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American Manga... does it exist??

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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby becki_kanou » Mon 09.29.2008 11:55 am

MMM wrote:I have picked up "manga" that turned out to be written, drawn and published in America, and I did feel cheated. I don't think that makes me crazy.

If it has a good story what does it matter if the artist was inspired by a Japanese-style of comic-drawing or not? And if it's a crap story, just being from Japan wouldn't make it any better.

Why get so worked up about manga anyway? It's not as though it's some deep meaningful art form. Although there are definitely some notable exceptions,most of it's just harmless escapist daydreaming.

MMM wrote:Like I said above, rarely are American comics translated and published in Japan. Her point was that in Japanese 漫画 includes not only comics from Japan, but all over the world, and my point was, even if that is true, if you as 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, you are going to hear the names of 100 manga from Japan. When Japanese people think "漫画" they aren't thinking Superman and Wonder Woman.


Well, in pretty much any country foreign comics are a pretty specialized taste. Maybe Japanese people would think of Doraemon or Tensai Bakabon before they'd think of Superman and Wonder Woman, but if they saw those comics they'd certainly call them 漫画.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Mon 09.29.2008 7:57 pm

chikara wrote:
MMM wrote:...... if you as 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, you are going to hear the names of 100 manga from Japan. When Japanese people think "漫画" they aren't thinking Superman and Wonder Woman.

If you take that logic and apply it to the English word "movie" then you could argue that word only refers to cinema produced in the USA. ;)


I don't follow you there. If you asked 10 Japanese to name 10 movies, I wouldn't bet they would all be American.

AJBryant wrote:
MMM wrote: I am one of those people that got into manga after getting into Japanese and Japan (nowadays it is often the opposite), so yes, I want my manga to be from Japan. It's more than the art, but the culture that authentic manga has that American-born manga doesn't.

I have picked up "manga" that turned out to be written, drawn and published in America, and I did feel cheated. I don't think that makes me crazy.


I don't think it makes you "crazy" but it definitely makes you weird.

Other than Japanese produced manga actually SET in Japan (e.g., Maison Ikkoku, etc.) what does it matter WHAT culture produced it? As long as you get your spikey-hair, big eyes, chibi cutey, and outlandish sound effects down, what does it matter? A space opera (e.g., Galaxy Express) is a space opera. A historical epic (e.g., Vinland Saga) is a historical epic.


I am getting the feeling my posts aren't being read, as I addressed this above. Manga is not just "spikey-hair, big eyes, chibi cutey, and outlandish sound effects". I am not sure if you are being sarcastic, but that stereotype is exactly what I am talking about. Most manga ISN'T those things.

Yes, there are historical epics set in Japan, space operas set in space, and even some manga that is set in the US (Gunsmith Cats) and all over the world (Blood+). Just because it isn't set in Japan doesn't mean it isn't entrenched in Japanese culture. It's a window into that Japanese culture that I am looking for. You will see things in Japanese manga you would never see in an American comics (OEL manga or not). Anyone can draw big eyes and spiky hair, but who can write with authenticity the sempai/kohai relationship between two samurai warriors, or two Japanese high school students, for that matter? It is that authenticity that I believe makes calling something a Japanese name that isn't from Japan misleading.

AJBryant wrote:
The only reason the country of origin would matter is an irrational attachment of import to that aspect of the comic rather than whether the comic is good or bad.


A desire for authenticity is irrational?
That doesn't make sense to me.

I am not one of those manga fans that is anti-American comics. I probably spend more on American comics than I do on manga in a year. Whether or not the story in an OEL manga is good or not is not the point. The point is, why call it "manga" when it isn't?

AJBryant wrote:It's shallow. Like people who only appreciate French wines, and will prefer a shitty French wine over a gold-medal winning wine from Napa Valley in California.


I agree that someone who chooses crappy French wine over good Napa Valley wine is shallow. Labeling American graphic novels as manga is exactly like slapping French labels on Napa Valley wines. Why can't the work stand on it's own merits? Why must we put a foreign label on it to try and give it a fake authenticity?

AJBryant wrote:Personally, I don't like poseurs and snobs.


Tony

Neither do I, Tony. I am not sure why you included that last line.

becki_kanou wrote:
MMM wrote:I have picked up "manga" that turned out to be written, drawn and published in America, and I did feel cheated. I don't think that makes me crazy.

