I always believe that comics or graphic novels deserve much more recognition than they do in society. Sure, there're blockbusters based on superheroes and fansubs around the world working diligently to translate the anime once they come out in Japan; but to some folks, comics remain to be an inferior form of medium, capable only for the occasional amusements.
On the contrary, (well, i've gotta confess that i've always been a big comics fan), I think comic is a powerful medium, that shapes culture. Just as Hollywood has been the main engine for exporting American influence, Japan has done an incredible job asserting its influence through its decades of development in comics.
So I read with great interest when I came across Anil Dash's article on how Japanese troops in Iraq are using famous Japanese charaters (like Captain Tsubasa) to "break the ice". And apparently it's working!
Captain Tsubasa: Let's play some balls....in Iraq!