257: How Walt Disney Created Manga

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How Walt Disney Created Manga

It's a little known fact that American animators at Disney were great inspirations for Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and the "God of Manga." Tiffany Martin believes that Americans would be enriched by understanding and appreciating the cross-pollination between our two cultures.

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Fantastic article. One question though:

Tiffany Martin:
and they don't get why Battlefield Earth was a mess

They enjoyed that piece of crap? *AWESOME*

Tiffany Martin:
How Walt Disney Created Manga

It's a little known fact that American animators at Disney were great inspirations for Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and the "God of Manga." Tiffany Martin believes that Americans would be enriched by understanding and appreciating the cross-pollination between our two cultures.

Read Full Article

isn't cute not equaling childish undermind when they lose the cute to do a more serious story like Akira or GITS

Tiffany Martin:
How Walt Disney Created Manga

It's a little known fact that American animators at Disney were great inspirations for Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and the "God of Manga." Tiffany Martin believes that Americans would be enriched by understanding and appreciating the cross-pollination between our two cultures.

Read Full Article

I thought this was common knowledge?

JEBWrench:

Tiffany Martin:
How Walt Disney Created Manga

It's a little known fact that American animators at Disney were great inspirations for Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and the "God of Manga." Tiffany Martin believes that Americans would be enriched by understanding and appreciating the cross-pollination between our two cultures.

Read Full Article

I thought this was common knowledge?

Apparently not... ): I found some interesting tidbits while researching this article. Despite my years of otaku-tude even I learned something!

Great read! Very informative. I had a vague clue about most of this, but the article filled in a few blanks for me.

Carl Barks, of course, is a legend.

Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck by Carl Barks were successful in Germany for a different reason then the reason for the success in Japan.

The German localization by Erika Fuchs was indeed better than the original scripts. She included references to famous works of literature and included brilliant puns which became part of common parlor. Many linguist believe that she turned very good adventurous escapism into a deeper work of fiction. Not to insult Barks in any way.

P.S.: Do not forget that Disney took from Osamu Tezuka as well. Lion King and Kimba are practically the same movie.

In 1935, a humble in-betweener (one of the worst jobs in animation) at Disney named Carl Barks began a career that would contribute heavily to comics on a global scale. You've likely never heard of him, though you've no doubt seen his depictions of Donald Duck.

Never heard of Uncle Carl?! What do you take us for? :P

jamesworkshop:

Tiffany Martin:
How Walt Disney Created Manga

It's a little known fact that American animators at Disney were great inspirations for Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and the "God of Manga." Tiffany Martin believes that Americans would be enriched by understanding and appreciating the cross-pollination between our two cultures.

Read Full Article

isn't cute not equaling childish undermind when they lose the cute to do a more serious story like Akira or GITS

... and yet: Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are both very cute but portray very serious subjects. Serial Experiment Lain and Evangelion both keep some of the cute but are downright violent attacks on any sane persons sensibilities (awesome isn't it =)).

Anyway I don't think that what Americans (and all of western civilization for that matter) needs to realize is that kids are not squishy little imbeciles, unable to comprehend complex and even tragic stories without developing debilitating childhood traumas. They are people with minds of their own and with those minds come the ability to contemplate and deliberate. A complex and coherent story will not damage them. To be honest I think a lot of the western world treat children like they were made of glass (both physically and mentally) while the truth is they are more like rubber - they bounce.

A very different view is evident in Japanese anime and manga. Some good examples have been presented in the article but I would like to present another: The Last Exhile. In this series, which is aimed at 9-13 year old, we are presented with a very complex story involving many varied emotions, some of which I am sure are considered taboo in our culture. Love, hate, fear, hope, lose and perseverance are all present while subjects like war, indoctrination, corrupting power, vengeance (and the futility thereof), unrequited love, inescapable duty and much more. A lot of this would hard to find in western animated series and if it was in there it would probably be softened up or resolved to make it a happy end. Not so with the Last Exhile. One particularly memorable situation (kinda spoiler alert) is where they spend a couple of episodes, trying to get you to like a person and then not only killing him off but also destroying his very being. Hmm I should really watch it again.

