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Hey, Answerman! [2005-10-07]


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MTierce



Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:27 am Reply with quote
Zac, I’m curious. When you say that manga isn’t great literature, do you mean that you don’t think that any manga can have comparable artistic value to the so-called “classics?” Leaving aside that manga cannot be great literature because its not literature, aren’t there worthy manga that have high artistic value on the order of Brave New World or Citizen Kane? I personally know of none, but the amount of manga that I have read compared to the amount of manga produced is miniscule, and all that I have read has been translated into a foreign language besides. Considering that very few of all published works can be considered classics, Isn’t it possible that such artistically valuable manga exists, and we just haven’t read or heard of it? Or do you think that manga itself is an inferior form of art to books and movies?
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remember love



Joined: 24 Sep 2005
Posts: 764
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:17 am Reply with quote
Zac, I'm unsure if I sent my captions in before or after monday anyway that you know if I sent them or not? I placed my forum name in the e-mail so if you seen it could u tell me because I don't want to send same email to you twice; I don't want to annoy you with more then one email with same stuff.
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Kagemusha



Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 2783
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:10 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Great literature is stuff like Brave New World or War and Peace, not Naruto volume 3. Manga is fun and entertaining and sometimes surprisingly artistic and thought-provoking but pretending that it's "great literature", worthy of standing in the same space occupied by classic novels cherished by millions for years and years and years, is ridiculous.

I've had many similar arguments (most of them concerning certain American comicbooks), and I feel compelled to disagree. While you are right that the vast majority of manga being released (even most of the good stuff) cannot be placed on the same level as literature, saying all manga has no place being called literature is a generalization. The most obvious example is Nausicaa, a manga with the depth and substance of a great work of literature. I'd also argue that particular volumes of Phoenix (most notably volume 4) belong in the catagory of literature, as well as works such as Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, Believers and many of Kiyoko Okazaki's works.
Admitingly, writen books can do whings that manga never can, but the same can also be said in reverse: graphic literature can express emotions in ways that writen can never hope to achieve. Just look at the comicbook Frank (please forgive me for not using a Japanese example) [url=http://www.amazon.com/​exec/​obidos/​tg/​detail/​-​/​1560975342/​qid=​1128668722/​sr=​8-​1/​ref=​pd_bbs_1/​102-​5208257-​9923322?​v=​glance&​s=​books&​n=​507846]
Link.[/url]
Again, I agree with you about most manga, not belonging in the category of classic literature, but there are just some works that defy expectations.


Last edited by Kagemusha on Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tenchi



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 3499
Location: Ottawa... now I'm an ex-Anglo Montrealer.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:20 am Reply with quote
Guess I was lucky that I found an anime club of the old school "sit down, shuddup, n' watch!" variety here in Ottawa that is more or less identical in structure to the anime club I joined in Montreal back in 1994.

Not that I'm decrying the new-style mini-convention anime clubs which Zac described, but I'm getting too old for that sort of thing. I just want to watch cartoons on a much bigger screen than I have at home, basically.
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 7342
Location: England, UK

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:53 am Reply with quote
Tenchi wrote:
Guess I was lucky that I found an anime club of the old school "sit down, shuddup, n' watch!" variety here in Ottawa that is more or less identical in structure to the anime club I joined in Montreal back in 1994.

Not that I'm decrying the new-style mini-convention anime clubs which Zac described, but I'm getting too old for that sort of thing. I just want to watch cartoons on a much bigger screen than I have at home, basically.
You could always get a multi-media projector and project it on a screen, or even your wall, and invite some friends over for an anime party?

Back on topic now and manga is mostly artistic drawings that tell a story with a few words. Literature is artistic words that tell a story with few drawings, or no drawings at all. Great literature is just that and great manga is the same. But to try to mix the two together is like trying to mix water and oil.
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DarkTenshi90



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 440
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:54 am Reply with quote
I was the "vice-president" of an anime club last year at my old school, and lemme just say the "president" didn't have any cool activites for the club members and unfortunately, we had that "Sit down! Shut up! Watch!" kind of thing. I alway respected the members and tried to do more for them like raffle off manga or something, but god, the president constantly forgot so we only got one raffle done. And, the dumbest thing she did which really irked me was tell people to go to this one website to get anime for "cheap." So, I kept telling people that they weren't official copies, hoping it would make them turn their backs on them.

