Saturday, January 28, 2012

Growth of Anime and Manga in Europe

If you ignore all of the racist, bigot, epeen comments, this is a nice little piece on CNN about how manga is gaining popularity in Europe. A story just can't be a story online anymore. Not without people being buttheads about every little thing. /sigh

Moving on.

It's not about manga never existing in Europe before. It's been around for a long ass time else we wouldn't have the large convention culture that it has spawned. Rather that it has become more commonplace in the way that we see it in several Asian countries. People of all ages are reading the books, watching the animes, and buying the gear. You can pick up the latest stuff at a number of stores without having to special order it. It's just like buying a newspaper; that kind of access which has grown. And it's kind of cool to see.

In many ways I would attribute it to the economy. In times of money woes, people look to popular culture and entertainment to ease their worries, if only a moment. Take the Great Depression as an example. That's when movies became the "it" thing. It gave people a break from reality, a chance to see and live another life while putting their troubles away. Manga works in many ways as another form of escapism. Even here in America where we may be seeing a decline in movie ticket sales, we are seeing a steady rise in e-book and online streams of movies. Pick any moment in time where there was an economic concern and you'll see entertainment take a boost in sales.

For me, it's good to see manga more integrated into life. It's not on a shelf in the back of the book store to make you feel like you're buying porn, and they have to stick it into a brown bag so no one can see what it is. It's open access to everyone. That's what all literature should be.

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