Keep updated with Manga Therapy via RSS & e-mail! "Like", "Follow", or "+1" me for more lovely conversations about manga & Japanese pop culture!
Text with 9 notes
I present to you: Cafe Bar NAGOMI! Yes, this is an actual “imouto” cafe in Japan.
Ever had or wished you had a little sister that made you go D’AWWWW every time she tried to make you smile? Do you get giddy (or wish to gleefully experience the moments) when your little sister acts pretty mean towards you and later apologizes for her behavior with a sad, puppy face? If so, you might be having a case of “imouto love”.
A subject that continues to fascinate me is the otaku’s love for “imoutos” (Japanese for “little sisters”). Imouto characters are prevalent in Japanese pop culture and it makes you wonder why male otaku are quite drawn to them in droves. Do most of them wish they had a little sister that relied on them?
If you’re curious about how much “imouto love” there is out there, here are some examples. Besides the most prominent series that features an imouto lead, Ore no Imouto Konna ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai (“My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute”, also known as Oreimo), other titles include Imouto wa Shishunki (“Younger Sister Is In Puberty”), Koi Kaze, and Boku wa Imouto ni Koiwosuru (“I Love My Little Sister”). Imouto love is also implied in certain anime/manga series. There is currently a wide variety of adult-oriented material (a majority in the form of PC games) focusing on little sisters loving their precious oni-chan (“big brother” in Japanese) and/or vice versa. Japan sure has quite the sister complex, doesn’t it?
An article on Senile_Seinen talked about “imouto love” in a review for Oreimo and the author stated that the subject is becoming popular because of Japan’s low birth rate. He goes on to say that few Japanese people below the age of 30 have a sibling. They don’t know what it’s like to have one, so seeing media featuring siblings in wacky moments together fascinates them.
I’m curious about the mindset of creators behind imouto material: is there anything super-special about having a little sister rather than a little brother and/or older sibling? Well, besides the fact that the little sister has tendencies to look up to the older brother and can be extremely adorable as hell. There have been studies floating around about how having a sister can be beneficial in one’s life. Having a sister (younger or older) can make you a kinder person. Sibling conflict provides great education as well. Fights between siblings usually teach them how to control their emotions in heated moments. Siblings will also stick by you even after when parents pass away. Some important factors to note are that girls like to listen and they are often more talkative than boys. This gives female siblings an edge, compared to male siblings, as you can confide in them emotionally. Older sisters can be bossy and start ranting about life though, which seems like something the otaku don’t like.
Regardless, if you have a female sibling, you’re in luck and have a good chance to turn out to be a emotionally healthy individual. I do believe that Japanese otaku (who may not have had experienced the joys of having a younger sibling) honestly want a real young, cute girl who looks up to them in all aspects of life and/or is willing to listen to them (like an imouto would). It seems that otaku want a sense of control over someone to give themselves a shot of confidence. Does anyone really give otaku a sense of hope at all? Perhaps the structure of Japanese society should be blamed for how their parents turned out, since their behavior does have huge effects on the children they raise.
A couple of final questions I would like to pose to everyone: how would you believe the otaku will react if they actually had a real little sister that matched their expectations? Will they believe that reality (in their eyes) isn’t as deceiving as they think it is? Let’s just hope that otaku don’t want too many little sisters. Then again, Japanese men haven’t had the greatest reputation as of late.
Now, if you excuse me, I must rescue my precious Nanako-chan from the evil Shadows.
Text with 56 notes
Hey, girls like battles as much as boys do.
According to the “wonderful” site that is Sankaku Complex, more and more girls in Japan are interested in reading shonen manga than shoujo manga. This relates to what I discussed in an interview by Fanboy.com.
I spoke about how there are series like Katekyo Hitman Reborn! & Kuroshitsuji filled with very attractive-looking male characters. There’s also the fact that shonen manga seems to have a fair share of teenage characters that appeal to a wide audience. Another supposed reason for girls reading shonen manga are that they are less concerned about being feminine when compared to boys trying to be manly.
