Sunday, August 19, 2012

32 BBY: The Phantom Menace Manga

I don’t get anime.  I’ve got nothing against it, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
Prior to 2006 my only interaction with anime came in the form of Astroboy (I can still sing the theme song).  I say prior to 2006 because that year I became the staff advisor for the anime club at the high school where I was teaching.  I remember well that fateful lunch when some students sheepishly came knocking on my office door.  They were given my name from another teacher saying that if anyone were to run the anime club it’d be me – seeing has how I walked around with a Darth Vader coffee mug.  We had a small discussion about Astroboy (which seemed to impress them – why I’m not sure), then I asked them what anime they intended to watch.  I reminded them that we were a Catholic school and had to keep things PG.  This seemed to deflate them a little.  I made the announcements and the following week I had well over 30 students show up and express their ideas on what we could watch.  The meeting was a little wild.  I took their ideas then did a little research.  Another week later the club began.  We started with Naruto, and over the following months watch Pokemon.  Eventually the club expanded to two rooms, with some students watching anime in one room and playing Yu-Gi-Oh in another. 

The next semester we had fewer students show up, and over the next few weeks we watch Death Note (which I was a little weary about but ultimately enjoyed).  Over time the anime we watched became progressively stranger. We watched one where this kid had a little china doll that came to life and they went to this other reality where the china dolls fought each other (I have no idea what it was called).  The next one we watched was about this girl at a high school who was some sort of deity. Basically the premise was that she created the reality around her but didn’t know it.  Then her reality began to break down and all hell broke loose.  Again, the name of it escapes me.  At the end of that semester I moved to a different school closer to home, and unfortunately the anime club folded as no staff members were interested in running it.

What I learned from that experience was that anime wasn’t for me.  I ended up saying no to more anime than I did saying yes.  There’s just so much weird anime out there.  At my new school I ran the science fiction and fantasy club, and we stuck to Lord of the Rings (we watched the old Rankin Bass animated versions along with the movies), Firefly, Star Trek and Star Wars.
Needless to say, the anime version of The Phantom Menace was ok, only because, like Plaristes said, it wasn’t stills from the film.

I wasn’t too impressed with the art.  What I found about this anime was that all the male characters had the same face, and similarly all the female characters had the same face.  Their distinguishing characteristics would be their hair or clothes, or maybe some wrinkles on their face.
What I do like about anime is the expressiveness of the character’s emotions. I laughed a little bit when Jar Jar kissed Qui-Gon, thanking him for saving his life, little hearts hovering about the Gungan and the Jedi Master.

I also noticed something I never detected before:  When we first met Watto in the film (and in this comic) he uses the pronoun “thee”.  But later in the comic, when he begins betting with Qui-Gon he goes back to using “you”.  This switch is also in the film.  Interesting. What’s up with that?
Lastly, who the hell is the dude on the front cover of this comic?  It’s easy to identify Anakin, Darth Sidious, Watto and Padme, along with some battle droids, so who the heck is the dude on the left hand side?  Someone fill me in please.

For my next post I’m going to take a look at The Phantom Menace Photo Comic.  Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

1 comment:

  1. This is the worst of the manga adaptations, since it's only two issues. I actually really like the manga adaptation of A New Hope, since it's four issues and is able to really express some stuff that isn't conveyed well in the other comic adaptations or even the films (the destruction of Alderaan is awesome, for example). And I say this as someone who doesn't like manga/anime.
    I can already imagine the boredom the photocomic is going to cause, since it's nothing but stills from the film. :(