The Manga Legacy
Animation flicks are often perceived as the medium for kids. Of course it’s undeniable given the western world of cinema has always had its animation films centering on the world of children or of their fantasies. Hollywood churns out the examples for it aplenty, only that, it’s designed to amuse not just the kids but also the child inside every grownup. Also here the trend of comics turned feature films are quite common. Marvel Comics, to say, leads the show and has delivered the contents for a legion of action adventure flicks.
Unlike the west the comics’ tradition takes a different route, especially in Japan. In Japan, comics are read by people of all ages. Hence they are devoted in catering the needs of every reader. Also they don’t refrain themselves with few genres but touches- action, thrillers, adventure, supernatural, science fiction, drama, horror, erotic- everything. The Manga comics have their unique legacy to speak of. Manga is not a publishing company, like most of us think it to be. Manga tradition has its history starting from the late 19th century. Some unverified sources quote the tradition to date as back as 12th century, but lack proof.
Manga has a unique illustrative style that has influenced the west to a great extent. They are comics sketched mostly in balck and white, with only a few exceptions done in colour. The comics usually come with multiple stories packed in one edition, which are told in a series fashion. Every story will keep on progressing in every successive edition. The Manga illustrators are popularly called ‘mangaka’.
The original Japanese manga versions have deeply influenced the styles in comics in China, Korea and Taiwan. They have not just conquered the east but also the west couldn’t resist to its elegance. We have manga versions in France and US and the industry is sky rocketing and is expected to rack a fortune in the years to come.
The graphic novels of the west have striking influences of the manga, not just in illustrations but in plots as well. Manga movies have been a constant source of inspiration for the Hollywood filmmakers. The ‘manga influence’ could be seen in the narrative structure of Taratino’s ‘Kill Bill Vol.1 & 2’. Though Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City’ didn’t take manga comics directly as its inspiration, and only intended to bring out the filmatic adaptation of the aesthetics of a graphic novel, had manga flavour in it too. The Wachowski Brothers sensational global sci-fi action thriller ‘The Matrix’ was immensely influenced by manga. The director duo in an interview after the global success of the film, quoted two movies as their fundamental influences for the making style of Matrix. The first was ‘Akira’ (1988) and the other ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (1995), both manga animation movies.
Though the first ever manga adaptation of an animation feature in Japan hit the screens in 1960, until the 80’s very few of such films were released. Post 80s the scenario changed and the trend caught up in the years that followed. No year in the cinema calendar is rolled up without the release of at least five animation manga movies.Full length features based on manga stories also get released every year. Besides, manga has phenomenally influenced the gaming industry.
Through manga comics come in all genres, the world of science fiction benefited out of manga than any other. Sci-fi in manga has influenced tremendously of our perception of science and technology and its pros and cons. It also has a phenomenal take on human interactions with future technology. The legacy of manga continues inspiring dreams and imaginations.