Anime and Manga

After 11 weeks, the fairy tales series comes to an end and we begin the next series. Like all other earlier series, I have to admit that the coverage has by no means been exhaustive but I always try to keep the length of my series somewhere between 8 and 12. So this had to come to an end. In the new series, we shall be looking at manga and anime, the Japanese comic strips and animated TV series. This might raise a few eye brows as there might be purists who view novel as the only genuine fiction form. I however don’t want to limit myself to novels alone and want to cover various media where I see science fiction, fantasy and historic fiction themes expostulated. So the reader can expect to see series covering movies, games and Television series as well in the coming days. Actually one can see fiction expressed even in art forms such as poetry, painting, music and dance. But though I know of their existence, I have limited exposure to these art forms and hence may not take up series on them unless I find sufficient guest posts to have a series of reasonable length.

English being the popular language for novels, most of the novels space is dominated by authors of English speaking countries – UK, USA and Australia. So they all have the undercurrent of English ethos. Anime and Manga on the other hand have an underlying Japanese ethos which is very different from the Western way of thinking, thus giving the reader an altogether different perspective. I mention Anime and Manga  together since most of these works are created as comic strips and then made into cartoon series – so most stories are likely to exist in both forms – my favorite though is the anime as I like the music, the colorful imagery and the sound of the spoken Japanese language. I usually prefer sub titles to dubbing as somehow I find the dialogues in English takes away the whole charm.

The mention of comic strip and cartoons may make one think we are talking about some juvenile or kiddish stuff. One can’t be further from the truth. Most of these stories are really deep with strong characterization and existential themes often bordering on darkness. In fact, keeping aside a few exceptions, I would actually say Anime are not meant for children at all. While there are anime of all genres, science fiction, fantasy and historic fiction are especially popular themes. That was one of the reasons I decided to dedicate one complete series on my blog to Anime. I shall cover my favorite series across all these three genres in a single series. 

One another interesting aspect of anime is that a good many of them are not set in Japan but in the western world. I have seen quite a few stories set in Germany – possibly due to Japan’s close association with Germany during World War II. What is interesting is that though the characters are European, they feel Japanese. I am sure many of us have felt when Western authors write stories set in India, Middle East or Africa, the characters feel more Western. Here is a case of story set in the Western world, but the characters feel Japanese bound by Japanese values such as honor, familial bonds etc. The humor is also quite Japanese. I am not sure if it can be explained but I have found every culture has its own unique sense of humor and someone from outside the culture very often won’t even get the joke.

I guess that is a more than sufficient introduction – I will take it on from here in the next few weeks and let us dive into the fascinating world of Japanese fantasy.

Coming up Next Tuesday - "Naruto - A Heroic Fantasy of Epic proportions"

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