Anyway in closing: I agree. We should get over this fear of cute stuff. On the flip side however I think that Japan should get over this fascination with teenagers.

Yes, Tezuka was greatly inspired by ol' Walt, but so too did the respect go the other way. To say that manga (but you mean anime) was 'created' by Disney is a bit hyperbolistic (is that word? It is so fun to say!). There is so much in Japanese anime which comes from manga that isn't marketed much beyond Japanese shores due to its lack of 'cultural compatibility'. There are many examples within that which owe far more to traditional artforms such as Ukiyo-e and woodblock prints. The angular lines and characterisically sparse detail that still manages to 'say so much', and even the way that illustrations can enter almost entirely iconographic realms of expression and then back out again in the blink of a frames frame: it draws as much more from traditional art in Japan as it does, at least technically, from Walt. The first Japanese 'comic' is apparently at probably two hundred years old. I have seen it in a museum.

Oh and, I don't recall hearing animation ever referred to as 'manga', which is, as far as my experience in Japan, a word reserved for comics. Anime, a now imported Japanese contraction, is however, exclusively for pictures of the movie kind. The confusion is probably due to the Western anime distributor named 'Manga Entertainment'.

And also, the Disney film, 'Atlantis' is practicly a thef .. er .. remake of a single series Japanese anime, of a name that now escapes me.

Wait, what? You don't get the appeal of Hard Gay? There's something wrong there.

Anyway, one problem you cited is the presence of the animation age ghetto (tvtropes link, handle with care). I think we could all learn something from Japan in that area: just because it's animated, doesn't mean it's for kids. Take the aforementioned Metropolis, for example. It's cutesy, but underneath all that fluffiness are actual issues that aren't always tackled in any other form of media.

Does anyone else have this image of a Cthulhu version of Mickey Mouse? That's all I could think about when I read this.

Very interesting article, and I totally agree with the concluding paragraphs. While visual style and, to some extent content, has touched off a wonderful series of cross pollinations the real point of interest is almost in how these inspirations get altered/corrupted when they make the transition.

Though I had dabbled with anime in my childhood thanks to fare such as Astro Boy, the first series that really hooked me when I was a little more grown was Sailor Moon when it was brought over to North American TV. It was unique fun and quirky.. and the cute girls in schoolgirl outfits certainly didn't hurt. It also had a much more serious side that revealed itself at time. This being before the Web had fully expanded to what it is today, it took some effort but I was eventually able to get my hands on some of the original episodes and movies. It was still same the same fun quirky series I had loved in English, but the way the original version had so embraced those darker aspects was what really excited me. Little had I known when watching the English version just how edited the series had been, particularly in regards to the season endings.

Sorry to burst you bubble, but Manga goes a little further back than Disney.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokusai_Manga for instance

Syntax Error:
Wait, what? You don't get the appeal of Hard Gay? There's something wrong there.

Anyway, one problem you cited is the presence of the animation age ghetto (tvtropes link, handle with care). I think we could all learn something from Japan in that area: just because it's animated, doesn't mean it's for kids. Take the aforementioned Metropolis, for example. It's cutesy, but underneath all that fluffiness are actual issues that aren't always tackled in any other form of media.

Well, there was a time when all non verbal communication was done in drawings. If it was good enough for cheiftains and high priests, it is surely good enough for insecure adults today ;)

And, Japan uses an ideographic writing system, so I wonder if that isn't a contributing factor towards their love of drawn images, besides their long and well loved traditions of woodblock and other illustration. Also, pretty much every restaurant in Japan will anthropomorphise the animal eaten within, so you get joyous cows inviting you to take a bite, and happy crabs sitting in bubbling soup, just begging to be devoured.

