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Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - A Quick and Dirty History of Manga in the US


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TsukasaElkKite



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 1769

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:46 pm Reply with quote
I still remember going to Barnes and Noble in 1999/2000 and reading Sailor Moon.
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Chagen46



Joined: 27 Jun 2010
Posts: 4249

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:03 pm Reply with quote
A short, but concise and fascinating read. There's quite a few things in this I learned.
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dm



Joined: 24 Sep 2010
Posts: 216

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:10 pm Reply with quote
Having long been an animation and independent-comics fan, I fell in love with Toren Smith's Studio Proteus editions of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind when I discovered them by accident. That led to Miyazaki films, which led to more than 20 years of anime fandom.

Those Studio Proteus books were beautiful. When Proteus first released the tankubon volumes, they were larger than most manga, and gave the artwork a little more room to breathe (though not as large as the volumes Viz sells now). And they had wonderful covers, with faux-Japanese-artpaper covers.

It was frustrating --- beyond that, there was Mai the Psychic Girl, an Urusei Yatsura omnibus volume, and not much else on the shelves (maybe Crying Freeman). Certainly nothing to match Nausicaa.
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Alexander55



Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 103
Location: Ontario, CA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:45 pm Reply with quote
Quite an intriguing piece you wrote there Jason. I spent nearly 35 minutes on it and I felt like reading more. Maybe Jason should write his own book. It might become a best-seller, for Anime/Manga/pop-culture fans of course.

I'm not surprised of the backslash Anime and Manga have faced over the years and now before it grew around the late 90's and 2000's and steadily went down from there.

My guess has a lot to do with the excess number of unknown titles they published back in the 2000's without really advertising them or considering their demographics. But ultimately, here are the factors that play into play:

1. Scanlation Sites
Alright, sure they give exposure to Manga and have helped increase the demographic further but isn't it just a pure coincidence that the Manga market falls just as the number of scanlations increased? Not to mention, the strong entitlement that the vast majority of the Anime/Manga fandom have to free entertainment? They can't spend a measly $10-15 dollars on Manga or $20-25 dollars on full length Anime series but they can certainly spend $60+ dollars on a PS3/Xbox game or the latest expansion pack in World of Warcraft. To most of the fans, Anime and Manga have become disposable entertainment to consume and nothing more. They just think its just there and never think of the people that put money, creativity, and time into them.

2. Incompetence of Japanese Publishers
I've said it in the past, when I had a different account here in ANN and I'm going to say it again; most of them just don't care about this market. Although they "tried" with JManga, the site was too flawed to appease fans of scanlation Manga. For starters, they never allowed you to download the Manga. Then they had some confusing point system no one understood(I was subscribed to them and to this day, I never understood it).

3. The lack of sufficient Anime series on Public and cable channels
Some of the biggest Cable companies, TV producers, who also come from or work with some of biggest Wall ST fat cats(Viacom, Time Warner, and Disney) have become more economical and signaled Anime out. They cited low-viewership as the cause of it and while I don't deny that considering how accessible broadband internet has became, they mostly removed Anime on their own acord because its far more profitable to develop your own animation than to license one.


4. Perception of Anime/Manga/Fandom and the demoralized fangroup

Most Anime and Manga fans simply don't have the passion or love to fully or openly embrace the medium as they did years ago. This is largely due to how they are perceived by the general public and other social circles.

This distorted perception, now deeply entrenched on the Internet, was created none other by a vocal minority within our ranks; the Japanophiles and the much more crazier Anime fans. Over time, as social media and sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and yes, 4chan, grew, the behavior of the minority became so transparent that tons of memes, viral web sensations, videos and the likes spawned over the years to mock the crazy flock and eventually the whole fandom. And as many of you are familiar with, derogatory slang and phases came alongside with them. Among some of the many words used to mock all Anime and Manga fans; "Desu", "Wapanese", and "Weeaboo."

Speaking of such, I recall a time when I first attended Anime Expo back in 2008. On my way to the convention, I was boarding a shuttle with my best friend, Johnny. As we drew closer to Figuroa St.(both of us lived in Inglewood), our conversation ensued:

Johnny: Al bro, we're going to see a car show with my girlfriend , wanna come.

Me: That's great but..

Johnny: Dude, I hear there goin' to show some chicks with some fine a$$. (And then goes on blabbering on about Cars and girls for 15 minute of the ride.)

Me: Yeah, it looks like you're going to have a great time with that...

Johnny: You're still not going? C-omon man I..

Me: I have other plans...

Johnny: Where the hell are you going?

