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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Default Superman and Anime

    So I've often wondered what it is about the Man of Tomorrow that many fans or detractors like to compare him to anime characters. Primarily Goku, but also One Punch Man, All Might and many of their supporting cast. More than any other comic book character, I see lots of people pit Clark against them or argue he (or just now Jon) essentially take some of their attributes so as to improve the character as opposed to the influence of their direct peers or contemporaries. In lieu of Doomsday Clock, more and more I've been wondering why Superman is one character that arguably has a more defined world, characterization and status quo (unlike the regularly upended situation Diana finds herself in) but gets tampered with endlessly and anime does seem a common pull in that discussion.

    Some of it must come from Superman's reputation as the biggest or strongest hero, and how some are inspired by him (Goku, All Might), but why does Superman get his foot into anime whereas other characters (Flash, Supergirl, GL, Wonder Woman) do not? What about our strange visitor from another planet seems to appeal to anime sensibilities, or at the very least, fans of anime and manga?

    Furthermore, this isn't a direct response to any one conversation or thread, but a trend I've seen over the years. One I find particularly fascinating if only because, again, it really does direct towards Clark and not more (Batman, recently Flash) or less (Diana, Arthur, GL and J'onn) successful IPs. It's not something that traditionally happens for the rest, at least on these boards and Reddit, but Kal and anime seem to be age-old friends despite him not appearing in many anime or manga adaptions.

    If I had to hazard a guess, it's because more than the rest, Superman exists as something of a myth; he's not only a superhero or comic character, he's folklore. He's Robin Hood. Rather than think about how we can do a straightforward take on the Emerald Bandit, we're always reinventing him and trying to mix things up. Clark being the primordial ooze of this genre we've all come to enjoy, he's the one we feel effectively IS status quo. Altering him with other sensibilities, in some respect, does change what superheroes mean for the DCU. Because he's the face of the genre, changing him feels more significant than it probably is. If you're a manga fan trying to find your footing in superhero comics, why not correct the north star, even if the tide moves toward Gotham?

    Or it's because he's the strong guy and people want to see their strong man beat other strong man.

    Those are my two best guesses. I'm curious what all of you think.
    Last edited by Robanker; 12-22-2019 at 10:39 PM.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    It isn't that he is strongest. But, because these characters you mentioned like goku, all might and one punch man all have some superman in them.While,these guys have booming fandom. Superman's adaptation seem to just be mediocre.All might is the best superman adaptation i had in years.That is saying something .

    Superman hasn't been a bad ass action hero. He is just perceived as relationship and drama guy . When was the last time superman had a fight that was bonkers/rememberable in adaptions?Superman vs doomsday in death of superman was decent. Even then Doomsday is just a plot device. A fight is awesome when it has emotional content. When antagonist is on equal or above footing level of the protagonist. Otherwise there is the overdog fights. But, even then there should be something that allows us to connect to the overdog than the underdog.superman vs darkseid fight in the original tas had the emotional buildup but lacked any choreography. Man of steel fight scene had no breather. audience emotional link to fight got lost and became apathy.

    When i want superman to 'go beyond plus ultra'.it isn't because i want him to be like allmight. It's because i want him to be himself. The strongman who got progressively pushed his limits. Not the guy who is run on steroids. Ideally, superman can work better as a shonen character. His personality and attitude works like one.

    For superman to work, the fights and superman himself cool and badass. even if, the character himself thinks its not about that. That is the character's thought process. But, it shouldn't be creative thought process. Just look at his flight or jumping. He is like rock that flies. Its so bad to look at. At the same time, look at the goldenage comics. Superman's movements were of utmost important to siegel and shuster. They always had Clark's maneuvers included in comics.
    Last edited by manwhohaseverything; 12-22-2019 at 11:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    The only written and drawn American template I'd argue to be stronger is Popeye.

