Manga and Philosophy

Out now from Open Court, Manga & Philosophy, which contains my chapter “Living Happily Never After in Women’s Manga,” on the readership and reception of Japanese comic magazines for women aged over twenty. There’s plenty of stuff in there about the varying markets for women’s manga, and some hard data about exactly who reads them. It’s not always who you might think.

Other essays in the volume include studies of religion in the works of Osamu Tezuka, issues of life and death in Full Metal Alchemist and philosophical conundrums in Death Note.

10 thoughts on “Manga and Philosophy

  1. Does it have studies about the avid facination for girls underwear in Najica Blitz Tactics and Strike Witches? ^_^

  2. No, although there was quite a nice article about the obsession with underwear in Agent Aika in Manga Max #4, 1999, which even interviewed the film-makers about the technical reasons behind it.

    There is something on lolicon, though.

    [Edited to give correct magazine number and date]

  3. I know only too well the philosophy behind that already. I would have liked to have read that interview with the makers of Agent Aika though, it sounds like it might be good for a laugh. ^_^

  4. Comments like yours remind me to remind Titan again about the possibilities of a Best of Manga Max book, in the same size and format of Schoolgirl Milky Crisis.

    Katushiko Nishijima (MM#4): “The basis of cel animation is the colouring itself, but colouring can’t show the texture of textiles. Depending on the level of animation, the texture looks different, but no matter what the colour is, it ends up looking like bloomers [school gym wear – Ed.]. The fans often say that white is a bit old-fashioned, but the more details you add, the more you are forced to prove it’s underwear. If it looks like a swimsuit, there’s no ‘peek-a-boo’ element, who wants to see swim-wear? Black or red is fine if you’re watching someone strip off, but we have to follow a different policy when looking up skirts. Also, the staff get angry if it’s more decorative, with lots of lace, saying it’s too much work for them.”

    A lot of the material in Manga Max is dated or superfluous now. But every issue has at least a couple of really good interviews or overviews that still hold up today. We only need to excerpt one or two articles from each issue of Manga Max’s run, and there is enough for a book the size of Schoolgirl Milky Crisis. Sadly, however, I am not sure there is a big enough readership for ten-year-old articles about anime that modern viewers have forgotten.

  5. I must admit, I was bemused by the ‘also, the staff get angry if it’s more decorative, with lots of lace, saying it’s too much work for them’ line when I first read the article, but nowadays I remember the stories of how the movie version of Five Star Stories fared with the animators having to handle all the complex clothing and mecha designs, and ended up only animated said mecha for about five minutes.

  6. Oh! Oh! JC please! Please! Keep pestering them. That is classic gold. Can I guess the question like Jeopardy? “So what was the reasoning behind all the pantsu?” He answers like it was a technical question, or was it? Brilliant, just brilliant. XD

  7. You referenced that same interview somewhere in SMC, nice to see the original quote. I for one would buy such a book if I had the money, having never even seen a copy of Manga Max.
    On the subject of underwear… I was looking through the Gigantic Formula Design Archives book today and was amused to see a little B&W Gotoh-style upskirt of Ucchie (the youngest character) with “?????NG??” written next to it. Of course, TV Tokyo was on the production committee.

  8. The show wasn’t fanservicy (other than tight-fitting pilot uniforms) so I think it was an example of what not to do in the show. The other shows Gotoh has directed (Kiddy Grade, Kiddy GiRL-and and Uta Kata) have all had plenty of fanservice, although the circumstances are different (the other shows were all gímik gensaku projects and while the three members all worked on GF, the gímik name wasn’t on it anywhere). Perhaps, since there were a number of other animators involved he has worked with before, they might have been tempted to slip in a few flashes of white along the way other wise. I found it amusing though 🙂

    You know, it is refreshing to have a conversation about female underwear using the word knickers rather than panties. And sort of worrying at the same time that I am able to say that :p

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