(Just to give a heads up to some of the more impressionable fans out there, this post contains links to some really foul language!)
Hey there, fans! This week on Happy Fun Thursdays, we’ll be taking a few short steps away from the brightly-colored world of anime, and heading over to its cousin in print form, manga! However, the particular manga this week’s post is devoted to is not quite available for consumer consumption (at least on this side of the rising sun), nor is it based on any recognizable series.
This week, the United States Armed Forces in Japan have announced, and recently posted, a manga celebrating the 50th anniversary of the USA-Japan Alliance that was signed in 1960 called Our Alliance — A Lasting Partnership (Watashi-tachi no Dōmei — Eizoku-teki Partnership). To give a little more background on the subject, the USA-Japan Alliance is a treaty of mutual cooperation and security between the two nations to ensure stability and peace in the area. Under the treaty, the US was allowed to situate some of its own troops on Japanese soil, and the Japanese could ask the US for help should the country come under armed attack.
So, what better way to celebrate this particular milestone than to ask a well-known mangaka, the Japanese equivalent of a comic-book artist or cartoonist, to make a manga about the alliance? A press release sent out by the United States Forces, Japan, states:
“The Manga describes the U.S. Japan Alliance and how the U.S. military plays an important role in this relationship. Focusing around the two main characters Arai Anzu, a Japanese girl, and Usa-kun, a boy visiting Japan from the United States, the two explore and learn about the U.S. military in Japan and its role in the U.S. – Japan Alliance. The Manga is written in the Japanese language only, and will be a four-issue series with the first issue to be available online to the public at noon Wednesday, August 4. The three follow-on issues will become available throughout the rest of the year.”
The press release, however, did not mention who was to pen the actual piece. It wasn’t until the Anime News Network broke the story along with the confirmation from the mangaka who was to make the piece did something interesting come into light:
“The official blog of the Maritan manga franchise confirmed the news. Artist Yukio Hirai is best known for Mahō no Kaiheitai Pixel☆Maritan (Magical Marine Pixel*Maritan), the manga/CD set that teaches Japanese people how to talk like a U.S. Marine — with profanity.”
More than a little curious about this particular mangaka, I did a little research for myself in order to figure out who was trying to teach the otaku crowd in Japan how to swear like a soldier, and I found out that I had heard of this particular artist before. While playing with the StumbleUpon button on my toolbar, I, well, stumbled upon pictures someone took of his work, and it was that of a cute little girl dressed like an American soldier (with huge medals on her head to boot!) teaching, well, severe profanity (NSFW language).
According to some more research, there also exist CDs that voice over some of the dialog found in the magazine, which basically sounds EXACTLY like what the little anime girl would sound like. The result is a mixture of devastatingly cute and foul enough to a sailor blush a little, and, when timed with cut-outs of the magazine, you get something that sounds almost exactly an anime version of Full Metal Jacket, or this (NSFW AT ALL). In fact, I compared some of the more colorful lines to several videos of Full Metal Jacket and some of them were exactly the same! Upon realizing this, I couldn’t stop giggling for a full minute!
However, none of what made the Magical Marine Pixel☆Maritan series so famous (infamous?) is present in the new manga, save the distinctive, and absolutely adorable, art style the mangaka is famous for and the Japanese puns used for the characters’ names: in the Pixel☆Maritan series, a character based on the Japanese Self-Defense Force is named “Jieitan” after the JSDF’s Japanese name, Jieitai; in the Our Alliance manga, Usa-kun’s name is a play on the USA and the Japanese word for bunny (thus the bunny hoodie) and Arai Anzu’s name is a play on the Japanese pronunciation of “alliance.” Again, ANN has posted an update for this manga when it came out Wednesday. The manga itself can be viewed here.
That’s all there is for this week’s edition of Happy Fun Thursdays! See you next week!