What’s east is west and that’s okay!

So degenerate underlings of our most evil council, what is it we shall infer on this most pernicious of occasions? How about some quality culture stuff!!! Yeah, that sounds good!!! Let us talk about this subject. It sounds particularly malevolent….. Now, where to begin???

   A few days ago I started to think about what really drew me towards anime and manga in the first place. What is it that makes it draw my attention more than other forms of media? Why does it have such a profound effect on many other people, not just myself? It isn’t that anime and manga are the only forms of entertaining media. There are plenty of good Western media outlets. Western comics have a distinct flavor of their own. The west also puts out a lot of great movies and music amongst other fantastic entertainment sources. The conclusion I saw myself trying to reach is that in the East there seems to be no boundaries or restrictions on what one can do in the entertainment industry.

   Genre meshing is almost as common as breathing in Japanese and other Eastern media. Manga and anime are will blend goofball comedy with action seamlessly without making the story seem awkward. They will blend these with aspects of mystery, high fantasy, or just about any other genre you could think. Often times they can pull this off with mature and fully realized characters and story arches. Shows like Cowboy Bebop and Trigun are just two examples that follow this route. Not all anime has to be action oriented, in fact I am a large fan of what is known as “Slice of Life” anime and manga. “Slice of Life” is just a terminology for everyday life type shows and comics. A lot of them are romantic comedies, but there are a good many dramas and even regular comedies as well. The first show to popularize this genre in America was Maison Ikkoku.

   Speaking of popularization, I figured I would talk about how anime and Manga got grounded here in America. Astro Boy, Gigantor, and Speed Racer were in America during the 60’s, but they weren’t exactly distinguished as being from Japan. Fast forward to the 80’s and you really start to see where anime was starting to come into it’s own. Dragon Ball, Robotech, and Voltron finally graced our screens as well as major movie releases in Akira and Ghost in the Shell. These movies also laid the foundation for much more mature animated content to gather a following in the states. In the 90’s Viz Media started publicizing a magazine called Animerica which helped popularize the term “Anime” which we use to categorize Eastern animated shows. This did a lot in the way of getting good content out to the masses in America. This was only stimulated by the rise of Toonami on Cartoon Network, which aired many animes starting around 7:00 right after dinner time. Shows like Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z gained a large amount of popularity in the late 90’s due to this. In the early 2000’s we saw manga begin a huge surge of popularity due to Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat. These were both monthly comic releases that included 5 or 6 different mangas in them. They also had bunches of articles on the culture and language in Japan. Now a days we are seeing streaming services such as Crunchyroll and Anime Network take up the reigns.

   Japanese music has also been largely popularized by its use throughout most anime’s. They tend to mix genres just like they do with other media. If I had to choose one song off the top of my head it would probably have to be Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui. This was the intro to Watamote. It has EDM dance like beats with a J-Pop vocal element that turns into this grinding deathcore song. You get so many unique and distinctive sounds from Japanese music.

   All of these elements compounded with many other things left unmentioned compile down into what makes Japanese media feel so refreshing. It is always new and different, and rarely gets pigeonholed into specific genres. Even when it does, it is almost always different enough to keep it interesting and new. I recommend you give it a chance. Hit me up on twitter at https://twitter.com/BilboBatten if you are looking for a recommendation. I will be more than happy to help, also if you are looking for a good side note to this blog then stay tuned on 5/17/2014 for our newest episode of the podcast! Have a good day evil doers!!!

Author: Vincent Batten

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