I would like to take you on a little overview on otakus, anime, & manga and talk a little bit on what this blog will be about. Ok, first off, to those that don’t already know by now, an otaku is the Japanese equivalent to a geek/nerd that loves anime, manga, and the Japanese culture in general. One doesn’t necessarily have to be Japanese to be an otaku, just have an appreciation for the culture. Usually us otakus just watch anime, fangirl [or fanboy, there’s a lot of male otakus that do that] over our fave characters, and read/buy manga whenever we have the chance. But enough about otakus; you’re probably bored about hearing about them over and over again, so I’ll just go on to our next subject.
Manga is a Japanese “comic” and is traditionally read right to left, up an down. Lengths can very from just a few chapters in one volume to over than 400 chapters in more than 50 volumes. And the art styles can vary from light and airy to dark and heavy. They’re all in black and white and grey-scale with the exception of a few colored pages. Here’s an example:
That’s the first page [I believe] of Hetalia Volume 2 and as you can see, it’s in color. But it’s not always like that; like I said earlier, most of the times it’s in black and white. The best definition of manga I could find is this: “Manga is the Japanese comics with a unique story line and style. In Japan people of all ages read manga,manga does not target younger audiences like american comics. The genre includes a broad range of subjects.”-mangareader.net. Manga is usually classified into 2 categories: Shoujo [lit. means girl’s] and Shonen [lit. means boy’s]. So Shoujo Manga is “Girl’s Man
ga” and Shonen Manga is “Boy’s Manga”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a boy to like Shonen or a girl to like Shoujo. I’m a girl yet I love Naruto, a very famous Shonen manga [it’s been ongoing since 1999!!!] and my sis loves Bleach, another famous Shonen manga. Of course that doesn’t mean we don’t love Shoujo either.
Though I’m more of a Shonen type girl, there are some Shoujos that I absolutely love, like Kaichou Wa Maid Sama, which translated means Our Class President Is A Maid by: Fujiwara, Hiro. [Note: In Japan, people say their last names first, and as a true otaku, I respect that here on my blog. So the mangaka’s (author’s) first name is Hiro and their last is Fujiwara.] It’s about a high school girl that’s the first girl class president of a once all boys school working at a maid cafe and one day a boy that she particularly dislikes finds out. Not wanting to ruin her
reputation and become a laughingstock of the school, but unable to change the fact that he knows, she’s prepared what’s to come. But what happens is even more surprising, he doesn’t tell. He just comes to her job and watched her, like a total creeper. But soon they actually talk to each other and get to know each other. At first she’s pretty tsundere at him, but like all tsunderes, she eventually warms up to him; she’s also clueless on the fact that he loves her. Classic love story. It’s an ongoing manga and has been garnering increased popularity for its art and story line. Pretty good if you like romance stories were the heroine is very independent. And here’s a pic on the intro page to Kaichou Wa Maid Sama looks like:
Ah, isn’t sarcasm in romance manga nice? It certainly brightens up my day. But enough about Shoujo, let’s talk about some Shonen!! So far my fave Shonen is Naruto by Kishimoto, Masashi, a manga about a boy ninja with a demon sealed within him facing daily tribulation. Some may know of it as that show in Disney XD; but let me tell you, the show has been heavily censored and “cleaned” to be appropiate for young children. Which sucks, because then Ero-Sensei [Perverted/Pervy Sage/Teacher] won’t be
Ero-Sensei. T-T <– That’s a sad face, btw. It first started out as a oneshot [just one chapter/volume and the story is done] but when he got such great reviews, he lengthened it into an actual story. And boy is it long. From a oneshot to 539 chapters [in online manga, you count the chapters, not the volume], it’s all about Naruto [Nah-RUE-toe] and how he ties to become the next Hokage, or ninja leader. It doesn’t help that the demon that tried to destroy his village is sealed within him, his best friend Sasuke [Sah-sKEH] has left the village and gone rouge to get revenge on his older brother, and a mysterious organization called the Akatsuki [Ah-kah-tSKEE] is trying to kill him and steal the power within him for world domination. Doesn’t help at all. And now for pic number 3! The cover of chapter 4 of Naruto featuring Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura [Sah-KUH-ra] which is Team 7 [ninjas are put into three man squads usually consisting of two boys and one girl, with one Sensei, or teacher, until they all become of higher ranks].
Sakura is the only girl, Sasuke is the boy with black hair and Naruto is center staged. Of course there’s a boat load of other character, but I don’t think I have time for all of them. And the plot is wa-a-a-ay too intricate to write it all in one go. Maybe I’ll do another post dedicated to just a character intro of everyone and some form of a review of the anime and manga. But an
yways, I hope this covered the Manga section, it’s obviously a very weak summary, but it is just an overview. There’s so many types of manga out there, from romance, to action, to mystery, to science fiction, the list is endless. But one thing’s for sure, there’s nothing better than a good, clean [as in the artwork, no necessarily the content, AKA vulgarity], polished manga!
