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  #3991  
Old 08-26-2017, 07:08 PM
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Reading some of dat dere My Hero Academy in my downtime. I mentioned to Raider how bourgeois kids' comics are these days, and MHA is a perfect example. The character whose parents own a failing construction biz is held up as the example of the struggling underclass. Weird shit, my droogs.
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  #3992  
Old 08-26-2017, 08:45 PM
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I'd like to see a list of most absurd family backgrounds for underclass MCs in high school manga.

My submission would be "my single dad flies aggressor fighters" in Narutaru.
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  #3993  
Old 08-27-2017, 12:57 PM
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Thinking about MHA for a minute. I'm not shocked in the least that its superheroes are 0-hour contract workers. The theme beat into our heads is that the older generation is dying off and needs to hand the reins of power over, but the younger generation was never allowed to have power and can't safely take over yet. Meanwhile the forces of societal chaos are overpowering the structures that were supposed to protect everything, and the only people who can hope to defeat them are too busy competing with each other for prestige and a bigger slice of the shrinking pie. It's an uncomfortable story and I'm a little surprised that so many have latched onto it.

But the attitude is still incredibly bourgeois. The bad guys aren't revolutionaries, they're psychopaths. The kids throw everything they have into meaningless competitions against one another (though the main kid sometimes shows a flash of something beyond the hilariously empty "i won't lose to anyone!!!" characterization that everyone else relies on.) The greatest goal seems to be getting a good job and buying a house.

Last note: I heard a lot about how much this borrows from western superheroes comics but it feels like that stops at the surface aesthetic. The most obvious ancestor isn't Avengers, but Naruto.
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  #3994  
Old 08-28-2017, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
Reading some of dat dere My Hero Academy in my downtime. I mentioned to Raider how bourgeois kids' comics are these days, and MHA is a perfect example. The character whose parents own a failing construction biz is held up as the example of the struggling underclass. Weird shit, my droogs.
That's a fascinating angle. Finding anime/manga that that attempts to discuss the issues of the 'struggling underclass' as you put it is difficult for a lot of complicated reasons. Anything out of Shounen Jump is going to be escapist fantasies targeting a kid/teen demographic, so they're not going to have anything like that there. When your media targets a young adult demographic, it's largely only concerned with the experiences and desires of young adults rather than trying to say anything meaningful about older generations. Or if someone does have a disadvantaged background, it's something that's well in the rear view mirror. There's also the issue that Japanese society seems to go to great lengths to hide its lowest classes from sight. The orphanage system in Japan is not great. So it's just a part of society that doesn't even get looked at by most people. Then there's the issues of the really low birth rate there, which is not a product of less families having babies, but less people getting married in general (IIRC the birth rate per married couple is normal and sustainable; marriage rates however are very low). So really, the only people having families these days in Japan are largely those well off and stable enough to do so. So when I do read/watch stuff about families struggling financially, it's stuff like Kyoukai no Rinne or The President is a Maid! where being poor is more of a an amusing punch line than something with dire socio-economic consequences.

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Last note: I heard a lot about how much this borrows from western superheroes comics but it feels like that stops at the surface aesthetic. The most obvious ancestor isn't Avengers, but Naruto.
See, I wouldn't be so certain. The generational aspect of the narrative is very much rooted in not necessarily Marvel, but DC Comics. Marvel Comics was never so big on the concept of side kicks, but a big part of DC's lore (at least pre-N52) is that all these heroes had side kicks who eventually grew up and began to take over their predecessor's shoes and had to constantly worry about whether they were doing an adequate job. So like Nightwing w/ Batman, or Superboy with Superman, or Wally with Barry, pretty much all of the Lanterns living in Hal's shadow, etc. DC isn't always successful in making these generational ascensions stick, but it's been a big focus and draw for DC comics.

I also think the obsessive reflection on "what does it mean to be a hero!?" is something that's fairly unique to American comics. Naruto certainly has his "way of the ninja" but he never agonizes over the idea or spends any time thinking about it. It's just his default state of existence that he never even thinks to break from. This is true of Jump heroes from the Joestars, to Goku, to Yusuke, Saeba Ryo, through anything happening now. If there was a period of consternation, doubt, and self-reflection that these characters went through to find their moral compasses, it happened long before the events that we read/watch. We almost never see crises of faith or a period of time where the protagonists have to find themselves. And MHA bucks that trend with a main character who is almost in a perpetual state of doubt and reflection with regards to his quest to become a hero.
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  #3995  
Old 08-28-2017, 07:52 AM
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That's a fascinating angle.
Y thank u.

I don't buy that the demographic is the reason that class is glossed over. You see pretty unflinching depictions of poor/working poor life in the kids' comics of the 60s and 70s. And not just in counterculture faves like Ashita no Joe; even Drifting Classroom (briefly) touches on the material realities of single parent households. But I think we agree that SJ in particular is interested in presenting middle-class fantasias.

