Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialCultureArchitecture.


Lynda Moyo on the cult of the cute, the quirky and the uncomfortable.

Written by . Published on March 27th 2008.


Manga. The word alone conjures up a thousand multi-coloured visuals of giggly girls adorned in that ever-so-tiresome Hello Kitty - as well as Gwen Stefani and those damn Japanese lapdogs she likes to call her Harajuku girls. Not forgetting perverse men getting chufties from fanciful cartoon females. Oh gosh where does it end? Drown kitty and get a grip Gwen, please.

Japanese girls adapt the characteristic look with ease. Anyone else looks like they’ve had an unfortunate accident with Crayola and a fancy dress box.

But Manga has many more guises than that of the aforementioned. How Manga Took Over The World at Urbis offers the perfect guide into this twisted journey of the Japanese craft.

Manga actually means flowing words in Japanese. Its an art form that stretches back to the eighteenth century but has morphed into a peculiarly Oriental form of entertainment enjoyed all over the world. But these are not comics in the same sense as that of Beano. Manga is split into many different categories including kids, action, fashion, education and erotica.

Urbis displays all of the above, from cutesy to violent, erotic to commercial, informative to distinctive, exploring the way Manga has permeated everyday life in the 21st century. There’s even a photo-gallery of how teenagers in both Eastern and Western countries are dressing like real-life Manga characters. Naturally, Japanese girls adapt the characteristic look with ease. Anyone else looks like they’ve had an unfortunate accident with Crayola and a fancy dress box.

It’s not just in print either. The exhibition also features life-size cut-outs, doll models, anime videos, Manga make-up and even a giant Picachu style bean bag bed to lie on if it all gets a bit too much. And by a bit too much, I’m referring to the Rapeman in the over 18’s room.

Yes, the Hentai Japanese (meaning sexually explicit or perverse) comic book series of the ‘80s, documented the day to day activities of a high school teacher who ‘dispenses his surreal brand of ‘justice’ at night under the business Rapeman Services, which is co-run with his uncle, a former surgeon. He uses rape as his weapon. The business' motto is righting wrongs through penetration.’ Wrong, wrong, wrong. Don’t let the Daily Mail know, they’ll close the exhibition down.

Urbis says the exhibition offers something for everyone, focusing on the massive influence that Manga has had on contemporary urban culture. However seeing as there was no one and nothing to stop inquisitive minors wandering into the over 18s room, I’d suggest that children should be accompanied by an adult.

It’s also worth remembering that Saturdays will be Manga fundays for kids with different activities each week.

The increase in popularity of Manga in recent times has meant that it is now used by corporations across the world to advertise their products and services. It's even been incorporated into education through plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet in the series titled Manga Shakespeare. There’s a Manga version of the the Simpsons and controversially, the Bible.

Still, perhaps this city isn’t quite ready to be renamed Manga-chester and therefore the Manga world takeover remains debatable. What is certain is that it has developed into a medium in its own right, overlapping, influencing and being influenced by other forms of popular and underground culture.

Confidential recommends it. Head down to Urbis and it’ll certainly give you something to think about for the rest of the day.

How Manga Took Over The World is at Urbis until 27 September. For more information please click here

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

MariaMarch 27th 2008.

Really enjoyed the exhibition - was good to see the direct link with Hokusai who developed the term man-ga and ubiko-e and shunga prints generally. Just found it a bit light on information but given the wide demographic the exhibition will attract in terms of age groups maybe this was a concious decision. Some of the workshop drawings left up for display were amazing - we have some really talented maga artists in our midst in Manchester.

DrakeMarch 27th 2008.

Hello? Daily Mail? There's this artist called Hokooosigh, and he's done these engravings wiv octopuseseses that are just dizguzting. Summink must be done...

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Aadil Khan

Its the most entertaining game that i have played robloxfreerobuxgenerator.com… and all should try…

 Read more

I know that this is an older article, but I have memories of my parents having to attend an…

 Read more
Jill B

I wud luv to tour the building as I worked as a telephonist at Millgate exchange Dial House in the…

 Read more

I started work at Dial House in 1946, as a trainee telephonist . Did any body else work at the…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2022

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord