Classic Manga: Astroboy

Opening this new section, Classic Manga, we will tell you the story of one of the most famous manga: Astroboy. With him, the manga became a worldwide success in sales of copies and merchandising.
If you haven’t seen this classic wonder, you should …

Astro Boy, known in Japan by its original name Mighty Atom (Japanese: 鉄腕アトム), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka. It was serialized in Kobunsha’s Shōnen from 1952 to 1968. The story follows Astro Boy, an android young boy with human emotions who is created by Umataro Tenma after the death of his son Tobio. Eventually, Astro is sold to a robot circus run by Hamegg, but is saved from his servitude by Professor Ochanomizu. Astro becomes a surrogate son to Ochanomizu who creates a robotic family for Astro and helps him to live a normal life like an average human boy, while accompanying him on adventures.

Astro Boy has been adapted into three anime series produced respectively by the first incarnation of Mushi Production and its direct successor Tezuka Productions, with a fourth in development. The manga was originally produced for TV as Astro Boy, the first popular animated Japanese television series that embodied the aesthetic that later became familiar worldwide as anime. After enjoying success abroad, Astro Boy was remade in the 1980s as New Mighty Atom, known as Astroboy in other countries, and again in 2003. The success of the manga and anime series led it to becoming a major media franchise consisting of films including a major motion picture, a number of soundtracks and a library of Video Games. The series was also among the first to embrace mass merchandise including action figures, collectible figurines, food products, clothing, stamps and trading cards. By 2004, the franchise had generated $3 billion in merchandise sales.

Astro Boy is one of the most successful manga and anime franchises in the world and has become Tezuka’s most famous creation. The combined 23 tankōbon volumes have sold over 100 million copies worldwide, making it the tenth-best-selling manga series of all time. The 1963 anime series became a hit on television in Japan and the United States. Astro Boy has been praised for its importance in developing the anime and manga industry. It has been featured on numerous greatest anime of all time lists and has partially inspired other authors in the creation of influential manga.

What is the Astroboy´s history ?

Astro Boy is a science fiction series set in a futuristic world where robots co-exist with humans. Its focus is on the adventures of the titular “Astro Boy” (sometimes called simply “Astro”): a powerful android created by the head of the Ministry of Science, Doctor Tenma who created Astro to replace his son Tobio, who died in a self-driving car accident.

Dr. Tenma built and adopted Astro in Tobio’s memory and treated Astro as lovingly as if he was the real Tobio. However, Dr. Tenma soon realized that the little android could not fill the void of his lost son, especially given that Astro could not grow older or express human aesthetics (in one set of panels in the manga, Astro is shown preferring the mechanical shapes of cubes over the organic shapes of flowers). In the original 1960 edition, Tenma rejected Astro and sold him to a cruel circus owner, Hamegg (the Great Cacciatore in the ’60 English dub). In the 1980 edition, Hamegg kidnapped Astro while Tenma was trying to find him. In the 2009 film, Tenma rejected Astro part-time because he could not stop thinking about his original son, but later during the film, Tenma realized that Astro made credit to replace Tobio; as a result, Tenma decided that he would readopt Astro. None these events about Astro being rejected (completely or temporarily) or kidnapped in both the 1960 & 1980 cartoons as well as in the 2009 film happened in the 2003 cartoon as Astro’s birth was given by Professor Ochanomizu (Dr. Elefun in the 1960 & 1980 cartoons as well as in the 2009 film; Dr. O’Shay in the 2003 cartoon).

After some time, Professor Ochanomizu, the new head of the Ministry of Science (co-head of the Ministry of Science in the 2009 film), notices Astro Boy performing in the circus and convinces Hamegg to turn Astro over to him. (In a retcon the story becomes far more violent and complicated). He then takes Astro in as his own and treats him gently and warmly, becoming his legal guardian. He soon realizes that Astro has superior powers and skills, as well as the ability to experience human emotions.

Astro then is shown fighting crime, evil, and injustice using his seven powers: 100K horsepower strength, jet flight, high intensity lights in his eyes, adjustable hearing, instant language translation, a retractable machine gun in his hips, and a high IQ capable of determining if a person is good or evil. Most of his enemies are robot-hating humans, robots gone berserk, or alien invaders. Almost every story includes a battle involving Astro and other robots.

