Exploring the Rapid Growth of Webtoon and Manga Trend in Latin America and the Caribbean Countries12 July, 2023
Webtoons like new rabbit (뉴토끼) have been synonymous with the South Korean entertainment scene but are quickly gaining traction in Latin America and the Caribbean countries. This trend can be attributed to webtoon and manga platforms like Tapas Media, which has availed serialized digital comics in Spanish and Portuguese. You can now access webtoons like Dr.Stone, El Cazador de La Bruja, Nocturna, and the Enternauta. But how did it get here, and what impact they are making?
The origin of comics and manga can be traced to the 60s when US companies started importing and distributing physical copies. This form of entertainment became famous thanks to the easy access and explosion of Japanese animated TV shows. However, the rise of the internet has fueled it further as serialized comics and manga are now easier to access and are far much better.
Due to their appealing art, webtoons and mangas’ were quickly accepted by Latin America and Caribbean countries. According to Gabi Maya, co-founder of the fanzine Animanga, the quick acceptance was also fueled by how the Latin American population resonated with the stories in the comics. The copies sent a strong message of resilience, which most people needed daily. Besides, the stories told in these serialized comics have universal family, love, loss, and friendship themes. The publishers translated them into Spanish and Portuguese for wider reach.
These forms of entertainment have significantly impacted Latin American and Caribbean country’s cultures. For instance, it has introduced new storytelling methods, as illustrated by the 2016 commissioned La Sombra de Enrique ( Enrique’s Shadow). This comic was used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to tell the story of the disappeared on the International Day of the Disappeared. The comic made it easy for the population to understand the illustrated testimony from the first-person perspective.
In addition, it has led to the rise of new generation creators such as Lucas Varela, who tell the stories which tell stories in the local language. They also create stories reflecting the local culture and daily life experiences. This has contributed to the trend because the stories’ meaning is now not lost in translation. Furthermore, webtoons and mangas have promoted cross-cultural understanding between Asia and Latin America. So, what does the future of these forms of entertainment hold?
The future of webtoons like New Rabbit (뉴토끼) and Mangas is bright in Latin America and adjacent regions. Despite the perceived popularity, these genres will seemingly become more popular as digital platforms enable easy access. Localization will also increase as more local creators join the established ones to make this form of entertainment mainstream. As content creators, promoters, and fans, time will tell the new heights the webtoons and manga will reach.
It’s no secret that webtoons and mangas are growing to be part of mainstream entertainment. Most popular among the youth, these forms of entertainment have a rich history, and their future seems bright. This is because significant organizations like the ICRC have embraced them to pass information about important issues that affect the communities.
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