Manga/Anime are not styles 2

17 min read

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MaximoVLorenzo's avatar

Okay, so I'm still getting confusion over my statement Manga/Anime is not a style.

Some people think I'm out to get anime or I'm against it. Other people think I'm only for it, this is my problem in a nut shell. People think it's some kind of war where you pick sides and lob rocks at the other. Why I'm saying it's a medium and not a style is because you can generalize and dismiss a style. But a medium, you can't do that without looking foolish. Imagine someone says "I don't like rap music", well then you just concede the point they don't like it and move on. But if someone says "I don't like ANY music" you'd really wonder what was wrong with them. In this case comics are the same way, and so is manga as they mean the same thing. The only way I can justify using the word "Manga" is for a shorthand of "Japanese Comics". Considering it a style itself is too generalizing.
Maybe this picture will help clarify how countries do not determine style.
I will now post up some people's comments and address them here:

"That said I barely even consider Tezuka to be anime anymore, since the current mainstream stuff is so far from his."

-I wonder how Japanese people would react to that. See this is a big problem when one of that countries culture founders is considered not of that country's style.

"Anime/manga USED to have a style, now is the same generic sht. "

-So you would consider moe to be the same as Hajime no ippo?

I asked "So an artstyle is determined by its most generic factor?" And the answer was "Yeah, and frequently used /copied by other people."

-So by that logic Cubism is defined by everyone who uses it besides Picasso, and his thought process and methods behind it.

"Same as comic art and cartoon not being a style but being used as descriptors. They ain't exactly the most accurate of descriptions, but they're decent umbrella terms. Would be pedantic to ask people if they were emulating more Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks or Chuck Jones if they're drawing cartoon art, same goes if you want someone to proclaim that they are of the Tezuka or Ghibli styles. Is there are more succinct way of labeling a loose but still vaguely connected art-style influenced by the comic and animation of Japan?"

-people sure do love throwing that word "pedantic" out there. To imply that is the only way to classify art by individual personal styles is ridiculous. Scott McCloud showed 2 very fair ways of describing style. The pyramid that consists of realistic, to symbolic, to isometric and the combination of each. The second describes the goal of the artist classical, animist, iconoclast, and   formalist. These are very fair terms that cover all styles from any country. As far as publishers are concerned, stick to genres like horror, action, adventure, romance, etc. when it comes to comics story supersedes art.

"1) speed and movement being displayed differently. example: where as western style comics would have something like....repeat images of a person running or lines behind the moving character to convey the motion, manga used things like the speed lines and blurred backgrounds, or a fast moving leg that fades into crosshatching. They both do the same thing but convey it differently."

Jack Kirby used speedlines

"2) setting and environment. Manga frequently uses lots of background shots and different angles of a setting to bring the mood into play.

-Many western comics do that, off the top of my head, Blankets by Craig Thompson.

"anatomical focus. Most major western comics place a lot of focus on size, height, and at least some degree of anatomical display. In manga these elements are frequently distorted giving it a unique charm."

-You mean like looney tunes? Vagabond certainly does not meet this requirement.

"While no, it can't be nailed down to always having certain specific stylistic traits, there are a number of stylistic conventions that go along with anime/manga in my opinion."

-I think there are repeating styles yes, but it ultimately trying to generalize these leads to contradictions and prejudice.

"So I ask you -- why do you "certainly not" see anime/manga as a style?"

-Because I think it does more harm than good, The only reason to refer to anime/manga as a style is because you generalize all the styles as one, but the problems this causes with people assuming anime is all one style are too many. This is when you get uneducated quotes like "All anime is the same"," I don't need to know anatomy if I'm drawing anime" "I used to be a bad artist then I quit drawing anime" "anime is not real art" "anime is superior blah blah blah"....I shit you not people actually say this garbage and they are all equally ignorant, and their problem is all the same, they think anime/manga is a tangible style that adheres to certain rules, when this is not even close to true.

"The first thought that comes to mind is: "Who Cares?"