Reception

The Astroboy manga has sold approximately 100 million copies.

Astro Boy became Tezuka’s most famous work. Frederik L. Schodt, author of the English-language version of Astro Boy, said it had “extraordinary longevity and appeal across cultures.”

Jeff Yang of the San Francisco Chronicle, in discussing Schodt’s The Astro Boy Essays, said “while kids came for Astro’s atomic action – just about every installment included Astro harrowing a fellow robot who’d fallen from digital grace with his fission-powered fists – they stayed for the textured, surprisingly complex stories.”

Astro ranked 43rd on Empire magazine’s list of The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters.

The 1960s anime was named the 86th best animated series by IGN, calling it the first popular anime television series.

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Chica Manga Portada Citi

What is Shojo Manga (Girl´s Manga)?

By Yamada Tomoko from The Citi exhibition Manga

How does one define shojo manga (girls’ manga)? As a child, I believed that
only Japan had shöjo manga. The idea may have come to me from magazines and television. I began to have my doubts, however, when I read a manga essay in Hayaboshi Nanao’s The Nanao Syndrome (Nanao no shökögun, 1982), vol. 2, and learned that England, too, had what seemed to be shõjo manga. Later, while reading books about manga, I learned that the famous musical Annie, starring a little orphaned girl, had its source in the cartoon Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, which started circulation in 1924. I also learned that during the 1950s, English magazines directed specifically at young girls were publishing cartoons about the ballet, for example, Ballet Dancers by David Walsh (1952), and Belle of the Ballet by George Beardmore and Stanley Houghton (1954). Aware that manga differ from place to place, here I would like to share some of my impressions of Japanese shōjo manga.

In practice the Japanese term ‘manga’ encompasses a wide range of media, but for now I am thinking of the kind of manga that appear in panels across several pages, with speech bubbles, dialogue and stories about male and female protagonists who undergo a transformative or unusual experience. Normally, after being published in several issues of a manga-focused magazine, measuring 2-4 cm in thickness, manga series are systematically compiled in the form of small pocket-book-size volumes (tanköbon). We are now in a period of transition, when manga can be purchased not only in actual bookstores but also online, and the format of a publication can be paper-based or electronic. In 2017, manga magazines and tanköbon together generated almost half of all publishing revenue in Japan-660 billion yen ($4.6 billion) out of 1.37 trillion yen ($9.5 billion). The question remains as to how much of this revenue was derived from manga aimed at girls and women, but girls’ and women’s manga seem to occupy about one-third of the space allocated overall to manga in bookstores. As a conservative estimate, then, perhaps at least one-sixth of manga are aimed specifically at girls and women.

From the late 1990s to the early 2000s

Sailor Moon Manga page
Sailor Moon cover

People around the world were enjoying two globally broadcast anime: Sailor Moon (based on Takeuchi Naoko’s manga, published 1992-97) and Cardcaptor Sakura (based on the manga by CLAMP, published 1996-2000). When people from abroad discuss these two works, their most frequent and most favourable impressions concern the representation of various conditions of gender and forms of love. Generally, what is understood is that, though gender equality is not discussed explicitly, it is conveyed as an important message. In Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura – but also in the onginal shojo manga on which these anime were based- an openness about gender consciousness is presented not as exceptional but as rather ordinary.

Princess Knight

In my experience, when people who know little of the subject first hear uhe term shojo manga, they tend to assume that it refers to manga in which the main characters are young girls (shöjo). However, although it is a genre aimed at chidren and teenagers, shojo manga has an almost unnoticed history of depicting quite transgressive approaches to gender, as seen, for example, in the celebrated, poch-defining manga Princess Knight. Princess Knight was originally published by Tezuka Osamu between 1953 and 1956 and then again in new variations during the 1960s. It tells how, due to the action of a mischievous angel, the main character Sapphire has both a male and a female soul. Another example is Rose of Versailles (Berusai no bara, 1972-73) by Ikeda Riyoko, in which the protagonist Oscar is a beautiful woman who dresses up as a man. This work played a large part in establishing wider public interest in and acceptance for shöjo manga. Of course when the genre is viewed as a whole, we find many shojo manga from both the past and the present whose protagonists are indeed young girls.

Japanese shōjo manga formed as a genre during the 1950s.

