By Chaimae Boulifa
By Chaimae Boulifa
Rabat – Dragon Ball Z, Pokémon, Detective Conan, Captain Tsubasa (Captain Majed), Nobody’s Girl Remi, and Little Princess Sara (Sally) are among the greatest well-known Japanese anime shows dubbed into Arabic, watched by millions of Arab children throughout the years.
Manga, which refers to Japanese comics, and anime, their animated form, have turned into an international phenomenon, with the number of fans growing every day.
These cartoons target both sexes and all ages and deal with various subjects. Their popularity has led the shows to be dubbed into various languages, and as a result, many Moroccans have become die-hard fans.
So why has manga become so popular in Morocco? To find out more about this growing phenomenon, Morocco World News talked with Salim Gharroudi, a lover of Japanese culture and president of Dragon Tanger, the only association specializing in Japanese Manga in the northern city.
“Japanese anime series have something ‘unusual’,” explained Gharroudi. As an example of something “unusual,” he gave the show Captain Majed, which “teaches the viewer positive and important societies’ values such as fair competition during the tough football games.”
Gharroudi added that “those cartoons do not reflect only good values that must be spread in societies, but also the scientific and technological advances’ ideas, serving the countries’ improvement.”
Japanese cartoons are diffused in foreign societies with different customs and traditions, yet Moroccans can still benefit from the way of life of Japanese people without being “badly affected,” said Gharroudi.
“Japanese culture is the best model to follow, since it has managed to be among the developed countries while respecting its roots. Subsequently, there is an urge to seek the development in our society whilst grasping at our religion, identity and society morals.”
Gharroudi added, “Japan is a country that has a culture of long working hours and it is true that we miss this quality here in Morocco, however we can manage to overcome this problem since we have a great treasure, which is the talented human resources willing to serve their society greatly.”
In the association, the members’ ages differ and so their backgrounds. Fatima Moussa, a student in high school, has recently become a fan of Japanese manga, yet her journey seems a bit different from the other members of the association.
“I was always interested in presenting public events and during the theatre club’s activities of my high school I met by coincidence a Japanese girl who used to attend too. She then invited us to a ceremony presenting Japanese culture.”
Fatima added that “during that event I met Mr. Salim Gharroudi, and from that time, I was introduced to Manga and Japanese culture.”
Ayoub Marraha is a state engineer in Mechatronics who graduated from National School for Applied Sciences (ENSA) in Tetouan, but he works as a subtitler with a foreign company, which subtitles and translates anime shows from Japanese to foreign languages. He told MWN that even though his job was not originally in his planned career path, the choice turns out to be better than he expected.
“I started subtitling Japanese anime since I was 14 years old; it was only for fun (‘fansubbing’),” said Marraha. “Then when I finished my studies in engineering I was looking for a job. Actually, I spend like a year searching and things didn’t go well, afterwards, I found this job application by coincidence on [the] internet.”
“Since I am already a fan of Japanese manga, I applied for that job to be paid for practicing the thing that I love.”
Merraha insisted that Japanese manga is not just entertainment, as the majority of people think. “Every anime treats a specific subject and it stresses the values of friendships, family, respect, and love between people. Since those values are going down in our societies, it is away to learn from anime series and apply them in our real life.”