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Manga

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Typical manga page, circa 1998.

Manga (漫画) is a form of sequential art conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century. In common English parlance, the word may refer either to Japanese comics (regardless of style), or to cartoon drawings in a perceived "Japanese style", regardless of their country of origin.

Japanese comics are commonly printed in black-and-white, and published as disposable pulp magazines. However a number of manga artists (called mangaka) also publish their work in digital form on the World Wide Web, especially doujinshi (manga fan art). Individual manga drawings (that are not panels of a comic) are generally colorized. Traditionally, manga is drawn from right to left, with vertical lettering typical of Japanese literature.

Panchira in mangaEdit

MAIN ARTICLE: PANCHIRA

Panchira is the most common form of fan service in Japanese comics. Although the term actually refers to a "brief glimpse" of "panty", the word may be applied to any image in which a young girl's briefs are exposed for any length of time. The convention was adopted by Osamu Tezuka during the mid-fifties with the original run of Tetsuwan Atom (Astroboy). Tezuka almost certainly borrowed the idea from Western comics and cartoons - panty shots featured regularly in both Disney and Fleischer Studios productions, and Tezuka was, by his own admission, a great admirer of both.

This influence extended to the design of his most famous female character, Astroboy's robotic sister, Uran (Astrogirl). As noted by numerous animation historians, Uran's appearance borrowed heavily from 1930s cartoon characters such as Minnie Mouse and Betty Boop, both of which were notable for their ongoing panty displays. By the close of the fifties, Uran had become a breakout character in her own right, instantly recognizable by her gravity-defying hemline and white cotton underwear.

Due to Tezuka's overwhelming impact on Japanese popular culture, panchira became a common practice in manga during the 1960s, although the convention was confined mainly to the children's genre. Shoujo characters were frequently represented as cute and naive; innocent panty-shots served to reinforce the image. Consequently, such depictions were considered kawaii (cute) rather than ecchi (risque) at the time. Towards the end of the sixties, however, a hint of sexuality had begun to creep into manga aimed at a slightly older demographic, particularly in titles featuring adolescent female characters. By the 1970s, a younger generation of mangaka such as Go Nagai were exploiting the voyeuristic connotations of the panty shot.

Ecchi-style panchira soon spread throughout the industry, initially figuring in mahou shoujo (magic girl) comic strips. The convention immediately transferred to mnumerous other genres, even those seemingly devoid of sexual content. While this increasingly voyeuristic approach led to some controversies during the early seventies, fanservice was mostly viewed as a harmless diversion by the Japanese public.

Stylistic conventionsEdit

Manga comes in a wide variety of styles, making it impossible to define precisely what distinguishes manga from western comics, as for every rule there are exceptions. Still, an attempt to come up with "typical features of manga style" might include:

• oversized eyes
• undersized noses
• dramatic changes in facial expression
• preference for pretty, cute, slim, and young characters
• use of panchira and nudity even in non-adult manga (see fan service)
• "fantasy" costumes and themes
• long and/or "spikey" hair, often in fancy colors in colored manga

GenresEdit

Manga comes in a great variety of genres and sub-genres, generally known by Japanese terms, such as:

• Shōjo (manga for girls)
• Shōnen (manga for boys)
• Shōjo-ai (or Yuri, lesbian romance)
• Shōnen-ai (or Yaoi, gay romance)

Erotic and adult manga also come in numerous sub-genres, including:

• Hentai (変態 or へんたい); general term for explicit pornographic manga, also known as "H" manga
• Ecchi (エッチ) or etchi; vague sexual content (such as skimpy clothing, partial or full nudity), but does not show sexual intercourse
• L0licon (ロリコン), or just l0li (ロリ); young female characters
• Sh0tacon (ショタコン), or just shota (ショ); young male characters
• Ero guro (エログロ) or just guro; "grotesque" imagery involving violence, mutilation and brutality.

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