Cartoons vs. Manga Movies: A Brief History of Anime in the UK

Manuel Hernandez Perez, Kevin Corstorphine, Darren Stephens

Abstract


This paper has as main objective to explore, adopting a historical and critical perspective, the release of film and anime TV in UK. This would be a first step towards the studio of the peculiar implementation of manganime Culture in Britain.

Compared with other European countries, UK has shown to be slower and even reluctant in importing Japanese television products. Thus, while major markets of anime such as France, Italy or Spain expanded considerably during 1975-1995 period, in a recurrent synergy of television markets, and technological publishing, the implantation of the principal channel (televised anime) in UK has been irregular and unstable. Even today, the catalogue of broadcasting anime is limited to some high success movies, late night television on thematic channels and quite recently, video-on-demand services (Netflix). The offer cannot be compare in importance and diversity to other European countries. This fact, far from being anecdotal, has had an impact on the subsequent implantation of media Japanese cultures such as manga, anime, video games and cosplay.

What can be the reason of this irregular development of Japanese visual culture in United Kingdom? Characteristic having the television market and / or the UK audience? Main hypothesis in relation to these issues can be considered to be of sociological character, but are reflected in the idiosyncrasies of British television culture and production system.

Thus, compared to other Western markets (including the US) which saw the opportunity to purchase economic products for children’s television audiences in the late 70s and early 80s, the British ‘telly’ already offered a broad catalogue (Roobarb, Super Ted, Danger Mouse, etc. ...). The only exception to this children’s ‘made in Britain’ programming was the co-production model. This caused a leak of few products that were not even considered as “Japanese” (Seven Cities of Gold, Godzilla) but mere ‘cartoons’. This competition with the British children production as well as the wide catalogue of other forms of British Popular Culture would explain why the film, domestic video and later adults programming would be the marginal routes of entry for manganime.

 


Keywords


Manga, Anime, TV, Japanese, UK, History, Cartoon, Genre.

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Mutual Images Journal by Mutual Images Research Association is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.