Here we go with 10 anime that turn 10 this year Part 2:
(If you want to read part 1, here it is…)
Princess Jellyfish centers on Amamizukan, an apartment building in Tokyo, where the only tenants are otaku women, and where no men are allowed. While each character has her own particular fixation, the protagonist is Tsukimi Kurashita, whose love of jellyfish stems from memories of her deceased mother taking her to an aquarium and linking the lace-like tendrils of jellyfish to the dresses of princesses. Tsukimi hopes to become an illustrator and is an awkward girl terrified of social interaction, attractive people and the prospect of formal work.
The other tenants of Amamizukan are the same, being NEETs who refer to themselves as the “Sisterhood”. Tsukimi meets the stylish Kuranosuke Koibuchi, the illegitimate son of a politician, who cross-dresses to avoid the obligations of politics and to feel closer to his mother. Tsukimi keeps the secret of his masculinity from her man-hating housemates, even as she is troubled by the intimacy of having a man in her room at times.
Amamizukan’s neighborhood is under threat of redevelopment, as opportunists aim to turn the quaint area into a more cosmopolitan region, with many of the buildings being demolished to make room for hotels and shopping centers. Although Amamizukan’s tenants fear and loathe attractive people, they are helped by Kuranosuke who does not want to see Amamizukan destroyed.
A boy named Shō tells the audience he still remembers the week in summer he spent at his mother’s childhood home with his maternal great aunt, Sadako, and the house maid, Haru. When Shō arrives at the house on the first day, he sees a cat, Niya, trying to attack something in the bushes, but it gives up after it is attacked by a crow. Shō gets a glimpse of Arrietty, a young Borrower girl, returning to her home through an underground air vent.
At night, Arrietty’s father, Pod, takes her on her first “borrowing” mission, to get sugar and tissue paper. After obtaining a sugar cube from the kitchen, they travel inside a hollow wall to a bedroom which they enter through an intriguing dollhouse with working electric lights and kitchen utensils. However, it is Shō’s bedroom; he lies awake and sees Arrietty when she tries to take a tissue from his night table. Startled, she drops the sugar cube. Shō tries to comfort her, but Pod and Arrietty quietly leave and go home.
The next day, Shō puts the sugar cube and a little note beside the air vent where he first saw Arrietty. Pod warns Arrietty not to take it because their existence must be kept secret from humans. Nevertheless, she sneaks out to visit Shō in his bedroom. She drops the sugar cube on the floor, letting him know that she is there. Without showing herself, she tells Shō to leave her family alone and that they do not need his help, but they soon have a conversation, which is interrupted by the crow, who attacks Arrietty, but Shō saves her and Haru comes in and drives the crow away. On her return home, Arrietty is intercepted by her father. Realizing they have been detected, Pod and his wife Homily decide that they must move out. Shō learns from Sadako that some of his ancestors had noticed the presence of Borrowers in the house and had the dollhouse custom-built for them. The Borrowers had not been seen since, however.
Pod returns injured from a borrowing mission and is helped home by Spiller, a Borrower boy he met on the way. He informs them that there are other places the Borrowers could move to. While Pod is recovering, Shō removes the floorboard concealing the Borrower household and replaces their kitchen with the kitchen from the dollhouse, to show he hopes them to stay. However, the Borrowers are frightened by this and instead speed up their moving process.
After Pod recovers, he goes to explore possible new living quarters. Arrietty goes to bid farewell to Shō, but in the course of the conversation he suggests to her that the Borrowers are becoming extinct. Arrietty tells him fiercely that they will not give up so easily. Shō apologises that he has forced them to move out and reveals he has had a heart condition since birth and will have an operation in a few days. The operation does not have a good chance of success. He believes that there is nothing he can do about it, saying that eventually every living thing dies.