Me: I'm going to attend Anime Expo. Its an LA convention dedicated to Japanese Animation and comics. This is my first time attending.

Johnny: WTF? Seriously man? Don't tell me you're one of them.

Me:One of what exactly?

Johnny: A weeaboo.

Me:............

Johnny: You don't know what a weeaboo is?

Me: No

Johnny: Google it

Me: My Internet is slow and I don't use it too much...

Johnny: .......

(Arriving at LA Convention center, where I board off)

Me: Later.

Johnny: Something is wrong with you!


A year later, I researched it, found a whole bunch of crap and embarrassing gigs about Anime/Manga fans, decided to call it quits. Some time in 2012, I came back when I read Otome's Akira Manga and watched Ghibli Studio's Kikis' Delivery Service and Grave of the Fireflies. Only then did I start watching and reading Anime and Manga again. And I had to re-buy some of the stuff I sold earlier on Ebay.
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belvadeer



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Posts: 2109

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:31 pm Reply with quote
Alexander55 wrote:
Speaking of such, I recall a time when I first attended Anime Expo back in 2008. On my way to the convention, I was boarding a shuttle with my best friend, Johnny. As we drew closer to Figuroa St.(both of us lived in Inglewood), our conversation ensued:

Johnny: Al bro, we're going to see a car show with my girlfriend , wanna come.

Me: That's great but..

Johnny: Dude, I hear there goin' to show some chicks with some fine a$$. (And then goes on blabbering on about Cars and girls for 15 minute of the ride.)

Me: Yeah, it looks like you're going to have a great time with that...

Johnny: You're still not going? C-omon man I..

Me: I have other plans...

Johnny: Where the hell are you going?

Me: I'm going to attend Anime Expo. Its an LA convention dedicated to Japanese Animation and comics. This is my first time attending.

Johnny: WTF? Seriously man? Don't tell me you're one of them.

Me:One of what exactly?

Johnny: A weeaboo.

Me:............

Johnny: You don't know what a weeaboo is?

Me: No

Johnny: Google it

Me: My Internet is slow and I don't use it too much...

Johnny: .......

(Arriving at LA Convention center, where I board off)

Me: Later.

Johnny: Something is wrong with you!


A year later, I researched it, found a whole bunch of crap and embarrassing gigs about Anime/Manga fans, decided to call it quits. Some time in 2012, I came back when I read Otome's Akira Manga and watched Ghibli Studio's Kikis' Delivery Service and Grave of the Fireflies. Only then did I start watching and reading Anime and Manga again. And I had to re-buy some of the stuff I sold earlier on Ebay.


Not someone I would call a best friend. I can't believe you let him talk you out of liking anime and manga just because of that overused word and his own grossly ignorant perceptions. Hope you two aren't friends anymore because you can do so much better than that.
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Petrea Mitchell



Joined: 12 Jan 2007
Posts: 430
Location: Near Portland, OR

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:51 pm Reply with quote
Westercon! That made me smile.

I'm pretty sure my first encounter with anime-- the Daicon III short, playing on a TV in the dealers' room-- was at a Westercon.
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Chagen46



Joined: 27 Jun 2010
Posts: 4249

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:01 pm Reply with quote
Alexander55 wrote:
....

A year later, I researched it, found a whole bunch of crap and embarrassing gigs about Anime/Manga fans, decided to call it quits. Some time in 2012, I came back when I read Otome's Akira Manga and watched Ghibli Studio's Kikis' Delivery Service and Grave of the Fireflies. Only then did I start watching and reading Anime and Manga again. And I had to re-buy some of the stuff I sold earlier on Ebay.


Your "friend" was an asshole and you should just told him to eff off.

Honestly, as soon as he started talking about the girls at the car show you should have told him to eff off. You go to a car show to look at cars, not gratuitous hood ornament hotties, dammit!
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Pepperidge



Joined: 13 Sep 2003
Posts: 1034
Location: British Columbia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:07 am Reply with quote
Why have I never heard of Manga Claus before? I need to check this out!
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ProsesRoses



Joined: 22 Mar 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:14 am Reply with quote
I'm glad that more graphic-novely and/or independent comix publishers are picking up manga titles - they are much selective and print better quality paperbacks, sometimes even in hardcover. They seem to prefer to pick up more mature (seinen, josei) or "artsier" titles that the mainstream manga publishers would never pick up. This selective attitude treats manga as quality literary material to put in your library and not disposable penny dreadfuls which may attract more indie comics or graphic novel readers/collectors, or just adults in general (hooray for more fans and breaking down per-conceptions). I find myself more drawn to their manga titles than say VIZ's, especially since I've honestly outgrown stereotypical shoujo or shonen. But it's always so sad when manga publishers shut down (I never got a chance to collect CMX's Swan or Emma *SADFACE*)

