branchandroot: Ginji and Akabane with a heart (Ginji Akabane Heart)
Branch ([personal profile] branchandroot) wrote2010-01-05 05:57 pm
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The difference between manga and comics

Actually, this is a lot broader than that, but that was one of the places this post started. The other was Rana's comment on a different post, words to the effect that the fan-cultures in question seem to divide themselves based only on some very fuzzy Orientalism.

I agree that fuzzy Orientalism is the most regrettably common way Western fans of similar media from different national/ethnic groups (eg comics and manga) express their differentiation. That particular expression is generally a lot of hot air, yes.

But I also think there are real fan-culture differences, touching on though not always rising directly from the mother-culture differences of the sources. This is my attempt to articulate the ones that I've seen. Warning: generalizations ahead, though not baseless ones.

ETA: To elaborate, this post is based on my own and my circle's experiences in various fandoms; unfortunately I managed to phrase things rather more generally and universally than I quite realized at the time. *rueful* None of the following is actually meant to be a Declaration Of How Fandom Is Everywhere. That said, the experience in question is not a narrow one, and I think the following is representative of a significant section of manga (and anime) fandom participants.


One major fan-culture difference is Japanophilia. Not the study of another culture, though it can in a few happy cases evolve into that, but the fad for and valorization of the surface and trappings of another culture. It makes me twitch, but there it is. However much some of us headdesk, this exoticization isn't going away anytime soon and it is a significant fan-culture difference.

Another is what we might call the discussion tropes of the fandoms. These tend to evolve from a handful of defining features in the sources where they cross with the developing tenor of the fandom culture. A recurring discussion in comic fandoms, for example, revolves around the hypersexualization of women, and how objectionable it is to reduce all the women to a set of tits and an ass. Manga fandoms do not have this discussion (ETA: I should have phrased this as something more like "this discussion or similar ones regarding the rendering of women as two-dimensional objects who exist for the benefit of men and not as fully realized characters"), not as a Known Issue, not in the open, despite an at least equal tendency to appalling objectification in the source material. Instead, the discussion usually gets pushed into private mode before it really gets going. See above, re: Japanophilia and valorization, also re: headdesking. On the other hand, the original language itself is a discussion point largely peculiar to Western manga fandoms, as will generally be the case with a translated source. It expresses as everything from language lessons to fights over transliteration systems to the eternal localization vs. "direct" translation battle, and knowledge of those debates acts as one of the shibboleths of manga fandoms.

Then there's actual style and content in the source. There has always been a certain give and take, between this particular two-set, of artistic style, and as US comics (the only ones I can speak to from experience) diversify it's becoming more evident, but there are also story tropes that are still distinct. How else, when they arise from two separate mother-cultures? To name only one, multiple genres of manga have, for decades, toyed with explicit homoeroticism in a way that comics in general do not. The genre diversity itself is another example, and the variety of story-types told in manga format. The symbolic language is, and can only remain, distinct as well. Curiously enough, such story tropes do not result in many fan-culture differences that I have seen, except insofar as manga fandom can, for example, show a more intense defensiveness, sometimes devolving into outright gay-bashing, over reading and enjoying explicit gay (only not real gay, which is a whole nother essay) romance, porn and slapstick. (ETA: I did not phrase myself with enough specificity here; I am aware of the voluble gay-bashing in comics fandoms. What I refer to is the particular "screw for my enjoyment while I deny you the right to live" double-mindedness that shows up among fen who are trying to have their cake and bash it too. The key word, here, is defensiveness.) The different story tropes I would put down as a distinction between the sources, but not one that manifests much in fandom culture outside of the actual preference for the style and content of one group of sources or another.


Now, what I would be interested to know is: do the same kinds of differences show up in the Western fandoms of Western and Asian TV? Or of Western bands and Asian bands? And do they manifest in gaming fandoms? That last especially interests me, since the game sources seem to be the most self-aware of the trans-Pacific trade.

ETA: As per suggestion, I would like to point out that I have not been present for the bulk of wrangler discussions on associated issues. These are thoughts going off in a different (somewhat) direction, so please to be not be bringing other fights in here. I am an unaligned polity.

ETA some more: Will not be replying to further comments on this one because work has descended for the term. Talk among yourselves if you like.
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[personal profile] solesakuma 2010-01-05 11:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, but that difference is still not between manga and comics, but rather between fandoms.

I still don't think that calling US comics and manga 'genres' works. They're a handy classification, but even then, shoujo and shonen are different. So are Peanuts and Superman.
We could say there are some aesthetic commonalities between manga as a whole and Western comics as a whole but, for example, comics strips also have aesthetic commonalities between them, regardless of which country produced them.

Manga, comics, historieta, bande desineé only refer to national traditions inside the same medium.
Even if The Tale of Genji, the Arabian Nights and El cantar del Mío Cid are really really different, have different story tropes and come from different cultures, we call them all 'literature'. Sculptures are sculptures and dance is dance.

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eisen: Mato (learn three chords; start a band). (words and guitar.)

[personal profile] eisen 2010-01-06 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
And do they manifest in gaming fandoms?

Yes, although the extent thereof and the permutations of it are a whole 'nother post entirely; I'm not capable of writing it now, but the manifestation is there.

Looking at it in a general view, it's not all that different in context of the medium to the comics divide, and - as [personal profile] ranalore pointed out on the previous post on this subject, if we're willing to acknowledge that large of a gap between the fanbase while still lumping the distinct fandoms under the same media category for games like we do with every other medium, we ... should probably be doing the same for the printed page and animation, until/unless some bright shining star can put forward a sane and non-explosive way to divvy up the other media categories along similar lines.

Of course, AO3 really does need to decide if, category-wise, we're listing by media type or by fandom, because right now it's unclear and it's really producing more confusion and conflict than helpfulness. What we seem to be leading towards right now is a clearer delineation by media type in the initial browsing categories, regardless of whether this ends up leading to more or less simplification on the initial categories page.

One thing that makes this hard to discuss is that, speaking as a wrangler in many of the fandoms that will be affected by this decision, the wrangling staff as a whole and in particular for fandoms with (there really has to be a better word for this) non-Western sources takes a really dim view of the "fuzzy Orientalism" you and Rana point out (as many of us - myself not included, however, for the sake of clarification - are from cultural backgrounds where they have to deal with that kind of racist misinterpretation on a regular basis), and I expect we'll continue to be mostly uninterested in providing a solution that caters to such a mindset.

I myself am uninterested in providing that kind of solution, as well; if there's a way to utilize the AO3's current structure, or manipulate it to work a little differently to cater to the fannish culture differences without pandering to that Orientalist and source-culture-erasing streak, I'd be really interested in pursuing it. I'm falling back on the "let's just categorize it as its media type like we do everything else" option for lack of anything that's actually a better idea, you know? But so far, nobody's provided one.

Sorry if this comes off like I'm jumping you or anything! I honestly am not trying to do anything of the kind; I saw you in comments on [personal profile] lysapadin's KHR fic and came looking to see what you had to offer on the topic of more of that, please and stumbled into this instead.

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[personal profile] zombiecookie 2010-01-06 07:02 am (UTC)(link)
Neither comic fans nor manga (or anime and cartoon) fans are really going to stand for being shoved together and there are very good and valid reasons why they shouldn't be (which you cover very well), but seperating them completely, seems very unfair to me, /especially/ if nothing else is going to be handled that way. It continues to foster the animosity that some members of both groups have for each other.

There are also cases where it's not so clear cut where fan stuff based on a specific work would go. What is someone did a fan work based on the X-men manga? Would it get separated from the rest of the X-men stuff, or would it be allowed with the comics? What about OEL manga? Would those type of works get shunted to one or the other, or would it be handled on a case by case basis?

I like the idea of things being better separated, either through using small categories or subcategories withing larger categories. At the very least it would make the manga/comic distinction stick out like less of a sore thumb. I've never seen anything anything else divided purely by country of origin like that, even for video games where the divide between JRPG fans and western game fans can be just as big.

Believe it or not, I actually had a bigger comment written about this. As a fan of manga and comics the hard distinction between the two has always bugged me. People from both sides have given me flack for liking both, even when they know nothing about the particular series that I like.

As an after thought, there are some differences between Western and Asian TV fandoms, but most of that seems to come from the fact that many of the stars of Asian TV shows are 'entertainers' or 'musicians', the fandoms of some Asian TV shows aren't really TV fandoms at all, but are really a subsection of a music fandom.

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(Anonymous) 2010-01-06 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Err...

Manga fandoms do not have this discussion,

Depends on the individual fandom. I can't really agree that manga fandom in general doesn't, because I've participated in the discussion of this myself, and can therefore conclude that manga fandom has this discussion.

Yes, drek like Queen's Blade won't have the discussion. Mainly because barely anyone who finds the sexualisation problematic is watching it, and discussing it in particular is silly, because people who watch it don't care.
This is not different from western-media fandom not discussing generic porn comics.

for example, show a more intense defensiveness, sometimes devolving into outright gay-bashing,

Uhm...no.

Comic book fandom seems to have far, far deeper homophobic roots, and the homophobia is usually worse and more direct. Gay bashing is frequent, and there is outright cheering when LGBT characters die. I have never seen even anything remotely like that in manga fandom, ever, not even on 4chan, which is probably the vilest, most troll infested part of anime fandom.

The homophobia in comic book fandom is utterly vile. In Manga fandom, it's definitely present, but nowhere near as volatile.

I definitely feel safer in manga fandom because the bashing just isn't that bad.


only not real gay, which is a whole nother essay

One that would be interesting, especially if you can cite examples for the supposedly not-really-gay characters. I for one would love to read it.

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[personal profile] the_rck 2010-01-06 08:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I've been trying (and failing) to come up with a thoughtful response to this. I think I simply don't have the knowledge to talk about the fandoms so broadly. I have vague impressions and definite opinions but very little concrete context. You've made me think.

I've viewed Japanophilia as a scary and easy trap to fall into. I find other cultures interesting, and I can see the temptation to think that I'm learning a lot about Japanese culture when I read manga or watch anime. I have to remind myself that I'm still looking at what I see through my own filters and therefore missing or misreading some unknown portion of what's there for a Japanese audience.

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[personal profile] elspethdixon 2010-01-06 09:43 pm (UTC)(link)
There has always been a certain give and take, between this particular two-set, of artistic style, and as US comics (the only ones I can speak to from experience) diversify it's becoming more evident, but there are also story tropes that are still distinct.

I know there's been some anime influence on superhero comics art in recent years, and there's at least one manga artist/writer I can think of whose character designs are occasionally homages to various X-Men characters (I forget his name, but he's the one who wrote/drew Ruroni Kenshin), but the visual storytelling techiniques are often very different, even accounting for the left-to-right vs. right-to-left issue. I had to learn an entirely different visual 'vocabulary' to read manga and doujinshi (then again, I also had to learn a new set of visual storytelling rules for Golden Age comics vs. modern ones).

Which says nothing about the fandoms involved, of course, and I think there is some degree of blending between the two -- most of the comicbook stores I've been in sell manga as well as the classic DCU/Marvel/Vertigo/Dark Horse stuff, for example, and I saw more than one set of Naruto or Final Fantasy or Dragonball cosplayers at NYCC last year. Not to mention that anime and Marvel/DC superhero comics both have international fanbases.

I'd feel weird lumping them all together under a generic "comics" tag on AO3, though, because the term "comics" is so strongly associated with American comicbooks that I feel like other artistic traditions would get erased or subsumed by it (a lot of people hear "comics fandom," and think superheroes -- even other Western comics like Asterix or Tintin or Calvin & Hobbes or Peanuts don't really come to mind).
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[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2010-01-06 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Just stepping into say, I think if merging occurs, it would be under a more neutral term like "Sequential Art and Animation". At least, I haven't seen anyone propose to call the category "comics". (Am on the tag wrangling team.)