If it has a good story what does it matter if the artist was inspired by a Japanese-style of comic-drawing or not? And if it's a crap story, just being from Japan wouldn't make it any better.


I agree. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by manga or manwha or Frank Miller or whatever. But just because you are inspired by something doesn't mean your work IS that thing. The word "manga" is commercially viable right now, so some publishers like to slap the label on everything they can. See The Manga Bible? It's simply an illustrated version of the Bible that isn't even inspired by manga (the artist is from the U.K.). The meaning of the word has been diluted so much, I bet we'll be able to buy manga chewing gum here pretty soon.

But in the cases I was thinking of, the stories were inferior, which isn't the point. There is a lot of bad manga that gets translated into English, too. My point is, at least it is labeled properly.

becki_kanou wrote:Why get so worked up about manga anyway? It's not as though it's some deep meaningful art form. Although there are definitely some notable exceptions,most of it's just harmless escapist daydreaming.


I am not worked up. This is a discussion board, and we are discussing. I think manga can be a very deep and meaning art form and there are more than a few notable exceptions. Same with American comics, movies, novels and other works of fiction. A lot of it is escapist fluff, but there are always the occasional precious gems.

becki_kanou wrote:
MMM wrote:Like I said above, rarely are American comics translated and published in Japan. Her point was that in Japanese 漫画 includes not only comics from Japan, but all over the world, and my point was, even if that is true, if you as 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, you are going to hear the names of 100 manga from Japan. When Japanese people think "漫画" they aren't thinking Superman and Wonder Woman.


Well, in pretty much any country foreign comics are a pretty specialized taste. Maybe Japanese people would think of Doraemon or Tensai Bakabon before they'd think of Superman and Wonder Woman, but if they saw those comics they'd certainly call them 漫画.


I am not disagreeing with you there. And Manga is a specialized taste, but it is a taste that has grown by leaps and bounds across the world. There is a growing group of readers with a real passion for Japan and Japanese comics. It doesn't surprise me people want to be a part of it in every way they can. On the other hand, I believe labeling something American as manga when manga is defined in English as "comics from Japan" is misleading.

Either we eliminate the word "comics" and call ALL comics "manga" like they do in Japan, or we use the Japanese word for Japanese comics, the Korean word for Korean comics and the English word for domestic ones.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby chikara » Mon 09.29.2008 8:53 pm

MMM wrote:
chikara wrote:If you take that logic and apply it to the English word "movie" then you could argue that word only refers to cinema produced in the USA. ;)

I don't follow you there. If you asked 10 Japanese to name 10 movies, I wouldn't bet they would all be American..

Why would you ask Japanese people to name "movies" :? Surely you'd ask them to name 10 映画.

Your logic is that if you asked 10 Japanese people to name 10 "manga" that all the titles they would name would be of Japanese origin which "proves" that "manga" is not a term for comics in general but only for comics of Japanese origin.

I am saying that if you asked 10 USA people to name 10 "movies" that all the titles they would name would be of USA origin, and most likely of Hollywood origin, which by applying your logic "proves" that the English word "movie" is not a term for motion pictures (cinema) in general but only for motion pictures of USA origin.

As a further extension, and as you have alluded to, if you asked 10 Japanese to name 10 "eiga" all the titles they would name would most likely be of Japanese origin which "proves" that "eiga" is not a term for motion pictures in general but only for motion pictures of Japanese origin.

Quite simply your logic is flawed. :)
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby yukamina » Mon 09.29.2008 9:13 pm

I have never seen any good published American 'manga'(you know, using the Japanese art styles). BUT, I have seen good manga-style webcomics, and a ton of non-Japanese artists that do amazing anime/manga-style art.

People on an art forum I used to visit got caught up in terminology all the time too. Once you take away the common (westernized) meanings of 'manga' and 'anime', things just get very confusing. If anime is simply animation, and manga is simply comics, how the heck am I supposed to differentiate the vast difference in styles? It's so much easy to say "I draw anime style" or "American manga sucks". I can't even say "I draw Japanese style" because that includes styles I'm not referring too.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Mon 09.29.2008 9:34 pm

chikara wrote:
MMM wrote:
chikara wrote:If you take that logic and apply it to the English word "movie" then you could argue that word only refers to cinema produced in the USA. ;)

I don't follow you there. If you asked 10 Japanese to name 10 movies, I wouldn't bet they would all be American..