Though it could just come down to this: shonen plots are just plain better than shoujo plots. Most shoujo manga these days typically seems to be all the same: high school girls trying to date a guy they like & the emotional drama that ensues. Shonen plots can be pretty diverse compared to shoujo plots. At times, there may be TOO MUCH fighting in shonen manga, but they’re usually more exciting to most fans. Look at a series like BLEACH, which has a huge number of both male & female fans. Shoujo JUMP, here we come!
To female shonen readers, why do you read shonen manga?
Text with 8 notes
Found an interesting survey just now. Source: What Japan Thinks
What strikes me is the top ten things that seem to get otaku more riled up than anything.
1. When they get names or explanations just ever so slightly wrong.
2. When they point out someone faking it by saying all innocently “Ahh, I heard there is that theory too.”
3. When they suddenly start spouting information in order to impress the opposite sex.
4. When even though they don’t know things in detail, abruptly telling someone they’re talking rubbish.
5. Smugly talking about something everyone knows.
6. When they criticize other otaku with “I don’t want to be that kind of ultra-otaku!”
7. When they boast about having a friend in the industry
8. When they call themselves an otaku but only know about the mass-market stuff
9. When they show off with “I knew them before they were famous.”
10. When all they ever add to the conversation is “Yes, indeed!”
A Japanese research company decided to sample 1,097 otaku on what gets them agitated.
Apparently, the biggest peeve is when people pronounce characters’ names wrong & wrongly explains information about a character/series. I am somewhat guilty of this and have flip out. Though over the last few years, I’m not as crazy as I once was. The survey makes it seem like that ALL otaku are subjective & very judgmental.
Now whether this is a good thing or bad thing can be interpreted in many ways.
Do any of you feel angry about how certain otaku act around you? Is there really a sworn “code” to follow if you are an otaku?
Text with 23 notes
As everyone knows yesterday, a massive earthquake & tsunami devastated the country of Japan. Cities became flooded, houses crumbled, fires ignited, cracks along the ground opened, and a nation was left stunned. The response to Japan has been overwhelming and a great sign to see. However, the disaster has also brought about the worse in people as well.
I am mostly referring to certain nationalists & hardcore otaku who care about themselves more than an entire country of people. A colleague showed me this wonderful picture just now and it was probably one of the most ignorant & disgusting things I have ever seen. Don’t these Americans realize that some of their beloved cultural items/icons are based off of Japan? Most of our precious tech gadgets originated from Japan. Nintendo, Sony, Canon, Epson, etc. And your kids loving Pokemon & Yu-Gi-Oh? Those originated from Japan too. So, basically, you’re wishing the end of your beloved material items. Lady Gaga also draws heavy influence from Japanese culture. So, if you’re a fan of her, then you’re wishing death on her too. Great thinking, folks. Also, you can’t assume the Japanese today still think the way the Japanese did back when they attacked Pearl Harbor. Nothing is truly constant in this world.
Now, on to the Japanese hardcore otaku. Kuro, a fellow anime/manga blogger, noted on his Twitter that he saw a statement on Facebook that went like this:
“No Japan = No Anime = No More Otaku Life”
Is that really the first thing that came to their mind when the earthquake obliterated their home country? It is understandable that Japanese society is harsh & cruel, but everyone has something/someone to care about. There is also some concern when otaku are more worried about the safety of the creators of anime/manga/video games than the general public. Question: how would they react if their favorite seiyu/mangaka/director/studio told them to actually make a difference & help people? Would they do something? Some otaku say that they have a mind of their own, but in the end, they become mindless sheep when they seriously obsess over their favorite people. Otaku outside of Japan can be like this too. Hopefully, most of them learn about Japan and its beauty beyond the anime/manga/video game aspect (like I have). If not, then well, don’t call yourself “culturally diverse” when it comes to Japan.
