Gen-X'ers and older Gen-Y's grew up in the 1980s, when comic book series cartoons like "The X-Men," "Justice League," "Captain America," "Teen Titans," "Spider-Man, "Batman," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "The Transformers." As these kids aged, they became adults in their 20s and 30s, creating comic book movie blockbusters to keep the legacy going. The next generation of younger Gen-Y's would look to Japan and China for their comic book series. They grow up with "Dragonball Z," "Pokemon" and "Sailor Moon." Anime comics came to America with surprising fervor and it's not likely to dissipate anytime soon.
The DC and Marvel Comic fans sometimes view anime fans as the ultimate nerds, the plot lines as "cheesy" and the characters as "daft" or "annoying." Older Americans often scratch their heads and ask, "Why are anime comics so popular among today's youth?" Some could argue it was a massive advertising campaign that came over from Japan, who saw America and Europe as large, untapped markets. The challenge was to rework their material into exportable goods with English sub-titles and over-dubs.
They farm enthusiastically with several different products, with movies like "Ghost in the Shell" or "Akira" and cartoon series like "Dragonball Z," "Pokemon" and "Sailor Moon." The basic business model was to keep costs low, try a little of everything and see what works. Once their endeavored showed great success, the merchandise, the manga comics and the graphic novels made their way over as well. It was the basic economic edict of supply and demand. Give the fans what they want in every capacity, such as with figurines, costumes, backpacks, t-shirts, manga comics, DVDs, downloads and comic book series.
Moreover, the messages in anime comics reach today's youth at a level that traditional DC or Marvel comic books missed. Anime focuses more on emotions, relationship struggles, introspection, adventurous personal quests and the hero's journey; all in surreal, magical surroundings. Unlike cartoons for kids, anime characters will die and complex relationships are formed. Nothing is off-limits in the anime world, not even sex or violence.
People are confronted with deep concepts and provoked to think about the meaning of life. In a way, it's the softer, psychological side of Marvel, blended with the magical, omniscient qualities of a DC superhero: the best of both worlds. For the male fans, some manga comics are adapted to show sexier heroines – some in their coy school girl uniforms, others with more Westernized curves and futuristic apparel. Yet for the female fans, plots center on soap opera type stories of love, longing and character development. In fact, women make up half the attendees at the anime comics conventions.
Some of the most-viewed anime comics today include Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, Bleach, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Naruto, Death Note, FLCL, Princess Mononoke (movie), Trigun, Inyuasha and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The most critically acclaimed anime film of 2007 was "Paprika," where researchers developed a device that allowed them to go inside people's dreams for psychotherapeutic treatment purposes. Often the subject matter of anime graphic novels and series looks at science-fiction type materials or include evolved species, monsters and zombies in their series. The adult topics of sex and violence mature and grow with viewers, keeping them life-long fans.