The moniker "Graphic Novels" seems to separate Graphic Novels from "comics" (which the general public seems to only mean the superhero genre), thus separates it from their stigma (for kids, males, sexist, etc) and thus (again) Graphic Novels are treated as more legitimate literary form (raising in esteem). Graphic Novels are slowly becoming more visible and popular - maybe those manga titles from the indie publishers will alleviate manga to a higher place (financially and literary opinion). One can only hope.

I hope I made sense. =/
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Doomroar



Joined: 24 Jul 2011
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:24 am Reply with quote
HOLD IT!

when you say mahjongg manga... it is cool mahjongg manga, akagi, all of fukumoto's manga, legendary gambler tetsuya, all this good stuff.

or that i wan't to rip my eyes off goddammit is painful, why, why!!!, fffffffffffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, saki lets go full ecchi manga?

i don't want to live in a world with the 2nd. But if is about sales and marked, people will go for the school girls, they always do, those bastards... let your brains pick for once, instead of your penises, we have the internet stuffed with porn for those type of things come on!
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Sepherest



Joined: 06 May 2007
Posts: 560
Location: The Labyrinth of Amala

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:56 am Reply with quote
Ax had a hardcover release? I don't remember seeing that...

That aside, manga anthologies are great and I wish more would come over here. I was more into reading books at the time there were magazines with various series being translated in them, but I think they're a great way to check out a variety of artists without having to commit a large amount of money.

Unfortunately it seems like manga publishers now have to be a lot more selective when it comes to licensing series that they know will be successful and sell a decent amount. I can't really blame them though, because looking around online and in old comic shops the number of manga publishers that have been shut down, gone on hiatus or just disappeared is pretty alarming. But it's great that publishers are able to figure out what people are reading or even hear their opinions online about what's popular in the manga community, which probably makes it a little easier compared to how the industry worked before the 2000s. Less guesswork.
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FigNewton



Joined: 21 Jul 2002
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:38 am Reply with quote
Thanks for the excellent article, Jason. Lots of stuff, pre-80s especially, that I was pretty clueless about.

Doomroar wrote:


i don't want to live in a world with the 2nd. But if is about sales and marked, people will go for the school girls, they always do, those bastards... let your brains pick for once, instead of your penises, we have the internet stuffed with porn for those type of things come on!


Well since this is a world where it does exist, I guess there's only one option left to you.
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Polycell
Thread KillerThread Killer


Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Posts: 3424

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:12 am Reply with quote
Doomroar wrote:
HOLD IT!

when you say mahjongg manga... it is cool mahjongg manga, akagi, all of fukumoto's manga, legendary gambler tetsuya, all this good stuff.

or that i wan't to rip my eyes off goddammit is painful, why, why!!!, fffffffffffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, saki lets go full ecchi manga?

i don't want to live in a world with the 2nd. But if is about sales and marked, people will go for the school girls, they always do, those bastards... let your brains pick for once, instead of your penises, we have the internet stuffed with porn for those type of things come on!
Whelp, it's official! Yuri is only good for pron! The almighty Doomroar hath spoken!
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GVman



Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Posts: 447

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:22 am Reply with quote
Doomroar wrote:
HOLD IT!

when you say mahjongg manga... it is cool mahjongg manga, akagi, all of fukumoto's manga, legendary gambler tetsuya, all this good stuff.

or that i wan't to rip my eyes off goddammit is painful, why, why!!!, fffffffffffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, saki lets go full ecchi manga?

i don't want to live in a world with the 2nd. But if is about sales and marked, people will go for the school girls, they always do, those bastards... let your brains pick for once, instead of your penises, we have the internet stuffed with porn for those type of things come on!


Mahjong manga is one of the most popular genres of manga in Japan. There's entire magazines dedicated to it. I don't know if most of them would fit into either category neatly.

Anywho, this is similar to the video game crash of the '80s. Now all we need is a Nintendo to come in and save us.
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Polycell
Thread KillerThread Killer


Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Posts: 3424

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:26 am Reply with quote
But what would Mangatendo do? The original NES had to be carefully disguised to avoid seeming too much like a video game console when it was first release in the US - and all the ways you might do that for manga were already done just getting it rolling. About the only thing I can think of would be getting light novels to take off and letting the manga market get the knock-on effects.
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