-Same reason a biologist would care if people said "Rabbits are of the turtle species, biologists are veterinarians"

"I personally don't like anime/manga "styles". I would consider it a style as it is a copy of someone else's way of drawing/painting/etc. I also have a hard time believing someone is an artist that is only capable of drawing cartoons. It reminds me of when I was 12 and tried to draw Trigun screenshots. Was I an artist? No, I was merely someone that liked to draw."

So you consider Vagabond, Crayon Shin Chan, Naruto, and Peach Girl all the same style and you have equal disdain for each? An artist isn't some lofty glorious title only achieved by years of hard work. Anyone can be an artist if they express themselves through craft, no certain skill level is required.

"And don't get me started on digital art. :P It's just too easy and lacks emotion, and adding an alien faced character to it just makes it even more distant and cold to me."

Easy or Hard does not mean good or bad, just because you doodled something does not make it bad, just because you spent 3 years on something does not make it good. Digital art is plenty capable of emotion, I think you are mistaking that for digital art's ability to ( not always ) produce work without errors or little flaws that promote humanity. But with this in mind a digital work is still capable of capturing that. All digital art is, is another tool to the arsenal.

"LASTLY, people that draw anime/manga generally have so many mistakes in their work that they don't even give a fuck about.
A background? Who cares! It's a kawaii girl isn't she so kawaii? ^__^ "

-This is exactly the kind of thinking generalizing a entire countries culture into one style promotes. I guarantee you artists like
Tsulala Can draw cute girls and
draw killer backgrounds.

"But Japan, through comics (and later cartoons), inarguably developed its own national style"

-And yet Tezuka "God of manga" was heavily inspired by Popeye and Disney. And other mangas today derive inspiration from other sources not just other manga such as noir, graffiti, and superheros. The first mecha was actually designed for spiderman. So it's not an isolated style as you think, it didn't start out that way it won't end that way.

"If you know the fundamentals of art, have a strong groundwork in working from life, understand proportion- then by all means, draw however you want. But my biggest pet peeve is when people say that they're only interested in drawing anime/manga and therefore do not need to understand the basics."

-The problem lies in the artist, not manga/anime so stop blaming it. Blaming manga/anime for the artist's mistake only appeals to the shallowest of hipsters.
"It's just like how I say "I do Karate" all the time.

I never actually did any Karate, brodog... I did some other asian kicking/punching thing. But specifying with Kung-Fu or Ninjutsu or MMA or whatever specific thing that requires moderate to in-depth knowledge makes you sound like a toootal nerd.

....Well in martial arts talk, it kinda makes you sound like a stupid prick or a showoff. But the principle is the same I think."

-I rather look like a prick showoff for knowing something than an ignorant ass. Being ashamed of knowledge is a very very bad thing.

"Make less posts, do more studies."

I'll quote my friend for this one. "Ya know, being an artist is about more than tweaking the angle of a foot or going through a hundred thumbnails to get a composition right or studying the way cool light reflects off a pair of Beadazzled speedos to illuminate the underside of an erect penis. Being an artist is also about participating in current art culture - arguing and debating and raising awareness of issues relevant to one's craft and career. If you ignore that you're just masturbating onto a canvas.

I'm sorry this response contains so many allusions to the phallus, it's just you remind me of a dick."

I may add more arguments to this page but what I want to know now is, really can you think of ever benefit to considering "manga" a style and every disadvantage...Is it really that helpful to consider it a style? or is it just easier to let the status quo remain?

Additional comment by :iconteben-the-every:
"The fact is, "anime/manga" are marketed as something distinct from western comics because it is convenient for the publishers of these products. To put it another way, they have brainwashed their audiences into being antagonistic to non-Japanese content because it is a great way to defend against competition in the marketplace. By subtly convincing readers that they are taking part in something completely different and superior to "western comics," they essentially prevent the loss of sales to other companies.

It's not just anime/manga publishers allowing this to occur, either; there is a similar attitude of disdain among western comic fans which is allowed to persist.

This is why you see different sections for "comics" and "manga" in stores, or an "anime" section and a "family" section for animation. You will almost invariably find the American animated series Avatar lumped in with the anime. It is not uncommon to find Scott Pilgrim in the manga section as well. There is a reason these things are located there and not in their "correct" sections. It isn't because the people putting them up don't know any better, either.

