'Misfit Lit': comics and graphic novels
How do story telling techniques in Japanese comic media differ to the western tradition?
The differences between the Eastern, Anime and Manga and the Western, Comic and Cartoon counterparts are clear from the outset. Apart from the obvious contrast in styles, there are many more distinctions that can be made between the two.
The words Anime and Manga refer to two separate and distinct, but interrelated things. The word Anime is used to describe Animation of Japan, similar to the animation made popular in America, by companies like Walt Disney. The word Manga is used to describe the Comic Books of Japan, similar to the comic books made popular in America, by companies like Marvel and D.C. To understand the differences in the story telling techniques between the Eastern and Western comic industries, one must first look at the history and culture surrounding these two diverse formats.
Comic strips in Japan originate from the post World War 2 era when American strips were imported into Japan. The format was widely popular and the authors began to create their own strips. While there were weekly strips poking fun at family life others became popular that followed people on journeys. These stories were mostly serial, where the reader had to read every strip in order to keep up with the goings on in the story. This format became successful in a commercial sense because people had to keep buying the next installment to keep up. Various influences can be associated with the manufacture of Manga but many storylines find their roots in the common Japanese religion of Shinto. Shinto is one of the two great systems of religious belief in Japan. Its essence is ancestor worship, and sacrifice to dead heroes. It can best be described...