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Colorful History #75: Anime in America

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Anime’s popularity has soared in the U.S. Learn the history of its popularity and unlock student learning.

Story and Art by Terra Necessary
Lettered by R. Alan Brooks  

Estimated Lexile Levels:  

  • Comic: 610 – 800 
  • Endnotes: 1010 – 1200  

Projects and discussion questions are aligned to Common Core standards for grades 7-10.  

What is anime, and how did the Japanese media format become so popular in the United States?  

In this comic, a young girl has just discovered Pokémon and learns of her family’s connections to anime and the anime community. From Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy in the 1960s, to early fan clubs and video swaps of the 1980s and 1990s, and modern streaming culture and fan conventions, readers will learn about anime’s rise in the U.S.  

In addition, readers will learn how to avoid common pitfalls faced by enthusiastic anime fans, such as fetishizing Japanese culture, misinterpreting characters’ race, or gatekeeping fan cosplay. 

Anime in America includes a 4-page comic, endnotes, discussion questions, media pairings, and these classroom projects: 

  • Comparing Informational Media – Students will watch and read different types of media sources on anime and document the advantages and disadvantages of learning through each media format. 
  • Evaluating Point of View, Reasoning, and Rhetoric – Students will compare the perspectives presented in two articles and evaluate how the articles distinguish their positions, respond to conflicting evidence or viewpoints, and how they use their own evidence and rhetoric to advance a point of view and purpose. 
  • Debate: Do Manga and Anime Belong in Classrooms? Students will learn about mandated learning standards, and they’ll read and watch selections from three different genres of manga/anime. Students will then debate whether they believe manga and anime should be used in schools for academic learning.    

In the classroom and other educational settings, this 4-page comic and accompanying teaching guide can promote the teaching or reinforcement of grade 7-10 Reading: Informational Text Common Core standards, as well as various Reading, Writing, History/Social Studies, and Speaking & Listening Common Core standards. 

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