The Anime Invasion
Megan Wolfson
Advanced Composition, 2nd Period
January 18, 2002
Research Essay: Revised for Portfolio
Thesis Statement:The popular onset of Princess Mononoke and Pokemon enabled
anime, once limited to an underground movement populated by teenage males, to enter mainstream American film entertainment, resulting in the backlash on violence, gender issues, and sexuality.


I. Overview
A.Motivator
B.Definition of anime
1.Examples of anime
2.Anime and its consumers
C.Definition of manga
1. Popular American examples of manga
a.Ranma
b.Akira
c.Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play
2. Manga bestsellers
D.Anime appeal to Americans
1.American popular entertainment reference
a. Silence of the Lamb
b.Perfect Blue
E.Thesis Statement
II. Graphic violence in anime
A. Violence against women
1. Women raped and brutalized: weaker sex
2. Male/female Guyver comparisons
B. X
1. Explanation/plot
2.Good v. evil themes
C.Violence in Princess Mononoke
III. Gender issues in anime
A.Women subservient to men
1.Hiding "special" abilities
2.Magical girls
a.Video Girl Ai
b.Urusei Yatsura
c.Tenchi Muyo
d.Ah! My Goddess!
e.Sailor Moon
B.Women in 1950s and 1960s sitcoms and their gender roles
1.I Dream of Jeannie
2.Bewitched
C.Analysis of male fears
1.Ranma
2.Anxieties and control issues
IV. Sexuality, Romantic and Pornographic, in anime
A. Romantic comedy/drama
1. Kimagure Orange Road (KOR)
a. Most popular form of anime
b. Consensual sex and romance
B. Pornographic content
1.The Legend of the Overfiend
a. Rape
b. Torture
2. Segregation of boys and girls in society
a. Sexual referrals are present through sexual overtones
b. Sexual taboos
V.Discussion
A. American reactions
1. Violence
2. Gender
3. Sexuality
B.Thesis Statement restated
C.Clincher
The Anime Invasion
Two samurai warriors rush at one another in a blur of motion. A young man and woman exchange a passionate embrace. Colorful creatures face off in the battle arena. All are strong, central actions preformed in anime. In Japan, anime is more than the leading form of entertainment: it is a cultural identity. The film industry in Japan has done poorly since the 1980s, but animation has met with success since the mid-eighties. The popularity of manga, Japanese comic books, has helped to fuel interest in the US market. Anime has reached an all-time international high, with as much "fandom" in Japan as in other parts of the world (Stanley, 1998, 1). "Anime is marked by bright, kinetic artwork, sparse dialogue, and often fantastic stories about everything from high school basketball teams to mystic warriors with superhuman powers" (Cass, 1997, 2). The wildfire popularity, in the United States, of Pokemon, a children's anime, is not, contrary to popular belief, just the lovable yellow, big-eyed rodent Pickachu, but a world of magical battling pocket monsters ("Video Business," 2001, p. 14). The cute, colorful monsters battle for Pokemon supremacy in and out of the battle arena. Intricate themes and an undefined line of good and evil permeate the complex stories of most anime; however, this is not the case in Pokemon, where good and evil is cut and dry. In the United States, anime is generated to appeal to all ages, with special emphasis placed on children. Popular animes in the United States include Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. The mecha (giant robotic fighting machines) cult-hit Neon Genesis Evangelion was widely received by teenage fans (Yamamura, ; Sugiyama, 1996). Psychological thrillers such as Perfect Blue took the adult audience by storm, and Le Bleu Girl, a violent hard-core pornographic anime where young school girls in uniforms are subjected to rape and torture, make up the various genres of available anime. Unlike in the United States, however, anime, in Japan is aimed for an adult market.

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Ultimately all anime finds its roots in manga, or Japanese comic books. In Japan 40% of books and magazines sold are manga (Wolk, 2001, 2). Manga also often appear as Japanese bestsellers. Rumiko Takahashi's wildly successful Ranma depicting the adventures of "a panda bear, an omelet cook, and a boy who turns into a girl" when splashed with water (Wolk, 2001, 2) has sold hundreds of millions of copies. Topics and variety of manga range from politics, to sports, to pornography. Often fans that do not understand Japanese read or watch entirely untranslated manga and anime. With a few exceptions, such as American releases of manga like Akira or Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play, fans circulate manga and anime, either at anime conventions or fan clubs, or in some retail stores.

What makes anime and manga so appealing to American audiences is the way it so closely resembles American popular media. Many of the genres and stock characters found in Hollywood movies and