Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald discovers manga and anime:
Scott and Nguyen are among a growing number of young Australians drawn to Japan’s pop-cultural creativity, compelled by the unique storytelling in manga and anime. They pepper their conversation with Japanese words: they know that “otaku” means a geeky fan, that “shojo” manga are girls’ comics. And they can “read” the complex visual language of manga and anime. They know a throbbing vein on a character’s brow can mean irritation, sweat drops across the face mean bewilderment and a nose bleed means sexual attraction.
The tales are a far cry from the American comic-book staples of superheroes – invariably male – and clear-cut battles between good and evil with feel-good endings. Instead, there are fantastic post-apocalyptic worlds inhabited by cute, big-eyed children and pubescents, animals and robots. There’s more shape-shifting than in Ovid’s Metamorphosis among characters who are not simply black or white. For those raised on a diet of Superman and Batman, first contact with such ambiguous worlds can be baffling; they seem familiar but somehow odd, kitsch yet complex, beautiful artwork in a pulp medium.
Thankfully, the article moves past “Hey, what are those kids reading?” to touch upon the growing presence of manga in libraries, and to offer a crash course on the “father of manga,” Osamu Tezuka.