Turns out I’ve already posted the other blogs I wrote for the comics website on this, my very own blog as well. All but this one about manga, which is hilarious and was totally topical in May of 2010 when I first wrote it.
If you don’t read manga, I don’t blame you. But here’s one reason why you might want to check it out (or do any other number of crazy things): a pretty lady.
There’s been a small fuss raised over a mangaka (Japanese comic book artist) recently. Mostly because she’s cute. And because she’s a she (those of you calling “Screenshot or it didn’t happen!” can see evidence of said cuteness here). Which is a big deal because when people think of manga, they picture something like Wing Bird (see horrifying cover art at right). Then when you tell them it’s not all nudity and violence, they call you a liar and an otaku freak, and the horribly scarring pointing and laughing ensues.
Here’s an example of a conversation I’ve had with an average, non-manga reader (let’s just call him Some Jerk):
SJ– [nose crinkle] Man-guh?
Me– Yeah, it’s like comics, but they’re little books, and they’re black and white. And they’re Japanese.
SJ– Oh, Japanese? Like hentai? Eew, tentacle penis monster!
Me– No no, that’s not what manga is!
SJ– Yeah it is, I saw that one Parasyte once, gross.
Me– Here, lemme show you something different… Um… here, Fruits Basket, that’s like the opposite of Parasyte.
SJ– [pause] WTF is wrong with their eyes?
Me– Nothing. What do you mean?
SJ– They’re huge. And where are their mouths?
Me– Um… I dunno, actually.
SJ– [blank stare] Dude. Yikes.
Not all manga is good, I’ll admit that, and it’s not for everyone. But if you read comics, your brain is already prepped for this stuff, and it’s unlike any American comic you’ve ever read. The characters are expressive and often hilarious. I’ve never been so shocked at what’s after the next page turn. Once, I got so scared at what was on the next page that I burst out laughing, shut the book, and had to go watch the Food Channel for a while.
So I challenge our readers to do something stupid in the name of a pretty girl who authors some manga of her own. Pick up a copy of Mail or The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. They’re some of the more popular manga out there right now, and as comic readers, you’re ready. It’s time to branch out, kids. Be brave. Be stupid. Do it for the girl.