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CompleteMartialArts.com - Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics

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Manufacturer: Collins Design
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 741.5952
EAN: 9781856693912
ISBN: 1856693910
Label: Collins Design
Manufacturer: Collins Design
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 176
Publication Date: 2004-08-01
Publisher: Collins Design
Release Date: 2004-08-03
Studio: Collins Design

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Editorial Reviews:

Japan's output of manga is massive, accounting for a staggering forty percent of everything published each year in the country.Outside Japan, there has been a global boom in sales, with the manga aesthetic spreading from comics into all areas of Western youth culture through film, computer games, advertising, and design.

Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics presents an accessible, entertaining, and highly-illustrated introduction to the development and diversity of Japanese comics from 1945 to the present. Featuring striking graphics and extracts from a wide range of manga, the book covers such themes as the specific attributes of manga in contrast to American and European comics; the life and career of Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and originator of story manga; boys' comics from the 1960s to the present; the genres and genders of girls' and women's comics; the darker, more realistic themes of gekiga -- violent samurai, disturbing horror and apocalyptic science fiction; issues of censorship and protest; and manga's role as a major Japanese export and global influence.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Concerning this book and it's controversy
Comment: In terms of English language academic works on the subject of Japanese manga, this book is easily in the top five titles in quality, exceeded only by Frederick Schodt's Manga! Manga! Few comprehensive references on manga have ever been produced, and this is something of an update to Schodt's work, which dates from the early 1980s. It is an excellent academic and artistic source--however, this academic nature is what has given the book some of its controversy.

In the United States, the prevalent judgement by parents and many people outside of comic and manga fandom communities is that comics of all kinds are predominantly targeted to young children. In Japan, however, manga is targeted for a diverse audience, from young children, to adults, with genres driven towards female readers of diverse age ranges, which is relatively rare in the US. There are categories of manga directed towards sophisticated adult readers, as well as categories delivering explicitly pornographic or challenging sexual content, or stories written for gay and lesbian interests. Though Japan is somewhat more socially liberal on allowing some access by younger kids to sexual content, these categories are distinctly targeted to different age groups, genders and interests.

Of course, to ignore any single aspect of manga is to sacrifice the broad scope that the art form has manifested itself. Gravett casts a wide observation over as many different categories and examples of manga as he could deliver in a reasonably sized format. Examining the book shows that it is clearly targeted for at least a late-teenage readership if not higher, as Gravett presents historical and business information as a backdrop to the artistic content of the Japanese manga industry. Even despite the sexual content, this is far from a children's oriented book in text content and reading level alone.

As far as the sexual content goes, there are less than twenty pages with sexually explicit content on them, which is only about eight percent of the overall 176 page book. Some readers would naturally find the content objectionable, but the amount and contexts are hardly excessive--and in some cases, such as the work of Maruo Suehiro, the work is of very fine quality of value to students of Japanese comic art. The work may not be to everyone's taste, but it is far from artistically irrelevant.

(Besides which--having seen some wide examples of even harsher sexual material--Gravett's selections are far from the worst ones available).

As a result of the sexual content in this book, it was removed from the libraries of San Bernadino (California) County's Public Library system. Both sides make compelling and passionate arguments, but this has given the book an unfortunate notoriety apart from the excellent academic content. Many of the press remarks (which are available on the author's website) seem to refer to the book as excessively pornographic or x-rated, when much of it is compartmentalized in the two or three chapters dealing with adult-oriented manga in the latter half of the book. Obviously, interested readers would be encouraged to examine the book for themselves before drawing their own conclusions as to whether the book exceeds their own personal tastes or not, but they should also be aware that much of the press coverage seems to have overemphasized the book's sexual content.

It is important to know that for readers interested in an objective, comprehensive source on Japanese manga done with high academic standards, this book is a must. Unfortunately, there do not seem to be many books targeted towards a young readership that are a general reference on Japanese manga, but much of the published content in manga is oriented towards a pre-teen readership, including most of the "how to draw" manga books, Shonen Jump, Shojo Beat and Newtype magazines, and much of the publishing lines of Viz, Tokyopop, ADV and others. There is a wealth of manga content available for kids outside of material which parents would find sexually objectionable.

