Tuesday, December 06, 2005

# Posted 5:06 AM by Patrick Belton  

OXBLOG AT THE FUNNIES: Earlier this year, my co-blogger David wrote a fine spankin' piece on the international politics of Marvel comics. So it's no surprise that we here at OxBlog world headquarters enjoyed reading Matthew Mehan's piece on the odd world of Japanese comics. Which, though Japanese people are very nice, make me rather happy that we run the world and not them.
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

Mehan's piece is a good, if quick, summary. Most of the information in it recapitulates standard accounts, such as that found in Schodt's Manga! Manga! and Dreamland Japan. The keys to understanding the stuff Mehan talks about are (1) that "comic books" are a generalized market, not simply a kid's one and (2) that the Japanese have perfected niche marketing. Hence some of the very strange subgenre's Mehan refers to.

Personally, I've been more interested in the connection between traditional Japanese woodblock prints and the manga form, but I've never found anything more than tantalizing discussions of artistic influence.

In terms of Japanese anime/manga influence on American kid's entertainment... well, that's a battle that has long since ended. Some of the US revival styles in the 1990s, such as the Batman series, were already heavily influenced by Japanese animation. Peruse Cartoon Network sometime: most of the material is either Japanese anime or clearly inspired by Japanse sensibilities, particularly "kawaii". Indeed, even American branded girls toys are overtly Kawaii and their look, such as the horrific "Bratz" line of preadolescent girl's toys.
thanks, Patrick.
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