It’s not so much that the human race is getting dumber as much as it is I’m amazed how many new and exciting ways it finds to BE dumber. Right now in the US comics community many have bypassed American comics for Japanese comics, often referred to as manga. Since “manga” basically means “motionless pictures”, aka “comics” don’t be surprised when I used them interchangeably. I don’t put comics from other countries or regions under some banner that’s really just “the word ‘comic’ in another language”. I think that’s silly. You may prefer one over the other (personally I just want a good story with good art and really don’t care what country it’s from so long as I can read it) but neither is the “superior” comic. So get over yourselves on that one.
As certain perspectives (no, I’m not just talking about politics, but since that’s ruined everything it will sadly play into this one–though #3 on the list is politics of a more traditional definintion) have infected American comics, especially the superhero works over at Marvel and to a lesser extent DC, manga has been seen as a better alternative since their focus is only the story. Japan doesn’t get involved with many of our US debates since they don’t have the same racial hangups we do in the West. Also, most of Japan is strictly Japanese and follows the Japanese culture so they have no dog in that fight. Naturally this hasn’t stopped a certain sect in the West that I refer to as “the ‘good’ white people” from telling Japan how to make their products because they’ve managed to convince everyone around here to play more by their rules. This has led to what appears to be a growing pushback against manga for not kowtowing to the same agenda and perspectives that Western comics have. I have three very good examples of what appears to be a growing trend by people who probably have never picked up a Japanese comic in their lives–but that didn’t stop them with US comics.
The Sailor Moon Redraw Debacle
I don’t think anything emphasizes my point of how many of the critics of manga have no idea about manga that the #sailormoonredraw hashtag on Twitter. What should have been a fun project by fan artists to redo Sailor Moon screenshots in their own art style ran head first into the idiot brigade. Now there is some beautiful art in this hashtag series. Some of it is more comical, some of it more detailed, some of it involves other characters like Hank Hill taking Sailor Moon’s spot, and there have even been some really nice art where the replacement character is a race swap. There’s one with an Indian girl that is fantastic. (I don’t care when fanart does it, just the official adapters and lore keepers.) It’s all quite good. Including this one.
I looked up this guy’s Twitter and he’s got mainly art of gay dudes. Well done art, but this was the only character with a second X chromosome I saw in a quick search. This art here is really good, and a later redo of the piece even gave her black hair, something more typical of Japanese women. I don’t think anybody with taste has a problem with this image. So why is this an example? The fallout. It’s always the fallout. Silverjow, who is Malaysian, based the image off of his sister, which we can assume is also Malaysian. So she’s not even traditionally Japanese here, she’s Malaysian. Still not the problem. It was tweets like this:
While one of the tweets used in Bounding Into Comics’ report on this at least mentioned “realistic renditions”, a lot of people seemed to not realize that the image on the right is how she look in Japan, created by real life Japanese woman Naoko Takeuchi, who made her look like this. The image comes from the anime, which follows her art style almost perfectly (some alterations get made between media formats after all). Serena/Usagi/Bunny (whatever translation you prefer) is a blonde with big eyes. Here’s the dumbest comment from the article:
Basically the good white people are telling Japanese people how to draw their characters. Apparently the whitewashing allegations were rampant not against Silverjow…they actually thought this was praising his art, which I say again is amazing and I like it…but against all the other creators (except for the race swappers like that cool Indian version I mentioned) for not making Japanese looking characters.
Why not praise all the artists, including Joe here, for their amazing work instead of insisting a country who makes content for their country and just imports it to the West for some extra money and because they know it has fans over here need to think about races that at best only visit the country. I’m betting Japan doesn’t have a high rate of Latinos living there for example. No, the good white people want to tell Japan what to make and yet have a fit about “cultural appropriation” when Western fans make stuff about it. Here they insist the characters should look Japanese when this is one of the more popular art styles in Japan. We’ll be ending on this as well, but before we get to the government let’s get into the big “fan” backlash out there right now.
My Target Academia
My Hero Academia seems to be one of those rare shows where superheroes are inspired by Western heroes, at least when it comes to design and power sets, but still being traditionally Japanese. The show follows a group of student superheroes learning to use their powers to protect a world where 80% of the population has a special power or “quirk”. (In the DC and Marvel universes it just feels like it’s that many people.) Among general superhero fans the manga and anime are highlighted as examples of superhero stories that are still about superheroes and telling an action story with heroic people fighting bad guys.
