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Mail On Sunday Portray Manga In A Bad Light

Date: 2004 November 21 21:08

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Following on from our report about The Educational Value of Manga In The UK, British News Paper The Mail On Sunday have just written an article about the topic titled "Child murder, incest and rape... is this really how our schools should be encouraging boys to read?", this is in stark contrast to previous articles we have reported on in other publications that portray anime and manga in a more positive light. When dealing with the Daily Mail and Mail Sunday our readers outside of the UK should note an Ian Hislop quote where he says that to the Daily Mail even Yoghurt is scary (I can't find the exact quote right now).

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Psychic Academy Volume 4 as shown in the newpaper article

Psychic Academy Volume 4 Manga Cover

The article on page 49 of the Mail On Sunday has large headline titled "Child murder, incest and rape... is this really how our schools should be encouraging boys to read?" with an image of TokyoPop's Psychic Academy Volume 4 next to the text (they've also cropped The TokyoPop section on the cover). The actual headline takes up more space than the body text of the article.

They make sweeping generalisations about manga - "The Manga cartoons are vividly realistic 'good versus evil' fantasy strips read by all ages groups in Japan".

Much manga isn't good versus evil, long running Sazae-san doesn't really have any evil in, nor does Azumanga Daioh (unless you count biting cats), Crayon Shin-Chan and Kare Kano all of which have normal domestic settings and these are just a few titles out of many thousands. Even some more wild titles like GTO don't exactly have villains in unless you count the great Teacher himself! ^_-

The Mail On Sunday also points out that manga comics in Japan have been blamed by some lobby groups (they don't say which) for a rise in sexual violence against women.

The Otaku News Crew do not deny that some manga does indeed cover nasty and taboo subjects as do Hollywood movies, paperback books and TV Dramas. Oddly enough the Mail On Sunday fail to mention that William Shakespeare has written stories with child murder, incest and rape in the forms of Macbeth, Pericles and also The Rape of Lucrece to name a few, so using the same logic should we remove all Shakespeare from the National Curriculum? Greek classics such as The Oedipus Trilogy also have incest in, so perhaps classical Greek literature should not be allowed in schools either?

By now I know that a few UK anime and manga fans who have read the original Mail On Sunday article are foaming at the mouth and probably want to send them e-mails. First we suggest you don't e-mail them. Write a letter instead, take your time, write as many draughts as you have to, check it for spelling and grammar, be polite, be intelligent, be calm. Shooting off e-mails in haste, only means you'll probably make a few spelling mistakes and you might not get your point across. Writing a good letter to a newspaper means they are more likely to print it. Since you've taken your time and put the effort in writing it and then paying for it to be sent to them is why a letter will carry more weight than an e-mail that could be copied and pasted or scripted.

Despite the fear inducing headline at least they article ends on a high note with a quote from the Reading Agency taking the correct stance with manga - stating that it's reputation with sex and violence is not justified ."A lot of the stories are quite sophisticated, with complicated storylines and development of characters..."

Source: The Mail On Sunday
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