Still not the only one

I honestly still think that Hirohiko Araki might not be the only mangaka/cartoonist to be influenced by Western band, since Atsuko Shima also does stuff based on Western bands however directly as they involve the actual musicians in mind if you’re familiar with the bands she likes in her 8-Beat Gag comics.

If you look hard enough both on the Japanese web and in some Western media, Japanese fans of Western stuff do exist where it’s been said that Buck Tick’s influenced by British punk bands, if I remember just as there are Japanese fans of bands like the Ramones even that Araki’s in good company.

That and a good number of Japanese folks being intimated with Western celebrities and programmes should suggest that whilst there are Japanese that have these Western stereotypes, there are those who see beyond it or have any real familiarity that Araki’s still in good company.

They know it

When it comes to anime’s recognition in Japan, they do recognise it but they don’t always have strong feelings for it where it’s like in America where many people recognise Peanuts and Garfield but a good number of them are neither haters nor fans, merely recognising those and experiencing them to some extent.

In Brazil, this is like people recognising Monica’s Gang but they’re not always haters and fans of it and in Britain, a good number of Britons know Bagpuss and Corky the Fan but they’re not always fans and haters either. It’s not always a matter of actually liking or hating the product, as much as many people do recognise it without strong feelings for it.

Not that all Japanese necessarily hate or like anime, a good number recognise them without having strong feelings (especially the more popular ones which’s also the case anywhere else).

The future of comics in the post-anime world

That’s if anime were to go away in the future, not helped by some anime professionals warning about it, this would effect certain industries a lot. If a lot of anime’s derived from Japanese comics, without anime and manga in the form we know in the future I guess the real future lies elsewhere in the world.

I have a feeling that the third world (Africa and Southeast Asia) already have a number of famous cartoon/comics franchises that they are ready to fill in the gap for anime in their markets. Witness the rise of Supa Strikas, which’s based on a comic book as with Aya de Yopougon and there comes Uganda’s Katoto. Likewise in the Philippines, there’s also Trese, Pugad Baboy and Kikomachine.

But the West might be best equipped to fill in the gap for anime, given it’s already shaping up to do many of the things anime did/does and I think it’s already comparable to anime that if you look hard enough there’s already an equivalent to many late night anime in the forms of Adult Swim and Liquid Television.

(There’s also a lot of direct to video American animated productions if you look hard enough.)

If a lot of anime are adapted from comics, that’s also the case with Western animation where you have many cartoon adaptations of comics ranging from Marvel and DC to comic strips like Peanuts, Garfield, Doonesbury (at some point), US Acres and Boondocks.

So that’s comparable, given comic strips are already read by many that somebody likened it to the status of manga in Japan,

Romanticising something

Though not all anime fans necessarily romanticise Japan, as some do take a realistic look at it to be fair, for some fans there’s a tendency to equate the fantasy image with the real Japan/any nation really as if they see it in terms of escapism. As in virtually escaping a bad world to something better and more exciting, which’s the general gist of that sentiment.

That’s not to say Japan’s without its own flaws like say racism to its own ethnicities (Ainu and Ryukyuan as well as Korean) and bullying in sports, but when it comes to romanticising nations any nation can be framed as exotic and amusingly unusual as an escape from a bad life or something. Japan’s often prone to this, but really any country would be subjected to this sentiment as long as people will want to escape something.

Already familiar

To be fair, things like Osomatsu and Jojo are new to a good number of readers and viewers outside of Japan even if a few international fans, like their Japanese counterparts, may’ve been familiar with it beforehand. To wit, this is as if you recently encountered say Jojo and think it’s good enough to check it out, or at least good enough to pique your interest that it’s new to you.

Or anything else really, say I’m new to Flash Gordon that even if I’m familiar with it by reading old science fiction encyclopedias it’s only now I’m digging deeper into it that even if I’m not a fan of Flash Gordon and itself being an old franchise, it’s new to people like me. Actually, this is if Lord of the Rings and Spirou are old franchises but new to somebody that this proves my point anyways.

It’s been running for years

When it comes to the anime and manga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures, to wit this is a story where characters fight through their familiars called stands even though very early on this plot point/plot device’s absent. If it were running since the late 1980s, whatever homages various cartoonists make in their own stories (something like Saiyuki having a Jojo reference whenever somebody’s accomplice seems to pop out like a Stand) would’ve been already familiar.

