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The Introduction

Sankaku Complex - The relationship between anime, manga and games forms a complex of media unique to Japan

Hello, and welcome. For the introductory post, it would be helpful to explain a little about the idea behind this site, and the name, Sankaku Complex, which is intended to capture something of the relationship between anime, manga and games, as well as such media forms as eroge and the visual novel.Those becoming familiar with Japanese anime, manga and games may note an interconnectedness between them not seen as intensely in those of the West.

Of particular note is the frequency of crossover between the media triad of anime, manga and games (as well as novels, eroge and the like), and the seamlessness with which these media would merge into one another with much finer gradients than the sharp delineations visible in American/European media (this is a movie, this is a novel, we make novels into movies but we never make games into novels, novels of movies are treated with derision, and we only make movies and games into one another with disastrous results; comics and animation are for children).

In contrast, the complex of Japanese media, unified by the visual style introduced by manga, exhibits constant (and successful) adaptations from one form into another, with each both taking into account the opportunities and limitations inherent in the media concerned, and being received without undue jaundice in each new incarnation.

What is more, strict boundaries between these forms are not observed, so a variety of different levels of interactivity, visual richness, etc, are evident in and between each discrete form.

Since these are visual media, a visual description is perhaps most becoming. Three major loci along two major axes can be identified.

The first (in this case vertical, but no particular significance need be ascribed to the orientation) is interactivity, from very highly interactive games where content is derived predominantly from player action, through normally (linearly) narrated games with high levels of interactivity (JRPGS and action games spring to mind), with interactivity trailing off into insignificance in anime and manga, being reached by way of the superficially interactive visual novel.

The second, more nebulous, axis is that of the state of being a “mono-media”, whether visual, textual or aural (manga, drama CDs and light novels are the exemplars) versus incorporating several media, or “multi-media” (anime and the visual novel obviously represent varying levels of the combination of visual, textual and aural information).

Of course, it is this triangle from which the name, and the underlying intent, of this site is derived: a partial observation and appreciation of the triangular (or sankaku, 三角, triangle in Japanese) complex of media which has come to be such a powerful and vibrant cultural engine. Japanese culture is also inextricably bound up in all this.

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