The migration of manga and its cinematic cousin, anime, to the small, handheld screen is not new. Two years ago, Masakazu Kubo told me he was bullish on the medium’s future in the form of cell phone downloads, even if technology had not yet caught up. The fantasy that a new technology can save the precarious fate of publishers, let alone artists and writers, is being met with a wall of “dream on” caveats. As many media critics have noted, most of the successful recent IT-related content platforms incorporate sharing and interactivity – social networking sites, file-sharing software, et cetera. Unless publishers and creators find a way to connect their audiences with themselves and one another, as anime conventions do in the bricks-and-mortar world, the new formats will merely be new facades.
Roland Kelts on manga & anime on the iPad.