Japanese culture under the tree – ActuaBD

If there is one cultural phenomenon that marked the end of the 20th century in our region, it is the emergence of Japanese manga in Western culture. Originally, there was Japanese animation which burst onto American TV in the mid-1950s, thanks to semi-animation which made their production cheaper than Full Animation to the waltz disney which dominated the market head and shoulders.

But a union revolt in February 1941 migrated Disney’s best talent to television, a relatively fledgling industry that had little money at the time. However, traditional Disney-like animation is expensive: for one minute of animated film, you have to produce between 12 images, with peaks at 24, per second. The dissidents of Disney producing for TV will reduce it to less than 12 and the Japanese between 4 and 12, with an average around 6. A production therefore much cheaper and less demanding in technical terms, the first TV screens of the time being in any case not yet very efficient.

As a result, this “poor” animation is a hit and TVs buy it en masse. These anime soon arrive in France by truck, especially on Récréa2 from 1978. Dragon Ball ZSailor MoonNaruto Where One Piecealso present at the same time on video games whose industry is emerging at the same time, crush the competition and conquer the whole world.


Wonders of Animation

The work of Nathalie BittingerIn Wonderland – Treasures of Japanese Animation », in addition to being excellently written (this is rare in this type of literature) explains well the tone of a production marked by a deep existential angst, constantly spinning the metaphor of the apocalypse.

It is because, born in the war, Japanese production is structured by the disasters that have marked the history of the country of the Rising Sun: repeated earthquakes, atomic bombs in 1945, until the tsunami of 2011 causing the Fukushima disaster…

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“In Wonderland – Treasures of Japanese Animation” by Nathalie Bittinger – Ed. Hoëbeke
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“In Wonderland – Treasures of Japanese Animation” by Nathalie Bittinger – Ed. Hoëbeke

Behind the chromos: wars and weapons of mass destruction, giant robots, cohabitation with ghosts, urban alienation, existential crisis, permanent struggle for live…are the recurring themes. The universe reflected by the Japanese Cave of Plato is that of an inextinguishable anxiety which can only be appeased by an imagination tinged with a somewhat naive melancholy. Would we say that is its charm?

Nice journey that this book offers us nevertheless, through the great films that have marked the history of anime, straight off the bat: AKira, Grave of the Fireflies, Gen Hiroshima, Porco Rosso, Attack on Titan, Street Fighter II, Metropolis, Blame!, Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell, The End of Evangelion, My Neighbor Totoro, Cowboy Bebop, Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Cat Kingdom, etc. Nostalgia effect guaranteed!

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“In Wonderland – Treasures of Japanese Animation” by Nathalie Bittinger – Ed. Hoëbeke

Shonen Nekketsu for Dummies

The work of Chief Otakuthe youtuber with 1.2 million subscriberstakes you by the hand if you have limited knowledge of manga: we explain the recipe for the magic potion behind the success of Japanese comics with its great figures of Shōnen Nekketsu (see our “Manga Glossary-> https://www.actuabd.com/Petit-lexique-du-manga]: “ Literally “bubbling blood”, it is the narrative framework which is the most frequent in shônens today.).


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“Manga Story” by Chief Otaku – Ed. Hoëbeke
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“Manga Story” by Chief Otaku – Ed. Hoëbeke

Chief Otaku deciphers the archetypes (the hero, the rival, the senseithe sidekick…), the founding myths, the concepts that structure it (power, initiation, single combat, the tournament…) and the various themes that come up repeatedly…

It is abundantly illustrated, with the most characteristic manga: Asahi No Joe, Saint Seiya, One Piece, Naruto, Dragon Ball, Bleach, My Hero Academia, Hajime No Ippo, Hunetr X Hunter, Toriko, Full Metal Alchimist, Boruto, Fairy Tail, Demon Slayer, Jujutsu Kaisen, etc… and explained in a simple way. You don’t need to be a manga fan to subscribe.

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“Manga Story” by Chief Otaku – Ed. Hoëbeke

For those familiar with these worlds, it’s a journey dotted with “madeleines de Proust” but also a handy manual full of well-laid-out and well-edited images.

For those who want to make the eyes of their interlocutors shine while we are carving the Christmas turkey.

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