While Sadako is out, Haru notices the floorboards have been disturbed. She unearths the Borrowers’ house and captures Homily. Alerted by her mother’s screams, Arrietty leaves Shō in the garden and goes to investigate. Saddened by her departure, Shō returns to his room. Haru locks him in and calls a pest removal company to capture the other Borrowers alive. Arrietty comes to Shō for help; they rescue Homily and he destroys all traces of the Borrowers’ presence.
On their way out during the night, the Borrowers are spotted by the cat Niya. Sleepless, Shō goes into the garden for a stroll, and the cat leads him to the “river”, where the Borrowers are waiting for Spiller to take them further. Shō gives Arrietty a sugar cube and tells her that her courage and the Borrowers’ fight for survival have made him want to live through the operation. Arrietty gives him her hair clip as a token of remembrance. The Borrowers leave in a floating teapot with Spiller.
The Disney international dubbed version contains a final monologue, where Shō states that he never saw Arrietty again and returned to the home a year later, indicating that the operation had been successful. He is happy to hear rumors of objects disappearing in his neighbors’ homes.
One autumn evening at a mysterious ramen stand behind the Shimogamo Shrine, a lonely third-year college student bumps into a man with an eggplant-shaped head who calls himself a god of matrimony. Meeting this man causes the student to reflect upon his past two years at college—two years bitterly spent trying to break up couples on campus with his only friend Ozu, a ghoulish-looking man seemingly set on making his life as miserable as possible. Resolving to make the most out of the rest of his college life, the student attempts to ask out the unsociable but kind-hearted underclassman Akashi, yet fails to follow through, prompting him to regret not living out his college life differently. As soon as this thought passes through his head, however, he is hurtled through time and space to the beginning of his years at college and given another chance to live his life.
Surreal, artistic, and mind-bending, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei chronicles the misadventures of a young man on a journey to make friends, find love, and experience the rose-colored campus life he always dreamed of.
While robbing a bank in Macca City, Gasback is betrayed by his henchmen and leader Cain who plan to kill him, seize the money and retire to a life of luxury. Vash the Stampede, a humanoid gunfighter, intervenes and allows the henchmen and Cain to escape due to his strict no-kill policy. Gasback escapes using explosives, one of which destroys the city’s power plant. 20 years later, Gasback has destroyed one henchman’s property and forced him to seek refuge with Cain, who became the Mayor by using his share of money to repair the power plant. However, Cain is worried that Gasback might try to steal his huge rotating statue built in the center of the city, and insures it for 5 billion double-dollars, prompting insurance girls Milly Thompson and Meryl Stryfe to arrive and run risk prevention. Vash helps bounty hunter named Amelia fight off thugs harassing her aboard the sand steamer, and himself starts flirting with her. Amelia and many other bounty hunters have gathered there to capture Gasback upon his anticipated arrival and win the bounty of 300 million double dollars on his head. While in a bar, Gasback is rescued from police ambush by his new bodyguard Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a priest and assassin who was saved by Gasback while nearly dying of thirst in a desert. This resulted in a contract binding Wolfwood as the bodyguard but not an active participant in the robbery against Cain.
Vash and Amelia meet Milly and Meryl at dinner and the same night, Gasback destroys a factory owned by the second henchmen at a nearby town, forcing him to seek refuge with Cain. The word spreads the rumored attack on Macca City was a hoax, and as everyone begins to leave, Gasback arrives and fights off the hungover bounty hunters. Vash intervenes, but is distracted by Wolfwood who allows Gasback to enter Cain’s house. With his contract officially over, Wolfwood allows Vash to chase Gasback inside where Amelia learns Vash allowed Gasback to escape 20 years ago, and Cain manages to escape amidst the interruption. Vash once again allows Gasback to escape despite protests by Amelia who reveals Gasback’s escape harmed a lot of lives including her own and her mother’s. Gasback sets off a string of explosions that separate the massive bulb-shaped power plant from its cradle and it rolls through the city past dumbstruck citizens straight to the city’s main gates where a getaway vehicle secures the plant and drives away. Amelia pursues Gasback and is joined by Vash and Wolfwood. Vash tries to stop her from killing Gasback and himself gets shot by one of Gasback’s henchmen, eventually landing into dry quicksand. Wolfwood tries to save him but retrieves only his sunglasses. They take the sad news back to Milly and Meryl in the now darkened city and Amelia starts to think she’s no better than Gasback.
