There is a certain quality to visual media that simply can’t be replicated by anything else. The deep, moving, almost visceral feeling that one gets from a first look at a painting, a touching panel from a manga, a thrilling moment in an anime: it is unparallelled. This love for the visual has always been a big part of us, the people who would go on to start this site. Yet one often sees words, both written and spoken, take precedence over visual art in ‘serious’, ‘academic’ circles; traditional literature and film is more ‘erudite’, more ‘mature’, than comics and animation. A comic is not viewed as a comic: it is merely a book with pictures, which explains the term ‘graphic novel’. Animation is merely film with colourfully drawn moving pictures. And pictures, after all, are for children.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Comics and animation, to us, represent the perfect intersection of both written and visual storytelling. And no subset of comics and animation more perfectly captures this holy union than manga and anime. Osamu Tezuka, that godfather of manga, emphasised the ‘cinematic’ quality of manga storytelling: to him, it was no mere combination of words and pictures. It was film on paper. Static, yet dynamic. The works of Katsuhiro Otomo feature impressively intimidating panels whose quality can only be described as ‘cinematography’; a quality he would go on to utilise well when he made the transition from manga artist to anime director. To us, it seemed almost revolutionary that the pictures tell a story, in a way words can’t. And the words fill in for what the images can’t do. Perfection. And what stories they tell! Epic tales of fantasy and adventure, heartbreaking tales of love found and lost, heartwarming tales of achieving your dreams, hilarious tales of the absurd, truly black tales of the darkest depths of human nature: anime and manga had it all. To us, whose earlier experience with comics and animation was limited to newspaper strips, weekend cartoons, Disney, and Amar Chitra Katha, this was nothing short of enlightenment. Our first days of watching Dragon Ball Z and InuYasha on Animax would lead to a lifelong obsession with the medium, an itch that kept wanting to be scratched.
Thousands of manga chapters and anime episodes later, we got together to start this site. We needed a platform where we could freely express our love for these media and share our views on them. We also wanted to spread the word about the qualities of anime and manga to the greater public, particularly in our native India. We don’t ask that everyone become obsessed otaku like us. We only wish for people to know that there is a manga or an anime for everyone. Every possible taste and interest, every fantasy and imagination: all of it is covered somewhere by somebody from some corner of Japan, or even beyond. We want people to share in the wonder that we experience. So we decided we would need to make our own platform. A platform that would be a safe space for anyone who wished to partake in the world of anime and manga. Where you won’t be called a child for enjoying the pretty pictures. And where you won’t be judged for being a child at heart either.
And so, we started creating this dream platform: the Indian Manga and Anime Network. But we were not content with limiting our reach to this subcontinent. No, anime and manga is a truly global phenomenon. Not just Indian, but international, too. And thus was IMA Network born. For, as our name indicates, our journey begins now.