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Manga Essay

3403 words - 14 pages

Manga is the Japanese word for graphic novel. Although having the total number of fans of millions of people, manga is considered a cheap and childish way of entertainment, or just a combination of sex and violence by many people. However, despite all those kinds of stereotype, manga is indeed a true form of art with its nearly one thousand-year history, its diversity, its popularity and its own values.Although manga has just appeared in America in recent years, people already gave it many bad reputations and denied its role as a form of art.When I first came to America, an American friend asked me what I usually did in the weekend. When I told him that I loved reading manga from the Internet, he looked at me strangely. While his reaction upset me, his reason shocked me to death: "You actually download and read those kinds of pornography?"The idea that manga is nothing but sex is not only had by him but also by other people. For instance, let's look at what the US mail order characterized the famous series Ranma ½: "a sex comedy" (Izawa, "Stereotype"). Comedy. Yes. Nudity. Yes. But sex? In that whole series, there isn't even a real kissing scene, let alone a sex scene. Obviously, this kind of perception is based on no real evidence but is simply a kind of stereotype for manga. This stereotype resulted from two things. First of all, many American people still think of Japan as a "sexual" society with public bath, geisha, and that Japanese women are nothing but "sexual objects" for men (Izawa, "Gender"). Another factor contributed to that stereotype is a part of manga itself. To fulfill the demands of many readers, many manga, especially those for boys, are full of "big boost" and sexy women (Izawa, "Stereotype"). Besides, the growing popularity of a kind of manga called hentai--sex manga--and its numerous websites offer the American readers a chance to think of manga as nothing but sex.Next, another stereotype that manga and its counterpart--animation--have to bear is the way whenever asked about manga, many people think of nothing but violence. An example of this stereotype is the way CNN news talked about manga and animation:"...the standard for the cartoon genre in Japan... usually involves a series of blood and guts battles scenes in futuristic space setting" (Izawa). While it's true that many manga like Gundam Wing, Cowboy Be Bop, Evagalion... have a lot to do with bloody fighting in "high-tech" background, those kinds of manga are just a part of shonen--manga for boys--and thus, just a small part of manga as a whole, and therefore, definitely not the so-called "the standard for the cartoon genre in Japan." If so, then why the first things most people think of about manga is violence? The answer is simple. Spending one day to look through one of the most famous TV channels that broadcast Japanese animation--Cartoon Network, you will see all they've ever covered are some of the most violent series in Japanese anime: from Dragon Ball to...

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