At this time manga artists were predominantly male, with only a few women in the field. During the 1960s, however, love stories were produced by increasing numbers of female artists, who were older than most of their young readers. During the 1970s female artists were now closer in age to their readers and only a few male artists were still drawing shōjo manga. At this point the genre saw innovations that built upon previous works. For example, around the time of the publication of Rose of Versailles, many works were produced featuring only boys, both love between boys and friendship approaching romantic love. Representative of the period are HagiOMoto’s The Poe Clan (Po no ichizoku, 1972), Heart of Thomas (Tõma no shinző, 1974), and Takemiya Keiko’s Kaze to ki no uta (unofficially known in English as The Poem of Wind and Trees, 1976-84). In addition to these works, which also appeared in tankõbon volumes, each one around 200 pages in length, girls’ manga magazines of the time introduced many works whose protagonists were boys and sometimes young men. There were even depictions of boys who due to family circumstances were burdened with caring for young children.

The Poe Clan cover

What did shojo manga have to offer by depicting boys as protagonists, or by depicting relationships between boys that included sexual love? Maybe they simply gave girls a chance to see a lot of handsome members of the opposite sex. Or maybe girls and women who found it oppressive to be female took pleasure in human relations and love liberated from femininity. It also seems that readers who suffered in the awareness that their sexual orientation stood somehow in the social minority derived from these manga the courage to live. This message would also have reached readers who were not young girls, and one has the impression that male fans of shōjo manga rapidly increased in number around this time. Evidence for this includes the appearance of numerous shōjo manga critiques written by men. Shöjo manga that depicted the world of boys’ love did not precisely overlap with the stories of male homosexual love drawn by men, or with the real-life experiences of homosexual men, but perhaps it was this openness that allowed the genre to capture the hearts and imaginations of a broad range of readers.

To my way of thinking, shōjo manga may have been able to foster such a positive reception because in previous periods the genre was driven less by readership numbers and other such statistics than by an interest in untangling the human heart. Having said that, early shōjo manga endeared itself to girls mainly through stories about men and women or mothers and daughters: that is, through stories of human relations that approached conventional social reality. Since the 1970s, however, it seems to have become almost commonplace for shojo manga through settings that are positively unconnected with reality, to depict new gender roles and modes of communication, in tales not just of boys’ love’ but also of science fiction, fantasy and homosexuality. Examples include They Were Eleven
(Jūichinin iru, 1975) by Hagio Moto, Sons of Eve (libu no musuko, 1975-79) by
Aoike Yasuko, / Like John (Johane ga suki, 1979) by Öshima Yumiko, Mari and Shingo (Mari to Shingo, 1977-84) by Kihara Toshie, Star of Cottonland (Wata no kunihoshi, 1978-87) by Öshima Yumiko, Patalliro! (1979) by Maya Mineo
and Prince of the Place where the Sun Rises (Hi izuru tokoro no tenshi, 1980-84) by Yamagishi Ryöko. It seems to me that by empathizing with the characters in these manga, the reader learns how to respect those people who are different from herself. On the other hand, perfectly “ordinary” love stories in which the main character is a conventional female girl certainly continue to be popular today.

Chica Manga The Willow Tree

Through the flourishing fanzine market and Comiket, which has been supported since its founding in 1975 mainly by female contributors, bõizu
rabu
(boys’ love) has become a major genre attracting mainly adult women readers. Depending on the size of the book store, the bõizu rabu genre can occupy from one to several shelves of a manga section. The 1980s saw the arrival of manga genres aimed at adult women, along with specialized magazines that continue to be published today. It strikes me as notable, however, that for some reason we have no term to describe as a whole the genre of manga aimed at adult women, and that for the most part even manga aimed at adult women are categorized as shöjo manga. A separate but also interesting aspect of the field is the increasing number of female manga artists who grew up reading shöjo manga and who are now publishing in men’s magazines.

There are many wonderful things about Japanese shõjo manga and the woks to which they have given rise and it makes me happy to know that the genre is becoming more familiar to audiences worldwide.


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Anime Synopsis: Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho, Sammer Wars and Sarazanmai

Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho

Original title: Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho
Direction: Atsuko Ishizuka
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Format: Series
Episodes: 13
Studio: Madhouse
Year: 2018
Synopsis:
Mari Tamaki is a high school student who dreams of making the best trip of her life, but he is very afraid to do it. Then, she meets Shirase Kobuchizawa, who has been saving time to travel to Antarctica in search of her lost mother. Motivated by her friend, Mari begins working in a store part-time and saving money for the trip. Two other girls join the adventure and the four embark on a boat adventure to the frozen continent.

