In March 1990, a few happy curious crowds in front of French newsstands to discover a cult manga in Japan: “Akira”. But Western culture is not yet ready … If a few fans wait patiently every week to discover a new episode of this Cyberpunk comic, the public does not cling to its confusing launch: “Akira” is sold among magazines and not in a library ; this version comes from the United States, where the text has been translated, the plates inverted and recolored, with a Western reading sense (unlike the Japanese originals whose pages and thumbnails are read from right to left)… A bug in the States -Unis will have the skin of this first test: the collection stops even before the apocalyptic ending signed Katsuhiro Otomo.
When “Goldorak”, “Albator” and “Dragon Ball” invaded French screens
However, the manga spirit has already largely infused French society. Since the 1980s, a succession of cartoons for children has invaded the screens and contaminated the youth: “Goldorak”, “Albator”, “Dragon Ball” … And now “Akira” returns in the form of animated feature film. The worldwide success is total and opens a new path in France, until now the sanctuary of the Franco-Belgian line. In 3D or 2D version, the manga takes root.
France is the second largest market in the world behind Japan. And all audiences of all ages can be won over.
Clearly influenced by cinema, in its frameworks and its approach to movement, this renewed graphic narrative, stemming from a long history of Japanese images dating back to the 12th century, then spread rapidly in France: thirty years later, a band drawn out of three purchased here is a manga! France is the second largest market in the world behind Japan. And audiences of all ages can be seduced by a nebula of themes and styles that the genre brings together: kodomo (for children), shônen (young boys), shôjo (young girls), seinen (male adults), gekiga (” dramatic images ”, realistic stories), isekai (fantastic), nekketsu (initiatory),“ slice of life ”, yaoi (gay romantic), yuri (lesbian romantic), kohai (horror), sport, school life (schoolboy), thriller , comedy, psychology, history, etc.
A place in the museum
At the Angoulême Comics Festival, a pavilion is now dedicated to him, major museums, such as the British Museum in London or La Villette in Paris, devote exhibitions to him, not to mention the influx of the largest European event. in this regard, the Japan Expo …
“Asadora!”, A kid against the rest of the world, in a dark fresco, not devoid of humor. The last jewel of master Naoki Urasawa.
“Unlike Western forms, Japanese manga tells a story through line art, with text playing a much more secondary role,” says Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Culture , author of the very rich and documented book “Manga”. “To the illustrations are added sound effects including onomatopoeia and imaginary noises (giseigo and gitaigo), essential components of the Japanese language. “Having become for this researcher, an” almost universal language “, manga is also widely distributed because of its industrial production today.
The heavy rhythms of the mangaka
If the French graphic novel is essentially based on the author or the scriptwriter-designer couple, the number of actors at the source of a manga is much more impressive: mangaka (author), assistants (specializing in sets, characters) , editor. To regularly and quickly feed the magazines which pre-publish his work by episode, the mangaka is, in fact, obliged to run a small business… Thus the consecrated author Inio Asano revealed, in a master class last spring during the festival of ‘Angoulême, how a whole part of his creative studio had been working for three years to model in 3D an imaginary city with the sole aim of obtaining original sets for future albums. A madness of grandeur which does not prevent him from claiming to be Yoshiharu Tsuge, also tackling dark and social subjects.
Because manga is not just a matter of consumption. If certain titles are printed in millions of copies, declined in “animated”, objects or video games, this does not harm a subversive production, questioning the margins, the place of women, or the history long kills Ainu, the original and colonized people of the Archipelago.
Currently, this graphic expression is “at a turning point”, assures the octogenarian Chiba Tetsuya, legendary author of “Ashita no Joe”, created in 1968, and which revolutionized the genre: “There is still little, we made manga with paper and pencils. In recent years, they have been drawn on a computer or tablet, supports that offer a new and specific framework of artistic expression. It is very exciting. (…) The manga of the future will perhaps be accompanied by smells and music. “