Making a career out of Japanese anime | Forum

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NatsuKudo Apr 5 '16
ALL CREDITS TO ::YOLANDE D'MELLO | Sun, 24 Nov 2013-08:24am , Mumbai , dna newspaper..

all rights goes to newspaper..     (http:///...panese-anime-1923961

Far removed from the familiar world of Archie or Walt Disney, manga finds new fans who are choosing careers to cash in on the growing popularity of the Japanese subculture. Yolande D'Mello reports.

Akanksha Sachan was a studious young girl determined to be an engineer. And then in her 16th year, she plonked down in front a television during a hard-earned break from her physics textbook to watch cartoons with her younger brother. She started off with Dragon Wars, moved on to Naruto and hasn’t stopped since.

Sachan is hooked to anime, the Japanese word for animation, and has joined the league of otaku, described by Oxford English dictionary as ‘a young person obsessed with popular culture to the detriment of their social skills’.

Except that Sachan has also made a lucrative career out of it.

The Lucknow girl moved to the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Kolkata, where she is completing her third year. Her final project is a fashion collection based on manga, a genre of Japanese comics and cartoons based on science fiction or adult themes.

“There is an entire subculture in anime that is an emerging lifestyle choice in Japan. It will take a while to catch on in India,” says 20-year-old Sachan, who is frequently called on by other anime fans to help create their costumes for cosplay. Cosplay refers to a performance art where fans dress up like their favourite characters. And Sachan’s keen knowledge of fashion and anime makes her a scarce resource.

“If you go to a regular tailor, he will botch up the complicated outfits or just look at you strangely. I work on costume orders in my spare time and my charges start at Rs1,500 for a basic outfit,” she says.

Her future plans include starting an online store for anime fans in India. Costume stores in India don’t cater to such a niche population and online stores charge a fortune.

The simple school girl uniforms start at Rs1,500 and the more complex warrior wear, which are more labour intensive, take up to 15 days to perfect and cost much more. Comic-Con has a rule against metal costumes, so Sachan says she used foam, textured with primer to give it an authentic look, while making sure the suit was light in weight. Fans are known to spend an average of Rs10,000 on each costume.

Sachan became a familiar name in the otaku community after she won a cosplay event in Bangalore in June. She played Erza Scarlet, a sword-yielding warrior from anime series Fairy Tail.

She’s not the only one making a career out of anime. Nineteen-year-old Pracheta Banerjee began to seriously think of a career in arts after she found herself addicted to an anime series four years ago. The Delhi girl had started, like many others, by watching the popular Pokémon but soon graduated to shoujo, fiction, meant for young girls, with a series called Card Captors Sakura.

Her first anime novel is due to be published and released next year. Banerjee admits that most of her classmates don’t understand anime. “People ask me why I watch cartoons at my age and I defensively tell them ‘they aren’t cartoons’. Anime is meant for young adults, the medium is simply animated,” she says.

Then there is 24-year-old Gargi Dutta, who was driven to study Japanese to better understand her favourite anime series and the wide-eyed characters that represent them. Dutta now works as a Japanese interpreter and also heads the anime club in Kolkata.

With fan clubs mushrooming in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, the otaku community is growing. Fans are willing to spend more on their anime passion and youngsters like Sachan and Dutta are filling in to meet a demand, still at a nascent stage but steadily rising.

Manga mania

dna tries to decode some common anime terminology for the uninformed

Ahoge: A single strand of hair that sticks out of a character’s head. It literally means ‘stupid hair’ and usually implies that the character isn’t too smart

Butler Café: Cosplay cafes in which waiters role-play as ideal butlers for female customers

Fanboy: A male otaku or fan who displays an obsession with a specific character of an anime, manga, or game

Gothloli: Refers to characters that wear clothing imitating the attire of Victorian porcelain dolls, mainly using a childlike look with black or white

Facefault: An action in which an anime or manga character falls over on his/her head or back in surprise or exasperation.

Normally, during a facefault, only the legs are visible as they are extended in the air.

Kodomo: Anime directed at children, often teaching them moral values.