Anime is an animation style with Japanese roots, characterized by extremely distinctive backgrounds and characters. The storylines behind this form of animation usually vary and may include fictional or historical events, characters, and settings that cover a broad audience range. Manga, on the other hand, refers to printed graphics or comics, also originating from Japan. The characters appear to have somewhat similar features to those of anime.

History of Manga and Anime

The term manga dates back to 1798 when it was first used as a description for a picture book called Shiji No Yukikai. However, it is not until during the World War II era that manga began to gain popularity. The US troops in Japan introduced various animation characters such as Mickey Mouse, Bambi, and Betty Boop to the country. That sparked creativity among the Japanese artists, which made them create their unique style of comics.

The Manga style is credited to Osamu Tezuka, also known as the God of Manga. He came up with the distinctive large eyes that anime and manga characters usually have. He also created a manga series called Astro Boy, which ended up being the first of its kind to air on television in 1963.

During the 1970s and 1980s, some anime variants started to gain popularity overseas. Two good examples include Star Blazers and Robotech, which had mature themes. Star Blazers, which was first broadcast in the United States in 1979, focused on global warming, acid rain, and radiation poisoning. The series became the first popular anime-based broadcast in the US. The popularity of anime went on to rise and spread to other countries to a point where it is currently appreciated all over the world.

Manga’s Beauty

Manga is not just a type of cartoon. It is more of a beautiful art form, which is used in a variety of ways. For starters, it is a representation of the Japanese aesthetic traditions and culture. The content variations in manga and anime are so diverse, ranging from futuristic science fiction to historical events and covering everything in between such as teenage romance and comedy.

There are a few different types of Anime, including:

  • ‘Kodomo’ – Anime for children
  • ‘Shoujo’ – Anime aimed at girls
  • ‘Shouten’ – Anime for boys
  • ‘Hentai’ – Adult content, usually XXX rated and definitively NSFW

The diversity allows all fans to find something they can relate to as per their preferences. For that reason, you are likely to see people dressing up in anime themes, getting tattoos of some of their favorite characters, and even attending some popular anime events.

Manga and Anime-Related Places of Interest and Events

Numerous attractions and events have been established due to manga and anime’s increased popularity. Most of them are in Japan because they offer a sense of authenticity. Still, there are many others in different countries as well. A few examples are highlighted below.

Manga Cafés

Manga cafés refer to specific places set up for people to access a collection of manga. You have to pay a certain amount to access the library for a specified duration. The cafes have individual compartments that allow the readers some privacy. Some also serve various non-alcoholic beverages to guests.

In some cases, you are allowed to borrow some books. The cost of a reading session or borrowing varies depending on the particular manga café you visit. Most of the manga cafes are usually located close to the train stations, with many such establishments being in Tokyo and Osaka.

Maid Cafés

maid cafe tokyo

Initially, the maid cafés were created to fulfill the fan’s fantasies of maid-themed anime and manga. The concept came about at the dawn of the millennium, originating from Akihabara. Many maid cafés opened around and within the same area, which makes Akihabara the go-to place for the best experience of the maid café.

Maid cafés can be found in a variety of other countries other than Japan, including China, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, and Canada. As suggested by the name, a maid café’s primary characteristic involves waitresses dressed in maid costumes. They also role-play and may engage guests in a friendly and charming manner. They can also play video games with the guests as a way of making them feel relaxed.

For an additional fee, you can take a few pictures with the waitresses. The meals and desserts served are decorated in a unique way that makes them appear as if they are from an anime episode.

Events

A few anime and manga grand events usually take place annually. A good example is Anime Japan, formerly called the Tokyo Anime Fair, held each year at Odaiba’s Big Sight convention center. Anime Japan is among the most significant animation-related events across the entire world. Due to the pandemic of 2020, this years event was canceled but promises a big comeback next year.  Comiket is another event that is worth noting. It is a comic book fair that usually attracts large numbers of manga fans from all over the world. It is generally held twice every year, hosted at Big Sight.

Theme Parks and Museums

There is also a variety of museums and theme parks that are inspired by anime and manga. Some of the most popular ones include One Piece Tower, Ghibli Museum, Fujiko F. Museum, Ishinomori Manga Museum, Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum, Kyoto International Manga Museum, and Kitakyushu Manga Museum. People all around the world who love any genre, feel the overpowering need to go and visit the country of its origin, and sometimes even learn Japanese to better understand and identify with their heroes and heroines. .

Shopping

In Japan, and nowadays, nearly all other places in the world, anime and manga-related items have many followers. That has resulted in hobby shops being set up in various locations, especially in the Akihabara district, which is considered the mecca of anime and manga. If you are more into the fashion and cosplay that comes along with anime and manga, Shibuya and Harajuku  are well known and accessible by foot. The two areas lead Japanese trendy young cultures like Pop culture and Kawaii culture.

Akihabara district

Akihabara district

Effects of Anime and Manga on Modern Lifestyle

Anime and manga have contributed quite a lot to the way people think and live their life. Most fans of anime try to live their lives based on the storylines they see in the anime series. It is even more of a culture in various places such as Japan, where manga and anime are what will first come to mind when you look around the streets.

Anime and Manga In Games

With the increased popularity of anime and manga, the gaming industry has introduced a variety of games that feature anime characters and backgrounds. Most are action-packed games, but there is a good variety of choices. It is possible to find a few anime characters in even some of the games that are not anime-based.

Anime and Manga on Movies

Anime started airing on television several years ago. Currently, the movie industry has gotten so much into it such that new anime movies are released more frequently than ever before. Such films sell throughout the world, a good indication of how popular anime and manga have become. Two examples of blockbuster anime movies include Studio Ghibli’s highly acclaimed Spirited Away (2001) or the recent popular hit Your Name (2016).

via GIPHY

Manga and Fashion

Nowadays, it is common for fashion-oriented individuals to incorporate their favorite anime characters in their outfits. That can be in the form of prints on the attire, designs, colors, type of shoes, and hairstyle, among others. Some even go to the extent of applying makeup in a way that will make them look like their favorite anime characters. There are also various accessories that anime and manga lovers use as part of their fashion accessories. That ranges from brooches, belts, and handbags, among many others.

Final Thoughts

Manga and anime have gained popularity over the recent years to make it among the top animation categories in the world. Some of the reasons are because it provides a variety of suitable content for all age groups, and they have a cultural impact. The anime and manga trend has been around for quite some time now, and it is highly unlikely that it will end soon.