Why is it called Anime and Manga?
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Thread: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

  1. #1
    Bling Blong Citizen Snips's Avatar
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    Default Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    This is a problem that has bothering me ever since I left my 'weaboo' faze from late elementary school and early high-school. Why exactly do you call it anime or manga? Why not just comics and cartoons, because that is exactly what they are. Why does Japan get their own special name? We don't call Italian cartoons animazione (Sorry if that's wrong, I haven't tried speaking it since early grade school), so what make Japan an exception? Also, how come people insist on saying that it is its own medium? As stated before, it's just a cartoon, and last time I checked, there is an established medium for it already.

    I'm not trying to generalize, or be ignorant, I'm just curious and this seemed like the proper board to ask.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    Well, Anime has a totally different look than cartoons. Same goes for manga and comics. And manga is black and white. Those could be reasons why they're called something separate...

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    No it's Dr. Strange, love Joshawott's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    ^ The comics printed in my paper are sometimes black and white, but that doesn't make them manga. In fact, what makes something anime or manga brings the whole "Are Original English Manga (published by companies like Yen Press and the now defunct Tokyopop) actually manga?" into question.

    Word-wise, Anime is a Japanese abbreviation of "Animation"; in Japan, the word applies to all kinds of animation and Manga is the Japanese word for "Comics". In the west, they are used to differentiate the two similar medians from their western counterparts. To be honest, I do see your point. In fact, I wonder if anime and manga would have a better chance of becoming more mainstream if they dropped the labels; although I'd say that won't happen as the terms have become a "cult" thing and I'm sure while companies wish their releases would become mainstream, they also get the majority of their profit from the hardcore market - and boy oh boy, you do not want to piss off a nerd (as I'm sure suddenly dropping the labels would do).

    I wouldn't say it's being "Weeaboo-ish" as words are borrowed from different languages all the time. It's different than saying something is kawaii rather than cute, as the term is a common noun rather than an adjective or other.

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    Bling Blong Citizen Snips's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    There a many Japanese cartoons that have a more Western art style, same goes for Eastern Animation. Avatar, Megas XLR, and Cybersix all have a very eastern influence in their art direction, just like how Astro Boy, One Piece, and Big O all have very strong Western influence in their art direction.

    As far as I'm aware, Japanese comics have far less budget for each issue, and shorter deadlines thn Western comics, which results in the lack of colour and occasionally inconsistent art. There are also black and white Western comics, although they are aesthetic choices, as opposed to budget restraints.

    Thank you for that answer though, it did help me bring some light onto this, and more answers are welcomed.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    Anime and Manga do tend to have a distinct style compared to most western animations and comics, but as pointed out above, the animation border to is starting to dissolve anyway. I assume people just say it because it's easier than saying "japanese cartoons and comics".

    I would really mind too much if they were generalized into that, but the phrase "japanese cartoons" just irks me. Cartoons usually link to "animation for kids" in my head, and since alot of anime aren't for kids, it just doesn't feel right. I probably wouldn't mind "japanese animation" as much.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshawott View Post
    In fact, what makes something anime or manga brings the whole "Are Original English Manga (published by companies like Yen Press and the now defunct Tokyopop) actually manga?" into question.
    ...which they of course aren't, since the entire idea behind the word is to refer to "comics from country x" by the native name for comics in country x's language. Claiming that your non-Japanese comics are Japanese comics is, essentially, saying that something doesn't have to be Japanese to be Japanese, which is of course completely nonsensical. The entire label is just a marketing strategy to trick the silly people who refuse to buy comics not labeled "manga" into buying their stuff (and given that this discussion exists in the first place, it clearly worked).

    As for the actual question at hand (sorry)... you're quite correct that it doesn't make too much sense. The core reason for the coining of the word is, presumably, that cartoons shown in English-speaking countries were primarily American-made at the time, and the stuff that wasn't was just mistakenly assumed to be, since it didn't claim to not be, and kids are dumb. So when people started noticing that Japan had some cool cartoons that could be imported... it sorta-kinda made sense to refer to them as "anime" through some weird "we call American cartoons "cartoons" because the English word for cartoon is "cartoon", so we should call Japanese cartoons "anime" because the Japanese word for cartoon is "anime"" logic. It sort of made sense for monolingual people who didn't know there were more than two countries in the world that made cartoons.

    Nowadays? For a lot of people, it's just force of habit, "it's what everyone else calls them"-ism or "eh, it's shorter and people know what I mean"-ism (or some combination threreof). And as you're probably aware, for certain other people, it's snobbery. "I'm not watching cartoons, you idiot, I'm watching anime. It's something completely different, and much more adult/sophisticated/mature/whatever". Given your opening post, I'm pretty sure you you and don't particularly like the type, so I won't bore you with further details. :P
    So.