Anime is Japanese cartoons, or animation, and mainly based of manga. You can’t have anime without manga. While there are some animes that aren’t based off manga, in the end, it usually has some manga based off the anime. So you can see, both go hand in hand. So far, my favorite anime that’s not Naruto is Hetalia: Axis Powers, a show about the personifications of the European countries, the Americas, and some Asian countries during the time of post WW1 and pre WW2. If you look back at the first pic that I showed you guys, you’ll see Hetalia Academy [which is kinda an omake but it’s not. Note an omake is like an little extra at the end of something. Like the Lion King 1/2 can be considered an omake of sorts], which shows Germany [the guy with the slick-backed blond hair], N. Italy [the guy with brown hair and a curl] and Japan [the guy with black hair], and Switzerland there’s too [the guy who shouted at poor Japan-kun to get his own opinion]. That was from the Hetalia Academy Christmas special [I was disappointed when Prussia didn’t come out, but then again, he’s no longer a country and mooches off Germany now].
While animes are put under Shoujo and Shonen labels, it’s not as strictly followed like manga unless it’s like extreme Shoujo/Shonen animes. There are also the dreaded fillers. Filler episodes are done when there’s a prolonged wait for the manga to be so that it can then be done into an anime. Hey, manga takes much longer than regular comics due to the detail that’s put into it. Because of this, to stay on schedule, the artists to the anime make filler episodes where the characters [in Shonen] beat up some small-time bad guy or go on a date [in Shoujo]. Some filler chapters are ok and are actually funny, like episode 101 in Naruto: “Gotta See! Gotta Know! Kakashi-Sensei’s True Face!” [Watch the episode, and click the middle video player since that one has the theme song in it. You can watch it without watching any of the other episodes’s because it’s a stand-alone filler. Plus, you’ll be laughing so hard 5 minutes in! For the barely uncensored version, click here.]but then there are the arcs.
OH GOD THE ARCS!! Arcs are a group of episodes that cover a certain period in the show/manga. So a filler arc is several filler episodes all grouped together. And rarely are they any good. Sometime’s they’re necessary though. In Naruto, episodes 200-220 are fillers, because in the manga, Jiraiya just said that he would take Naruto to train outside the village, but you never see him actually leave, and it jumps into Gaiden, Kakashi’s back story, and afterwards come back with Naruto’s homecoming. In the anime though, the last filler arc, Naruto just goes in a few missions with his friends before saving Gaara, another boy with a demon sealed within him, from rouge nin. Soon afterwards, he leaves with Jiraiya to train. So, in that sense, the fillers were there to tie together the ending of Naruto before jumping into Naruto: Shippuden [it’s the second series and starts when Naruto come’s back. Gaiden isn’t shown until much later in Shippuden instead of a prelude to it].
Also, in a way, animes are more diverse than manga. 1) Because it’s in color, 2) they’re moving pictures, so certain actions that are confusing in the manga are clarified in the anime, and 3) the VA’s and music. VA’s are voice actors and are picked on how their voice sounds in comparison on how the creator imagined the character to be. The music also helps add an appeal to the show and help with the overall experience. Like, in a Shoujo anime, that’s a melodrama, a foreboding, sad-ish song in a break-up scene highlights the drama that’s going on. In a Shonen, upbeat, rock-ish, music can liven up a fight scene and put you on the edge. Then there are the dubs and the subs. Subs is when the anime is in the original language and translators put subtitles of what they’re saying. This is good, because you can keep most of the original script and certain phrases and actions make sense. But many people don’t like subs, so they prefer the dub version, where VA’s in a certain language [i.e. English] do the voices to the character. This is also good, because certain colloquials can be substituted instead that would make more sense to a person that’s technically not an otaku, so wouldn’t really understand what they meant, but still like to watch anime. [Remember an otaku is a geek, but for anime and manga, so people can like it and still not be an otaku.] The only problem to this is that certain phrases can be colloquialize and then some actions make no sense since what the characters are saying is significantly different. Heres an example:
This motivational poster won’t make sense to Hetalia fans that only saw the dubbed version. See, in the dubbed version, N. Italy hug Japan, which he responds by pushing him away and saying that was an invasion of personal space. The next scene, though, is a little bit confusing. Japan is sitting at a traditional Japanese home, in a getup that makes him look like a housewife, and I believe he says something like “Be more curtious” or something of the like. But in the subs version, Japan says that was his first time hugging someone [hence the poster saying his hug virginity was taken by Italy], and says that he has to take responsibility [by marrying him], hence the whole getup as a housewife. So now you had your overview on anime! Next stop, the overview of this blog!
The Otaku Revolution:
My blog will be separated into a few categories. First off, my experiences. Anything that happens to me that I deem noteworthy will be put down here. Like the fact that I’m going to England next year, or that I’m going to finish my first year of high school. The next part will be basically reviews on animes and manga. After the reviews, I’ll probably do a miscellaneous posts of anything related to the Japanese culture, i.e. music, dance, news/current events, games, etc. The blog is called the Otaku Revolution because I want to spread the love of the Japanese culture or at least be the doorway for people to know a little about it. So, that’s just why I named it The Otaku Revolution. That, and I can use this for my Survey Lit. project! ^-^