Summer Wars

Original title: Summer Wars
Direction: Mamoru Hosoda
Animation: Hiroyuki Aoyama, Shigeru Fujita, Kunihiko Hamada, and Kazutaka Ozaki
Script: Satoko Okudera
Music: Akihiko Matsumoto
Genre: Science Fiction, Comedy
Format: film
Duration: 114 min.
Production: Madhouse
Year 2009
Synopsis:
Welcome to the world of OZ, the largest social network on the internet! Connecting through a computer, television or telephone, millions of people enter this virtual world and take the form of avatars to lead a new life beyond the limits of reality. Kenji is a shy and highly gifted math student who works part-time as an OZ maintenance technician. Natsuki, the girl of his dreams, invites him to spend the summer with her and her traditional family in her hometown: Nagano. But when a virus attacks OZ, triggering a worldwide catastrophe, Kenji and the entire Jinnouchi clan start a true family crusade to save the virtual world and its inhabitants.

Sarazanmai

Original title: Sarazanmai
Direction: Ikuhara Kunihiko, Nobuyuki Takeuchi.
Genre: Fantasy, action, supernatural.
Format: Series
Episodes: 11
Studio: MAPPA
Year: 2019
Synopsis:
High school students Kazuki, Toi and Enta accidentally destroy the statue of a kappa in a temple, the kappa serves as the guardian of the Asakusa district of Tokyo. The students are turned into kappas by Keppi, the guardian of the place. In order to return to their original state, students must obey Keppi’s orders: to fight against zombified kappas and collect certain elements that fulfill the wishes of those who possess them. To defeat the zombies, the students must be together for the attack to be effective.

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Chica Manga Koi ni mo Naranai

LGBTI and Manga

FROM SEXUALIZATION TO STANDARDIZATION

Manga has always been a field where everything is possible. Although Japanese society can be so restrictive with some subjects (such as LGBTI), the graphic arts have always been a world of possibilities and for all tastes. One such issue is homosexuality, especially yaoi or BL (relations between men) and yuri (relations between women). Although in Japanese society there is still a long way to go. A good example of them is The Poem of Wind and Trees ( Kaze to Ki No Uta ) by Keiko Takemiya.

Chica Manga The Poem of Wind and Trees

However, this type of themes from its origins and also today, have a strong sexualizing component. They show idealized relationships where they tend to objectify their main characters. Therefore, it is a popular genre, mainly for its attractiveness or sensuality. So some of the first works represented this line of yaoi where violence and sexuality were very present. As it is the case of works like Zetsuai 1989 and Bronze, both by Minami Ozaki.

In these works the characters were beautiful and always involved in situations of entanglement and very passionate loves. Although not all of them belonged to this aspect, they were intermingled with other themes such as Fake by Sanami Matoh or authentic dramatic stories such as Kizuna by Kazuma Kodaka. Possibly this aspect of the yaoi was the most interesting to go beyond the mere sexual relationship (and the topics of the genre) and represented more objectively the reality of the LGBTI + collective. And so they were arriving little by little until 2012, popularly known as the year of the bursting of the manga bubble in Europe.

With the arrival of the 2012 crisis, one of the main genres affected was the yaoi, as it is a type of works aimed at a minority audience. However, manga readers were changing and wanted new works that went beyond mere entertainment. Works with which to empathize, and be represented.

REALITY MIRROR

Chica Manga Junjou Romantica

After the bursting of the bubble, the manga market was in somewhat unstable ground. This did not prevent the appearance of new publishers who bet on a style of different works. Works with a realistic style, framed within the slice of life, but with which they sought to capture the attention of readers through naturalness. Within this vein, in 2014 Editions Tomodomo was fixed in the yaoi sort from a first moment with works like Seven Days of Rihito Takarai and Venio Tachibana or In the same class by Asumiko Nakamura. Later, we see the appearance of a more traditional side of the genre with titles like Junjou Romantica by Shungiku Nakamura and Young Boyfriend’s Love Management Habit by Hashigo Sakurabi. All of them were very well received by the public.