It may be convenient to breed this attitude in the short term, but in the long run it is damaging to the artists that produce these things and fosters stagnation in content. When the audiences stop going along with this sort of thinking, publishers will be forced to embrace a wider variety of styles and talents in order to keep producing things people are willing to read and watch.

The long and short of it: if you believe that anime/manga is a style, you are incorrectly being led to believe so and it is ultimately bad for comics from any country."

Another commenter says: "One of the best sources of ammunition for this debate, I think, is Sazae-san. The forty-year-running anime is the most popular anime EVERY week, with the highest viewship rates by far (totally outstripping Naruto), and yet it looks nothing like "typical" anime."


No kidding!


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Finally someone put into words how I feel. Putting anime/manga in a box keeps out newcomers . Plus it forces all Japanese cartoonist to comfort.  Like people don't say they want to make Japanese style film or be a filmgaka. 

So I hate when people say I want to work in the manga/anime genre. I'm sorry but your work isn't manga cause manga are JAPANESE comics. Pretty sure Japanese kids into doing westren stlye comics don't call their stuff Western comics.  Manga can look anything from realistic Lone wolf and cub,to middle Narutou,DBZ and highly cartoony ShinChan.
SoulRiolu's avatar
To say that anime is a style is not incorrect by any means, when you compared Shin Chan to Naruto you still use the function of the "Anime is from Japan" definition. When one defines by style they wouldn't be including Shin-Chan under the bubble of anime in the first place. That's like comparing an apple to a lemon to see which one is the superior "Citrus" Fruit when only one of them is citrus. So Japan can still make non-anime cartoons as well as anime. Does this mean I have a distaste for cartoons because I like anime? Absolutely not! I enjoy Rick and Morty, my favorite animated films thus far is Zootopia and the Lion King. Keeping anime and cartoons apart is just for organizing reasons for different people's taste, it's not a sense of superiority, and for people who believe anime is superior they just have issues. In Short I believe anime is a style but I do not believe ALL animation from Japan should be anime, that confines them into doing that one thing, and forces them to conform to what we want anime to be. If you want to prove anime is not a style don't bring up the likes of Shin-chan nor Sazae-san into this. Any sane-person who believes anime is a style would never look at Sazae-san or Shin chan as anime, even if it did come from Japan
rkader11's avatar
You sir have my respect
I've yet to see a really spectacular form for either anime or manga.

It all just kinda blurs together and ends up being quite blase.

I kinda fail to find favor in anime/manga when none of it can even raise an eyebrow. Not even the juvenile attempts at raising a boner.
MaximoVLorenzo's avatar
Then you have no one to blame but yourself. Look harder scrub.
Yes because exceptions are always the rule, right?

Look I can see you're some kinda anime or manga fanatic but honestly I find the whole art style sub-par.
Especially knowing that most of it is born out cost cutting rather than artistic strides.

And it's even more unimpressive when you consider their artwork before the turn of the century, even considering their pioneering work to mass produce like with wood dowels in a time before the printing press was even thought of.