In short, this book is in no way targeted for children, though of course as a comprehensive examination of manga it includes some content which, on its own, is accessible to a children's audience. With any luck, this book will continue to recieve attention for the quality academic work it offers instead of controversy.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Not for Children
Comment: This is a great book about Japanese animation. I ordered it for my twelve year old daughter as a Christmas present since she loves anime. You should be aware that there are many graphic sexual drawings that leave nothing to the imagination. It is borderline pornographic. Expect to tear out lots of pages if this is for children.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Manga Mania Made Sense
Comment: It's been six long years since Frederik L Schodt updated his seminal 1983 study, Manga! Manga! World of Japanese Comics. Since then manga's unstoppable rampage across the West has become inescapable. So it's appropriate that someone took stock of this comic 'sub-genre' and updated and re-examined what has become the world's most prevalent comic art form. Paul Gravett manages not only to cover the history of manga, but in doing so explores the social and cultural evolution of Japan from its post-war reinvention to its modem-day literary imperialism. Gravett's book excels not only in discussing such, but also by displaying hundreds of examples of artwork in glorious detail. Everything is here from the crassly commercial Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh! to the grotesque Grand Guignol artwork of Hideshi Hino. It even made this jaded cynic get excited about Nipponese comics once more. No mean feat. Authoritatively written and exquisitely designed, this book demands space on your shelf.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Most up to date and comprehensive guide available
Comment: In this spectacular book, Paul Gravett captures a brief but thorough historical look at Manga. He reviews the various genres within the Manga art form and gives a well layed out history for the events which have led to Manga's global fame.

Gravett focusses on key events, and covers all of the major authors of Manga who have had a hand in pushing this Japanese art form to new limits. He discusses everyone from Tezuka Osamu -creator of Astro Boy and considered the founding father of Manga; to contemporary artists like Ogure Ito -artist of the super popular teen manga series Tenjou Tenge.

In between his in depth historical analysis of Manga he writes about how all of these creators, key historical moments, and various Manga which have led to become such a popular artform today. With over 500 pictures, this book is an amazing compilation of the historical progress of Manga to the present both in written and pictorial form. Gravett's insite into Manga is not only an educated one, but also an enjoyable read. Anyone interested in learning the real history of the art form must pick up this book!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Sumptuous Artwork, Thoughtful Analysis
Comment: "Manga" is a first-rate introduction and analysis of one of the world's most significant new forms of art - Japanese comics. The book not only has beautiful artwork, much of it in full color, but also glossy pages in an oversize format. Gravett covers the visual history of manga from Osamu Tezuka to modern European comics that have been influenced by manga. There are chapters devoted to boys' (shonen) and girls' (shojo) manga, gekiga ("drama pictures" - a kind of gritty realism), sexually explicit manga for adult men and women, and a fascinating discussion of less mainstream manga done by idiosyncratic artists and editors. The illustrations are clear, well-printed, and very well selected - Gravett has a first-rate eye for some of the most gorgeous manga artwork, ranging from Riyoko Ikeda's "Rose of Versailles" through Masamune Shirow's "Ghost in the Shell, part 2" and the horror manga of Hideshi Hino. Mechas, swordfights, pretty girls, stalwart heroes, nymphomaniac Tinkerbells, beautiful men, Princess Sapphire, Akira, Dragonball - a wide and representative range of manga styles and genres are all included. The hardest part of doing the book was probably choosing what not to include in a finite number of pages! Together with the artwork - which is worth the price of the book - Gravett has written thoughtful, historically and culturally accurate discussions of the social, aesthetic, and political background of manga. These essays are also worth the price of the book. Until now, the only two substantive books about manga as a medium were Frederik L. Schodt's 1983 "Manga! Manga!" and his 1996 "Dreamland Japan." Gravett's book is a worthy successor to Schodt's, and is essential for any fan of manga, anime or cartooning - or anyone interested in popular culture in a globalizing, transnational world. And for anyone else - well, the art is just so beautiful and the writing so well done that you too should get it.

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