Why would you ask Japanese people to name "movies" :? Surely you'd ask them to name 10 映画.


Whether or not you asked them to name 10 ムービー or 10 映画, regardless I wouldn't bet the titles they came up with would be all Japanese or all American.

chikara wrote:Your logic is that if you asked 10 Japanese people to name 10 "manga" that all the titles they would name would be of Japanese origin which "proves" that "manga" is not a term for comics in general but only for comics of Japanese origin.


I never said it "proved" anything. Please don't quote me using words I didn't use. For the third time. Indeed the word 漫画 encompasses all comics in Japanese, but you really aren't going to see non-Japanese comics in Japan, so by implying the Japanese word is universal in scope is a little misleading, as Japan is not a international mecca for comics.

An interesting side-note. One online J-E dictionary I often use defines the English term "manga" as 日本の漫画.
http://www.alc.co.jp/index.html

chikara wrote:I am saying that if you asked 10 USA people to name 10 "movies" that all the titles they would name would be of USA origin, and most likely of Hollywood origin, which by applying your logic "proves" that the English word "movie" is not a term for motion pictures (cinema) in general but only for motion pictures of USA origin.


I don't think that proves that "movie" only applies to USA made films, but to the fact that most Americans don't watch movies made out of the USA, just as most 漫画 readers in Japan don't read non-Japanese comics.

We are starting to stray from the point, but what if you asked 10 American people if Superman comics and Spiderman comics were "manga"? My guess is they would say "no".

chikara wrote:As a further extension, and as you have alluded to, if you asked 10 Japanese to name 10 "eiga" all the titles they would name would most likely be of Japanese origin which "proves" that "eiga" is not a term for motion pictures in general but only for motion pictures of Japanese origin.


Did I allude to that?
Considering the volume and popularity of international cinema in Japan, I would seriously doubt if you asked 10 Japanese movie-goers to name 10 映画 they would only come up with Japanese titles. Like 漫画, 映画 may be universal in scope in theory in Japanese, but they actually do watch international cinema in Japan, when the same isn't true for comic books.
chikara wrote:Quite simply your logic is flawed. :)


I think your interpretation of my logic was flawed.

My "ask 10 Japanese people" line was an aside, and not the main part of my point.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Mon 09.29.2008 9:39 pm

yukamina wrote:I have never seen any good published American 'manga'(you know, using the Japanese art styles). BUT, I have seen good manga-style webcomics, and a ton of non-Japanese artists that do amazing anime/manga-style art.

People on an art forum I used to visit got caught up in terminology all the time too. Once you take away the common (westernized) meanings of 'manga' and 'anime', things just get very confusing. If anime is simply animation, and manga is simply comics, how the heck am I supposed to differentiate the vast difference in styles? It's so much easy to say "I draw anime style" or "American manga sucks". I can't even say "I draw Japanese style" because that includes styles I'm not referring too.


I think this is part of the reason Tokyopop had to scale back on a lot of OEL manga. This opinion is not an uncommon one. And there are so many styles in manga and anime, saying "I draw manga style" might raise a vision in my head completely different than what you actually draw.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby chikara » Mon 09.29.2008 10:01 pm

MMM wrote:
Sairana wrote:.....You started with this:
MANGA is the Japanese word for comics.

Which is to say, you are using the Japanese definition to make your point...

Ask 10 Japanese people to name 10 manga, and I would bet 100 dollars all the titles they name are from Japan.

MMM wrote:I never said it "proved" anything. Please don't quote me using words I didn't use. ...

"Making a point", "validating a point", "proving a point". All a matter of semantics.

MMM wrote:.... I think your interpretation of my logic was flawed.......

It is obvious that your definition of an argument and mine differ greatly. I had assumed, incorrectly it would appear, that you were attempting to construct a coherent argument that supported a hypothesis not simply posting a series of random asides, throw away lines and off the cuff remarks :roll:
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Mon 09.29.2008 10:27 pm

I have explained the point I was making with the "Ask 10 Japanese people" question three times now.
I don't think I need to do it again.

I have constructed coherent arguments. Several of them. No one seems to want to talk about those, though.

I hope we can get back to the meat of the discussion.

If your definition of manga is so different than mine, please tell me how and why.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Harisenbon » Mon 09.29.2008 11:44 pm

yukamina wrote:People on an art forum I used to visit got caught up in terminology all the time too. Once you take away the common (westernized) meanings of 'manga' and 'anime', things just get very confusing.