The next day, Amelia and Wolfwood try to take down Gasback and reclaim the plant. They’re joined by Vash, who survived because the bullet instead hit a tough piece of smoked meat in his pocket, and the insurance girls passing there nearly fell into the same pit, rescuing him. Vash then defeats Gasback in a duel with a shot to the leg and shoulder. Gasback activates a secret energy-based weapon, which is countered by Amelia using a mechanical glove Gasback recognizes as something he made for his wife, Amelia’s mother. Amelia explains she was born shortly after Gasback left her mother well-provisioned, to commit more robberies, but rival thieves came and stole everything. The neighbors and doctors didn’t save Amelia’s dying mother. However, having adopted Vash’s outlook, Amelia allows Gasback to live. Cain emerges with a gaudy missile bearing his face which Wolfwood dispatches with a single shot from his Cross Punisher. The town is restored, and the insurance girls greet Vash and Wolfwood before going off to report on the events. Gasback, Cain and others are arrested, and the police caravan is followed by Amelia. Vash discovers a newspaper page, deciding to head in a new direction. Looking at the paper, Wolfwood learns the Dodongo Brothers have escaped prison and concludes Vash has something to do with them.
Yamada, first name withheld, is a 15-year-old girl who has just entered Takizawa High School. Easily considered exceptionally beautiful, she has only one problem with her own body, she thinks her vagina looks weird and is very self-conscious about it.
Upon entering high school, her dream was to have casual sex with 100 men but therein lies the problem, she believes an experienced partner will tease her about the way her vagina looks or simply the fact that she’s a virgin. She stumbles upon the solution in the form of Kosuda Takashi, a fellow virgin, whom she believes will help ease the transition to more experienced partners.
There’s only one small problem, Yamada doesn’t know anything about sex or the ancient art of seduction, meaning her quest to conquer Kosuda will be a difficult one.
So far, a small list of those anime that turn 10 this year, although it seems to us that time passes too quickly. If you realize that you have missed a title to see, it is your opportunity to add good moments to your life!
I imagine that it is happening to you too: this 2020 is being especially slow (or is it that we want it to end at once …) But if we look back, we will find that there have been animes that have been released 10 years ago and We hadn’t realized that so much time had passed. I don’t want to alarm you, but we are getting old!
Here we go with 10 anime that turn 10 this year:
Roberta, the terrorist-turned-maid that made her appearence in the first season of Black Lagoon, returns in this five-episode OVA series—and this time, all bets are off!
Roberta’s benefactor, the patriarch of the Lovelace clan, is murdered during a political rally. The assassin’s trail soon leads back to Roanapur—so now she has returned on a mission of vengeance! However, close behind her is the new patriarch, Garcia, as well as Roberta’s apprentice (and maid), Fabiola Iglesias. As the body count of Roberta’s bloody rampage mounts, forces from within the corrupt island (which includes the Lagoon Company), as well as overseas converge on what threatens to escalate into all-out war!
Mikado Ryūgamine, a young boy who longs for the exciting life of the big city, moves to Ikebukuro to attend Raira Academy with his childhood friend Masaomi Kida, whom he has not seen since he was young. After the two meet at the train station, they set out to explore the streets of Ikebukuro. Masaomi warns Mikado about people he does not want to cross in the city such as the violent and superhumanly strong man Shizuo Heiwajima, the information broker Izaya Orihara, and the mysterious gang known as “The Dollars.” After running into some of the side characters, Mikado sees a local legend called the “Black Rider” who rides around Ikebukuro on a black motorcycle that occasionally neighs like a horse and who is rumored to have no head under her helmet. The “Black Rider’s” real name is Celty Sturluson; she is an Irish dullahan who is in Ikebukuro looking for her stolen head while working as an underworld courier. The narrative follows all of the characters equally, showing how their lives intersect and create a greater plot line from each character’s knowledge about a common incident.
