as Manga has a more distinctive art style and multiple linework differences than its animated counterpart.
Manga is also more detailed than Anime. An animated series can have many episodes which have a storyline that often drifts from that of the original Manga, while the comic book volumes can be as many as 200 with over 1000 chapters that focus on particular characters’ storylines, as well as how their lives develop.
Sazae-san, an ongoing Anime, has currently aired over 7000 episodes. This is in contrast to Kobo-chan, an ongoing Manga that has 103 volumes with 13 352 chapters (at the publication of this article).
Anime and Manga are so well-loved and received because there is truly something for everyone. Genres and divisions range from cooking and martial arts to sports, magic, history, Mecha (Anime and Manga that focus on mechanical innovation, e.g. robots, cyborgs, etc.), shoujo (which is aimed at young female audiences and focuses on romantic relationships) and many more.
It is known to help people escape from the happenings of life (as Western entertainment does) and help outcasts feel as if they belong.
It also ranges from colourful, kooky and fun to more serious and sensitive.
A Silent Voice, for example, is an anime that focuses on bullying, mental health and how your actions truly affect others and their lives.
Anime can not only educate people but also teach them how to embrace other cultures.
Manga has a mesmerising effect on its audiences, the colours and lines drawing them in and keeping them interested. It can also help shape the characters of people with storylines that are either political and historical or philosophical and spiritual.
There is more to Anime than Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, One Punch Man and Death Note. These Animes are popular for their mass appeal but are not the only well-loved anime to exist.
· Overlord (also available as a Manga and light novel series): described as “a story about the psychology of a creature beyond ethical concerns with near-limitless power”, Overlord was praised for its exceptional animation and colourful artwork. This Anime will be especially enjoyable for gaming enthusiasts, given that the plot revolves around characters who are part of a guild in the game that the movie revolves around.
· ReLIFE (a Manga series released in a webtoon – online animated series – format): falling under the slice-of-life genre, which tells a selected/ ‘cut-out’ story of a character’s life, this particular Manga revolves around a man who is offered the chance to fix what is wrong with his life by means of a scientific experiment that makes him appear 10 years younger. This is a good watch for anyone who is starting with their Anime journey.
· 91 Days: which tells the dark story about a man who plans to exact his revenge on the family who killed his family. This show has plenty of tense moments to keep anyone hooked.
Thanks to the existence of the Internet, Anime and Manga are easy to access – a simple search on Netflix and Google will do the trick. If you are keen on box sets and physical copies, there are ways to grab your own copy if you wish.
Nexus Hub is an online shop that sells copies of anime, both new and previously owned.
Manga is also available to purchase on takealot, Gumtree and bidorbuy. If you are in Cape Town or have loved ones there, Reader’s Den is a store that sells comic books and graphic novels.
If you haven’t considered watching anime yet, nani?! There is nothing but time, so why not spend it by watching subarashii shows or reading banri books?
· Nani – “What are you doing?”
· Subarashii – “Splendid”
· Banri – “Great”
Visit https://geekandsundry.com/your-anime-vocabulary-starter-guide/ for more anime terminology!