Japan will get through this. They’ve been through worse. However, they can’t do this alone. If you wish to donate to Japan, here are two links provided by Daniella Orihuela-Gruber, where you can send money DIRECTLY to Japan (there are a lot of scams out there right now & some people are skeptical about giving money to Red Cross).
Mari Kurisato also has a great resource of news sites covering the quake on her site.
Finally, the Unofficial One Piece Podcast crew will be having a “Anime Fans Give Back To Japan” marathon podcast on Saturday, March 19 to raise money for the victims. It will start 6PM and will be broadcast on uStream. More information can be found at their event page.
To quote Michiyuki Kawashima of Boom Boom Satellites from the interview I did with the band back at NYAF,
“When the rain falls down on everyone, something new comes out of destruction. We got to live.”
Text with 1 note
A hyped show among Japanese pop culture fans recently appeared on Hulu. It was none other than the premiere of “America’s Greatest Otaku”, hosted by Stu Levy, CEO of Tokyopop. The first episode debuted on February 24 (which you can view here). I decided to catch the first episode as I wanted to see how Tokyopop was going to make otaku culture cool in front of the eyes of many viewers.
The premise of the show involves a search for the one otaku that is the “best” otaku in the entire United States. Tokyopop went on a big road trip over the summer across America looking for potential candidates for America’s greatest otaku. Whoever is voted the greatest otaku in America will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan. Stu Levy also recruited 6 college students (aka the “Otaku 6”) as interns to help him in his search.
After watching the first episode, I felt that Stu Levy took over the whole show. Though I figured as much since the 6 kids were just college students. I would have loved to see some drama inside the bus, though I think the drama would most likely be caused by some viewers after watching some of the contestants.
The first episode covered Los Angeles & San Francisco, where they interviewed candidates & also explored a variety of places that were otaku-related. It’s nice to know that there’s actually an anime hotel in Japan Town, San Francisco (have to re-visit there). I also need to check out Royal/T NOW.
Regarding the four candidates in the first episode, I honestly didn’t seem to find anything special about them when it comes to otaku traits. A lot of otaku cosplay, design costumes, collect figurines, sing anime songs, draw, etc. The Asian girl, Christine Choi, I like. Mostly because of her USB earrings. Talk about sexy geek indeed. I’m curious to see who they find next, ESPECIALLY in New York (my home state).
One more thing I want to note is the beginning where Stu Levy tells us that we otaku should stand proud. However, in a later segment, where he and two interns were at the Cartoon Art Museum, the museum director said that otaku does have a derogatory meaning behind it. Afterwards, the three said that the manager nailed the definition right away (though she did say that everyone’s an otaku in some way). The meaning of “otaku” in Japan isn’t pleasant, compared to here in the West. They should’ve try and explain why the meaning in Japan is different. If you go to most parts of Japan and say “I’m proud to be an otaku!”, a lot of people will ignore you and that will not be the greatest feeling in the world. I wonder if Stu is correct about whether the definition of “otaku” is debatable.
Nonetheless, I will keep watching to see what comes out of the experience. Will people actually care? Will otaku be mad? Will we see riots in the anime/manga community? I’m probably more interested in the reactions of people who’ve seen the show.
So, are we otaku super-cool now?
Text with 8 notes
(Japan’s “Angel of Death” or “Jesus Christ Superstar”?)
Time to start off the New Year with a look at a big law that was passed last month in Tokyo, Japan and the circumstances behind it. I’m talking about none other than the Tokyo Youth Ordinance Bill, also known as Bill 156. It is a law that will basically prohibit displays of “excessive sexual acts” in anime & manga & regulate the sale of such anime/manga, to help protect children under the age of 18. However, what constitutes “excessive” has not been clearly stated and this law only covers cartoons & comics, not real pornography. Bill 156 was pushed heavily by Tokyo governor, Shintaro Ishihara. The man is perhaps very well-known for his outrageous & insensitive comments on foreigners, women, & homosexuals. He has also shown complete disgust for the otaku in Japan. The law highlights what appears to be an extreme personal bias by certain people, which is being satiated by the Tokyo government, against the visual culture of Japan. Bill 156 highlights more than just hatred on anime & manga, it is also a look at what makes society tick as a whole.