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[personal profile] azurite 2010-01-07 11:26 am (UTC)(link)
Jumping in to add yeah: you say "comics," my first thought isn't Calvin & Hobbes, but Superman or Batman and the like. But nowadays, if I go into a Borders, I can find DC/Marvel/Dark Horse/etc. all under "graphic novels" just a shelf away from all the Japanese and Korean manga/manhwa. Comics -which covers the Calvin & Hobbes, Dilbert, etc. are in their own, other section of the store. Not that Borders is the end-all, be-all Mode For Organization of Fan Media, but it was my first thought.

I remember when Tokyopop (née Mixx) was trying to define manga as "motionless picture entertainment," which is a lark. It basically translates to "comics." And the term "anime" is really just short for the French word for animation, which covers things like cartoons. And yet I feel like it's transcended the original, simplified meaning and to someone like me within fandom, anime is not "a cartoon," even though if you want to be literal about it, it is. But it "feels" different to me, the same way manga feels different than comics. I'm in fandoms of all those varieties, and I'm used to not seeing Superman lumped in with Sailor Moon or Popeye paired off with Puni Puni Poemi.
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[personal profile] lilacsigil 2010-01-07 08:06 am (UTC)(link)
the fad for and valorization of the surface and trappings of another culture.

I think you're seeing only the American side of the fandoms here! There's plenty of Brit-philia in British fandoms (including a small number of comics fandoms) and both America and Japan valorised in this way in other places.

In Australian fandom, for example, there's Japanophilia in manga/anime fandoms, and US-philia in comics fandom. People save up for once-in-a-lifetime trips to the US. We study how US culture and language works. We try to include American locations and speech patterns in our fan writing. I think we have more access to US culture than to Japanese culture (unless you live on the Gold Coast, a major Japanese tourist destination) but the narrow-focus, uncritical love is still there. And we do things like hate Bush while loving Captain America, and hate whale-hunters while reading Mushishi.

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[personal profile] susanna 2010-01-07 10:42 am (UTC)(link)
I am not sure whether you are talking about the same essay that I have in mind, but one important point of the essay seemed to me that the gap between Manga and Comics derives partly from an oversimplified view of Western comics, that is, taking one brand of U.S. comics and declaring it as representative for Western comics. It is a bit weird, as it is normally the other other culture that is seen in an oversimplified way, but it seems that most fans of manga know that there are manga with all kinds of stories while it is less known that there are also comics on every kind of story.

Oh, and for the record, at [livejournal.com profile] chuunin it is now considered okay to discuss sexism and objectification of women in Naruto.

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[personal profile] ceitean 2010-01-07 11:59 am (UTC)(link)
First- you mention discussions about the oversexualization of females in comics fandom that aren't present in animanga -- this is true, but I think that's because there are other focuses in animanga as far as gender is concerned. Usually, I see talk about the undersexualization of female characters who are built along the 'cute/moe/loli' model, and the differences between Western and Japanese femininity. The overexposed boobs don't seem to ping as many radars as the presentation of females as childlike seems to, at least in my circles.


Also. Your post made me think a lot about things that have been floating around in my head for a while. However, the response I eventually wrote out was very tl;dr and wasn't really aimed at you or anyone specific, so rather than spam your journal - this is the link. I'm leaving this here as it's related to the topic you started, but there's no pressure to reply to it. :) (the tl;dr, over-generalized post is tl'dr and overgeneralized, yes.)

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[personal profile] sutlers 2010-01-07 05:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't really have much to add to your post, but I will say that it reminded me of that one line in Michael Crichton's Rising Sun where one of the characters says that he is the one called in to deal with cases concerning the Japanese Embassy, because so many people are either completely in love with Japan or completely hate it, and he's the only one that sees both the good and the bad in Japanese culture. That line has stuck with me for years, even as I've forgotten everything else the book was about, because it just encapsulates so well with the discussions about racism that I've been a part of and the harmfulness of both positive and negative stereotyping and putting any part of a culture on pedestal and refusing to engage with it critically. I just made a post about Loveless on my journal, and it sort of wandered into a discussion of some of the topics you touch on here, as well as things like slut-shaming and the Japan's culture of silence re: child abuse, so um. Yes. YOUR POST, IT RESONATES WITH ME. *cough*
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[personal profile] nenena 2010-01-07 05:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree with a lot of what you said in your post, especially about the Japanophilia bit. It drives me especially crazy in fandoms where the anime/manga source material is not set in Japan, but fans still throw hissy-fits about translators leaving out honorifics or writing names in ways that make sense instead of using pure romanization. See: the great howling fury that was unleashed when Light Yagami's name was officially translated as, well, Light, instead of 'Raito.' It's instances like that that really illustrate the blindness of Japanophilia, I think.

