The Influence of Japanese Anime and Comic Books in American Culture

Japanimation … manga … anime … by now, these terms have become widely known. This style of Japanese art with it’s “cartoony” people and very detailed machinery has taken this country by storm, and has many influences in American movies and comic books. In this essay, I will first show that both anime (Japanese term for animation) and manga (Japanese term for comic books) have sufficient contact with the American culture to generate influence, and then proceed to point out some of the things that show this influence.

The first requirement to influence something is, of course, contact, and both anime and manga excel in this. Anime TV shows have been extremely popular for many years, now. I’m sure anyone who had or was a kid during the 1980s knows what the hit TV show Voltron was, and this was not the only one. Just last year, shows like Ronin Warriors and Sailor Moon graced TV sets across the country.

Even Nickelodeon has (or had, at least) a regular series depicting fairy tales done in the style of anime.

Of course, the logical step from shows on TV is to movies on TV. Nickelodeon has run a few, But the major station in this category is the Sci-Fi Channel. This station has an annual week-long anime festival (this year marks their fourth) and it plays a different anime movie every Saturday morning. Manga can be as big an influence on America as anime. Manga comic books (yes, that is a pleonasm) have been imported to the U.

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S. for many years, first in the original language, and then in translated versions by companies such as Studio Proteus, which is affiliated with Dark Horse Comics. These companies have produced everything from manga based on hit anime movies, like Robotech and Project: A-ko, to manga that would have movies based after them, such as Dominion: Tank Police and Ghost in the Shell. Then, obviously, there are the video games.

With so many of these games coming from Japan, it’s no wonder that the games are based in an anime format. Today, character names like “Ryu” and “Chun-Li” are common in the gaming community. With all of these connections to anime and manga, signs of this have to show up somewhere, right? They do. Over the years, American based animation companies have made their styles more and more like anime. If you do not believe me, compare Disney’s Sword in the Stone to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. At one point, Disney was even sued by a Japanese company for copying a movie too closely. The Lion King shares many similarities with the anime classic, Kimba, the White Lion, the most obvious being only a one letter difference between “Kimba” and “Simba.” There’s no word how the lawsuit turned out. American comics show a strong manga influence, as well.

Marvel Comic’s Joe Madureira freely admits copying the hairstyle from Ghost in the Shell’s Major Kusanagi and giving it to the Marvel Character Rogue in last year’s “Age of Apocalypse” story line. He also claims that everyone working on the popular X-men comic with him have become “anime freaks” also. The biggest example of manga influence in America comes from a moderately sized comic company in Texas called Antarctic Press. The owner of this company, Ben Dunn, is the creator of the longest running American manga series, Ninja High School. Don’t bother checking your comic book price guides; it isn’t in there, for some reason. Other manga books from the same company have made it into the price guides, though. This includes Warrior Nun Areala, also by Ben Dunn, and Gold Digger, by Fred Perry. In conclusion, both manga and anime play an important part in American based comics and movies. They have risen from being unknowns to being virtual house-hold names among many Americans today.

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The Influence of Japanese Anime and Comic Books in American Culture. (2022, Sep 29). Retrieved from

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