YouGov poll: Japanese anime continues to draw Arab fans

Updated 28 October 2019

YouGov poll: Japanese anime continues to draw Arab fans

  • As many as 75 percent of respondents ranked “Captain Majid” as their favorite anime of all time
  • "The Woodcutter’s Treasure" aired on Japanese TV in both Arabic and Japanese in 2018

DUBAI: For many people who have grown up in the Arab world, watching dubbed Japanese anime series in Arabic was an essential part of their childhood. Some of the region’s most-loved titles include “Adnan wa Lina,” “Captain Majed,” “Al Mohakek Konan” and, of course, “Pokemon.”
A YouGov survey conducted by Arab News confirms the region’s celebration of the Japanese comic book genre, as 75 percent of respondents across all age groups ranked the long-running Japanese manga series, “Captain Tsubasa,” known as “Captain Majid” in the Arab world, as their favorite anime of all time.
Another popular series, “UFO Robot Grendizer,” was also voted a favorite among 56 percent of respondents aged 40 and older.
While anime dates back to the early 20th century, it has become a symbol of Japan’s culture.
The Arab world’s fascination with the genre was celebrated when 13 episodes of a Saudi- produced anime, called “The Woodcutter’s Treasure,” aired on Japanese television for the first time in 2018, in both Arabic and Japanese.
According to Maaz Sheikh, CEO and founder of STARZPLAY, anime’s strong presence in the Arab world goes beyond its story lines. “Anime relates to Arab viewers on a whole different level,” he told Arab News.
“It blends the individuality of established comic book series and animations with the unmatched style originally derived from manga comics in Japan, creating a unique world that allows any fan to escape into that world.”

Sheikh said feedback from STARZPLAY subscribers since 2018 indicated a large following in the region and a demand for its current top-ranked series.
“Based on the feedback we received, the ‘escapism’ element of anime seems to be the biggest social aspect of what makes them so appealing,” he said.
“Anime allows viewers to live vicariously through the outlandish characters in a way that would otherwise be impossible to view with a live-action Hollywood series.”
Fans have also voiced a strong interest in theatrical releases of blockbuster anime movies in the MENA region, which Sheikh says only confirms that there is a tremendous appetite for the comic-book genre in cinemas, and on a larger scale.
Among the younger generation aged between 16-24, anime series such as “Dragon Ball” proved to be commonly watched by 59 percent of respondents, with less appeal to older age groups.
The survey also showed that 42 percent of young people stated their interest in manga and cosplay, considering it a top attraction in Japan.

ARABS' TOP 3 ANIME

  • Captain Majid Revolves around an 11-year-old student with a deep passion for football. Known as “Tsubasa Oozora” in Japan, Captain Majid follows his dreams to one day winning the FIFA World Cup in Japan and takes viewers on a journey of rivalry, friendship and talent.
  • Pokémon Follows the adventures of aspiring Pokémon master Ash Ketchum who is given an electric mouse named Pikachu on his 10th birthday. The two set off on a life-long journey and work up the ranks of the world’s many Pokémon leagues.
  • Grendizer A Super Robot equipped with only a flying saucer “Spaizer” flees the Vegan empire and enters our solar system, landing in Japan on the slopes of Mount Fuji to fight against the forces of evil and protect planet Earth.


Arafaat Ali Khan, owner of Domain Entertainment and co-founder of Middle East Film and Comic Con, said the trend among younger anime followers was mainly a result of the genre targeting not only a mature age group but also a younger audience through books, comics and movies.
“While you can get addicted to anything, if consumed in acceptable quantities, I do believe anime can inspire young minds as much as traditional art forms,” he said.
For Fatin Samir Al-Khuja, 24, a young Saudi graphic designer and illustrator based in Jeddah, her earliest memories of watching anime date back to elementary school. “I first began to watch ‘Card Capture Sakura’ and that gave me an affection for anime,” she said. 
“My love for Japan grew and that made me want to learn more about their culture and understand their language.”
Al-Khuja was first motivated to sketch out anime drawings in middle school but it was only in college that she learned how to draw digitally, realizing that she wanted to explore the world of illustrations.
“Anime influenced me in a positive way and it made me want to learn how to draw traditionally and digitally. It also influenced my way of thinking and I gained more knowledge, because unlike cartoons some anime series teach important life lessons,” she said.
Al-Khuja, along with 62 percent of people her age, associate anime with Japan and 86 percent share the desire to visit one day.
“I have visited Japan three times, and during my travel I discovered that just like Arabs, the Japanese people have maintained their customs and traditions,” she said.


What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

Updated 18 October 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

In March 1946, some of the greatest minds of the 20th century — among them John von Neumann, Norbert Wiener, Warren McCulloch, and Walter Pitts — gathered at the Beekman Hotel in New York City with the aim of constructing a science of mental behavior that would resolve at last the ancient philosophical problem of mind and matter. The legacy of their collaboration is known today as cognitive science.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy, one of the principal architects of cognitive science in France, reconstructs the early days of the field here in a provocative and engaging combination of philosophy, science, and historical detective work.
He shows us how the ambitious and innovative ideas developed in the wake of that New York meeting prefigured some of the most important developments of late-20th-century thought. Many scholars, however, shunned the ideas as crude and resented them for being overpromoted.
This rejection, Dupuy reveals, was a tragic mistake and a lost opportunity.


