Tao of the Machine

Programming, Python, my projects, card games, books, music, Zoids, bettas, manga, cool stuff, and whatever comes to mind.

Manga vs US comics

I usually find manga to be (a lot) more interesting than US comics. (European comics are something else entirely, maybe I'll discuss those another day.) Let's look at some of the differences that I have found, going from my (admittedly limited) knowledge.

1. Plots. Manga usually has much better plots than comics. Of course, there are always exceptions, but even the cheeziest little-kid manga will have a contrived plot, making it enjoyable for older readers as well.

2. Topics. Manga is... different. Comics often seem to focus on the "superhero" theme. Yes, these days there are many other kinds of comics, but very often they are about somebody (or something) with special powers. This happens in manga as well, but the scenery is different. I noticed that often there will indeed be somebody with special powers, but they are placed in a world that is otherwise normal... or looks normal.

Aside from that, there are some popular genres, that you don't often see in comics... e.g. samurai stories, romance (often shoujo manga), and sports. (The sports mangas tend to have very long stories, where the protagonist starts out at the very bottom -- often doesn't know anything about the sport -- and rises to the top. And unlike cheap movies, such mangas are actually realistic, describing the sport in detail, focusing on how hard it is to master it, etc. Examples are Hikaru No Go (go), Hajime no Ippo (boxing), Prince of Tennis, and Break Shot (billiards).)

3. Blood & guts. There certainly are some very gory comics around. The same goes for manga. But apparently, many mangaka are not afraid to use gratuitous blood and violence in otherwise "normal" stories. Psychometrer Eiji, for example, is about high school kids (among other things), and in some ways it looks like a typical adolescent manga, but the artist shows no reluctance in killing off some characters in gruesome ways. Ditto for Shaman King; some may consider this a kid's manga, but the level of gore doesn't seem suitable for young children.

4. Gender bending. Even the mainstream mangas regularly like to blur any male/female distinction. This can be just a matter of appearance; in (bi)shounen manga, males tend to "look pretty"; read: they look like females. So, you tend to mistake these males for women. (It can be quite disturbing when after several chapters the nice girl turns out to be a man. ^_^)

It doesn't stop there, though. In Pretty Face, a tough guy has an accident and a mad doctor gives him a girl's face. There are other mangas that deliberately confuse the reader by making girls look/act like guys and vice versa. And, all of these mangas are more or less mainstream and not targeted at the sexually deviant. :-)

There are more differences, of course; for example, how the characters are drawn. Manga has its own distinctive style, very different from US comics. And, while you wouldn't mistake the characters for real people, the scenery often does look pretty realistic.

More on this later, when I think of some more (important) differences.

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-04-11 22:40:20   {link}
Categories: manga

Some manga terms

manga: Japanese comics.

anime: Japanese cartoons.

The distinction between manga and anime is simply this: manga appears on paper, while anime appears on screen. Many mangas have anime versions (or vice versa), and they do not necessarily have the exact same plots.

hentai: sexually explicit manga or anime. "Hentai" means "pervert" in Japanese. :)

shoujo manga: manga targeted at girls. The equivalent for boys is called shounen manga. In spite of these "labels", there is a lot of overlap, and many boys enjoy shoujo manga, and vice versa. Also, it's not necessarily suitable for kids only.

bishoujo/bishounen: literally, "pretty girl" and "pretty boy". Manga of this type has beautiful/handsome main characters. (That's in the eye of the beholder, of course...) It may disturb westerners to find out that the character they thought was female, is actually a male. This also happens in non-bishoujo/bishounen mangas, by the way. Hikaru No Go, for example, features several characters that appear female to the untrained (western) eye (Akira and Sai, to name a few).

otaku: a fan, but in Japanese this word has a negative connotation, more like somebody who is obsessed. You could call yourself an "anime otaku", but don't let a Japanese person hear it... :)

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-04-10 22:30:10   {link}
Categories: manga


"no one really goes to aqua bar for the drinks, but we make sure our drinks won't kill you. this is something you must remember."

More of this goofiness on engrish.com. (Via Jarno Virtanen)

(In case you're wondering how Jarno can post this on April 10 and I can refer to it in a post dated April 9... it's because I'm messing around with dates to create the impression that I have posted every day. ;-)

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-04-09 22:25:58   {link}
Categories: general


Apparently the word 'neetnek' doesn't yield any Google hits. Maybe I can whack Google and see if my name shows up in the future? That would be flattering... neetnek...

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-04-08 17:23:32   {link}
Categories: general

Manga links

I've been reading a lot of manga lately. Here are some links.

  • MangaProject: Alichino, Alice 19th, Angel Heart, Boku No Marie, Flame of Recca, Fruits Basket, Gals!, HEN, I“s, Mononoke Hime, Parfait Tic, Read or Die, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (and much more)
  • Manga Downloads: Penguin Brothers, Rurouni Kenshin, Detective Conan, Shin Kotaro Makaritoru
  • SnoopyCool: Flame of Recca, Hajime No Ippo, Psychic Academy, etc
  • Project Omanga: has more of the “darker” mangas. Also has Bokko, Brothers, Psychometrer Eiji.
  • NOATED: The mother of all manga sites. ;-)
  • Manga Readers: Has a bunch of manga downloads, hosting for other sites. Requires login and has a download limit.
  • Solaris Lunae: Ai Ga Tomanarai, B-Wanted, Lilim Kiss, Sai Kano, etc.
  • MangaSync: Break Shot, Cinderella Express, Inviting Darkness, First Love Kiss, etc.
  • Aku-Tenshi: DNAngel, and more. (May have connection problems.)
  • Shadow2K: Hikaru No Go, Initial D, Tenchi in Tokyo
More later.

(This is the first post in a new category.)

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-04-07 23:34:51   {link}
Categories: manga

This title no verb

Migrating to Linux not easy for Windows users. Amen.

I haven't written much lately, in fact I haven't been at the computer much at all (even for work), but it has been quite a stressful week. Suck.

And of course, like /F said: if she wants to play, go play with her. ^_^ Even when she's 15. Or maybe, especially...

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-04-06 13:18:47   {link}
Categories: general

Generated by Firedrop2.