I will, however, take huge exception to this statement:

Manga fandoms do not have this discussion, not as a Known Issue, not in the open, despite an at least equal tendency to appalling objectification in the source material.

I already kind of touched on this in my comment to sailorptah (after which I realized that I should have said that stuff *here* but I am not much with being articulate today). Anywhoo, as you said in the comments upthread, you personally haven't seen those discussions. Okay, but I have. Like, a lot. They don't tend to happen on livejournal, not so much, but they are definitely a huge part of the wider blogosphere that discusses anime and manga. I have eighteen different manga review blogs on my Google Reader list and they *all* discuss issues of sexualization and objectification when it's relevant to the title in question. Which is often, unfortunately. The reviewers at major news sites like Anime News Network frequently - not always, but frequently - touch upon these issues in their reviews, too. And yes, they talked about Queen's Blade a couple times earlier this year too - if only to smack it down. ;) And again, back to livejournal: I and many of the people on my flist dicuss these issues frequently, especially with regards to Naruto, yuri anime, etc.

Blah blah blah, I know, it all boils down to who's on your flist, which blogs you read, what forums you hang out in, etc. etc. I think that my fandom experience in this regard has been very different from yours. But that it exactly why I take exception to your statement that feminist discourse never happens in animanga. It does. Just because you haven't experienced it, doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

And as for the organization of fandoms in A03, I have no comment. It seems blindingly obvious to me that manga and comics shouldn't be separated, but because it seems blindingly obvious to me, I suspect that there are issues here that I'm just not seeing. I need to read more before I can open my mouth about the topic without sounding like a dumbass.
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[personal profile] nenena 2010-01-07 05:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Edit: I re-read my first paragraph and realized that there was some coherency fail. I know that Death Note is set in Japan; I just used the Light/Raito thing to illustrate something that most often happens when the source material isn't set in Japan. Yagami Light's parents just had an odd sense for naming their kids, it seems.

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[personal profile] nojojojo 2010-01-07 07:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Here via Metafandom.

Many things about the OP here bug me, and I've been trying to put my finger on them without success, but I'll give it a shot.

Leaving aside the AO3 business -- I don't care, I only share my fanfic with friends anyway -- I think the problem is that the OP is persistently applying Western cultural mores to a fandom which is quintessentially non-Western.

That is, the roots of animangame (just because I've always seen them linked) fandom lie in Japanese fandom, and though since the advent of Web 2.0 it's developed a more Western cultural focus, those non-Western roots linger and express themselves in some very particular ways. For example -- what you and others in this thread are calling "Japanophilia" is usually not, IMO. It's an attempt to show respect for the source culture; a kind of political correctness. So for example you see a lot of younger fans using "fangirl Japanese" and obsessing over Romanization and honorifics -- and yeah, to Westerners that looks cheesy as all get out, plus fetishy. But a lot of it has to do with the fact that translating concepts from Japanese to English is effing hard to convey, especially when English has no equivalents. There's a lot of nuance that gets lost if it's not done right, and it's hard to learn how to do it right. And fangirls not being trained translators, they tend to practice usages in order to understand them, and they often use ham-handed and ugly methods to try and convey the difference (hence the fangirl Japanese). But consider that these are people putting themselves through an intensive language-and-culture class without the benefit of an instructor or a curriculum; the only way they're going to learn it is to try it, and screw up, and try again.

For people viewing this through the lens of Western fandom, where this learning process isn't necessary, it looks like exotification. But I'm not sure it always is. Sometimes it is, yes. I wince whenever I see girls squeeing over some attractive J-pop idol and saying things like, "I just love Japanese men, they're so pretty!" That's essentialism, and I'd agree that it's fucked up. But if they squee over a J-pop idol and say, "I just love [Gackt, whoever], he's so pretty!" then what's wrong with that? He's an idol; he's supposed to provoke that sort of reaction, so that you will then run out and buy his music. But viewed through the Western lens, these two "squeeages" look much the same.