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    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    For Anime, usually it means the style of animation, I've seen Avatar lumped in with Anime too even though it is not a true Anime, and there have been lots of Anime based off western serieses like Halo Legends or Marvel Anime. So it no longer really means cartoons made in Japan as much anymore due to the style becoming popular.
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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    Because that's a very general use of "comic" or "cartoon". It's much the same as looking at a Picasso, a Japanese print by Hiroshige then a cave painting and saying "Well, they're all painting and we don't need specific terms for them". It's what is more properly termed as "bloody nonsense". One of these is Cubism, the other is cave painting, the last is ukiyo-e. The three are very different styles, but also very different philosophies and way of thinking underlying them.

    And while there is hardly one uniform style for manga, or for comic books or for bande dessinées (the primarily franco-belgian, and more generally European), the three have clear distinct philosophies and approaches to the publication and creative control of their material that generally set them very apart; the only thing they have in common is that they involve "drawing a story". This difference in perception and approach in the mainstream industry translate directly in a difference in the public perception of the material.

    America's comic industries, is, by and large, industry-dominated. That means that, at least in general, (there are indies but they're rarer) it's the companies that own the characters, the settings and the stories, and they hire artists and writers to create stories from them. These artists and writers have greatly limited creative influence, can be fired if what they do with the character is not popular, and often get mandated certain plotline from above as part of "big events" aiming to sell the company's material better. It's perceived in general as niche entertainment catering to a very specific segment of the population.

    Manga is a much more creator-oriented industry. Plenty of series, while their publishing rights belong to companies, are under the firm control of specific creators or authors (for the manga) (there are notable exceptions, of course, where the company control the rights to write more stories in a specific setting). In addition, unlike American comics (and Franco-Belgian bande dessinée), which tend to use artist/writer teams, the manga industry tend to have a single creator who is both writer and artist. Cases of a manga's creator being fired and replaced by another artist/writer by the company publishing it are...uncommon, unlike the American comic industry where short runs are often the norm.

    Bande-Dessinée, the franco-belgian comics culture, finally, is even more firmly in the creator-controlled camp than Manga; I can think of about one corporate-controlled series, and that one was created by one of the major publishers based on their mascot. Otherwise, nearly every last Franco-Belgian comic series is, even as of now, under the direct control of its creator, or their heirs if they have died. In some cases (Tintin is especially famous) this means that a long-running series dies with its creator. In others, some "mercenary work" get done after the death of the original creator where the continuation of the series is entrusted to another artist by the heirs.

    «The approach to publishing the story is also different. In both manga and comics, the printing pace tends toward frantic, and the focus is on putting out a new chapter/booklet each month; these will eventually be collected. Even there you have a significant difference: American collections tend to follow storylines (eg, they feature all the booklets that make up a specific subplot), this is much less common in manga where collected volumes stopping midway beginning midway through one storyline, continuing into a second one, and stopping midway through that second one is hardly uncommon.

    Franco-Belgian Bande-Dessinée take the reverse approach and design from a final product (a hardcover book that tells an integrated story, equivalent to the American collected volume although usually shorter) with a set number of pages. Very often, that's all that will be published; at other times, the story will be published, one page or a few pages at a time, in a magazine, along with pages from several other comics. (Manga are similar in that their chapters are usually collected in magazines with other mangas aimed at a similar audience, while comic books tend to be published as stand-alone booklets). The direct result is that bande dessinée procede at a nearly stately pace: one new publication a year, or even one every few years, is not unusual at all, so a character who has been going on for forty, fifty years can still have a lot of story left to tell without retreading old ground. (Bande Dessinée, relatedly, is perceived as an art form on a level with the big ones in many European countries).

    Add in to that that while there is of course cross-influence in matters of styles, there are some clear distinctions between the different art styles and you got three categories that have little in common other than being the "same media". Having terms to distinguish these different industries, and the products that results from each, is a good thing, not a bad one. The more specific terms, the better: "Manga" is thus better than "Japanese comic" (because "Japanese comic" imply it's the same thing as "comics", only done by Japanese people).

    (As a note, there is arguably another noteworthy approach/philosophy I didn't discuss above: the newspaper strip. It's largely different in that it's more a gag a day philosophy to the other's storytelling approaches, although some go for storytelling)
    Last edited by Evil Figment; 13th November 2011 at 03:04 AM.
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    Hyping over Steven Stone Kyriaki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    I guess it's just the feeling of the word. Yes, I agree the manga/cartoon/comics all mean the same thing but there's this different feeling ya get. Maybe it's because they had been referred to different kinds of franchise for so many years that I'm probably biased, but you get the point.

  10. #10
    Vile Insect. RaccoonGoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    Because Animu and Mango sounded too silly.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Why is it called Anime and Manga?

    I would like to be a weaboo but I don't have the time. lol, I just enjoy the Pokémon episodes.

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