The president even got into an argument with me saying that her Utena "4-disc boxset" wasn't ripped by some bootlegger in China and denied all of it, but as soon as she walked out of the room, once again, I had to tell the members that that was an unofficial version. Some people are soooo stupid.

But yes, the sit down style of the club sucked. I wish she could have kept her word the entire time because I wanted to fall asleep during every one of them. I enjoyed it when she couldn't attend some days because I was able to put some pizazz into the club. She also complained about people she couldn't stand in the front, and often would just talk about herself.

worst anime club memory ever.
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biliano



Joined: 24 Jan 2005
Posts: 956
Location: Cleveland, OH

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 7:54 am Reply with quote
Tenchi wrote:
Guess I was lucky that I found an anime club of the old school "sit down, shuddup, n' watch!" variety here in Ottawa that is more or less identical in structure to the anime club I joined in Montreal back in 1994.

Not that I'm decrying the new-style mini-convention anime clubs which Zac described, but I'm getting too old for that sort of thing. I just want to watch cartoons on a much bigger screen than I have at home, basically.


That's basically what we're doing at my club in Cleveland - sit down and watch a few shows for a couple of hours. But it would be nice to discuss some anime-related topics once in a while. Maybe adding a little variety instead of *just* watching anime would lure more people into the club.
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Joe Mello



Joined: 31 May 2004
Posts: 1826
Location: Tekkoshocon

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:28 am Reply with quote
I guess you could say my anime club is sit down, but I don't know.

The schedule is this: 1 hour of anime, 5-10 minutes of break/socialization. 1 hour of anime, 5-10 minutes of break/socialization. 1 hour of anime, and go home (eventually).

During the interims, there are also plugs for the local con (which the club officers DH) and various other bits of randomness (like "Kill Excel"). There's also a cosplay contest on Halloween week.
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Proman



Joined: 19 Nov 2003
Posts: 947
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:42 am Reply with quote
Quote:
I'm sure this will have a lot of fans screaming bloody murder, but I think we all know it's true.


On no, we don't.
It is possible for manga to be great literature. Some of manga is great literature. Sure not every manga title is "great literature" or "high art", but then again, the same is true for most novels. Saying that just because it's in a different than a novel and, therefore, can't achieve greatness is ridiculous. I consider myself to be a very well read person and many of my favorite books are from completely different genres... and I still consider Maison Ikkoku one of the best things I've read in my life. Some of Osamu Tezuka's works, such as "Adolf" or "Phoenix" are good enough to be considered great literature.

There's another aspect, that I think you're overlooking. Popular titles like "Yu Yu Hakusho" which may not be considered "great" by most people's strandards, nonetheless make for great children's literature (and there's a a very different set of rules at play here). And I'm not saying that "Yu Yu Hakusho" is just for kids (heck, I'm 21 and I still have fondness for it), I'm just trying to make a point.
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Keonyn
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Joined: 25 May 2005
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Location: Coon Rapids, MN

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:48 am Reply with quote
I would tend to agree, even Nausicaa doesn't really stand up to the classic works that have been respected and appreciated by people for decades to centuries across the globe. No manga has come close to the level of popularity and appreciation that works such as "The Tale of Two Cities" or the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have received and that's just how it is. Nancy Drew was more popular than even the most popular of manga now and it's still not considered a classic.

Alot of manga can be considered great work and very high quality, but when you start to equate to works such as Homer's Odyssey or Romeo and Juliet and other works that have survived for centuries and are still known to nearly any educated soul and it just doesn't add up anymore. There are many manga's that could be considered classics in the manga community, but none have truly broken from that and that's what truly seperates the classics from the greats, that and longevity in that role.
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Proman



Joined: 19 Nov 2003
Posts: 947
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:31 am Reply with quote
Keonyn wrote:
I would tend to agree, even Nausicaa doesn't really stand up to the classic works that have been respected and appreciated by people for decades to centuries across the globe. No manga has come close to the level of popularity and appreciation that works such as "The Tale of Two Cities" or the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have received and that's just how it is. Nancy Drew was more popular than even the most popular of manga now and it's still not considered a classic.