As in if Jojo was running since the 1980s, a good number of readers would’ve already been familiar with Jojo to note the references whereas a good number of the newer, Anglophone readers and viewers would make a big deal out of it (though to be fair, an international fanbase did exist but didn’t yet explode in numbers until the 2012 anime came). I feel the Japanese readership and some Japanese cartoonists would’ve already been this familiar with Jojo to reference it.

But when it’s something so familiar, you eventually notice what’s going on.

Right wing anime fans

To be fair, not every anime fan’s necessarily right wing but a good number of anime fans are right wing, to the point of supporting fascism even if not all anime fans do this (thankfully enough). I get the impression why some conservative nerds are into anime or turn to it’s the feeling of anime being free from left wing politics.

Even though ironically enough, leftists exist in Japan (the existence of feminism there should indicate that SJWs do exist there) but to be fair, it’s like if Western media continues to have rather liberal politics (though I do think fighting against sexism and racism’s a good thing) they’d turn to anime instead. Which’s where the problem begins.

In that if a lot of anime are practically apolitical (even if there are truly non-sexist, non-racist anime out there) that makes it easier to appropriate it for any political ideology. Whilst I do think/feel that truly non-racist and non-sexist anime does exist, some anime are openly fascistic/racist as to be palatable to certain demographics.

(Western media’s not any better, given there are Western stuff’s that palatable to fascists.)

Not every anime’s necessarily this racist, sexist or fascist but those who feel the burnt of feminism turn to it.

Cartoon recognition

To clarify, this isn’t to say all Japanese like anime but when it comes to fame and popularity, not all Japanese necessarily like or dislike anime but they do recognise some without having feelings for it. Especially the more well-known anime many Japanese recognise, that’s if you exclude the anime subculture, most Japanese do recognise Sazae-san, Doraemon and Gundam but they’re not necessarily haters or fans.

To wit, if we’re talking about America then a lot of Americans recognise Peanuts, Cathy, Looney Tunes, Spongebob Squarepants, Mickey Mouse and Co, Dennis the Menace and Garfield without necessarily liking or disliking those. For another matter, many Britons recognise their own Dennis the Menace, Kipper and Thomas the Tank Engine without hating or liking those. That’s practically how many Japanese feel about Sazae-san and Doraemon to be fair.

Who watches anime?

If I’m not mistaken, somewhere on Reddit, somebody else said that if/when most Japanese don’t watch anime (I think it’s also due to other things like other priorities to do) that it seems Darwinian enough to favour those most likely to watch anime in their free time or willingly to (cram schools do make it hard for some people to enjoy anime).

The same poster suggested that if one were to include the Simpsons, King of The Hill, American Dad, Bob’s Burgers and arguably any Disney movie that Americans might actually watch more animation than the Japanese do. This would make much more sense that objectively speaking Simpsons and Family Guy do have very wide followings.

(Though Disney’s wider still enough for some parents to watch Disney on a good day to be generous.)

It doesn’t help that practically most anime aimed at adults tends to air very late at night not helped by that many other adults, both Japanese and non-Japanese, would either be sleeping or busy with something else (the deadlines!) that ratings wise, Simpsons has an edge over Rick and Morty.

(Or for another matter, Sazae-san over whatever moe anime shows up.)

Run for anime’s money

I actually think we’ve come to the point where American and Western animation’s starting to be comparable to Japanese anime, especially when it comes to the growth of adult animation and late night productions in particular (Adult Swim), though the presence of web animation makes it even more similar in some regards.

In the sense that a good number of anime’s adapted from comics but so are a good number of Western and American animations (Peanuts, DC and Marvel, Spawn, Doonesbury, Garfield, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bloom County/Outland, also Martin Mystery, Tintin, Asterix and both versions of Dennis the Menace*).

I also think that when one looks hard enough, there’s as much of an audience for night and especially late night animation in the West as there’s one in Japan: The Simpsons and the like did popularise this in America and there’s in fact the late night block at Adult Swim and MTV’s Liquid Television.

(The Simpsons begat Futurama and Disenchanted, Beavis and Butthead begat King of the Hill and Daria, Family Guy gave way for the Cleveland Show and American Dad.)

Add the direct to video productions that Disney, Warner Bros and co have been churning out for years that it’s practically comparable to Japan’s very own in some regards.

*There’s one in America and another in Britain.