My theory is that it's a modern reflection of Shinto animism. In the past, people would have ritualised the thanking of each animal (some staple foods get honorific, human prefixes! 'Mr Honorable Fish') to made sure the animals were glad in their gift of themselves. Most hunting and gathering cultures did similar things. I can't help but think that the remnants of this intrinsic respect for the souls of all things, can atleast partially account for some examples of the popculture's eternal search for 'cuteness', or should I say 'happiness'.

And large eyes would make pretty good 'windows to the soul', would they not?

...Simba caught my eye to read this. >.>

Anyway! Nice article. I feel kinda dumb for not knowing so much about this cultural shock although it all boils down to "different cultures". It's just how we are, I guess.

Yet, we're so much alike. :D

rpsms:
Sorry to burst you bubble, but Manga goes a little further back than Disney.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokusai_Manga for instance

"Manga" as a word that translates directly to "comics" goes back to roughly 1300 BCE. The unique blend of form and aesthetic that characterises what we have come to know as "manga style", however, is much more recent.

A cursory skim of the Wikipedia article would have told you almost as much, now that I look.

So the reason Japan is the way it is, is because of....Disney?! All the life scarring tentacle rape, Disneys fault? The Giant Gundam, Disneys fault?
Disney, I'm scared of you now.

JakobBloch:
[quote="jamesworkshop" post="6.200443.6597250"][quote="Tiffany Martin" post="6.200443.6597111"][b][a href='http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_257/7659-How-Walt-Disney-Created-Manga' target='_self']
A very different view is evident in Japanese anime and manga. Some good examples have been presented in the article but I would like to present another: The Last Exhile. In this series, which is aimed at 9-13 year old, we are presented with a very complex story involving many varied emotions, some of which I am sure are considered taboo in our culture. Love, hate, fear, hope, lose and perseverance are all present while subjects like war, indoctrination, corrupting power, vengeance (and the futility thereof), unrequited love, inescapable duty and much more. A lot of this would hard to find in western animated series and if it was in there it would probably be softened up or resolved to make it a happy end. Not so with the Last Exhile. One particularly memorable situation (kinda spoiler alert) is where they spend a couple of episodes, trying to get you to like a person and then not only killing him off but also destroying his very being. Hmm I should really watch it again.

Anyway in closing: I agree. We should get over this fear of cute stuff. On the flip side however I think that Japan should get over this fascination with teenagers.

While I agree with 99% of this post, I feel the need to nitpickily point out that Last Exile is, as far as I know, aimed at closer to the 15-20 mark, though I don't have any proof to that affect other than, "it jives with other shows I have seen aimed at that demographic", since Last Exile does not have a manga source material--usually the easiest way to confirm it's age target (since the wiki entry on any given manga anthology will say, [Xxx magazine] is aimed at the x-x demographic.) If you have any evidence to the contrary, I'd be sincerely interested to hear it, since I always thought this show was aimed at young adults and not children.

Also, and perhaps more important for all us fans of said deceased character, Word of God seems to imply that he lives: http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk213/MidbossVyers/AnimePaperscans_Last-Exile_skh_6728.jpg though that's a hotly debated topic. X)

Right, now as to the article itself: entertaining. I had never caught the similarities with Early Tezuka and Uncle Scrooge. You've clearly done your homework. Likewise, I'm inordinately pleased that you touched on the cyclic relationship of cultural exports, too. The Disney -> Tezuka link is well-documented; people know about decayed adaptations like Samurai Pizza Cats and how Mach Go Go Go was dubbed into Speed Racer by a whole four people.

But A lot of the animation you see today bears very clear influence in terms of character development and storytelling. Avatar is an excellent example of this reintegration of style. And Avatar and Teen Titans were preceded by people like Peter Cheung (Aeon Flux; Reign: The Conqueror). The Wachowski bros. adaptation of tokusatsu-style acrobatics was predicated by The Animatrix, which was worked on by some of the most influential people in the industry (Watanabe working with 4C? Morimoto? Madness). The ties that bind East and West are incredibly intriguing to explore, and watching the volleys go back and forth has been a marvelous pleasure for the past two decades.

