MANGA, ANIME & COSPLAY
Having grown up in Italy, I find the lack of Manga and Anime in the UK most disturbing. They are gradually getting more popular thanks to websites like mangafox and cruncyroll (thank goodness for the internet), but as far as being able to actually buy them, there are very few available. In 2007, about 70% of all comics sold in Germany were manga! Here in the UK it gets more and more difficult to buy manga. I would love to support the mangaka and buy their books, but 9 times out of 10 they are unavailable... Anyway, rant over, I was watching a cartoon called "Winx" with my 6 year old niece the other day (not that I need an excuse like my niece to watch cartoons!). I found out that it is actually an Italian cartoon. You can really see how much the writers/designers have been influenced by manga and anime, just like me I'm sure that they grew up watching Japanese cartoons and now in their own work, they have Japanese influence. In fact, if you look at how cartoons from all over the world have developed over the years, you can see many Japanese influences in the majority of them. From hair styles, body posture and most obviously Anime… bigger and more sparkly eyes. Proving once again, that Japan reigns supreme as the coolest country in the world. No wonder others want to imitate them.
Click on the images to find out more
Manga are Japanese comic books. There are many different genres of manga, suitable for all age groups and all tastes! Here are some of the most popular genres: Kodomo Manga (comics for children), Shonen Manga (typically involves fighting and/or violence), Shojo Manga (romantic relationships not having "adult" themes), Seinen Manga (typically deals with issues of adulthood. Primarily written for young men), Seijin Manga (adult comics for males), Yaoi (Intimate relationships between men), Yuri(Intimate relationships between women), Ecchi (has vague sexual content like skimpy clothing, partial/full nudity), Doujinshi (fan work inspired by official anime and manga).
Many manga series tend to be drawn for a weekly or biweekly publication containing numerous other comics by other authors and therefore have cliffhangers to make you want to read the next issue.
Anime are Japanese cartoons and computer animation. The word is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". There are a number of differences between Japanese anime and standard animation that distinguish them from one another. One thing that differentiates Japanese anime from other types of animation is their aesthetics. Anime studios and creators all have their own, unique style and no anime is really the same as another one visually, but anime in general share a few elements that characterise them. Like in many manga (partly due to the fact that a lot of anime are based on manga), one of the main features that most anime share is the way they exaggerate the physical features of the characters. A lot of anime characters have big eyes, a body that is not proportionate, exaggerated hair style or expression. Again, like manga, anime aren't only for children. Some anime are not suitable for children and should only be watched by adults.
Cosplay (or kosupure), short for "costume roleplay", is a type of performance art whose participants outfit themselves, with often elaborate costumes and accessories, as a specific character or idea. Characters are usually sourced in various Japanese media, such as manga, anime, games, J-pop, J-rock, visual kei, etc. Likeminded people gather to see other people's costumes, show off their own elaborate handmade creations, take lots of pictures, possibly participate in best costume contests and talk about their favourite characters. Trends in cosplay is now blurring the distinction between costumes based on characters from games and anime, and costumes based upon a general theme or existing fashions. In particular, the Tokyo fashion trend of gothic lolita (loli-goth) has attracted some cosplayers who like to dress in such a manner on some occasions.