Survey reveals Saudis’ favorite anime shows

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Updated 12 January 2020

Survey reveals Saudis’ favorite anime shows

DUBAI: Anime has long been a staple of day-time TV and comic books in the Middle East. These days, hand-drawn and computer animation associated with Japan is regarded by many Arabs as a memorable part of their childhood.

Anime series such as “Al Mohakek Konan,” “Grendizer” and “Pokemon” were dubbed into Arabic and played on Arab TV channels from as early as the 1980s.

In November last year, Japanese animation products were given pride of place at the Riyadh Season’s first Anime Expo held in November 2019 in Saudi Arabia.

Considered the largest convention of its kind to be held in the Middle East, the event gave long-time Saudi anime fans a chance to take photos with their favorite characters while indulging in all things Japanese.

The event included everything from anime booths dedicated to each popular show to musical performances and talks by renowned Japanese producers and directors.

The popularity of anime in the kingdom was further reflected in a YouGov poll conducted by Arab News in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Levant and North Africa regions on how Arabs view Japan.

In the study, which surveyed 3,033 people in 18 Arab countries, 72 percent of Saudi respondents ranked “Captain Majid" as their all-time favorite anime show.

The long-running series known as “Captain Tsubasa" in Japan revolves around an 11-year-old student with a deep passion for football.

Majid follows his dreams all the way to winning the FIFA World Cup in Japan, and takes viewers on a journey of rivalry, friendship and talent.

Next was “Grendizer,” with 42 percent of Saudis ranking it in second place, followed by “Pokemon” (37 percent) in third place.

Created by Japanese mangaka Go Nagai in 1975, “Grendizer" was first shown on the Lebanese channel Tele Liban in the 1980s as one of the few fully dubbed cartoons available at the time.

The series tells the story of a robot equipped with only a flying saucer named Spaizer, who flees the Vegan Empire and enters the solar system, landing in Japan on the slopes of Mount Fuji to fight against the forces of evil and protect planet Earth.

The celebrated anime hero in the Arab region may appear once again in a feature film, as creator Nagai broached the idea of a Grendizer movie during a previous exclusive interview with Arab News.

Among the younger generation of Arab anime fans between the ages of 16-24 years-old, “Dragon Ball” was the commonly watched (59 percent), but with less appeal among older age groups.

According to Maaz Sheikh, CEO and founder of STARZPLAY, the “escapism” element is a big factor in animated media’s strong presence in the Arab world.

“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,” he told Arab News in an interview.

For anime super fan Omar Al-Otaibi, watching shows like “Naruto,” “Bleach” and “FMA” throughout his childhood has left him with many happy memories.

“Anime is a full package including a good story, great character design, amazing voice casting and breathtaking moments that keep everyone waiting for the next week’s episode to be aired,” he said.

Commenting on the number one anime in kingdom, “Captain Majid,” Al-Otaibi noted that the main character, Majid, was named after the Saudi national team’s captain at the time.

The show was aired on MBC in the Japanese language for the first time in December 2019.

“I feel very positive about the future of anime in the Arab world as I see the community growing bigger now than ever,” he said.

With the Saudi government’s focus on entertainment, a significant growth in animation media is expected among newer generations.

Houthis are ‘threat’ to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the entire region

A houthi rebel fighter holds his a weapon during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP)
Updated 21 September 2020

Houthis are ‘threat’ to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the entire region

  • Five civilians injured in lastest attack at village in Jazan

JEDDAH: Houthi militias in Yemen are continuing to break international humanitarian law by targeting civilians in Saudi Arabia.
In its latest attacks on Saudi terrority, the group launched a projectile at a village in the southern Jazan region on Saturday. Five people were injured and property was damaged.
The Iran-backed militia has attacked Saudi Arabia’s territory, killing and injuring civilians in the process, since the start of the war in 2015, often to international condemnation.
“The Kingdom has tackled many Houthi attacks, which included ballistic missiles and drones that were originally intended to target civilians,” political analyst and international relations expert Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “If it wasn’t for the Kingdom’s instant response they would have caused very big damage.”
Al-Shehri said that a group like the Houthis were not expected to act differently, other than be violent and destructive. He pointed the finger at the international community for its silence as well as countries that have lifted an arms ban on Iran.
“The recently apprehended Houthi cell in Yemen smuggling Iranian weapons has admitted to receiving training in Iran, evidence of Iran’s continued involvement in Yemen. Therefore, this makes the US unilateral proclamation to reinforce UN sanctions against Iran the right thing to do now.”
Al-Shehri added that the militia was an organization whose activities would still endanger the lives of Yemeni civilians even if they did not harm neighboring countries. “They use cities as a shield and launch their rockets from inside Sanaa, among civilians.”
He said that the international community, as part of its responsibility to maintain global peace and security, was required to spare Yemenis the agony and scourge of war by implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and bring the Houthis back to the negotiation table for an inclusive political solution.
“The Houthis are a threat to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the entire region as long as weapons remain in their hands,” Al-Shehri said.
The attack in Jazan was condemned by Egypt, Jordan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The OIC secretary-general, Yousef Al-Othaimeen, affirmed the organization’s standing and solidarity with the Kingdom in all the measures it took to protect its borders, citizens, and residents on its territory.