However, it is worth noting that, although it is true that the most topical yaoi (sexualized, entangled …) was the most successful, the public also saw with good eyes the more realistic yaoi.

Thus we can find At the Corner of the Night Skies by Nojiko Hayakawa and I Hear the Sunspot by Yuki Fumino, faithful to that realistic aspect of the genre. But above all it should be noted that they are works that explore the complexity of the homosexual relationship beyond the sexual act, especially in the case of Fumino. It is this type of works that, in the end, represent and visibilize the collective objectively and with which the reader most connects. Other publishers that would join this wave with Shoko Hidaka’s Blue Morning, within its Kigen line dedicated to LGTBI + titles, and Sakura Gari from Yuu Watase. After this awakening of the genre, yaoi works of diverse themes arrived and always moving between both tendencies. To mention some of the most successful we find Koi ni mo Naranai, Twittering Birds Never Fly , Requiem of the Rose King, among others.

Chica Manga Koi ni mo Naranai

Although there are some works that dare to go further and perhaps are the most interesting in terms of representation of the LGBTI+ group. Mangas that dare to visualize the complex reality such as Shadows on Shimanami or the most recent Smells like Green Spirit. Both reflect the problems faced by people of different genders and sexual orientations. However, they always leave a door open to hope and that best represent the ideal that is claimed today: Stories that encourage the reader to accept oneself, regardless of gender, orientation and sexual identity.

2019: THE YEAR OF THE REVOLUTION

Currently, the yaoi is well established in our market with practically a new volume every month. However, it seems that 2019 will be a special year for the LGBT + collective in terms of manga representation. New licenses for this market: Girlfriends or Fandogamia, autobiographical manga of a trans author.

Another one of the most talked about licenses is My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame. A work that addresses the homosexual reality from an unusual perspective, within the family environment and intermingling two different cultures: the American and the Japanese.

In short, LGBTI + is increasingly having a greater representation in manga. Something that is not a whim or trend, but a reflection of the society we live. Because manga not only entertains and excites us, but it can also reflect part of ourselves in its vignettes. In it lives the greatness of manga and, above all, of our manga market in constant evolution. Therefore, today more than ever one must be proud of our manga market.

If you still want to have more LGBTI and Manga titles to decide, here is a compilation.

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Bests places to visit in Tokyo for Manga and Anime Lovers

The present of Japanese culture includes issues related to manga and anime for some decades now.
Manga and anime lovers enjoy a whole series of elements that complement the tastes for these arts, from places where stories are set, places of pilgrimage or simply the best and most varied places to buy manga and souvenirs.

1. Ghibli Museum

Studio Ghibli is the best anime production film studio in Japan, which released numbers of award winning films, such as “My Neighbour Totoro”, “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away”.

Its one and only museum is located in Mitaka, Tokyo, which can be accessed within 30 mins from Shinjuku Station.

Visitors must purchase tickets in advance which can be booked online. The last minute booking is usually hard to make as it’s pretty popular and only limited number of visitors can enter at once. So make sure to book your tickets in advance or some website provide last minute booking service if you haven’t got enough time.

2. Fujiko·F·Fujio Museum

Fujiko F Fujio is the creator of the long-beloved Japanese manga/animation, Doraemon, and his museum is located in Kawasaki, just outside of Tokyo. Fujiko F Fujio Museum a.k.a. Doraemon Museum exhibits numbers of precious works of Fujiko, mainly Doraemon and its original artworks and short films. English guide is also available.

The museum can be entered only with an advance reservation, so make sure to purchase tickets in beforehand.

3. Pokemon Center MEGA Tokyo

Pokemon has been one of the most popular things on the planet for a couple of decades. It’s still pretty fresh in our memories that the whole world had gone crazy about Pokemon Go lately.

Pokemon Center is an official Pokemon store offering games and merchandise which every Pokemon fans would wish for, and currently located at 12 locations in Japan including three in Tokyo. Pokemon Center MEGA Tokyo is the biggest store located in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, and there is another store at Tokyo Skytree. In 2018, Pokemon Center TOKYO DX has opened in Nihonbashi, Tokyo with their first permanent Pokemon Cafe.

4. Akihabara

One of most popular districts in Tokyo, Akihabara is known as the paradise for electronic products and geek culture. They say anything related to Otaku culture can be found in Akihabara such as Anime, Gaming, Manga, figures, underground idols,etc. Stores like Mandarake and Animate are hugely popular as a wide variety of product range and many rare items can be found.

