Likelihood is, in case you’re reading this, your kids are crazy about Japanese comic books and animation. They’re probably begging you to buy them the next book or DVD that you’ve never heard of. “What’s going on here?!” you may ask yourself. “We’re Americans! Why do my kids love this Japanese stuff?”
Hopefully, I will help make a little sense of the attraction of Japanese comics. I am a comic book artist and Manga fan that lived in Japan for two years. My wife is Japanese and after a number of years of learning I can say that I am pretty good at speaking the language. Whether or not you are a dad or mum or just someone taken with what all the fuss is about, I will do my best to explain.
To begin with, the word Manga means comic book in Japanese. Most Manga are so much smaller in measurement than American comic books however every subject’s length will be about 200 pages per compared to our 24-32. In Japan, these long comic books are put out every month! You normally have one principal artist who gets top credit for the penciled and inked artwork (normally the writing of the story too) but don’t be fooled. It will be unimaginable for one individual to do all of the work on a 200 page comic book every month. Trust me, as a comic artist myself, I know. The majority of Manga-ka (comic book artists) in Japan have several assistants working with them. They normally take care of drawing backgrounds and inking panels on the entire pages.
Before dwelling in Japan, I assumed that Japanese comic artists never slept! I had no concept that they normally have between three-5 assistants at one time. Sure, they still need to work hard to keep on schedule but they aren’t the robots I as soon as thought they had been! Why are their comic books so lengthy? Manga is meant to be read quickly as an escape from everyday life. I was amazed to see so many Japanese businessmen on trains reading Manga on the way from work. Students reading Manga during class (I know that’s hard to consider for some of you!). The stories usually focus on dynamic action, drama or off beat humor.
I felt very strange dwelling in a society the place everything runs smoothly and persons are serious about following guidelines and respecting others. In a spot where what’s good for the group is better than what’s good for a person, reading Manga gave the impression to be one thing folks might do to just please themselves. People of all ages from 7-87 read comic books in Japan. The comic book tales are much more inventive than what is finished in America. There are few guidelines in what kind of story or how loopy an concept must be in Manga.
I think this is one reason folks listed here are shopping for Manga like it’s going out of style! I’m a trainer and many middle and high school students tell me that they are bored with the identical old super hero stories. They are predictable and tend to get boring because few things work like real life. Super Characters die and are available back to life, the bad guys never really get defeated and the thought of a muscular man in tights just looks silly. You won’t find superheroes in Japanese comic books. They prefer to show that you don’t have to be able to lift a building to beat a tough situation and still be self-confident.
Manga tends to have more sympathetic characters that tweens and teenagers can relate to. There are comics of every style known to man, reminiscent of fantasy and ninja action but there are plenty of romance comics and soap opera style stories. The stories may be more sophisticated with twists and turns that truly lead you to the real finish of the series. Most Manga run for a sure amount of time after which end. They do not go on forever because there is a story to inform and when it’s performed, it’s done.
This leads me to one of the predominant reasons people love Manga, the artwork style. Those characters with big eyes and spikey hair! They don’t look like the Japanese (or every other ethnic group) but they’ve energy and life. Their model looks so completely different than the American comic book art model that kids are drawn to it! Its simple animated look draws them in and the energetic page layouts keep them hooked. One thing to recollect though! There is no such thing as a such thing as a Manga type of art. Japanese comic artists are inspired to find their own unique style. Imagine me, after I would go to the comic shops in Japan, I would see some wild art styles that broke that stereotype that now we have of Manga here in the states.
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