Monday, February 1, 2010 8:00pm ET over at FDL

Manga Mad

Chat with Ray Castle about his film about Manga. Hosted by Lisa Derrick.

An introduction to the pop culture history of comics and animation in Japan, particularly adult comics, and the obsessive fantasy world of comic & animation fans, called ‘otaku’, their media mecca, cybersex paradise, Akihabara Electric Town, and the world’s largest comic market, Comiket.

Comics (manga in Japanese) and animation (anime) are the biggest pop entertainment media in Japan. More people in Japan read comics than any other country. Comics account for 40% of all magazines & books sold in Japan. 60% of all cartoon animation broadcast around the world on TV is made in Japan.

Comics in Japan are for adults, not only children. Politicians, doctors, office ladies and salarymen read them. Otaku are geeky adult males who mostly live with their parents who lack communication skills and don’t date girls, preferring to reside in a comic/animation virtual world of sentimental lolita-like characters, referred to as ‘moe’ or budding love.

The film reflects on the Japanese penchant for ‘cuteness’ exploring cultural psychological innuendos, evident in comic/anime character craze and doll figure fetish. The trend of ‘Moe’ – lolita-like characters – are a highly stylised, sentimental, romanticism; embedded with fairy tale-like erotic mythos and violent heroism.

Historically, Japanese art history – ukiyoe for example – is rich with explicit erotic pictures, and sword-culture blood lust. Art, movies and comics are not shy of strong themes which intrigue and confound western sensibilities. In striking contrast, the society itself, is highly ordered, mannered and polite, with Tokyo rated the safest city in the world.

Ray Castle – A PHOTOGRAPHER & FILM MAKER: Produced two socially probing documentaries about Japanese youth, cyber, fashion, music and pop culture: ‘Tokyo Techno Tribes’ – (2002). ‘Manga Mad – Tokyo Otaku’ (2008).