Anime and Manga

There is often some confusion as to the difference between Anime and Manga.  While both are indeed Japanese in origin, they do not represent the same thing and are not synonymous with the western word "cartoon."

    Manga are comics that originate in Japan or are created by Japanese creators.  They are written in the Japanese language and adhere to a specific style that goes back all the way to the late 19th Century (such as exaggerated facial features and sexual attributes).   They are also more theatric, dramatic, and can have mature themes.  While it might be tempting to equate manga with American comic books and graphic novels, we must remember that manga is not intended to be whimsical.  When censorship was relaxed in Japan in the 1990s, some manga took on very erotic and/or violent overtones.

     Anime refers to animated Japanese stories, both hand-drawn or using computer animation.  Unlike American cartoons, which are often episodic, anime tends to be very serialized, sometimes even over several seasons.  Anime follows the same style as manga, but often lacks the frame-by-frame detail seen in manga.  However, while manga is often in black-and-white, anime is usually in color.  One trademark of anime is that it tends to focus more on the realism of the background rather than on the movement of the characters (contrasted to Warner Brother's Looney Tunes, for example, where the background is often bland and static or repetitive, but the characters move fluidly).

     Anime also follows the style of manga, particularly in the disproportion of facial features.  Male and female sexual attributes can also be exaggerated, which led to complaints and censorship in America as anime (and manga) became more popular.

     It would be wrong to think that anime and manga are products of each other; that is, that all anime came from manga and that all manga leads to anime.  There are many instances where one has stood successfully independent without the other.  When anime and manga are related, creators of each genre must be careful not to disappoint the fans, who can be very loyal to a story or character in one form and expect it to be properly represented in the other.

Sailor Moon Manga.jpg
Sailor Moon Anime.jpg

An example in the differences between manga and anime.  Sailor Moon as seen in manga (left) and Sailor Moon as depicted in anime (right).

      Starlight Nights respects and appreciates the unique art forms that are manga and anime.  There are four we collect and curate, but, admittedly, they are not our primary focus and we do not do them full justice.  We care for items that we have collected, some of which are over 50 years old.  Our respect and admiration goes out to those other individuals and business that are protecting these unique relics of the past and forging the future of these many stories and genres.
     The four anime/manga we follow are shown below.  Click on each one to learn more about it and see the collection we have.
The Big O Logo.png

The story follows the adventures of negotiator Roger Smith, who is trapped in an enclosed metropolis called Paradigm City.  All citizens, including Smith, have lost their memories.  As Smith tries to help individuals find their past, his efforts are often thwarted by those who want to destroy the city.  When needed, Smith is able to summon a giant robot, The Big O -- a relic from the city's past -- to come to his aid.

Speed Racer Logo.jpg

One of the first animes to come to America, this franchise centers on the rising career of race car driver Speed Racer and his sophisticated car, the Mach 5.  As Speed competes around the world, he is often recruited by local or international law enforement to investigate crimes.  Together with his family and friends, and the mysterious "Racer X," Speed is challenged to take out the bad guys and still win the checkered flag!

Starblazers Logo.jpg

Star Blazers follows the Space Battleship Yamato and its three very distinct missions to save a war-weary Earth from total defeat.  It had an overarching plot that allowed for more complex storylines.  This, along with subtle adult themes and innuendoes, made the show more popular with teens and adults.

Voltron.png

Voltron: Defender of the Universe was actually two stories.  Lion Force Voltron tells the saga of a group of 5 space explorers who pilot robot lions that are able to merge together into one giant robot, Voltron.  This Voltron Force is charged with protecting the planet Arus from being overrun and annexed into the evil Doom Empire.  The second series, Vehicle Force Voltron, was not as popular and had its own storyline.