Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Manga Meat and Cloud Watching

This is manga meat, an idealized cartoon meat that makes regular appearances in manga, anime, and video games. From Wikipedia:

In reality, animals do not have parts where flesh covers a significant-sized bone cylindrically and uniformly. Thus, the meats as depicted in manga (which can be held in the hands) do not exist. Because of this, some people would like to eat manga meat even more. And to better foster discussion of the subject, “that meat in manga” has come to be called “manga meat”. As characters devour the meat voraciously and viciously, it makes the meat appear very tasty.

Americans also have their manga meat. Consider the dinners of comic strips: a thick steak of no animal in particular, rubbery and oval, looped with fat; consider the three-billow vegetable cloud on the end of Beetle Bailey's fork. Consider Garfield's squiggling squares of lasagna. Consider the hors d'oeuvres, the little stacks of shapes, what might be olives on what might be crackers. Consider Dagwood's idealized sandwiches, which cannot be made in the world. Every viewer, on looking at the same cartoon sandwich, fills it in with different ingredients according to her own sandwich preconceptions.

The American phenomenon is epitomized in this strip of Mary Worth, which Josh Fruhlinger comments on here. Each bowl is an inkblot; the viewer supplies more than half the meaning. What does the butter look like under the empty angles of its butter dish? Like ass, probably. Because the difference between the Japanese phenomenon and American phenomenon is that mammoth legs look good, while the food-clouds of the funny pages are so simultaneously vague and disgusting that no one could ever develop a longing or a nostalgia for them. Way to go America!


Admiral Farragut said...

"Underwood's Potted Manga Meat -- It's an Impressive Spread!"

RHE said...

Christopher Walken was right: you do find strange things on the Internet.

Tricia said...

Admiral, I won't lie, I kind of want to eat some now.

Richard--who puts them there??? I'm trying to find out.

RHE said...

Apparently you did.

stacy elaine said...

i love this manga meat.

p.s. my word verification is "slynase" and i think that's awesome.

Tricia said...

Word verifications have gotten so good lately--almost too good. It's like they're in my head.