Khushnuma Jabulee walks you through the beautifully captivating world of anime and manga
The 1990s India saw its markets open up to many different things as the economy was expanding into larger unchartered territories. One of the many changes that took place was the introduction of anime via the audio-visual medium of television. Over more than two decades later, anime has expanded into an unfathomable mammoth amidst the Indians.
What is an anime?
The term anime is a Japanese abbreviation for the word animation. To the people who are new to anime, they might confuse it for any other cartoon, but it is not so. Anime have a distinct form of visuals that are unique to most series. They comprise of intricate storylines, fully fledged-out character arcs, catchy intro and end credit songs, beautifully composed soundtracks,captivating visuals and more. They come in many array of genres like sports, action, adventure, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, horror, comedy, romance, etc.
What is a manga?
Mangas are Japanese comics created by various artists in the Japanese language. They comprise of many genres. People of all age-groups read mangas in Japan. Over the past few decades, mangas have been available in various languages, so as to captivate a larger target audience. Many anime that you see today, are adaptions of mangas that became widely popular.
Animax, a television channel that airs anime of differing genres spread its wings in the 90s and was the sole reason I, as well as most other people of my generation got into the crazy world of anime. “I got sucked into the world of anime as a kid, when Animax had first started as a channel in India with exclusively anime on it,” said 23 year old Gwalior native Romit Heerani.
Ankita Mathur, a 28 year old Mumbaikar said, “In the late 90s, I stumbled upon Curious Play (an anime) that was being aired on AXN. Soon they introduced a new channel devoted only to anime, Animax and of course, I binge watched all anime.”
“My first tryst with anime would be Shounen Mowgli which was shown on DD National in 92,” said the 30 year old Vishal Soorangi from Bangalore. “Though watching Dragon Ball Z on a recorded VHS tape made me more ecstatic about anime.”
From the 90s to today, the anime culture has peaked in India, which has led to many people going to comic conventions dressed up as their favourite anime character, also known as cosplaying. “This year was the first time India participated in the World Cosplay Summit regional competition, and won the opportunity to participate and represent India in the competition held in Nagoya, Japan,” said the Consul-General of Japan in Mumbai, Yoshiaki Ito.
It is safe to say, that the Indian market has been very accommodating of anime and mangas today, as compared to two decades back. “The popularity of anime and manga is increasing recently which is quite a favorable thing for anime to deepen its roots in Indian market. Channels like Animax have been popular since a long time and many book stores too have started selling manga. Events like Cool Japan Festival and Mumbai Comic Con are being conducted in Mumbai which offer a good platform to the anime producers and sellers,” said Mr. Ito. “I have heard that there have been different anime groups in Mumbai, Calcutta etc. People gather and watch anime, plan different programs, share the information on social media.”
Also Read: 10 nostalgia comic list for every 90s kid!
“Anime culture in India is changing pretty fast. Look at the amount of cosplayers you see nowadays at Comic conventions in India!” exclaimed Vishal.
“Earlier in the 90s or early 2000s, it was difficult to find anime or mangas in India. But now, anime is getting more attention and definitely more fans,” says Ankita.
Romit boldly stated, “We have one of the best cultures around anime, bettered only by Japanese and American ones in my opinion.”
Over the past few decades of viewing anime, the production value, animation quality and storylines have changed a lot. Therefore when asked whether they like old school anime or the modern ones that are being produced today, Ankita said, “I prefer the old ones of course! The storylines were grittier and more engaging. The current ones, I can’t say much about them. Though the animation has definitely improved.”
Vishal too said that the 90s anime was something he would always gravitate towards. “The plots made more sense. They had some heart at the center of storytelling unlike today’s commercialized anime shows. No doubt there are quite some good shows today, but nothing can beat 90s anime.”
Romit objectively concluded saying, “A few things have changed, but most are due to the popularity of the medium more than anything. There are far more anime which don’t try to achieve the same amount of quality as before. Though animation has gotten easier due to improvements in imaging technology, but story writing is still as difficult as it was in the so called golden age. There is a benefit to the popularity as we’re getting anime on such varied subject matters that there’s something for everyone, but not each of them is as good as the masterpieces of yore.”
10 Animes to binge on:
- The Fate series (Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay night, Fate/Stay night: Unlimited Blade Works)
- Get Backers
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Cardcaptor Sakura
- Detective School Q
- The Vision of Escaflowne
- Inu Yasha
- Hungry Heart
- Cowboy Bebop
- Attack on Titan