No country imports more manga than France, and manga and anime can also influence the French art scene. A new article at The Guardian, titled “Manga-nifique! How France became obsessed with Japanese anime” talks about the new French animation Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, and moves on from there to talk about the history of manga and anime in the country.
It jokingly refers to Vincent von Gogh as one of the first otaku in Europe because of his interest in Japanese art, before eventually jumping ahead to the 1970s. There were tries to get anime in France then that didn’t take off. However, that changed in 1978 with the anime Goldorak, which played on one of France’s main public TV stations. It was very successful and this led to more anime getting licensed in France.
At first manga was published in France as cheap, throwaway paper comics, but that also changed in the 90s, when tons of “properly bound” manga came to France. Titles like Akira took off. These days, One Piece is the most popular manga title in France, but other titles like Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z are also big.
Manga expert Nicolai Chauvet told The Guardian, “Manga slapped me in the face. It was even more punk than Franco-Belge comics. The freedom to do whatever you want: I’m going to have some dinosaurs in the midst of some Chinese kung fu thing with daft legends, and stick the Terminator in there too! With humor in drawings that had surgical, diabolical precision. And all serving the reader, without the illustrator’s ego in the way.”
The article also noted that otaku interests in France goes all the way up to the president, who is known for tweeting about manga.
Source: The Guardian
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.