The AIS High School Anime & Manga Club: Fans of Modern Japanese Storytelling Unite!

When the word “anime” is spoken in a conversation, there are a few possible reactions.

By Anna J. Pruess – Freshman student

When the word “anime” is spoken in a conversation, there are a few possible reactions.  Someone might mention a classic anime, like Naruto or Sailor Moon, or someone might make the mistake of assuming that anime is a “little kid thing.”  Another possibility is that an anime fan will overhear and join the conversation, something that certain AIS students want to make more common.  To achieve this, they founded the Anime & Manga Club for fellow “weebs” (fandom slang for “anime fans”) to gather together to discuss and pursue their interests.

To promote this new club among the student body and spark an interest in anime/manga in other students, a survey was sent to members of the Anime & Manga Club that asked about their favorite anime and manga titles, favorite genres, and any recommendations they might want to share. 

Most Popular Anime and Manga at AIS

Many of the most popular anime and manga among AIS high schoolers are part of the shōnen genre, which literally means “young boy.”  This does not mean that only teenage boys can watch these anime – actually, there has been a large increase in female audiences when it comes to this genre.  According to a survey taken by Weekly Shōnen Jump, one of the most popular shōnen manga magazines in Japan, some of the most popular manga (and their anime adaptations) have a high percentage of female fans.  Sports series like Haikyū!! And Kuroko no Basuke have 66.8% and 56.9% female readers, respectively, and other popular series like One Piece and Bleach have 51.8% and 50.7% female readers.  Keeping this in mind, this section will cover some of the most popular anime and manga at AIS, many of which belong to the shōnen category.

Many survey respondents said they counted Demon Slayer (Japanese title: Kimetsu no Yaiba), Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and My Hero Academia among their favorites, both as anime and as manga.  When asked what anime/manga they had been watching/reading recently, multiple club members said they had been reading/watching Hunter X Hunter (the X is not pronounced) and The Promised Neverland.  Some other replies included Haikyū!!, Chihayafuru, Naruto Shippuden, One Piece, and Kakegurui.  Many of these titles are well-known in the anime fan community and feature a cast mainly of teenagers, making them more relatable to the high schoolers watching them.

Anime & Manga Recommendations

Note: Recommendations may have been edited for grammar and clarity.

The students involved in the survey were also asked to recommend some anime and/or manga to their fellow AIS students.  This way, students who are interested in manga and anime can explore some new stories, and students who do not have such a strong interest can still get to know their fellow students’ interests better and maybe discover something new to appreciate.  Included are some of these suggestions.

Anime Recommendations

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a masterpiece. The plot is brilliant, the characters are amazing, and the magic system is genius. But, unlike other anime with these qualities, it’s also really accessible, with none of the anime-only tropes unfamiliar to newbies, a clear storyline, a relatively short run, and lots of analogies to well-known countries. All in all, I’m sure that whoever watches it will find getting to know the characters, learning the history of the world, and watching the story unfold just as absolutely captivating as I did!”

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K is an easy to follow, yet really funny, comedy anime that doesn’t have to be watched in chronological order so it can be understood.”

“I would recommend Haikyū!!, an inspiring anime that follows short high school student Shoyo Hinata on his journey to become a strong volleyball player despite his short height. Once he was placed on a team with his rival, the setter Tobio Kageyama, and with other passionate volleyball-playing boys from high school, Hinata faces many challenges and works hard to overcome them all and fly to the top. Haikyū!! has lots of great characters, male AND female, and is an epic story of motivation, determination, persistence, hard work, and passion, accompanied by stunning animation and soundtracks, high-quality voice acting, an appropriate amount of humor, and accurate – if not a bit dramatic – volleyball action that will draw in any viewer, no matter how unknowledgeable about volleyball they may be.” 

Kiss Him Not Me. It is a comedy and romance anime that makes you laugh and cringe at the same time, which is fun. The characters are relatable and all have very different personalities. The animation is also great as well.”

Manga Recommendations

Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun. The art is amazing and, in all honesty, I didn’t think it was real. I loved the characters and how they acted in certain situations. They are relatable and hilarious. It’s one of my favorite manga and I would definitely recommend it.” 

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. It’s really interesting.”