Once you bring in the fact that the word anime is originally french in origin, and the art style is derived from disney, you open up a whole can of worms.

It's funny that people have been arguing about this stuff since the 90s with sites like animeturnpike.
No one's going to come to any sort of conclusion about this, because it's all a matter of semantics, and like tony said, everyone just likes to feel superior to everyone else.

It is amusing for a good read during my lunch break, though. :lol:
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Tue 09.30.2008 12:01 am

Harisenbon wrote:
yukamina wrote:People on an art forum I used to visit got caught up in terminology all the time too. Once you take away the common (westernized) meanings of 'manga' and 'anime', things just get very confusing.


Once you bring in the fact that the word anime is originally french in origin, and the art style is derived from disney, you open up a whole can of worms.

It's funny that people have been arguing about this stuff since the 90s with sites like animeturnpike.
No one's going to come to any sort of conclusion about this, because it's all a matter of semantics, and like tony said, everyone just likes to feel superior to everyone else.

It is amusing for a good read during my lunch break, though. :lol:


Disney was one of the influences on the first early animators in Japan, among cartoons from Europe, too. Surely you would agree Japanese animators took it in their own directions, and fast. Look whose deriving from who, now.

I don't intend to establish superiority over anyone, and if I gave that impression, I apologize in advance. I just am hoping to give an alternate perspective to the "anything can be manga" way of thinking. The way I see the word applied this days, the word "manga" is losing any real meaning at all.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby becki_kanou » Tue 09.30.2008 12:07 am

MMM wrote:I don't intend to establish superiority over anyone, and if I gave that impression, I apologize in advance. I just am hoping to give an alternate perspective to the "anything can be manga" way of thinking. The way I see the word applied this days, the word "manga" is losing any real meaning at all.


Well that's what words do. They come into contact with other cultures and the meaning shifts. If you want to use manga to mean solely Japanese comics made in Japan then that's ok, but others may have a broader definition. Anyway trying to stop language from changing is pointless.

Just one final question though; are you reading manga in Japanese or in English?
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Tue 09.30.2008 12:23 am

becki_kanou wrote:
MMM wrote:I don't intend to establish superiority over anyone, and if I gave that impression, I apologize in advance. I just am hoping to give an alternate perspective to the "anything can be manga" way of thinking. The way I see the word applied this days, the word "manga" is losing any real meaning at all.


Well that's what words do. They come into contact with other cultures and the meaning shifts. If you want to use manga to mean solely Japanese comics made in Japan then that's ok, but others may have a broader definition. Anyway trying to stop language from changing is pointless.

Just one final question though; are you reading manga in Japanese or in English?


Words are also misused.

If the English definition of manga means "comics from Japan", then I am not sure where the problem is.

And to answer your final question: both. I translate for a living.

What is your definition of "manga"?
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby becki_kanou » Tue 09.30.2008 1:26 am

MMM wrote:Words are also misused.

I guess there are different definitions of 'misuse' as well. Using a word that doesn't mean what you want it to mean (mixing up effect and affect for example) is one thing and simply broadening or generalizing the meaning of the word is another.

If the English definition of manga means "comics from Japan", then I am not sure where the problem is.
I would tend to define it that way, but if someone wants to call their comics 'manga' because they've been influenced by Japanese drawing-style, culture, history, etc. (Usagi Yojimbo comes to mind) then that's no skin off my nose.

And to answer your final question: both. I translate for a living.

Ok, I was just checking.

What is your definition of "manga"?


My definition of the English word manga would be Japanese comics. But if we're talking about the Japanese word 漫画 I would say comics in general.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby MMM » Tue 09.30.2008 1:51 am

For the most part, becki_kanou, it sounds like we agree. It would even be hard (but not impossible) for me to say Usagi Yojimbo is not manga, except for the fact that Stan Sakai himself calls it a comic and calls himself a comic artist.
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Re: American Manga... does it exist??

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 09.30.2008 2:51 am

It would even be hard (but not impossible) for me to say Usagi Yojimbo is not manga, [/quote]

Wait, why is Usagi Yojimbo suddenly manga? It was written in English, in America, by a 3rd Generation Japanese-American (although he was born in Japan). Why is this manga, and other manga-esque comics written in america not manga?
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