Some of Our Favorite Anime and Manga About Anime and Manga

narutaki_icon_4040 I love animation and comics. Period. The artforms that is. And the more I learn about the process, the more appreciation I have for them. I feel like there isn’t a year that goes by where I don’t see something so incredible that it makes me revere the mediums all over again.

There is a lot to learn and having better access to Japanese news and culture has given us lots of insight: from the first time I learned about the assistants a manga-ka has to crowdfunding for animator dorms (!). But non-fiction accounts aren’t the only way to learn about an industry. In fact, creating a fictional world set within the very real parameters of manga creation or animation studios may illuminate the true struggles and triumphs even more.

hisui_icon_4040 If you are an animation fan for any amount of time there is a tendency to wonder what is the precise magic that transforms still pictures into moving images. (It is not actually sorcery that creates animation unless that animation is stop motion.) Some people are interested for academic reasons, others as it is a potential career path, while most just want a deeper understanding of their hobby. But like any attempt to see how the sausage is made it can be anything from an eye-opening moment of wonder to harsh bucket of cold water depending on how the lesson is presented.

Anime and manga have done several stories that look at how they are made with various degrees of love. In some titles it is the heart and soul of the premise and others it merely a set piece for comedy or romance. Those anime and manga range in its opinion of itself as everything from seeing the industry as havens of marvelous artistic self-expression to soul grinding commercial product factories with most portrayals being some sort of mix between those two extremes. No matter which of the two ends of the spectrum the title falls on they are usually an eye-opening insight into how the stories otaku love are created.

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Giveaway + Otaku no Video: Messages from the Past

hisuiconEvery year Otaku no Video is used to kick off Otakon. It has had that spot on the programming schedule ever year since 1994 because it was one of the first and most well know anime that looks into the heart of otaku culture. It encapsulates the spirit of any anime convention and the otaku lifestyle. It simultaneously sings the praises of the otaku while hanging its head in shame at the same time. Otaku no Video does this dichotomy in storytelling with two different narratives taking place. One story is told with animation and one story is told through a live action mockumentary. Each path takes its own look at anime fandom and pushes past is logical extreme for comedic effect. In between these two extremes is where Gainax and maybe even anime fandom’s true opinion of itself lies.

Otaku no Video is a show that I remember from my early fandom. I don’t know how it is exactly, probably just the internet, but it seems as soon as you start watching anime, as soon as you enter fandom, you find out about the word “otaku.” It is like magically you just know this word and whether you use it right or wrong, and who says what the right and wrong is, becomes a part of your fandom. Nowadays you can find any number of shows featuring otaku, but when Otaku no Video hit the streets it wasn’t often otaku were main characters. But despite the prevalence of such things now, Otaku no Video is still a unique work without equal.

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