No matter what the theme may be - adventure, science fiction, sports, superheros or romance - anime and manga books, magazines and film series have caught the attention of many teenagers and young adults.
The interest has encouraged area libraries to not only offer more anime and manga books and magazines, but to also form clubs that meet both weekly and monthly to discuss the titles and show films using the anime artform.
Anime is animation in Japan. Manga is Japanese comics. The styles are popular in Japan and well known throughout the world. The animation in its earlier days included cartoons such as "Speed Racer" and featured characters with large eyes, thin legs and unique recognizable traits, Chrissy Braun, youth services librarian at the Newton Falls Library, said.
From left, Cari Hosey, 13, of Niles, Jessica Long, 16, dressed up for Christmas, of Niles, Christopher Dunn, 15, of McDonald, and Brenna Ohmes, 13, of Niles, read and discuss anime and manga books and magazines at a December meeting of the Teen Anime Club meeting at the McKinley Memorial Library in Niles. For more photos, visit cu.tribtoday.com
"Today, it is so vast there is no way to describe it. There are so many different themes," Braun said.
The movie "Spirited Away" is an example of anime, and it won an Academy Award in 2002 for best animated feature, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library teen librarian Sarah Pillivant said.
"Anime is influencing a lot of the American animation," she said. "The manga are like a Japanese version of Mad magazine.''
NEWTON FALLS - The Anime and Manga Club will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal St., for teenagers and young adults. Each meeting will include screenings of classic titles to new releases. The club is aimed at teenagers and adult. Teens younger than 16 must bring a parent or have a signed permission slip, which is available at the main front desk. For more information, call the library at 330-872-1282
NILES - The Teen Anime Club will meet from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the McKinley Memorial Library auditorium, 40 Main St., Niles, for teens ages 13 to 17. Meetings are set for Jan. 15, 22 and 29. For more information, call the library at 330-652-1704.
WARREN - The Teen Central Anime Club will meet from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library Main Branch, 444 Mahoning Ave., N.W., Warren. For more information, call the library at 330-399-8807.
What is unique about the manga books is that since they are created in Japan, they are read from back to front and from right to left.
"They are like a comic book with very detailed artistic pictures," Braun said.
Many of the manga books have more than 35 volumes. The most popular book is "Naruto," a series that tells the story of adolescent ninja Naruto Uzumaki, who searches for recognition and aspires to become the strongest ninja in his village, who is acknowledged as the leader.
Anime can be hand-drawn or computer animated. It is used in television series, films, video, video games, commercials and Internet-based releases, and represents most, if not all, genres of fiction.
Anime and manga clubs are held monthly and weekly at Newton Falls, McKinley Memorial and Warren-Trumbull County public libraries.
Braun said the Teen Anime Club in Newton Falls started last July and was geared specifically to older teens. Since some of the anime films shown have themes that are more appropriate for an older audience, those younger than 16 have to have permission from a parent or have a parent attending, she said.
"Generally, what we do when we meet is watch an anime and then talk about what each of us liked or disliked and the new techniques used," Braun said.
The characters in the anime often are teenagers, children and young adults with stories set in the future with science fiction or in the historic periods of the past, she said.
"The books are very popular. We often have to check with other libraries to see if they have additional copies that people request,'' she said.
At the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, Pillivant said the Teen Anime group formed in October 2007.
"They are really into this. We have the books and materials that they want," Pillivant said of the club members.
During the school year, the group meets monthly on a weekend, and then in the summer once a week.
The group targets teens ages 13 to 18 since some anime contains violence and language for an older audience, Pillivant said. Because of cultural differences, Japan shows more violence and adult language even in animation, she said.
"I prewatch the animes and only show PG rated ones," she said.
Pillivant said the group usually watches two episodes of an anime, usually one older and one current. The group views the animes in Japanese with the subtitles included.
Because of the popularity of the club, a costume party was held at one meeting, and teens came dressed as their favorite anime characters.
Many college students are so interested in anime that they also have formed chapters, Pillivant said.
Scott Ronghi, teen service librarian and club coordinator at the McKinley Memorial Library in Niles, said the library's Anime and Manga Club meets each week and was the idea of club members Jessica Long, 16, and Brenna Ohmes, 13, both of Niles, who suggested getting the club started last fall.
Long said she likes the artwork and the action and adventure in the books. She and Ohmes found the books easy to read.
Ohmes said depending on the story she likes horror and romance themes.
Long said she enjoys the "Fullmetal Alchemist" series and Ohmes enjoys "Black Blood Brothers" and "Vampire Knights" books.
Christopher Dunn, 15, of McDonald, said he always had liked anime and heard about the club forming.
"It's more fun to watch it with someone else. You then discuss and share your opinions on what everyone watched," Dunn said.
Ronghi said plans for the group are to include Japanese crafts and someone to demonstrate Japanese calligraphy.
Cari Hosey, 13, of Niles, said she saw a few anime on television and became interested and joined the club.
"I was checking out some books and saw that a club was starting," she said.