Let’s talk about something fun today, something that attracts so many to Japanese culture. Let’s talk ANIME (アニメ)and MANGA (漫画)!
Have you ever heard of Shonen Jump? Well I didn’t know anything about it until I actually got to Japan. I learned about it when a training group member went to a Shonen Jump Festa, this huge manga/anime event in Tokyo. He took some really cool pictures of these gigantic anime figures. If anyone wants to go this year (if it hasn’t already happened anyway), let’s go!
I have been an anime fan since…hmm…does Tranzor Z (Mazinger Z is the Japanese title) or Voltron count? If so, since I was about four or five years old. In the mid to late 90s I really got into Yu Yu Hakusho, Little Nemo the Dream Master, Akira, and a slew of others.I’m sure i mentioned it before, but In high school some one showed me that SUPER macabre, Ninja Scroll anime by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. As much as I hate to admit it, because of the incredibly graphic nature, I really liked it. It became a guilty pleasure of mine. Of course it wasn’t one I was going to be like “Hey Mom, you gotta check this out!” It was the gore that made me like it, I thought it was an incredibly creative story with action sequences that I was really feeling, especially when the lone samurai, Jubei, has to fight Eight Devils of Kimon. I’m sure if some of you may check it out, but I have to warn you…If you don’t like gore, though, DO NOT watch Ninja Scroll! It’s about as gory as it gets. During my senior year of high school I really got into other animes and started to watch a lot more. I still watch anime to this very day.
Oh yeah, sorry, Shonen Jump. What exactly is Shonen Jump? Well Shonen Jump is a weekly magazine giving you updates about your favorite manga in one convenient book. Believe it or not, it’s been going strong since 1968. The kanji characters for Shonen, 少年, actually translates to means boys or juveniles. So it’s like Boys Jump magazine or Juveniles Jump Magazine. The second English translation doesn’t sound as appealing, almost like it’s something you’d read if you were jailed at an early age.
According to Wikipedia, Shonen Jump’s target market is 10-18 year old boys (okay, so let’s say I’m young a heart 🙂 ). Jump is like a brand or line of anime. The Jump line boasts a group of incredibly impressive comics. Bleach, Naruto, Dragonball Z, Full Metal Alchemist, Yu Yu Hakusho, Fist of the North Star, Death Note, Inuyasha, and more. Geez! Did Shonen jump completely overtake Cartoon Network’s Toonami back in the day? These were all of the ones I was watching in the U.S..
Sometimes the terms anime and manga get confused (well it confused me when I was living in the U.S), but let me clear it up really quickly. Manga or refers to the comic books, and anime refers to the cartoon. The two ARE usually linked though. The manga is usually produced first, and when a manga has a strong following, it become a successful anime. The animes are usually a bit behind on the story (understandably so…it takes more time to create a cartoon). Sometimes when the manga is on a break the anime series suffers for it and you get these horrendous filler episodes that have nothing at all to do with the main plot of the story. You’ll know them when you see them.
This post could probably go on forever, because manga and anime were like my first exposure to elements of Japanese culture. Let’s end with a question:
What are your top three anime or manga (or both) of all time? I know it’s a tough call, but you can only choose three and you have to say why they’re your favorites. Any other details will be cool, too! I’ll go first 😉
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