I never could get into Princess Tutu. Its not that I doubt that it has a good story (other people I know who have watched it say the same), its just too girly for me. I know that seems shallow, but I can't get over that.

I'm going to go flex my muscles now, or something else manly.

It's not Japan that has an obsession with teenagers, merely that most of the manga released here in America have been Shoujo (young woman's) and Shonen (Young men's) comics. They have really just begun to release Seinen (College-age male) comics like "Children of the Sea" and "20th Century Boys". Take a look at them- both involve young kids you'd normally find in manga, but they are not treated like the protagonists of Sailor Moon or Naruto.

The lead female character in Children of the Sea is angry and violent- she's been playing soccer on the field when someone bumps her, and she ends up sending the girl who bumped her to the hospital- just as an example. America, thinking that manga and Anime are "Kids Stuff" have focussed on the younger titles, but it's not entirely Japan's obsession with teenagers. It's our own as well.

Lullabye:
All the life scarring tentacle rape, Disneys fault?

You don't even want to know what Disney animators got up to in their spare time....

On the other hand, the oldest piece of Japanese tentacle porn is from 1820, so they've been at it a fair old while.

[quoteI never could get into Princess Tutu. Its not that I doubt that it has a good story (other people I know who have watched it say the same), its just too girly for me. I know that seems shallow, but I can't get over that.[/quote]

Perhaps, but it has quite the following among girls 18-25 (and you can find evidence of it's cult status in force on geek-girl hang out spots online like LiveJournal and DeviantArt.) I suppose if you're too manly for pink the complexity and interest of this work will never touch you, but for those of us who are more estrogen-inclined, Princess Tutu is a work of great depth in a demographic that's woefully ignored in the west (that is, girls.) Just look at how Escaflowne and "Cardcaptors" were "girly-downed" for male audiences, because it's believed that in the US girls will watch beefy manly cartoons but not vice-versa. Thanks to these double-standards, females now have very little media aimed toward them--instead, we just get the smurfette principle/a bit of half-hearted cross-marketing.

...hm, somehow this went from "maybe it's too girly for you but girls like it" to a rant about the lack of female-aimed media in the west. Um...yeah. ^^;;

GloatingSwine:

Lullabye:
All the life scarring tentacle rape, Disneys fault?

You don't even want to know what Disney animators got up to in their spare time....

On the other hand, the oldest piece of Japanese tentacle porn is from 1820, so they've been at it a fair old while.

The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, right? I remember it popping up in Mad Men.

TheTygre:

GloatingSwine:

Lullabye:
All the life scarring tentacle rape, Disneys fault?

You don't even want to know what Disney animators got up to in their spare time....

On the other hand, the oldest piece of Japanese tentacle porn is from 1820, so they've been at it a fair old while.

The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, right? I remember it popping up in Mad Men.

Yeah. I can't find a source of all the wacky shit that the disney animators used to do back in the day when the bosses had gone home, but it was pretty filthy (Apparently loards of the animators were fired when Walt actually found out what they'd been doing). Was all back in the silent era as well, all black and white.

After my first year of college I suddenly hit this massive nostalgia burst. After watching and finishing Outlaw Star (Space ships with hands and melee combat? Madness!), I am now going through Super Dimensional Space Fortress Macross. It is just so good, and every time I see it there seems to be another web of thoughts and emotions that I feel. Deep is just not a descriptive enough word :)

GloatingSwine:

TheTygre:

GloatingSwine:

Lullabye:
All the life scarring tentacle rape, Disneys fault?

You don't even want to know what Disney animators got up to in their spare time....

On the other hand, the oldest piece of Japanese tentacle porn is from 1820, so they've been at it a fair old while.

The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, right? I remember it popping up in Mad Men.

Yeah. I can't find a source of all the wacky shit that the disney animators used to do back in the day when the bosses had gone home, but it was pretty filthy (Apparently loards of the animators were fired when Walt actually found out what they'd been doing). Was all back in the silent era as well, all black and white.