    Hopefully my examples aren't all the easy and obvious ones, because then I think it speaks specifically rather than for anime and manga in general. Superman is really a pioneer creation in the world of comedic action fantasy, as an extraordinary character who sets out to carve a story. It so happens those tropes carry on in popular shonen and seinen whether translated directly or put into other action forms, as we see with a Detective Conan. Adventure, friendship, having a kind heart, and being your best. Not the first actual character in fiction like this, sure. Not even in this hugely influential (to the Japanese and some of Europe at least) medium... but then from a storytelling aspect you have the basic idea of a built world like ours except in the ways we're told it's not. Superman broke from a more grounded setting in his early years but even before that it was a pretty solid middle ground of a fantasy between a Conan or John Carter and a Doc Occult or Batman. What a lack of gags in the old days for those ones, too, right? I'm sure Conan inspired Berserk, but not so many others that you would look at it like we're looking at this. Not that I'm super knowledgeable on many other properties of the time or along these lines, but it doesn't seem like many had what resonated with the same growing audience. Extraordinary, tall tale Superman worked. Carl Cantwell getting stuck in his leaky lab or Randall Ryce finding a magic fez don't seem to hold up to the legit extraordinary, characters as we see in extremely popular fiction with glorious secret lineages and overwhelming capability set in place before the story starts. Even a character whose story doesn't start before getting a Stand like Jotaro wasn't just sitting and waiting to become interesting. Inuyasha was Inuyasha before Kagome. Goku probably killed like a thousand boars barehanded before the story started. Who knows what Lupin was doing in between the lines, etc.

    As far as technical stuff goes, neither beast is better but just different imo. Superman may not be the best because he doesn't have that single minded goal to propel his stories, but he can last over 80 years and reach many more people including more generations of those in anime or manga. The choreography is never going to be as tight as he doesn't have 50-80 creator writtin and drawn pages every month, but the American storytelling model is more vibrant, flexible, and psychological with so many cooks passing through the kitchen. Superman can influence because he was so early and particular. Superman can get influenced, but as a solution to his own problems thay suggestion is one that kinda bums me out. More like something else is less like himself, less is a loss.
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  4. #4
    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    You're thinking too hard about it, especially for the vs stuff.
    Characters like Goku can fly, has super speed, strength, and durability along with a host of other powers. And comes with transformations that increase his overall abilities a bunch with each level. And as most of these people are only obsessed with big fights, who better to choose then someone everyone and their grandmother knows at least the basics of?

    Personally, the only crossover I want to see between the two franchises, is one with Goku bugging Clark for a quick sparring match until Chichi drags him away by the ear. Besides which, other than the coming from another planet part, it's Gohan and Future Trunks that have more in common with Clark then Goku does.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuwagaton View Post
    The only written and drawn American template I'd argue to be stronger is Popeye.

    Hopefully my examples aren't all the easy and obvious ones, because then I think it speaks specifically rather than for anime and manga in general. Superman is really a pioneer creation in the world of comedic action fantasy, as an extraordinary character who sets out to carve a story. It so happens those tropes carry on in popular shonen and seinen whether translated directly or put into other action forms, as we see with a Detective Conan. Adventure, friendship, having a kind heart, and being your best. Not the first actual character in fiction like this, sure. Not even in this hugely influential (to the Japanese and some of Europe at least) medium... but then from a storytelling aspect you have the basic idea of a built world like ours except in the ways we're told it's not. Superman broke from a more grounded setting in his early years but even before that it was a pretty solid middle ground of a fantasy between a Conan or John Carter and a Doc Occult or Batman. What a lack of gags in the old days for those ones, too, right? I'm sure Conan inspired Berserk, but not so many others that you would look at it like we're looking at this. Not that I'm super knowledgeable on many other properties of the time or along these lines, but it doesn't seem like many had what resonated with the same growing audience. Extraordinary, tall tale Superman worked. Carl Cantwell getting stuck in his leaky lab or Randall Ryce finding a magic fez don't seem to hold up to the legit extraordinary, characters as we see in extremely popular fiction with glorious secret lineages and overwhelming capability set in place before the story starts. Even a character whose story doesn't start before getting a Stand like Jotaro wasn't just sitting and waiting to become interesting. Inuyasha was Inuyasha before Kagome. Goku probably killed like a thousand boars barehanded before the story started. Who knows what Lupin was doing in between the lines, etc.

