The Growth of Manga
Japanese comics and cartoons (manga and anime) have seen continued success in the last few years particularly amongst teens and for younger boys on TV. Platypus has conducted research to show the current usage of manga amongst children, to identify if there is a ‘thirst’ for more of this genre, and to explore how future initiatives can be implemented successfully in the UK for the younger audience. Moderator: Shazia Ali, Research Consultant, Mint Research Speakers Jo Cliff, Director, Platypus Research Session sponsor: Platypus Research The influence of Manga on international animation has grown considerably over the past two decades and it’s the fastest growing category in publishing today. Increasingly it’s being read by all ages and can cover a range of genres, such as action-adventure, romance, sports and drama. There are different types of Manga, the most famous being ‘Shonen’ aimed at young males and teens – think Pokemon and Naruto. In the UK, Pokemon has enjoyed phenomenal success for some time now. The anime is shown on Disney and CITV and around 200 million copies of the game version have been sold! This has led to a general interest in all things Japanese -including stationery, fashion and home accessories. Manga comic books, such as the ‘Manga Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet’, are also something of a phenomenon in the UK – usually with teens. These can be used to engage young people with reasonably complex concepts and stories. Platypus carried out some research in the UK on a sample of 250 7-11 year olds. Some of their findings are: 1. Most kids had experienced Manga on TV (93% boys, 78% girls) and on average a quarter of the kids had come across Manga in print (32% boys, 19% girls). Some children seek out the less well-known Manga on the internet. 2. Most of the content was aimed at boys. 3. Manga in the UK is mainly aimed at teens. 4. There are few titles available for children – even so, it is starting to get readership amongst older children (e.g.10-12 yrs) 5. Once they experience it, children tend to love Manga and Anime. Anime on film has a particularly strong appeal. The research also showed that what the kids liked most about Anime on TV was the general ‘look’ of the characters with their exaggerated clothes, hair and big eyes, the fact that they tend to have superpowers and the stories which manage to be both exciting and funny. Kids felt that they could become ‘part of the fantasy’ by extending their on-screen experience with their friends (e.g. collecting cards and playing the games). Wider learnings from the research can be applied to all children’s entertainment. Children have wonderful imaginations and love fantasy and make believe. Within the fantasy world they can explore/observe/experiment with real life challenges. Looks like Manga is here to stay.