You see a lot more of the protagonist-in-doubt bit in sports comics. Eyeshield 21 had that in spades, and Deku borrows heavily from Sena's characterization. The flow is usually stumbling block > self-doubt > mentor/rival does the "don't halfass judo/backgammon/whatever" speech > hero tries even harder and overcomes.
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  #3996  
Old 08-28-2017, 12:29 PM
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I don't buy that the demographic is the reason that class is glossed over. You see pretty unflinching depictions of poor/working poor life in the kids' comics of the 60s and 70s.
That's a good point! But you could probably hypothesize that that has more to do with the context of the era of those decades. Young Adults in the 60s still would have remembered the very lean post-war years, Japan's national trauma was still fresh on the mind, and the primary creative talents of those eras were all old enough to remember and be shaped by the war and its immediate aftermath. IIRC Ashita no Joe's author grew up in Manchuria for example. Fast forward to the 80s, 90s, and beyond, and you've got whole new generations that have no such memories or context of broad societal struggles as your consumers and then creators.

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You see a lot more of the protagonist-in-doubt bit in sports comics. Eyeshield 21 had that in spades, and Deku borrows heavily from Sena's characterization. The flow is usually stumbling block > self-doubt > mentor/rival does the "don't halfass judo/backgammon/whatever" speech > hero tries even harder and overcomes.
That's true, but that's probably due to a lot of the unique context of the subject matter itself. The struggles of an athlete is almost always an internal one of self-improvement, and that's not necessarily synonymous with the heroics or righteousness. I think it's also worth noting that, I don't know that much about Eyeshield 21's author, but its illustrator is deeply fascinated with American comics/heroes. I think a better rebuttal would have been ONE, not necessarily with OPM since it's pretty easy to make American comics allegories with that, but Mob Psycho 100 - where soul searching and struggling with how to responsibly use power is its chief thematic concern, but it's very much divorced from a lot of the standard thematic and visual trappings of American comics.
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  #3997  
Old 08-28-2017, 01:39 PM
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So really, the only people having families these days in Japan are largely those well off and stable enough to do so.
This is not true. It fluctuates from year to year based on economic conditions, but fairly recently 1/6 children in Japan were living in poverty. The idea that only well off people are having children due to the low birth rate is itself part of the erasure of politics from contemporary Japan.

The transition away from stable lifetime employment to unstable, low paying contract work with no benefits has hit the economy pretty hard.

edit: Here's an editorial from July about Japan's child poverty problem. Currently it's 1/7 children living in poverty. For single parent families, over 50% of children living in poverty, way over the average of 20% in countries of similar economic conditions.

Last edited by estragon; 08-28-2017 at 01:50 PM.
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  #3998  
Old 08-28-2017, 02:08 PM
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Jesus.
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  #3999  
Old 08-28-2017, 03:45 PM
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I suppose it's not that different from the US where "middle class" families on TV live in palatial, impeccably furnished homes.

How does Weekly Jump's price point compare to other popular shonen mags?
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  #4000  
Old 08-28-2017, 04:32 PM
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I'm not saying they don't exist ever, but they're very much less visible to the populous at large. That's a smaller percentage than the percentage living in poverty in the US. And the total number of kids is a vastly smaller percentage than in the US as well. Children make up like 25% of the total US population, so when 1 in 5 kids are living in poverty in the US that's a staggering number of total people. Where as in Japan children only make up like 13% of the total population, so it's easier to hide their relatively smaller numbers. And if there's something Japan has gotten good at over the centuries, it's hiding undesirables out of public view.
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  #4001  
Old 08-28-2017, 05:08 PM
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I am only talking about this statement, which is not true:

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So really, the only people having families these days in Japan are largely those well off and stable enough to do so.
To explain more, it's true that a weak economy is a factor in the lower birthrate. It is not true that this means that only well-off and stable people are having families. It's been a little better recently, but the longterm trend has been that child poverty was going up as the birthrate went down. So, fewer people are having children, but also more of those children are living in poverty.

It will probably be a decade or so before it becomes clear if the recent improvement (probably due to Abe's monetary policy improving the economy generally) is the start of child poverty trending down for some reason or a blip.
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  #4002  
Old 08-29-2017, 05:42 AM
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In unrelated Manga news, I leveraged my time in Japan to replace the tankobon of my established Favorite Manga
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou that got lost in my move back to the states 3 years ago, so my (original print run blue-cover) set is now complete again, thank goodness.