In my opinion, popularity has little to do with greatness. I still think that there is plenty of manga out there which can be considered to be great. Especially manga that not action oriented but more focused on Japanease culture and history. Unfourtunately, most of this type of manga has not been published in US (and just because you haven't read some "truly great" manga" doesen't mean it doesn't exist). I would also argue that there's some manga out there that can compete with famous novels in terms of popularity. "Dragon Ball Z", for example, has sold well over 150 million copies worldwide (and that's just one example). I will also argue that Osama Tezuka was just as popular in Japan (or, perhaps, even more so) than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was in Britain. By the way, Tezuka passed away shortly after Emperor Hirohito, and Tezuka's funeral was nearly covered with the same intensity by the Japanese media.
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Rebecca



Joined: 18 Mar 2002
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:35 am Reply with quote
Keonyn wrote:
I would tend to agree, even Nausicaa doesn't really stand up to the classic works that have been respected and appreciated by people for decades to centuries across the globe.


I think people are forgetting that a lot of the "classics" are *gasp* old! Saying that "well, it's lasted the test of time AND still tells lessons, so it's now great literature!" is all fine and dandy, but certain manga (and comics from all around the world) tell lessons and touch upon humanity in ways that can easily be compared to some of the classics. They just haven't been around long enough to prove that they can stand the test of time. "Being around for a long time" or "taught in school" shouldn't be requirements that limit something from being great literature.

Lets not forget too that we come from a society that, up until recently (and in many cases, still do now) thought comic books and anime were meant for kids. It'll take some time before manga and comics are accepted as real literature.
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Keonyn
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Joined: 25 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:55 am Reply with quote
I still think people forget the scope of the classics, and while some manga may indeed make it into that upper eschelon of literature someday, none have thus far and anyone involved in the community of literature would know that none have even come close to this point. It's not a hit on whether a manga is great, or that the manga community itself has its share of classic greats, but still in a broad comparison there just aren't any that really stand next to the literature masterpieces.

There's just far more too it than whether it has the same message to the same detail, if that is what made classics what they are then there would be librarires full of them. Learning it in school isn't a requirement either, I never once had to read anything from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I didn't have to read the Count of Monte Cristo nor did I have to read a Tale of Two Cities or most of Shakespeares classic works. But they are all world renowned titles that have stood the test of time across every culture among even the greatest of scholars of our time and time before.

Listen, I appreciate manga and anime as much as anyone but I'm not going to pretend they are greater than they are. While it doesn't take scholars to determine classics, it does take a degree of time tested acclaim and appreciation outside a bias fanbase. There are billions of books out there, and only a handful of them are considered to truly reach such a level as these classics, we're not talking about the elite, the rarity goes beyond even that.
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Proman



Joined: 19 Nov 2003
Posts: 947
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 10:18 am Reply with quote
Keonyn wrote:
I still think people forget the scope of the classics, and while some manga may indeed make it into that upper eschelon of literature someday, none have thus far and anyone involved in the community of literature would know that none have even come close to this point.


I disagree with that. I think that starting with the great Katsushika Hokusai who is considered by many to be the father of manga, there has been plenty of critically acclaimed and popular works. I think you just haven't found it yet. In fact, I would argue that purely from artisitic standpoint, in the past decades manga has been on the forefront of innovation in both how the stories are told and presented. It seems to me that you just haven't been exposed to some of the better manga out there. I recommend you check out Frederik L. Schodt's excellent "Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics and "Dreamland Japan" books to find out more about some truly great and influential manga. You'll be pleasantly suprised, I guarantee it. At the very least you will find out that there are quite a few manga works that are regarded as great or classic.

I also find it ironic that you keep mentioning Arthur Conan Doyle, who made his name by writing what can be pretty accurately described as present day equivalent of "pulp fiction". Don't get me wrong I really like his books and I used to be a big "Sherlock Holmes" fan but I wouldn't pretend that all of his works are really as "great" as you make them out to be. I use that as a further example of subjective nature of "greatness".

Still not convinced? In this case I would like to encourage Zac and you two check out these two articles from Time Magazine:
http://www.time.com/​time/​columnist/​arnold/​article/​0,​9565,​664969,​00.​html
http://www.time.com/​time/​columnist/​arnold/​article/​0,​9565,​519424,​00.​html
Among other things they refer to Osamu Tezuka's works as
"masterpieces".


Last edited by Proman on Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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VLSmooth



Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:13 am Reply with quote
As a quick aside from the classic or not discussion...

Regarding the Kenshin question, the poster confused the Kyoto and Jinchuu (manga only) arcs.
  • Yatsume Mumoyouni is from the Jinchuu arc and based on Spiderman's Venom.
  • Gein is a puppetmaster that controls the various forms of Iwanbo.
On the otherhand, Zac correctly referenced the following from the Kyoto arc:Hope that helps to clarify things,
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