Artists, critics join Riyadh Art Memento Exhibition discussion panels

Updated 18 October 2021

Artists, critics join Riyadh Art Memento Exhibition discussion panels

  • Exhibition showcases artworks and paintings of Saudi artists over the past five decades

RIYADH: Saudi artists, academics and critics will take part in five discussion sessions as part of the Art Memento Exhibition being held at the National Museum in Riyadh until Nov. 6.

The dialogue sessions, organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, will focus on the history of visual arts in the Kingdom and the factors that influence artistic development, along with the role of what was previously known as the General Presidency of Youth Welfare in supporting art and artists over five decades.

The first of the dialogue sessions will be held on Monday under the title “The Journey of Art Collections from Youth Welfare to the Ministry of Culture.” Dr. Suzan Al-Yahya and Dr. Hanan Al-Ahmed will take part in this session as panelists, while Dr. Maha Al-Senan will be the facilitator.

The second session, “Towards a Better Organization of the Acquisition of Artworks,” will be held on Tuesday, with visual artists Mohammed Al-Saawi, Sara Al-Omran and Abdulrahman Al-Sulaiman as panelists and Hafsa Al-Khudairi as facilitator.

The third session will be held next Sunday under the title “The Features of Saudi Visual Arts from Modern to Contemporary,” and will feature Dr. Mohammed Al-Resayes, Dr. Eiman Elgibreen and Faisal Al-Khudaidi as panelists and Dr. Khulood Al-Bugami as facilitator.

“Fostering Arts and the Extent of their Cultural Impact on Society,” the fourth session, will be held next Tuesday, with Ehab Ellaban as panelist and Dr. Hanan Al-Hazza as facilitator.

The fifth and final session will take place on Nov. 2 under the title “The Journey of a Saudi Artist Between the Local and International Scenes.” It will feature Dr. Ahmed Mater, Bakr Shaikhoun and Maha Malluh as panelists and Dr. Noura Shuqair as facilitator.

The Art Memento Exhibition showcases artworks and paintings of Saudi artists over the past five decades, documenting the history of the Kingdom’s visual arts for public display.

Saudi artistic development is highlighted in terms of form, subject and ideas, while the exhibition also celebrates the efforts of leading artists and founders, preserves their history and presents their work to a new generation.

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What Are We Browsing Today: Beeto app

Updated 18 October 2021

What Are We Browsing Today: Beeto app

Beeto is a new multi-diverse content social media platform dedicated to Arab users.

Under the slogan, “express freely,” the app allows users to speak their mind on any topic via text or visually, and have their information secured.

Launched last year, the platform claims to be different from many others in not having a word count limit. Users with quality content can be verified if they bring original material to the table, and the app encourages feedback to help meet user expectations.

One example was the introduction of a desktop version of the app after a user requested it.

Another feature of the app is its categorization of topics including comedy, fashion, lifestyle, culture, sport, and books, with users picking what they like to see.

Three days after its official launch, Beeto ranked first in app stores in many countries, and it has proved popular with Saudis and Iraqis in particular.

With offices in Riyadh and Beijing, Beeto is looking to expand into other Arab countries.


What We Are Reading Today: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion

Updated 16 October 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion

Author: Elizabeth Carolyn Miller

The 1830s to the 1930s saw the rise of large-scale industrial mining in the British imperial world. Elizabeth Carolyn Miller examines how literature of this era reckoned with a new vision of civilization where humans are dependent on finite, nonrenewable stores of earthly resources, and traces how the threatening horizon of resource exhaustion worked its way into narrative form.
Britain was the first nation to transition to industry based on fossil fuels, which put its novelists and other writers in the remarkable position of mediating the emergence of extraction-based life.
Miller looks at works like Hard Times, The Mill on the Floss, and Sons and Lovers, showing how the provincial realist novel’s longstanding reliance on marriage and inheritance plots transforms against the backdrop of exhaustion to withhold the promise of reproductive futurity. She explores how adventure stories like Treasure Island and Heart of Darkness reorient fictional space toward the resource frontier.


What We Are Eating Today: Lazy Masoub in Jeddah

Updated 15 October 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Lazy Masoub in Jeddah



Lazy Masoub is a newly opened restaurant in Jeddah offering Saudi street food with a contemporary twist.
Inspired by the banana carts found in downtown Jeddah, the eatery’s name refers to a traditional dish made of mashed banana and chopped saj pie, topped with honey or cream and usually eaten as a dessert.
The restaurant’s signature masoub dish is served with a variety of toppings and extra banana, mango, strawberry, avocado, and nuts, and the outlet also offers a range of authentic Saudi recipes with international and Middle Eastern touches including masoub konafa, foul baba, mutabbaq trio pepperoni, and liver tacos.
The food is served in Korean stone and pottery bowls and on plates with dried ice fog adding to the presentation.
The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. and further information is available on Instagram at @lazymasoub.