    As far as technical stuff goes, neither beast is better but just different imo. Superman may not be the best because he doesn't have that single minded goal to propel his stories, but he can last over 80 years and reach many more people including more generations of those in anime or manga. The choreography is never going to be as tight as he doesn't have 50-80 creator writtin and drawn pages every month, but the American storytelling model is more vibrant, flexible, and psychological with so many cooks passing through the kitchen. Superman can influence because he was so early and particular. Superman can get influenced, but as a solution to his own problems thay suggestion is one that kinda bums me out. More like something else is less like himself, less is a loss.
    Goal driven thing isn't a necessity. killua, ichigo.. Etc don't exactly have goals either. Goals are needed though it helps with setting a direction for a character.it helps with an instory reason for character to movie forward. Superman does lack it. What does he want to do?has he finished any task?part of that is the episodic nature of comics. Mangas are generally meant to be serialised.Popeye fits even in that way. He is more episodic than superman. If you are comparing to long running episodic series like conan then both can fit in. But if you are comparing to other serialised stories which mangas are generally known for then both of them don't. But, superman the character himself can work as a great shonen or even seinen hero because popeye is a character that reverts back to what he was. Superman doesn't. He is s strength only grows.
    Having someone like togashi or oda write clark would be brilliant for me. But, the problem with that is I don't know if these guys are familiar with superman the character itself. But, these guys can pull off vigilante superman who breaks the law to protect the innocent and combine it with the optimism/innocence. I mean gon and luffy are like clark in more ways than one.Ofcourse Horikoshi and toriyama knows the character. So, these guys could write a great superman manga.

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    Last edited by manwhohaseverything; 12-23-2019 at 05:24 AM.

  6. #6
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Toriyama flat out did Suppaman and it's easy to forget because Goku is like a black hole for Superman parallels. I don't even think the writer was so fond of Superman... and it's not like it's at all suited for the Japanese market in the regular comic format, nevermind in the 60s to 80s when Toriyama would have been a prime reader. But everyone everywhere seemingly knows this character and he will always be a reference. Oda would probably write an amazing Superman story and it likely wouldn't involve anything but sheer basics at best.

    Popeye isn't really brought up for his character growth, which is only about as much as the likes of Goku, Kenshiro, or Toriko get, or as much as Superman got within maybe his first ten or fifteen years. Sadly Popeye came about when Segar had less than ten years left and the character survives in pop culture due to the vaguely similar cartoons. Thimble Theatre is one of the earliest and greatest (comedic) adventure serials, older than Buck and Flash by years, and I don't think it's possible to deny it as a forerunner to serialized manga. The good heart coupled with the freedom to be wild and daring, and the play off of his pun happy "supporting" cast is a dead ringer for character, and I do believe his strips had some popularity years ago overseas. He is adaptable enough that Super Mario was supposed to originally be him and strangely, Technos Japan did a very fun and accurate game based on his strip later. That interest is pretty impressive.

    The Buronson mold maybe starts from something like that in part. Teen characters tend to fit that, surprisingly rough and tough, advanced testosterone for their age. Even Yusuke if we're talking about Togashi (Killua isn't the main character, since he was also mentioned, but fits with other archetypical elements for sure). But because none of these things are a necessity anyway, Ichigo tends to break molds. I'm not crazy about Bleach because it tends to be pretty redundant otherwise. Are goals part of the mold? Kind of, but they don't have to be finite or status driven. That's not really the case from Atom to Arale, or even the big fish Goku. Superman is so mighty his only goal can be the never ending battle, while Goku throws himself into battle with the goal of never seeing it end.

    EDIT: also want to add that Superman's extremely variable power levels and famous status make it difficult to avoid pitting a character against him. For Batman... I dunno, you would maybe go with Great Teacher Onizuka? Many "human" characters are still too much for him or a hypothetically favorable match up resembles boring Batfan service.
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  7. #7
    Superfan Through The Ages BBally's Avatar
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    Astro Boy is more like Superman than Goku when it comes to cultural reference and effect on popular culture in Japan, as well as being a symbol of peace and justice. Tezuka himself was a fan of Superman even made honorary member of the Japanese Superman fanclub. Like Superman, Astro is also a target of criticism from detractors who argue he's too boring or too good and a defender of the status quo.


    Last edited by BBally; 12-23-2019 at 02:58 PM.
    No matter how many reboots, new origins, reinterpretations or suit redesigns. In the end, he will always be SUPERMAN

    Credit for avatar goes to zclark

  8. #8
    Superfan Through The Ages BBally's Avatar
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    Continued....

    No matter how many reboots, new origins, reinterpretations or suit redesigns. In the end, he will always be SUPERMAN

    Credit for avatar goes to zclark

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