And the issue of women's objectification -- here, more than anything else, is where I think you can see the non-western roots of animangame fandom. Most animangame fans I know understand that Japanese feminism is not the same thing as Western feminism. Feminism has never been a one-size-fits-all panacea; speaking as an African American woman here, most of the stuff that Gloria Steinem et al advocated for really has no value to me. Secondwave Western feminism was centered on the needs of middle-class white American women, and even thirdwave stuff tends to lean toward that center, and it simply doesn't fit women in other nations sometimes -- or Western fans who choose to consume those nations' media, if they choose to adhere to that nation's standard of feminism rather than our own.

To illustrate: shoujo fandoms don't usually talk about the hypersexualization of women, mostly because shoujo manga is made by women for women (and girls). So if hypersexualization occurs, it has an entirely different meaning than if it were being done for a male audience, through the male gaze. IMO, it ceases to be sexist at that point, and becomes a mechanism of female empowerment. To insist that it's sexist because that's how it looks to Westerners -- keeping in mind that Western animangame fandom skews far more male than it does in Japan -- is to impose Western values on another culture in a way that I find pretty skeevy in itself.

Which brings me to my biggest problem with the OP, which is that it's drastically oversimplifying animangame fandom. Again, leaving aside the AO3 issue -- classification for database purposes is entirely different from characterization for discussion purposes -- you really can't treat this fandom as a single entity. First off, mangawise, are you talking about shoujo, shounen, seinen, ladies, or kids' stuff? These genres each have different cultural standards. (Hypersexualization in shounen/seinen/kids is a whole other issue, for example.) And are you talking about commercial properties, which must suit certain community-propriety standards (Japanese community propriety, note), or doujinshi, which is an Anything-Goes reaction against those standards of propriety? Are you talking about fans who treat their work as Western fanfic, or as textual English doujinshi? Because there's a massive cultural difference right there: doujinshi isn't supposed to be realistic; the whole point is that there's no point (as in yaoi's "no point, no resolution, no meaning" philosophy). To portray a m/m couple as realistic gay men would be totally inappropriate for that genre, for example; most fans used to Japanese yaoi would reject it. But fans trained by Western fanfic would expect at least an attempt at realism -- even in the midst of an AU crossover gonzo epic turning all the characters into shrimp.

And then there's the generational divide. I and many other animangame fans who've been in fandom longer than the last 5-10 years started reading it when it wasn't readily available in English; when the only commercially-translated animanga was shounen/seinen stuff. We had to either teach ourselves Japanese or latch onto folks who knew it in order to share the love. (Walk barefoot to school in the snow, uphill... you kids get off my lawn.) I can guarantee you that we talked about all the issues you name and more, because I was there and asking questions about feminism and racism and so on -- but we didn't do it on LJ, because LJ wasn't around then. They did it in places like Aestheticism.com (now defunct, alas) and its attached mailing list (which has gone mostly silent since Web 2.0), and at cons like Shoujocon (also defunct, sob) and Yaoicon (still going! But different now). There have been a lot of new fans since then, but they tend to run more in Western-fandom circles than the extant animangame circles, so the result has been a huge cultural divide within the fandom itself. A lot of the old-school fans like me are still around, and maybe even still participating in fandom, but we just don't see any value in rehashing the old discussions. Or in trying to explain, again, to Western-lens fans why the Western lens is inappropriate.

So to make a long story short -- too late, I know -- I think this attempt to characterize manga vs comics fandom is drastically oversimplified, and suffers from a mismatch of cultural standards. You're trying to force Western standards of correctness onto fans who may have already adopted Japanese standards of correctness, in other words. Granted, they're English-speaking fans -- but they're consuming a Japanese product, so whose cultural lens should really dominate here? IMO, most of animangame fandom has chosen the Japanese lens, and you will have to do the same in order to characterize them properly.