So of course a few issues have come up. The more recent one I kind of understand but it still seems to be a huge misunderstanding. A recent character (a bad guy who apparently supplies the villains–I need to get into this series) named Maruta Shiga drew fire from Chinese and Korean fans because “maruta” (it makes more sense in the article–and I’m using the same site in these links for my convenience) apparently has ties to what the Japanese did during World War II and other attacks on their neighbors before that. (Remember, Japan was run by some bad people for a long time. Those of us from the 60s onward got the non-evil improved model that makes great media.) I believe creator Kohei Horikoshi when he says that was unintentional, though this is a villain. There’s a black supervillain in Milestone called “Holocaust” and nobody predicted Nick Cannon’s recent comments. Still, he agreed to change the name, and that’s fine.
Of course that isn’t going to save him from the angry Twitterati, who also got upset because two characters share a birthday with Adolph Hitler. I didn’t know what his birthday was so points to their history teacher. I’m guessing he didn’t look up Hitler’s birthday so he could give them that date. He probably chose one at random and got unlucky. (Story of my life.) So screw everybody out there who shares a birthday with Adolf. I guess that immediately means your evil.
[I was going to post the intro to the American Gladiators ripoff Knights & Warriors but all I could find was a couple of full episodes and camera recording of a TV that included the end of a WWF wrestling show and some commercials.]
And as a segue to the final example the Twitterati also complained that an 18 year old character had a mammary growth spurt over the summer (aka between seasons) and treated it like they were sexualizing a minor. Like that’s the most sexual thing done with a minor in an anime. I’ve seen worse. Nightmarishly worse. Do not look up fanservice videos. Just the reviews from my friends are scary. At least one of these examples included threatening the creator and wanting to dox the studio because apparently they were all in on Kyoto Animation’s arsonist. Otherwise why would you push a repeat?
Amazon And Australia Vs. An Lolis
Look, I’m not a fan of the “lolicon” art style. I’m not even sure how to explain it to the more general audience. Any reference I could use would be inaccurate or outdated to a lot of you. The best I can describe it is a variation of chibi art where the adults and teenagers look like younger characters but with adult body features, like breasts. Which is where the problem begins.
Apparently some senator in Australia with about as much understanding about Japanese art styles as Fredric Wertham does comics and Jack Thompson does video games has decided that clearly this art style has to be used only to sexually groom kids and promote pedophilia. His campaign against Sword Art Online and No Game No Life may or may not have led to “objectionable” Japanese material being removed from at least one Japanese media distributor to drop any manga, light novel, or collectable that even hints of lolicon despite these characters being 16-18 years old in the story. Although actually reading the material instead of glancing at the pictures and skimming some dialog would have told you this but why have research assistants do actual research? That’d be silly. South Korea has done the same lack of research but we’ve seen they still have a beef with Japan and could just be looking for an excuse. (That’s my opinion, nothing more.)
Manga and light novels have also faced some issue over at Amazon as they have delisted any comic with such artwork. Amazon Japan still has it but that will be in Japanese. Amazon officials blame a computer program set up to find child porn and delete it from stores that sell through Amazon but you’d think with everybody stuck home during the death plague quarantine with nothing to do you’d have MORE humans able to track what’s up there, not less as they claim. I also haven’t seen a notation from any of the sites I follow as of this writing that has put them back up.
EDIT: Just after this went live I saw another article on the same site I was using where again adults are being treated like kids…apparently with insanely huge breasts, which makes me wonder what kids these pervs know…in the comic Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out. So there’s a fourth example.
There are only three (now four) example of how people with no interest in Japanese media, or the “good people” who are more interested in their perspective than the rights of manga creators in a country that isn’t theirs to comment on (what happened to the “it wasn’t made for you” argument?) inflicting limits on something people enjoy. Japanese manga creators are not going to cater to the audience that isn’t their target, nor should they. It would help if these critics knew what they were talking about. At least when they complained about Rise Of The Shield Hero I understood where they were coming from even if I didn’t agree. The above are just examples of not doing the research, making a snap judgement based on a surface examination, and basically trying to ruin an industry they don’t have any right to control. Japan’s answer will probably be to not bother, leading to the return of scanlations and more money lost for the industry but the control freaks who practically revel in their ignorance would call that a victory.