Manga And The Retelling Of Myths

4135 words - 17 pages

Godzilla, a new movie that is coming out this May, is a new adaption of an older story. The Twilight series puts a new spin on creatures like vampires having them sparkle when in sunlight. Even Little Red Riding Hood was re-made into a book and a movie where the Big Bad Wolf is not just a wolf but a werewolf. These are all examples of people’s creative re-telling of mythological creatures that originated from older sources.
Books and movies, however, are not the only place that these creatures can find a new life but also in manga. Manga artists are also re-inventing these mythical creatures like the kitsune which is a creature of Japanese folklore. These creatures are no longer bound strictly to their original story. In this essay I will be discussing how the kitsune is being re-invented in manga and the cultural ambiguity present in all of them. In Zilia Papp’s work called Traditional Imagery in Manga, Anime, and Japanese Cinema, Papp mentions that there are “ways the supernatural and otherworldly have been rendered visually during different historical periods.”1 The re-inventing of old stories, is important because it allows us to compare the past representations of these creatures to the modern and explore what these changes reflect. In this essay the focus will be on the original and modern depiction of the kitsune. Today people are less confined to writing stories that match every aspect of the original story or creature leading to many new adaptations.

First, we must briefly discuss what manga is. This is extremely hard to do, due to the fact that manga isn’t black or white but a nice shade of gray. Manga is a type of media that is dependent on the relationship of verbal and visual aspects. The words and the illustrations must work together to tell the story. As Berndt has discussed manga is made up of ambiguities dealing with both culture and of the aesthetics.2 The culture portrayed in the manga is a combination of different cultures around the world. It is a culture that artists have created by incorporating certain aspects from different cultures they want to focus on. Manga artists can use montage, where everything can occur at once, or they can use the images and words in a linear fashion. They aren’t limited to portraying time in a linear fashion like books, which are limited to words, and videos that are limited to images. A reader can stop in the middle of a manga and study the page as a whole. They can analyze the meaning of the positioning of the characters, panels, and words and how it pertains to the plot of the story or its progression.
Naruto, Bleach, One Piece and Dragon Ball Z are a few examples that come to mind when I think of manga. These manga became popular in other countries, such as the United States, and successes that were very profitable to the companies that published and distributed them. These companies’ marketing strategies include getting people to associate their manga with the overall...

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