Possible to Adapt Anime for American Audiences?


It’s always struck me extremely unfortunate that Japanese cartoons and comics (anime/manga) possess a second-class-citizen status here in America.  Sure, there are definite fandoms.  And I’ve met many Americans who are super-passionate about the genre.  But I’ve also met many who are unfamiliar with the genre and think of anime and manga as “weird” and “perverse.”  I’ve met both men and women, especially women, who hold the genre in extraordinarily low esteem– they’ve either never watched or read anime/manga and/or the little they have, they’ve only seen lewdly drawn art that blatantly objectifies women; and/or they’ve only read storylines that verge on pure male prepubescent fantasy– Eg. A number of female high school students pursuing an entirely unremarkable male protagonist; whatever the gender opposite of the “Mary Sue” trope would be (and the fact that this is even a genre –called “harem”– is alone troubling to many.)

Anime and manga have another challenge in American culture in that cartoons, almost overwhelmingly, Americans think of as a children’s medium.  Obviously, there are Disney and Pixar– but even when you visit slightly “more mature” fare like content from Dream Works, Blue Sky, Sony Animation, or WB Animation, it’s still virtually entirely family-friendly.  There may be some “inside jokes” thrown in for the parents that get a laugh or chuckle.  But it’s all still material that children enjoy.  A safe weekend, family outing enjoyable for all ages.

In Japan, things are just different.

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