5. Nakano Broadway

Maybe it’s lesser known among foreigners, but just like Akihabara, Nakano is a popular area in Tokyo among Otaku and underground sub culture lovers. Nakano Broadway is a main hub of the area, which is a large shopping complex which houses numbers of shops including the famous Manga store, Mandarake, offering manga and anime related items. If you have already been to Akihabara, and could not get enough, Nakano Broadway is definitely your next stop. Nakano area is not far from Shinjuku area, only a few stops by train from JR Shinjuku Station.

If you are interested in the deep Otaku culture in Nakano area and keen on exploring hidden spots in this neighbourhood, I’d strongly recommend you to join the local guided tour!

6. Tokyo One Piece Tower

In the past two decades, ONE PIECE has become the best selling manga series in the history with over 430 million copies sold worldwide and the series is still on going.

One Piece’s only theme park, Tokyo One Piece Tower is located at the foot of Tokyo Tower. The indoor park offers various kinds of One Piece themed attractions as well as live shows, special events, themed cafe & restaurants and shops. One Piece fans can easily spend a whole day without getting bored.

7. Odaiba Gundam

Gundam is one of most popular animations in Japanese history, which originally started its broadcast nearly 40 years ago.

The gigantic statue of Gundam has been standing in front of DiverCity Tokyo as a symbol of Odaiba area. The current statue is a second model which is replaced in 2017, called Unicorn Gundam. Next to the statue, there is a Gundam themed cafe offering special food and beverage in Gundam theme.

8. Sanrio Puroland

Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Pompompurin, etc.. Sanrio has created numbers of characters beloved in Japan and abroad. Sanrio Puroland is their one and only amusement park where visitors can enjoy themed attractions, games, shows, shops and restaurants. Several seasonal events are held through the year such as Halloweens and Christmas and you can find your favourite characters in special costumes as well as limited goods.

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Manga Spring

Spring is Here!

Spring: longer days, warmer weather and the desire to get out of our burrows to feel the sun on your face.
And there is also the desire to release new treasures in order to prove to everyone that we are authentic Otakus.

Spring Nana Lotus tattoo pin
Spring blue hair girl pin
Spring Rosario Vampire earrings
Spring Full Metal Alchemist Pin
Spring Manga Eyes earrings
Spring Attack on Titan Acout Legion Earrings
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Chica Manga Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon Manga vs Anime


Sailor Moon is probably one of the most celebrated manga and anime of all times. It has been the inspiration of many other magical girl-themed manga and anime series like Pretty Cure, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and even Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! among many others. It has also inspired some cartoons from the west such as LoliRock.

For the record, Sailor Moon manga originally spawned 18 tankōbon published by Kodansha in the 90s. In 2003, it was re-released as 12 shinsōban volumes. On the other hand, the Sailor Moon anime has around 200 episodes while Sailor Moon Crystal has 39. With all of these anime episodes, you might be asking, “How the hell did all of these anime episodes fit the 18 tankōbon volumes released?!” or “Are there differences in the Sailor Moon manga and its anime version?”

Sailor Moon Manga vs Anime

Pacing

So, one of the major differences that the manga version has compared to the anime is the pacing. This is primarily because the manga was published much slower compared to the anime version. The manga is released an act a month while the anime releases episodes weekly, hence, there are more fillers in the anime. That being said, it came quite interesting that both the manga and the anime are still closely similar to each other.

Illustration Details

There are also notable differences in the Sailor Moon manga and anime illustrations. Its manga version is much detailed when compared to the anime version. The manga is drawn with finer lines making the illustrations look more delicate. This also made the characters look prettier. It even improved as the mangaka’s drawing style peaked. The various monsters that appeared in the manga were also given more detail. Thus, making them look scarier.

Storyline

The storyline of the manga is also notably more mature and deep compared to its anime counterpart.

On violence…

There were also much more violence and suicides that appeared in the mange; very little made it through the anime version.

Content

On LGBT content…

Since the manga was mature in nature, a lot of topics on feminism and LGBT were tackled. While the anime version, especially the English dubbed version, was censored on so many different levels, the manga went on in greater detail. For instance, in the manga version Sailors Neptune and Uranus were presented as girlfriends. However, in the English run, they have become cousins instead to easily explain their closeness and dabble on the idea of same-gender relationships.