Maya is the daughter of the former Headmaster of Waldstein Academy. In 2012, the world is invaded by aliens, and time travelers like Fumiaki are sent back to the year 1999 to prevent apocalypse by destroying the Nostradamus Key. In 1999, Maya returns to the Academy as headmaster with the intention of destroying it. Her plan is interrupted when she meets Fumiaki and learns of the forthcoming destruction. They form a pact to look for the Key.
In order to find the Key, time agents were provided with specially created cell phones. By using the phone, Maya and Fumiaki investigate occult occurrences.
Kyosuke Kosaka, a normal 17-year-old high school student living in Chiba, has not gotten along with his younger sister Kirino in years. For longer than he can remember, Kirino has ignored his comings and goings and looked at him with spurning eyes. It seemed as if the relationship between Kyosuke and his sister, now fourteen, would continue this way forever. One day however, Kyosuke finds a DVD case of a magical girlanime which had fallen in his house’s entranceway. To Kyosuke’s surprise, he finds a hidden eroge inside the case and he soon learns that both the DVD and the game belong to Kirino. That night, Kirino brings Kyosuke to her room and reveals herself to be an otaku with an extensive collection of moe anime and younger-sister-themed eroge she has been collecting in secret. Kyosuke quickly becomes Kirino’s confidant for her secret hobby. The series then follows Kyosuke’s efforts to help his sister to reconcile her personal life with her secret hobbies, while restoring their broken relationship and coming to terms with their true feelings for each other.
The “Anarchy Sisters,” Panty and Stocking, have been kicked out of Heaven for, to put it mildly, misbehaving. Led by a priest named Garterbelt, these angels must buy their way back by exterminating ghosts in Daten City. But this task requires unconventional weapons for these unorthodox angels—they transform their lingerie into weapons to dispatch the spirits. Unfortunately, neither of them take their duties seriously, as they rather spend their time in pursuit of other “hobbies”: Panty prefers to sleep with anything that walks, and Stocking favors stuffing her face with sweets than hunting ghosts.
Follow these two unruly angels as they battle ghosts, an overflow of bodily fluids, and their own tendency to get side-tracked in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fes 2020 Canceled due to COVID-19
The official website for Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fes has announced that this year’s event, which was scheduled to be held in the Ikebukuro area, Tokyo, on October 31 and November 1, 2020, is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event started in 2014 and has grown to be one of the largest outdoor cosplay events in Japan. Last year’s sixth event was held on October 26 and 27, 2019, and attracted 123,000 visitors including 21,000 cosplayers, which was the largest number in its history.
The site writes, “We’ve been aiming to hold the Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fest 2020 to get a lot of people to enjoy this year. Due to the effects of the new coronavirus, it was judged that it would be difficult to hold the stage events and parades that had been held up until last year on the same scale as in previous years, so the decision was made to cancel the event.”
As a replacement, an online event “Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fes ONLINE Cosplay Big Thanks Festival” will be streamed on Nico Nico Live from 17:00 (JST) / 01:00 (PT) on October 31. And, “COSPLAYER OF THE YEAR 2021,” an open contest to decide the best cosplayers that was scheduled to be held at the Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fes, will be broadcast on Nico Nico Live only. Further details including schedule and guests will be announced at a later date.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho
Original title: Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho
Direction: Atsuko Ishizuka
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
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.
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
Duration: 114 min.
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.
Original title: Sarazanmai
Direction: Ikuhara Kunihiko, Nobuyuki Takeuchi.
Genre: Fantasy, action, supernatural.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The storyline of the manga is also notably more mature and deep compared to its anime counterpart.
There were also much more violence and suicides that appeared in the mange; very little made it through the anime version.
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.