Text with 4 notes
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting “Holiday Anime & Manga Day” at Kinokuniya Bookstore. It was the first anime/manga event that I have truly hosted. I have taken part in panels for Samurai Beat Radio there, but not hosting an entire day’s worth. I have to say it was quite a learning experience and lots of fun with introducing the guests, announcements, entertainment, & raffles.
The first panel was the “Unofficial One Piece Podcast” panel. This was very, very informative. I started following One Piece very recently & I find the series to be insanely funny. I think the one thing they stressed about the series which I thought was very apparent, was the theme of “family”. Everyone in the Straw Hat Pirates accepts each other unconditionally, despite all their differences. In some ways, it reminds me of the Yorozuya in Gintama. If you haven’t followed One Piece yet, please do so. Just flat-out funny, charming, and great.
The next panel was probably the one panel that a lot of people were waiting for (& tweeted about), the Kodansha Comics launch event. Associate Publisher Dallas Middaugh appeared in front of an anxious audience. He addressed the current situation with Kodansha USA & unveiled upcoming titles for Summer 2011. A full list of the titles can be read here.
I have to say I was impressed with what they have in store for manga fans, though the CLAMP titles (Tsubasa & xxxHolic) still being under Del Rey Manga intrigues me. One title I’m ESPECIALLY happy about is Bloody Monday. That’s one title I was wondering whether it would be brought over here and now I got my wish.
I was also impressed with fans bringing up titles that Dallas forgot to mention during the presentation. Nice to see fans care about Kodansha USA & supporting them.
Kodansha USA rewarded fans for coming by doing a raffle where they gave away 4 Air Gear posters, 2 sets of the Ghost in the Shell manga (Volumes 1 & 2), and 1 Sayonara! Zetsubou Sensei towel. Great, great start for Kodansha USA.
The next panel was “Translating Tezuka” with translator, Mari Morimoto. As many manga fans know, her resume is very noteworthy. Mari discussed her latest project, Osamu Tezuka’s “Ayako”. I have to say Ayako is very, very interesting. It makes me wonder about the difficulties of living in Japan, post World War II (the setting for the story). Another thing is the title character, Ayako, is an EXTREMELY flawed character. Just literally almost everything about her is not perfect (maybe except her physical appearance). It provides some good psychological curiosity on how someone like her would be able to fit in society today.
Also, one thing I would like to note from this panel. At the end of the panel, Mari spoke about Kodansha USA possibly bringing over their Weekly Morning manga magazine to the States. I can’t verify the truth of her statement, but this is something I feel is interesting to share with you guys.
Uncle Yo & Chris Troy took the stage next. Funny how this was Uncle Yo’s first time performing at Kinokuniya. A lot of fans enjoyed what he had to say. He made a few jokes that were outside of anime, manga, and video games. The best joke he made was how insane people are now on C-SPAN instead of being locked up in mental asylums.
Last, but not least, animator/artist Jose Velasco presented his new short animated film, Calypso Agency.
Yes, everyone gathered around like that & watched the film through his laptop due to technical difficulties with the television at the store. All I can say is that the film looked AMAZING and it shows that non-Japanese animators can make some great anime. Also, congratulations to Jose for winning the 12th TBS Digicon 6 Singapore Golden Prize in Asia for “Calypso Agency”.
There was another main raffle where many people won more prizes, courtesy of New York Anime Festival. Overall, I had a fun time hosting and I also promoted my blog as well. Someone said that I’m the heir apparent to Peter Tatara, the Programming Director for NYAF. He usually hosts the Kinokuniya events, but couldn’t make it because of the Singapore Comic Convention 2010. I still have a ways to go, though I wouldn’t mind hosting another anime/manga event again in the future.
Page 1 of 2