Saturday, May 14, 2011

Manga in My Life

{Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge icon by sailorprinzess @ Livejournal}

Well, Tokyopop is closing its doors to North America. I normally wouldn't care about a manga publishing company but since I've started reading manga, this actually hits me pretty hard. The very first manga I purchased is published by Tokyopop. Just thinking about not getting Shinobi Life updates is depressing! Oh well, it looks like scanlations will be my life for now. Unless another company picks it up, which is entirely possible. I'll be praying. Either that or I could learn to read Japanese. Yeah, right, not! Learning to read Japanese could take my entire life. Speaking it however, that I'm considering.

You know how sometimes an interest or hobby seems completely out of character? Well, that's how manga is for me. None of my friends read manga, almost none of them watch anime, and certainly none of them watch Japanese live action dramas. Yet from the moment I picked up that first volume of Shinobi Life I was completely hooked. Why? I keep asking myself that question. It really doesn't make any sense. I don't speak Japanese. I don't understand the language except for the most minimal terms like "thank you" and "please." So why would I be drawn to such a completely foreign entertainment experience?

I guess I needed a change. These mangas take my mind to a completely different world. It's so totally unique from what I know! I love reading the little habits and polite behaviors the mangas so accurately represent. Most of the main male Japanese characters have the most amazing little ticks and reactions. They move differently, speak differently, and even love girls differently than American men. Most of the mangas I like express a pure love between the main female and male characters. Yoh and Haruna in High School Debut learn to love each other through trial and error. Neither one of them is experienced in love. It's beautiful and funny and awesome to watch them grow together.

Maybe, just maybe, these shoujo mangas and Japanese tv dramas have reignited my hope that true love exists. I watch Kyohei in Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge learn to love, learn what love actually is, and it warms my heart. It makes me think "Wait a minute, maybe this is possible." I admit to becoming, not embittered exactly, but definitely disillusioned with the idea of romantic love. Especially over the last couple of years. Manga has reinstilled that belief in me, that true love can and does exist. It may not find me for years or ever, but that's okay. Just so long as I know it's out there somewhere.

That's why I read manga.

It gives me hope.

It makes me laugh.

It makes me cry.

It reminds me to live.