Alternatively, in the classic anime, there were certain characters, which were previewed to be gay. Take for example, Fish Eye. In the classic anime, Fish Eye is described a gay kind of cross dresser who carelessly fell head over heels in love with Mamoru. However, in the manga, Fish Eye is only deemed as slightly effeminate. He also does not cross dress in the manga nor does he display any homosexual curiosity. In the manga, he even attempted to seduce Sailor Mercury or Ami.

On character maturity…

Though Usagi may be really cool as Sailor Moon, her usual self in the anime may have come out to be a little annoying at times. She also seemed whiny and frustrating in several occasions. However, the manga version of Usagi, can be considered to be much more mature than the anime one. In the initial parts of the manga, Usagi was a lazy and cry baby girl similar to how she was portrayed in the anime, but as the story progresses and matures, so does Usagi. Unlike in the anime version, Usagi seemed to have dragged on her annoying qualities for so long it made our heroine bothersome in the long haul.

These are just scratching the tip of the iceberg in terms of the differences between the anime and manga versions of Sailor Moon, so if you have time to spare, you could get different kicks in watching the anime and/or reading the manga.

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Chica Manga 7 Bad Ass Reasons to Start Watching Gintama

7 Bad Ass Reasons to Start Watching Gintama

Gintama is possibly one of the well-received anime of all time. Not only does it give its audience so much comedy, it also parodies a lot of different anime titles – both new and old ones. However, because of this, many other people who have not really watched Gintama think that this anime is purely full of gags and parodies. Parodies aside, Gintama has an impressive plot as well as remarkable character development – each of which has enthralling backstories of their own. Therefore, if you are still having second thoughts with Gintama, these 7 badass reasons should get your interest up.

1. Setting

The main story of Gintama is set in Japan’s Edo period. Though this time period should be full of samurai’s, Gintama’s plot setting depicts it to be completely taken over by what is known as Amanto or aliens. These aliens believe that humans, particularly samurai, belong to some lowly race of beings. That said, they still acknowledge the innate potential that they have in battle. Because of this, sword usage has been wholly banned to prevent possible rebellions. The only ones allowed to bear swords would be the police.

The story centers around Sakata Gintoki and his comrades Kagura and Shimura Shinpachi. Gintoki is not like most protagonists who are diligent, passionate, and heroic. Gintoki is more of the opposite. He is a very lazy and no-good person who runs an odd job business named Yorozuya. He and his crew would do any kind of job so long as he gets payment for the task.

2. Protagonist Back Story

With this setting all laid out, you might be thinking, “Nah~! Nothing different from the usual ‘save the world’ kind of anime protagonist” Sorry to burst that bubble, but our protagonist does not have that in mind. Gintoki should be taken simply. No, his story does not revolve about thinking of plots to drive away or eliminate the Amanto. He is just your lazy assed guy who likes to play poker games as well as eat his sweets the entire day. Saving his country from the Amanto is something that has not crossed his mind. He even out-and-out declines training to toughen up. So, you see, he is not your usual kind of hero protagonist.

The reason behind this is because of his back-story. He once served in a war where he lost so much leading him to losing his reason to live a meaningful life. The story then flows to him finding better causes to live his life as well as waking up the sleeping hatred he has deeply kept for the Amanto as well as the government supporting the latter. This mysterious past will be one of the things that will glue your attention to Gintama.

3. Sound Tracks

Gintama’s Original Sound Tracks or OSTs are excellent, to say the least. Each of them plays to trigger the appropriate mood yet still complimenting the comedic scenes and humor that Gintama has. This works with both the Opening and Ending OSTs as well.

Honestly speaking though, there are few fight scene sound tracks that are not fitting, but most serve well. The ones for the dramatic scenes are spot on though. Works every time, I must say.

4. Anime Style

Animation style has been improving circa the time that anime first popularized. However, Gintama’s animation comes to be quite nostalgic especially for long-time anime watchers – by long time, I meant the older generations. LOL! The animation style is a bit like of the classic ones so newer anime watchers may see this as something off putting. If you are one of those who are not impressed with Gintama’s anime style, just watch it for a few more episodes, the animation will grow into you eventually.

