So your friend has just handed you a manga or anime on DVD, demanding you watch it. You're a bit new to all this foreign Japanese stuff, so after reading or watching it, and deciding it's something you might want to learn more about, you've come here to get the down and dirty info you need to further explore the world of Anime and Manga. Well, you've got a lot to learn. On this page we will briefly discuss all the things you need to know about Anime, Manga and everything in between as well as link you up with some useful pages on the site and The Other Wiki for some more information. all that history, but suffice to say, that Manga originated in response to the Japanese being introduced to American Comics and Cartoons (especially Disney) after World War II. The Japanese applied their stylized artistic influence to the general medium and format and came up with the Manga, essentially a Japanese Graphic Novel. Manga are differentiated from Comics in that:
Categorizing Manga and AnimeOne way you might go about choosing what to try next is by looking at which anime and manga are in your target demographic, and what elements are common within that group. While many people can, and do read outside their demographic, it's a good place to start if you're a beginner. First off is Kodomomuke. Kodomomuke manga are for young children, usually about six to ten years old. It's the Barney equivalent for manga. They are usually more simplistic, fanciful story lines which are episodic in nature and teach life lessons and good behavior. They can be adorable but don't expect them to delve to deeply into anything philosophical. Moving up to ages eleven to eighteen, we start to differentiate between genders, splitting into two huge demographic-based genres: Shōjo (Demographic) for girls and Shōnen for boys.
Japanese CultureWell, anime and manga are made in Japan, so naturally they are jam-packed with Japanese culture. If you want to really delve into that then check out the page on Japan. A few random useful things to know though, right off the bat:
Translation, Changes and Censoring outside of JapanSo, translation issues, the bane of anime and manga fans' existence. These days it's not nearly as much of an issue as it once was and anime is quite widely translated with considerable accuracy, but back in the day people seemed to think that Westerners wouldn't like the shows unless all of the culture was cut out as thoroughly as possible and replaced with an American equivalent. Names were changed, sometimes to something similar sounding but Western, other time to something that seemed more or less random. Dialogue was changed completely, or censored within an inch of the show's life, sometimes because of the mistaken thought that shows in higher demographics were only appealing to lower demographics in the West. Thus, you got shows for teenagers and adults being touted as kids shows, requiring significant rewriting. There's also the issue that the Japanese are less likely to censor television in general, such as shows for kids having mild cursing or innuendo, or showing or hinting at homosexual relationships. Homosexual characters in general were often either given different dialogue, cutting out the most offensive episodes if necessary, in an attempt to write it out of the show, or if possible, they outright changed the character's gender in the translation. So given all of this, one can see how long time fans might have issues with dubs, if for no other reason than in the past, many were so far from what they were supposed to be. This is completely disregarding the fact that some early dubbing wasn't as well matched to the mouth-flaps as they are now. So while there are many dubbed anime which are excellent, especially recently as more dubbing companies are getting good at it and are listening to the fans cries for staying original to the source material, and some few jewels are even considered on par or better than the original, many fans swear by watching anime with subtitles. It's really up to you to decide which you like better, just keep your mind open.
Fan-LingoIf you're new to the anime and manga scene then you can be sure that speaking to an anime otaku (otaku meaning 'nerd') will both help you in your quest to delve more into this fandom and confuse the heck out of you. So many words, many taken directly from Japanese, are commonly used by hardcore fans in the west, and the only way to know them is to ask...or come here! TV Tropes happens to have a pretty good starter dictionary right here for you, titled Anime Fanspeak with links to more info. It is highly suggested that you check it out.
Non-Japanese Anime and MangaBelieve it or not, it exists! The Japanese may have invented it, but they do not have a monopoly on the media. Manga-style comic books have been coming out of Korea, China and Taiwan for years now, though it's only recently that Westerners have become more aware of them. They are practically no different from Japanese manga, other than slight differences in culture and characters names. Manga in Korea is called Manhwa, and Chinese and Taiwanese manga is called Manhua. It's no coincidence that the names are more or less identical. Korean and Chinese manga is just as excellent as the Japanese, so it's highly suggested that one check them out. There are also various original western manga coming out, especially in America and France, not to mention the huge amount of amateur manga worldwide which is easily accessible through the internet. Anime is somewhat of a different story. While there are Korean and Chinese anime, it's pretty much non-existent in the West, or even on the internet, so good luck with that. Anime's influence however has definitely been felt worldwide, and many animated works tend to be Animesque, or created with a similar style or in the spirit of Japanese animation (Avatar The Last Air Bender, Samurai Jack, Megas XLR, etc.). While there isn't exactly anything Western that one could pin down and say is Western anime, it's possible that one day soon it might happen. Okay, now you know most everything you need to know to get a good start on reading manga and watching anime! It's guaranteed that you'll learn more as you continue your journey through the world of anime and manga, but for now, you should be able to navigate through this vast body of media!