Well that was very racially accepting for their time... And Disney...

Okay, so you mention that there's a litany of evidence that the Lion King is based on Kimba the White Lion which looks remarkably similar to Leo the Lion, King of the Jungle from the 1980s. Given that Kimba came out in 1966 I'm guessing that Leo was probably a renaming of newer seasons of the older show.

Still, when you mention "litany of evidence" I would like to at least see some evidence other than the obvious: both have young cartoon lions, take place in Africa, are coming of age stories, and have similar names e.g "Kimba" and "Simba". It also depends on whether we're still talking animation style or story structure. The Lion King's story most closely resembles Hamlet, which has been admitted to by its creators. Being an Anime, Kimba's plot is more likely to be episodic in nature and seems for the most part to focus on mending the relationships between humans and animals. A young cub born in captivity returns to the wild to find his place and fight for good, justice, and peace like his father.

I'm just saying that if you're going to make a blanket statement like that it would be nice to include more details other than "Simba" and "Kimba", and one coming before the other. After all no one is going to debate how Western and Eastern animation have influenced each other over the years, it's just a matter of when and how.

I've gotta go with Ghost busters on this one...'DON'T CROSS THE STREAMS!'

Katherine Isham:
[quoteI never could get into Princess Tutu. Its not that I doubt that it has a good story (other people I know who have watched it say the same), its just too girly for me. I know that seems shallow, but I can't get over that.[/quote]

Perhaps, but it has quite the following among girls 18-25 (and you can find evidence of it's cult status in force on geek-girl hang out spots online like LiveJournal and DeviantArt.) I suppose if you're too manly for pink the complexity and interest of this work will never touch you, but for those of us who are more estrogen-inclined, Princess Tutu is a work of great depth in a demographic that's woefully ignored in the west (that is, girls.) Just look at how Escaflowne and "Cardcaptors" were "girly-downed" for male audiences, because it's believed that in the US girls will watch beefy manly cartoons but not vice-versa. Thanks to these double-standards, females now have very little media aimed toward them--instead, we just get the smurfette principle/a bit of half-hearted cross-marketing.

...hm, somehow this went from "maybe it's too girly for you but girls like it" to a rant about the lack of female-aimed media in the west. Um...yeah. ^^;;

It's kind of ironic really. With the recent "Rape-Lay" incident that's opened peoples eyes over here, the media various groups have been demonizing Japan for this derogatory treatment of women. Yet beside this highly questionable male orientated material, is an entire section of fictional material devoted to girls young and old that is practically non-existant over here.

Over here the only real non-Japanese equivelent is the Twilight series, and perhaps Tyra Banks upcoming Modelland. So who exactly treats the girls better here?

@#17:

I certainly see how you might like to redefine a term in order to support your misconceptions, but again there are myriad examples of manga which do not support the idea that Disney was somehow the driving force behind japanese comics.

It is not my intention to exhaust the scholarship nor even imply that a single wikipedia entry is exhaustive in and of itself, but there are plenty of counter examples to be found via google books.

rpsms:
Sorry to burst you bubble, but Manga goes a little further back than Disney.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokusai_Manga for instance

I dont know about the particulars, but 'manga' and 'anime' as we know it started with series such as Astro Boy and the like, which were *heavily* inspired from Western Animation, which itself was going through a huge slump at the time. In fact, that is why most anime characters have caucasian facial features; it's because the first anime series started by creating their own version of western animation, and after their breakaway successes, the rest of anime-to-be simply copied this formula.

I suppose animation is a classic case of the western world inventing something, abandoning it, the Japanese subsequently picking it up and turning it into a cultural phenomenmon, which is much later imported back to the west. Ironic.

Wait a minute, I thought that The Lion King was based on Hamlet?

Bek359:
Wait a minute, I thought that The Lion King was based on Hamlet?

it IS
don't expect them to know that though.
(and i thought this was an article about CULTURE?)

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