But hey, you're free to like it. I didn't say to you to stop.
I just won't be looking either.
MaximoVLorenzo's avatar
i could read this, or I could just laugh at how salty and dumb you are, ill go with the latter. HAHA.
rkader11's avatar
He gets rekt as usual
Not my problem what you do with your ignorance.
livholland's avatar
I cannot understand people saying anime is an art style. Anime is a word meaning animation. Of any kind. Manga = image. So why are we even using it? Let the Japanese people use it properly. I am not Japanese and I don't speak enough of the language to use it fluently. To me it feels like dropping an occasional Japanese word into the conversation to sound cute.
So animation is anime if you speak Japanese. Now that's hardly a style in itself. Even if you consider whatever comes from Japan to be Anime/Manga the art style of some of the artworks are not even remotely similar. 
anoleon's avatar
Totally agree with you. Anime is the Japanese for animation. Japanese people call western cartoons anime too. It's not about the location where style is, it's about which artist draws with it. In this case, where they live is completely useless. Ok, sure there are people that copy other artists styles but that doesn't make it "anime". People these days are ignorant pricks :1
SoulRiolu's avatar
So only Japanese people can make anime? .... then I suppose only African Americans can make and play Jazz music. 
anoleon's avatar
anime is a literal translation of animation. It recently became a new genre because of the specific style and popularity. If americans made anime it would be called animation. This is because Anime is a japanese word. For example avatar the last airbender is in word an "anime" type of style but its not an anime.
SoulRiolu's avatar
Plus you said that the "Location" of where it was made is useless therefore suggesting that only some of Japanese blood can make anime and manga. By that logic only African Americans... or rather since location is useless I would assume birthplace is also irrelevant, then only black people can do Jazz. Everyone else is just Music-Alternative. ..............
anoleon's avatar
It has been almost a year since that comment was made. Opinions change therefore I do not support that idea any longer. I still do believe that anime can only be made in Japan.
SoulRiolu's avatar
anime's definition even in Japan is being questioned, here's a great article I read about it.…
And please explain that last sentence on Avatar not being an anime, bring up more detail please
anoleon's avatar
As I said before if its made in the US it's not considered an anime. Crayon Shin-chan looks more like an American cartoon, but it's still anime because it was made in Japan. Anime by definition is Japanese, its like Japanese comics are "manga", Korean comics are "manwha", its all just language. As is Jazz. It is an English word and it is called something else in different languages. The article may argue a point of view where Anime is a specific genre, however as the article says it is still a discussable opinion and not a fact. However I do not completely disagree with your view, since it is slowly becoming a genre because of its increasing popularity.
SoulRiolu's avatar
I also find it to be more beneficial that animations made from Japan that does not "conform" to the anime style be labeled under cartoon. There's an ONA called "Cat Shit One" which got little publicity in the west and Anisava which actually had a target audience to the west is questionable at best. Yet they were all labeled under "anime". Also one reason why Sazae-san is still alive and kicking is that Sazae-san is the equivalent of the Peanuts Gallery to Japan, Everyone in Japan knows it and for the most part Love it. Sazae-san has been around WAY longer than the anime Vs cartoon definition argument so Sazae-san can survive under either label in Japan, but Sazae-san is not seen as "anime" per say.
anoleon's avatar
Both arguments make sense and are valid, that is why they are not resolved. There possibly are other opinions on this matter. I still believe in my opinion, but I am not saying that yours is incorrect.
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Spudfuzz's avatar
"While no, it can't be nailed down to always having certain specific stylistic traits, there are a number of stylistic conventions that go along with anime/manga in my opinion."

This is my biggest peeve with groups on DA. Half of my work gets accepted, the other half declined. Why? Because on one drawing I used a different symbol for the nose. Apparently "Manga Anime Art" translates to "Specific personal taste of the Admin" which in turn always translates to "giant eyes and sharp chins" only. I don't expect every group to accept my art, but fuck if the group is just there for your personal taste then just be honest. I suspect it's also the major reason why any of my suggestions for Daily Deviation in the Anime/ Manga category never get accepted (and these artworks are damn brilliant too). When I look at the favourites and DDs the A&M mods give out, they're all specifically mainstream style. I am 1000% done with this style prejudice nonsense.
Thiamor's avatar
Actually Manga, more-so for Japan, is a style as well as just an explaining term for illustrations. IE, you'll see similar styles, mainly due to the culture.
YadahhYadahhYadahh's avatar
I found this journal after one of my drawings got declined on some group ( can't remember the name ) for not being on the right category, according to them it was supposed to be on the anime/manga folder. I can't agree with them at all! Whenever someone's work is non-realistic it gets that label.  Ugh, it makes me mad >-<!
KyuuAL's avatar
The "anime from Japan" definition is currently being challenged.  Unfortunately, this is a definition that will not hold water, because some leaks will come around.  This is particular, when people of other countries emulate anime art more and more; and eventually, their skills may reach up to par with Japanese counterparts.  When this happens, anime art by geographical origin will be indistinguishable.
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