I also discovered in doing so that Ashinano-sensei has been working on a new series that has 4 volumes out, Kotonoba Drive, so I picked that up too. It's very much in the same vein as his other stuff. It's the least fantastical so far, lacking the explicit (well, y'know, relatively) slow-apocalyptic sci-fi setting of YKK or the fantastical gigantic world of Cub no Isaki, but despite being set ostensibly in the modern world it still feels like the same kind of pastoral wasteland with lots of full page spreads of a character, like, feeling the wind or the fog or the ocean with a more magical realist bent. It seems to focus on the changes to nature and the world, the main character being prone to visions/experiences that seem to dip temporarily through time, if I had to pick a way to describe it, but there's no solid mechanical or in world explanation, of course. 2 volumes in so far and will likely finish the others soon; they're quick reads, especially if you don't take the full five minutes per splash page to contemplate the moon over the mountains.
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  #4003  
Old 08-29-2017, 10:59 AM
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Speaking of Shounen Jump garbage, I've been very much reading and enjoying Dr. Stone. There's a bunch of caveats to this mango of course, most of which you'd expect from a Jump comic. But when it's not doing those things, it's just generally a lot of fun to watch post-apocalyptic cavemen learn science all over again. So while a lot of the scenario or all of the fights are nonsense, the painstaking detail put into say, explaining how you'd go about making iron from scratch, and then turning that into a lightning rod to manufacture magnets so you can then turn that into an electric turbine is a lot of fun. Plus, its cast has a lot of character and adorable reaction faces. It's very much a fun guilty pleasure read, that doesn't even up feeling that guilty. When it does sciencey stuff, I'm 100% in. When it does Lord of the Fliesy stuff, not as much. But that stuff is mostly just the impetus to give urgency to cranking out the science asap.
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  #4004  
Old 09-11-2017, 04:08 PM
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This woman is literally plagiarizing Suehiro Maruo
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  #4005  
Old 09-11-2017, 05:35 PM
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Like, literally-literally, or just biting his style? I don't have much context for the two artists other than the article you linked and Wikipedia.
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  #4006  
Old 09-11-2017, 06:33 PM
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Like, literally-literally, or just biting his style? I don't have much context for the two artists other than the article you linked and Wikipedia.
Literally-literally
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  #4007  
Old 09-11-2017, 06:36 PM
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*extremely teddy ruxpin voice* WHITE LADY
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  #4008  
Old 09-11-2017, 07:03 PM
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Woof, that's some bad you made this I made this
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  #4009  
Old 09-12-2017, 04:31 PM
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Worth noting that Fakku released a Kago book just a little while ago.
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  #4010  
Old 09-13-2017, 09:37 PM
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christ, seven seas is putting out some douman seiman

what a time to be alive
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  #4011  
Old 09-13-2017, 09:44 PM
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Wait, really? Short-story collections or Voynich Hotel?
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  #4012  
Old 09-13-2017, 09:54 PM
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Voynich Hotel. It's coming out in June.

They're also releasing the original Cutey Honey comic, which is nowhere near as good as the show but which I'll probably buy anyway.
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  #4013  
Old 09-14-2017, 07:59 AM
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Man, Seven Seas is killing it these days.
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  #4014  
Old 09-14-2017, 08:20 AM
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when the ceo of seven seas is arrested for trying to kill and eat the voice cast of k-on my reaction will be to mutter Well About Time and adjust my newspaper theatrically
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  #4015  
Old 09-14-2017, 01:30 PM
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RE: Jeanette Hayes, plagiarist





Must be pretty sweet for a gallery to have your back when you're a thief with no ideas of your own
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  #4016  
Old 09-14-2017, 01:44 PM
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brb working out a deal with the Louvre for my exhibition of metmuseum.org/Spriter's Resource hybrids
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  #4017  
Old 09-14-2017, 01:48 PM
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I, uh, usually when people find out about others 'appropriating' their work, lawsuits and social pariah-ness tends to follow. I'm assuming some trusty internet sleuth has already tossed Suehiro Maruo a link?
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  #4018  
Old 09-14-2017, 03:26 PM
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I, uh, usually when people find out about others 'appropriating' their work, lawsuits and social pariah-ness tends to follow. I'm assuming some trusty internet sleuth has already tossed Suehiro Maruo a link?
Le Lezard Noir, Maruo's French publisher (and a publisher of all kinds of stuff I'd love to see in English), already @'d him on Twitter about it... Maruo might not even care though. He seems like the kind of guy who might find it funny.

I read an interview with him once where he described his audience in Japan as a subset of angsty teen girls who perpetually discover him and then grow out of it.
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  #4019  
Old Yesterday, 11:22 AM
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With AV's post about it in mind, I picked up the first volume of My Hero Academia over the weekend. I haven't yet caught the themes he has, but it's early goings, and I'll definitely be reading more. On the level of trivia, the wide-eyed naive characters are super cute, and All Might's dilemma is great--funny and weird and directly appealing to my inner twelve-year-old. Although the real 12-year-old Rosewood probably would have checked out seeing him coughing blood.

And for something completely different, another impulse purchase was Magical Girl Apocalypse and what a waste (for me) that was. I expected some self-awareness from the title, but the gimmick was presented in the most straightforward, even boring way possible, and there seemed to be no attempt at taking the story beyond that. Horror isn't my first genre, for sure, but I don't think that's the issue here. I got two volumes and am calling it a loss after reading one.

Liselotte and the Witch's Forest is a newer manga by the author of Fruits Basket. While not the same story, it's a similar story. You've got the saintly, deceptively strong female lead; the undercurrent of pain; the gathering of oddballs devoted to her. Not as shout-y or angsty as FB (so far?), which imo is a good thing. A nice, soothing, low-key read.
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