Author profile:
Toyoshi Inada / Editor, Writer
After working for a Film Distribution Company and a DVD magazine publication as an editor, he became a freelancer in 2013. He specialized in film, manga, anime and pop culture. He was the writer of “Social Theory of generations of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” by Subarusya Linkage.

“If we discuss cars in terms of Zakus, new models in development are fast as Char’s custom Zaku.”

Anime and manga is a 1v1 battle between the authors and the audience. Since this relation is not active and only one-way, the earned experience is personal and introverted.
When people who are in their 30s and 40s today where children, adults used to say “stop watching those useless things and study” or “if you want to have fun go outside and play baseball” and scolded them.
When we were young we were unable to find words of rebuttal to our parents’ righteous arguments, but if I had a time machine I would go back in time to say this to my parents; “Anime and manga is an important conversation topic with my friends, and is an excellent communication tool. You might not believe me, but it will be considered as culture 20 years from now!”
When the famous mangas and animes like Dragonball and Doraemon came out, kids where watching them on-going on TV and comic magazines. Whenever the episode was aired or was published, everyone was talking about it on the next day. This is the generation that enjoyed the same show together, shared the knowledge earned from it and today they have grown to adults who support Japan’s society.
So what happens in a society like this?
For example, a pesticide company can present their product to new clients like this; “Our company’s pesticide is powerful. We could compare its strength to a Kamehameha”. A vocabulary based on common knowledge (in this case, Dragonball) will be used in public by more people.
On internet forums, a lot of people compare incidents and phenomenon in society in a unique way with cartoons that people used to watch:

  • How awesome is the next iPhone if we illustrate their specs as mobile suits?
  • Explain the coup d’état in comparison with the One Year War.

Both terms, “mobile suit” and “One Year War”, comes from the robot anime “Mobile Suit Gundam”. Writers in forums compares and makes interesting points using these words. By the way, the “Zaku” and “Char’s Custom Zaku” which are mentioned in the title of this article are both robots that appear in “Mobile Suit Gundam”. You can only understand the meaning of the phrase when you know the setting that Char’s Zaku is 3 times faster than the normal mass produced Zaku.
Also, some of Doraemon’s secret tools represent specific concepts used in IT. One of his tools, the “Complete Encyclopedia of Space” is an encyclopedia that contains all the knowledge of the world and it gets its information from a physical disc of a size of a star. Don’t you think that this is exactly the definition of cloud computing that is used today?
Bringing fictional words and using them in reality is not something only done in Japan. Even in Hollywood movies depicting reality, names of known super heroes like Captain America or Batman can appear randomly in a dialogue with ease.
In West-Europe, people commonly used the bible and Greek Mythology as a source of Metaphors and was considered to be culture. Today, various fiction uses words coming from the bible and myths. However, anime and manga are starting to be used in the same way today. We can say that anime and manga are becoming part of classics and culture. I believe that this trend will escalate more in more especially in Japan.
Thankfully, anime and manga are way easier to read compared to the bible and ancient mythology, and can be finished quickly and is enjoyable. What a nice time to be alive, since acquiring culture is so easy!

Photo credit: Domenico / CC BY