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zephyrprince: (Default)

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[personal profile] zephyrprince 2010-01-08 06:44 am (UTC)(link)
I have lots of thoughts on this topic. Maybe I will think about writing my own post, but one(/two?) I just want to throw out there is a difference in secrecy/privacy norms, norms of public embodied interaction with other fans, modes of marginalization by non-fans, and gender of fancreators (which might be different but I see as related).

Basically what I mean is that, while anime/manga/(Japanese)videogames fans do experience marginalization by non-fans, I believe it happens in a different way. I'll have to think about how to phrase it but basically I mean that anime fans are looked on with disgust but not bafflement. Anime is weird to people but writing fic or making fanart or amvs of anime is just part of the weirdness and people mostly don't seem to really care beyond a pretty passive distaste. What I have encountered and heard of more in relation to live-action fandoms is that people get that we like Star Trek or Stargate or Glee or Dexter or whatever but they are utterly and completely baffled at the idea of expressing that fan passion through fanfiction (or other transformative works).

Strongly related to this (I'm not going to say which is the chicken and which is the egg - maybe they're mutually constitutive), it seems like fans who are strictly interested in anime/manga seem more likely to meet up in person (not that the others of us don't also do that) and go to conventions, etc. This also of course involves different privacy norms. And I also think it may have created different gendered communities, which is basically to say that I know probably 100 times more dudez writing fic in anime fandoms (a lot not on LJ/DW but some on here to be sure).

Do you have any thoughts on this?

((also I'm not sure I agree with what you said about the treatment of women and LGBT people in anime vs. western media fandoms, but it looks like people are picking fights with you about those things and I don't want to add to that by any means : / plus having been in both kinds of fandom, I know that my knee jerk reaction to things like that is just to think, wait, I'm not sexist/homophobic [i'm a gay dude incidentally - and actually the most gay bashing I've ever personally seen in fandom online space was in Harry Potter which is perhaps its own beast altogether] so my fandom's not but I'd have to do some serious soul searching to really think through that))
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[personal profile] franzeska 2010-01-11 03:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I got pretty tired of standard anime/manga fandom discussions/flamewars/meta years ago (while I usually still read the same stuff in Western fandoms), so maybe I'm not the best person to be analyzing this, but my impression is that you do see a lot of the same split in video game fandoms, band fandoms, etc. However, I tend to think it's because a lot of fans who write fanfiction of or have fandom culture debates about Japanese video games (or whatever) were previously in anime/manga fandoms.

I suspect that if you looked at oldschool Eroica zine fandom, you'd find it had a lot in common with other zine fandoms of the same era and less in common with current anime/manga fandoms (since fans were getting into it through other zine fandoms).

(As for the comics/manga thing, I think "comics" can be a useful shorthand when talking about these two fandom communities as you're doing here. It's just that people often move from shorthand to forgetting that there are lots of other comics in the world, including all those manga that don't get translated, and plenty of other communities of comics fans that don't closely resemble the two under discussion here. I made a post recently basically arguing that I don't identify strongly with the comics/manga divide because I grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes, Tin Tin, and Archie Comics. It wasn't so much an argument against the description you've written above as a call for fans to stop living up to it quite so closely. :D)
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[personal profile] franzeska 2010-01-11 04:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, and I thought your point about needing to have those discussions about why and how anime/manga are sexist and whathaveyou is very good. For myself, what I've done is to move on to reading manga that don't have those problems as intensely. Now, do I think every manga fan should read exactly what I'm reading? No. But I do wonder why more of the mature shoujo and josei is so unavailable. The same thing applies to a lot of older shoujo and current shoujo in older styles, some of which has quite strong heroines who don't show off their panties every five seconds. I get why it isn't translated professionally, but it isn't scanlated either.

My number one complaint about anime/manga fandom in English is that it tends to be smugly self-contratulatory about its grasp of the vast breadth of the Japanese industry... while consuming only the range of things between Harry Potter and Twilight. There's nothing wrong with liking things in that range, but if they're unsatisfying, I find it more effective to just look elsewhere than to critique those works while consuming nothing else.

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