5. Character Line Up

Gintama boasts of a varied line up of characters that each have their own interesting or mysterious backstories. Some of the characters include:

Kagura is a female character belonging from an unbelievably strong clan. She is also the anime’s female lead.

Katsura is another character who has an obsession of correcting people who mispronounce his name. Viewers will often find him to displaying comedic fits and blurting out adorable and “witty” catchwords.

Shimura Shinpachi is a glasses-wearing lead character. Though that said, his glasses are the ones mostly noticed first by the others – even if he is not using them.

These are just three of the many characters, of course, but most of them have their own interesting stories to tell as well as have their own unique quirks that make them adorable altogether. Gintama’s mangaka, Sorachi Hideaki, also made sure to give separate episodes for the side characters. Character development for most of the characters is carefully and exquisitely done by the mangaka.

6. Comedic Parodies

Gintama is filled with parodies, which is an element that many fans really like about this anime. Gintama parodies many other anime and manga titles as well as characters both real life and anime / manga ones. Most are made in sidesplitting ways while others even come out clever at times. Some of the anime titles that Gintama parodied include Bleach, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and Super Mario to name a few. You can expect endless laughter just from the parodies.

7. Serious Drama

One of the main reasons why Gintama is veered away by many is due to the fact that they think it is lacking in drama and seriousness, but actually, that is not entirely true. Gintama is not all gags and comedy, it also has some serious drama that everyone can dig into.

Without revealing too much, Gintama can make you cry as if fresh onions were dropped right in front of you while you watch it. The serious backstories are also notable to watch out for.

If you are looking for an ounce of laughter and drama all rolled into one, then Gintama is one to watch. Give it a try and you will find yourself hooked.

Gintama originally started running in 2006 and still ongoing with the latest episode at 341 as of writing. It also currently has 4 anime films already out.

Bonus

During the celebration of the last day of the fan event Gintama Matsuri 2019 it has been revealed that work is already underway on a new animated production, of which, for the moment, no more details are known. But we leave you the promotional video …

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Chica Manga Japanese white day

White Day: Japanese reverse Valentine´s day

In Japan, it is customary that on Valentine’s Day only women give gifts (usually chocolate) to men, either as an expression of affection, courtesy or social obligation. On the other hand, at the White Day (March 14th), the men who received chocolates at Valentine’s Day thank them for offering a gift to the woman to return the favor.

Traditionally, the most popular gifts for this day are cookies, jewelry, white chocolate, or other objects of the same color.

The White Day was held for the first time in 1978 in Japan.

It was started by the National Confectionery Industries Association as a “day of response” for Valentine’s Day, under the argument that men should return them to women who gave them chocolate and other gifts. In 1977, a candy company in Fukuoka, Ishimuramanseido, marketed marshmallows for men on March 14, calling it Marshmallow Day (マ シ ュ マ ロ デ ー Mashumaro Dē).

Soon, the candy companies began marketing white chocolate. Currently, men give away black and white chocolate, as well as other edible and inedible gifts, such as jewelry or objects of sentimental value. Flowers and other gifts are also given on this day. Eventually, this practice spread to the neighboring countries of Japan: South Korea, China, Taiwan and Vietnam. In those cultures, White Day is celebrated in a similar way for the most part.

Chica Manga Japanese white day chocolate

Keep in mind some details:

Men are expected to return Valentine’s gifts with objects of greater value than the ones they received. And of course: the white color is the hero!

If the gift that is received is of the same value as the one that was given for Valentine’s Day it is common to think that something does not work in the relationship. It is also to be expected that the most expensive and personal gifts are made only to the couple or person you like. To your friends or co-workers the most usual thing is to give them sweets or chocolate.

The term sanbai gaeshi (三倍 返 し, return triple), tends to be used to represent the rule in which men must return a gift that is two or three times the value of the one they received on Valentine’s Day.

If you are a boy and you received gifts on Valentine’s Day, then you know what you have to do: give gifts back to all the girls from whom you received chocolate. You can give anything, but you have to make sure it’s nicer, better, or more expensive than the chocolates you received for Valentine’s Day.

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Learn Hiragana

Hiragana (平仮名, ひらがな) is a Japanese syllabary, one basic component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana, kanji, and in some cases rōmaji (the Latin-script alphabet). It is a phonetic lettering system. The word hiragana means “smooth kana”

Thank you, Japanology!

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