“I would recommend Crimson Hero (Japanese title: Beniiro Hero), a shōjo sports manga that centers around Nobara Sumiyoshi, a tomboyish and tough girl who, in going against her mother’s wishes, loves to play volleyball. Her mother wants Nobara to grow up to be the hostess of the family’s traditional Japanese restaurant, and to be a “proper woman” – quiet, demure, submissive, delicate, and beautiful, but Nobara is none of those things! She is loud, strong-willed, tough, and rebellious, and she wants nothing more than to be free to play volleyball. The manga follows Nobara as she gathers a team of skilled and dedicated girls who work hard together to go to the national tournament and beat their rival team, and Nobara works hard to keep her volleyball team, her job as a part-time dorm mother, and her love life balanced. Although the story features the classic shōjo love triangle, I think Crimson Hero handles the romance well by keeping it on the sidelines and letting the focus of the story be the volleyball girls and Nobara’s fight to break free of expectations and become her own person.”

Detective Conan, as it’s an older series with a lot of published manga, so you won’t have to wait for new chapters.”

Most Popular Anime/Manga Genres

Another thing asked about in the survey was club members’ favorite genres and subgenres of anime and manga.  There were not enough survey respondents to publish statistics that accurately represent the preferences of the entire AIS anime/manga fan community, but it was accurate enough.

The graph below illustrates the genre preferences of some club members, and it can be plainly seen that shōnen and action/adventure/battle anime and manga are the most popular.  The two often go together, as can be seen in well-known series like Naruto and Boku no Hero Academia.  Anime and manga including fantasy and magical elements, as well as stories with psychological themes, are runners-up for the most popular genres.  The least popular genres are josei (emotional and character-driven stories, usually including romance, aimed at adult women who grew up reading/watching shōjo) and yaoi/yuri, a genre focused on homosexual romantic relationships.  Yaoi means a romantic relationship between two boys and can also be called BL (which stands for “boys love”), while yuri involves two girls.  Genres of anime and manga with an in-between number of votes include shōjo, sports, isekai (a genre where the main character is transported or reborn into another world), seinen (targeted at adult men who were familiar with shōnen as teenagers), comedy, romance, horror, mystery, and historical stories. Even less popular are drama/tragedy, high school, harem/reverse harem (in a harem story, the main character is an average male surrounded by female admirers, but in a reverse harem, the main character is female and has many male love interests), slice of life, and “other.”  

Conclusion

Being an anime and/or manga fan (also known as a “weeb” or “otaku”) is not an exclusively Japanese phenomenon, and people all over the world love the unique style of art and animation used by anime and manga creators and many become huge fans, making “weeb” its own spectacular subculture.  The high school students at AIS Vienna are no different, as proven by this survey, and they love to share their passion for anime and manga with others. Fans of anime and manga also tend to appreciate Japanese culture more and are exposed to more diverse styles of storytelling, something that AISV supports when they invite students to nurture their interests in other cultures and art forms, to include other styles in their entertainment selections, to challenge themselves to find new stories, and to respect the hard work of anime and manga creators and the culture of Japan itself.  We hope to see more “weebs” at AIS Vienna soon!

Information and Image Credits

“Chihaya VS. Taichi Karuta Match – Anime Screencap.” CBR.com, http://www.cbr.com/chihayafuru-greatest-karuta-matches-ranked/.

FoxxFireArt. “Challenge of the Demographics! Men and Women!” Comic Vine, 17 Dec. 2012, comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/foxxfireart/blog/challenge-of-the-demographics-men-and-women/87487/.

Irie, Yasuhiro, et al. “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (TV Series) Poster.” Filmaffinity.com, http://www.filmaffinity.com/us/movieimage.php?imageId=856216430.

Iro, Aida. “Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun Vol. 2 Cover.” Barnesandnoble.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/toilet-bound-hanako-kun-vol-2-aidairo/1127273680.

Production I.G. “Haikyuu!! Season Two Official Poster.” Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Haikyuu-Anime-Poster-Sport-Volleyball/dp/B073L1DK6X.

Takanashi, Mitsuba. “Crimson Hero Vol. 3 Cover.” Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Hero-Vol-Mitsuba-Takanashi/dp/1421505770.

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