5 Facts about ACG subculture

One of my favorite things to do is to search for random interesting things online, and a lot of them are different kinds of facts. Some of them are really fun, but some others are not. However, I believe knowing more about different aspects of ACG is generally helpful.

If you think you know a lot about the ACG subculture, read through these following facts, and count how many of them you don’t know! Ready? Let’s start!


No. 1     Anime is not cartoon

The word “anime” comes from the Japanese pronunciation of “アニメ”, which is originally from the word “animation” in English. Japan has a lot of loan words from Western languages during its development, so it is not unusual to see the origin of “anime” as English.

However, anime is not cartoon. Although we tend to consider both as animation in the U.S., anime is on a higher level than cartoon. Anime is generally considered more mature with more revealing of human nature, while cartoon is mostly roughly made and is designed for children only.


No. 2     The Japanese rating system of anime is STRICT!

Japan’s ACG industry is one of its largest industries, and it has a strict rating system similar with the movie rating system in the U.S..

In manga and anime area, “G” represents general audience, and “PG12” has the similar meaning to the PG17 movies in the U.S. except the age limit. However, Japan has its own standard of “R” rated manga and anime.

“R15” anime may contain a little violence, nudity, or sexual suggestiveness, and “R18” anime mostly contains the same amount of adult-only content as the R-rated U.S. movies. In the recent years, the “R21” rating appears, and you can imagine what is in those anime and manga.

Basically every ACG-related games has to go through the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization’s assessment, and CERO will give the production a rating and general description to put on the cover of the production.

In this system, “A” means this game is suitable for all; “B” is for children at 12 or above;  “C” is for teenagers at 15 or above; “D” is for people over 17, and “Z” is adult only.

In general, people under the certain age cannot get the certain ACG-related goods in officially registered stores, but because of the development of the Internet, there are always young people who want to break the rules.


No. 3     “Japanese high school girls’ uniform” is a fashion

Let’s turn away from the depressing truth, and talk about girl’s fashion. There are so many strange but good-looking fashion around the world, and one of them is “JK uniform”. Girls or young women who follow this fashion would wear the Japanese high-school style uniforms as their daily outfit.

Japanese high-school uniform, like all kinds of clothes, has its own style and specifications. You can tell the difference by the style, the color, the number of lines on the collar and sleeves, etc..

Some high-schools use suits as their uniform. One set usually includes a blazer, a shirt, a tie or bowtie, a skirt, and a pair of leather shoes. Other schools use the traditional sailor outfit with a top, a skirt, any kind of ties, bowties or neckerchiefs, and a pair of leather shoes. The students can choose their own socks or pantyhose, but mostly limited to the color of black and white. Some schools even limit the styles of socks.

Because school uniform has become a part of Japan’s culture since late 19th century, many girls and women like to wear the uniforms to re-create the old school time. Certainly, they wear not only the official school uniforms, but also uniforms with different colors and designs.


No. 4     Many anime and manga are still hand-drawn

Maybe you will think that manga artists tend to use the new technology to do their work. However,  on a lot of occasions, the artists keep their old techniques of hand-drawing. They certainly use technology to be more efficient, but a lot of them think hand-drawn pictures are irreplaceable.

One of the most famous hand-drawn anime is Ponyo produced by Studio Ghibli. While making this movie, the director Hayao Miyazaki minimized the use of computer technology. Instead, he hired about 70 artists, and used over 170 thousand hand-drawn pictures to create this movie.

The director himself even attended the drawing process and painted a lot of the sea wave scenes. He thinks anime artists should never abandon their basic drawing skills. They need to go back to the origin of anime making.


No. 5     U.S. brand in animes

People around the world are getting closer to one another, so does people in the world of ACG. A lot of U.S. brands sponsor the anime production, and the anime producers would put the brand in the show in order to increase the brand’s popularity.

Pizza Hut used to sponsor the famous anime Code Geass. To show the gratefulness, the producer group let the characters ordered Pizza Hut for many times. The story actually happens in an alternative reality, so we can assume that people in another reality have the same love towards pizza just like us.

Food brands usually appear more in anime and leave more impression because food represents a society and culture. In the anime Hetalia where each country is designed as a typical person of that certain country, the personalized America is a huge fan of McDonalds and coke. Although the stereotypes cannot show a culture comprehensively, it is still interesting to see the influence that American food brings to the world.


After reading this post, do you think you know more about ACG now? Some of the facts are not so pleasing, but knowing the difference under the happy cover is always a fun thing to do. If you have anything to say, feel free to leave comments to discuss with me!

Arigato, and see you next time!

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