Saturday, March 26, 2011

Manga & Anime 101

We all know manga and anime as those "Japanese comics and cartoons".
Some of us are avid fans and try to consume as much as we can...sometimes with horrific results.

Like most Westerners my first real introduction was Astro Boy...I thought Astro was cute and blowing rockets from his butt was the apex of toilet humour. Please remember I was seven at time.
Then came G-Force or Battle of the Planets which I later discovered was a butchered American adaptation of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. I say butchered because to edit out most of the violence from the original, the Americans created 7-Zark-7. This little robot who loved oil showers was basically was a C-3PO in a shape of the love child of R2-D2 and a football. He would explain what was going in the guise of worrying.

My family could not understand me and my obsession. My school mates just thought I was werid. I could not articulate how I was waiting for the show's only female character Princess to die...horriblely. In a vain hope that 7-Zark-7 would call me and ask me to take Princess' position as kick-arse-ninja-girl. But I was going to insist on an outfit similar to the show's villian Zoltar.

Things change and so did public programming so I got into ponies instead. My family relieved that I was becoming a normal girl and a result of lots of school friends due to my uncanny ability to draw horses for them.

Then Jap-animation came to town.

As someone who was blown away by Akira when it first hit our shores, I went anime and manga crazy...and I sat through some dreay flicks and read some crappy things but when I found a gem I feverently grabbed it. Anime movie festivals were rare and usually only featured three movies at a time. Most of the time new things were seen via video tape swaping...or going to Chinatown and grabbing the chinese translation and try to figure out what was going on by looking at the pictures...these were the days before DVDs and Madman Entertainment. And they were not that long ago.

So I'm just going to give you a basic low down on the types and genres of manga and anime, for those of you who already know this I apoligise for the re-hash. For those who don't, well this is for you if you are trying to find direction in locating something you like.

First of all there are the demographic market (I'll be using the more well known manga/anime as examples):
Kodomo/Children's: Usually reserved for those under the age of 10.
Examples: Doroemon and Asto Boy
Shōnen/Shounen: Aimed at male market from ages 10-18.
Examples: DragonBall, Yu-Gi-Oh and Naruto
Shōjo/Shoujo: Aimed at the female market from ages 10 - 18.
Examples: Sailor Moon and Tokyo Mew-Mew
Seinen: Aimed at males from ages 18 and up.
Examples: Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Battle Royal
Josei: Aimed at females from ages 18 and up.
Examples: Honey and Clover and Loveless

Within these demographics are the genres. Besides the usually genres (comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, romance etc) think of it like Rule 34 of the Internet - if you can think of it there is a manga/anime for it. There fore I will not list all of them just some of the major types - most of them you'll recognise...again listing the more well-known titles.

Dojinshi: These are mangas created by fans that are usually a parody or have an element not included in the canon such as hentai (porn), yaoi or yuri nature...similar to fanfic but usually beautifully drawn.
Food: Yup there are mangas about cooking and eating...think Iron Chef/My Kitchen Rules as a comic. Some of these are great if you want to understand certain cultural foods.
Examples: Oishibo, Yakitate!! Japan
Harem/Reverse Harem: Three or more girls and one boy...comedy ensues!/ Three or more guys and one girl...comedy ensues!
Examples: Love Hina, Tenchi Muyo, Ranma 1/2, Wallflower
Hentai: Simply and there are many sub-genres. Don't get me started on Rule 34 again. No I'm not listing examples...I shock myself in the amount I know.
Magical Girl/Boy: Girl/Boy has magical abilities and needs to save the girl/boy/world/mum/money etc. Often possessing a secret identity, there is usually some kind of transformation scene which happens when power is activated. Think of Superman or Spiderman but with panty flashes. Scary stuff.
Examples: Sailor Moon, Tokyo Mew-Mew, Princess TuTu
Mecha: Giant robots, power suits, need I say more
Examples: Gundam, Patlabor, Neon Gensis Evangelion
Yaoi(Yamete, oshiri ga itai (やめて お尻が 痛い "Stop, my butt hurts!"): Boy-love and topics concerning romantic/erotic relationships between men . This genre started due to the demand of of the dojinshi market. There are a huge amount of female fans of this genre, in and outside of Japan. The majority of Yaoi creators are female. The fans can be rather scary...particualary when stuck between then in a convention line.
Not to be confused with Bara which is a more realistic view of homosexual relationships
Examples: Antique Bakery
Yuri: Girl-love and topics concerning romantic/erotic relationships between women
Examples: Revolutionary Girl Utena

This is my first entry on this blog so feel free to send through constructive criticism or suggestions on what you want to read.

I also cook, do craft and sew


  1. Hi Mecha Kal,

    Thanks for your contribution this is great.

    When posting long posts like this please use a page break for the content.

    I'm cleaning up the formatting a little but otherwise please keep it up and post more.



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