Why Would You Like Manga?
August 05, 2010
Have you ever tried to read a Japanese Manga? They’re confusing and quite different from everything you’re used to. Instead of reading left to right in a sensible, comfortable manner, you’re reading from right to left, which, for most people, is completely disorienting. Once you become more comfortable with the style, it’s very easy to read a Manga, not to mention fast. I used to shun these books because they were ‘un-American’ and they made me nervous. I’ve always been taught that America is the greatest country on Earth, so the idea that books from another country might be good was one that I did not entertain. During my junior and senior year of high school, I was part of a large group of girls who adored Manga. Every day, they would exchange books with each other, making sure everyone got to read all the books in a series. I looked at them like they were crazy and made sure I kept well away from their books. I have a natural curious streak, and soon, I was wondering why they liked these books so much. I picked one up at the library one day and read the back of it, thinking of trying it out. It was called Crossroad, by Shioko Mizuki. As I read through the summary, I got more and more confused. A girl who dates her teacher? Who’s in love with her brother? What kind of book is this?! I put it down, a bit disgusted, and walked away. My curiosity began building again, and I soon picked it up again, realizing that I had read the description of the 3rd book in the series instead of the 1st. I decided to give the first book a try and I soon discovered that I had judged the book by its cover, or, more accurately, it’s summary. It was about a confused teenager who is living with the only family she has, 2 stepbrothers and a stepsister, all of whom have deadbeat parents that they’ve never met. A young woman, who changes men like most people change socks, took them all in as she went from boyfriend to boyfriend, wanting desperately to make a family for the misfits who were hardly younger than her. They all came together after the young woman’s mother died, leaving the main character, Kajitsu, without a home. The oldest of the brothers, Taro, was 20 years old, so he had Kajitsu, 15 years old, move in with him. The other brother, Natsu, (also 15) told them that his adopted family had moved to Canada, so he moved in with them as well. The young woman, named Rumiko, stayed with them for a while, but when they woke up one morning, she had disappeared again, leaving behind 6 year old Satsuki for them to take care of. The book was about their inspiring attempt to create a family, ignoring the whispers of the kids at school and the neighbors. I loved the 1st book and checked out all that my local library had, reading them in one sitting. Since then, I’ve become much more comfortable with Manga. I’ve read several complete series and tried out many others. My favorite series so far is a tie between Crossroad and From Far Away, which is the second series I read. Both were much different than I was expecting, giving me a broader horizon and an appreciation for other countries.
Alesha M.Tags: manga, graphic novels, book review