Sharjah: The three-day anime-themed edition of SHASHAH 2022 in Sharjah featured panel discussions that saw Japanese manga and anime (animation) artists and business owners share their entrepreneurial journeys with fans and aspiring artists.
The event is being organised by FUNN, a Sharjah-based organisation that promotes media arts learning among children and youth, at Aljada.
The opening talk on Saturday featured four anime artists and entrepreneurs representing Mend Hero Academy, which produces superhero-based content; Kashkool Games, an Abu Dhabi-based startup indie game studio; H2 Games, which offers an array of family board games; and Salahcartoonz, specialised in comics cartoons mashup and caricature, who shared details of their journeys into the visual universe of anime.
Noura Al Awadhi, anime designer at Mend Hero Academy, said her professional journey in the anime world commenced with the creation of a comic about an Emirati orphan whose life is transformed when he becomes a superhero. Her passion for the art form led her to launch Mend Hero Academy, a platform enabling young artists to design their own comic books.
Sharing his entrepreneurial journey, game developer Haroun Almansoori from Kashkool Games advised budding game developers to focus on developing what they can within their budgets as it would not be possible to compete with the substantial budgets of big gaming companies.
Anime as art and entertainment
A passion for comics is vital for the success of artists, said comics artist Hassan Al Ali, who utilises his passion to raise knowledge of cultures around the world amongst the young generations and aims to instil behavioural and moral messages.
Salah Abuidrees, founder of Salahcartoonz, said that as an art form, cosplay does not require massive budgets but a unique artistic eye to produce an exceptional creation.
Anime and social media
In the second panel discussion titled ‘How to benefit from animation content through social media’ and moderated by Ahmed Lootah, Omar Sharif Al Ali, and Rashid Al Khayal, speakers discussed the power of social media.
Al Ali said: “The youth benefit from me, as I am a fan of pop culture, and they find a connection with me which results in them following me on social media, then companies see me as a bridge to approach and promote to them.”
Al Khayal credited cartoons for unleashing his imagination, noting that the anime art form was a successful import by Arab dubbing companies and continues to have a significant following amongst both the young and older generations in the region.