Monday, July 25, 2011


I have a background in literature. I feel I need to disclose that not because I think my interpretations will be outstanding in that "I READ BOOKS!" pretentious way, but because I feel a bit apologetic about my field in general.

You see, I think...the way things are now...the majority of people isn't motivated to enjoy reading. And I place the blame largely on the scholars in my field because they like to decide what literature consists of... and more and more it is becoming this hermetic field in which saying you actually "enjoyed" a text is considered taboo.

Back when I was a grad student, I decided I was going to read the genres folks in my department looked down on: sci-fi, romance, fantasy, kids' fiction, comics...and manga. I have to say I've pretty much made some amazing discoveries and except for those drugstore romances (seriously, there was only so much "soulful longing" I could read before going cross-eyed) I've enjoyed opening up my world.

About a year ago, a good friend of mine, with whom I watch movies every week, and I started watching the Nickelodeon series, "Avatar: the Last Airbender" and loved it. The storytelling was wonderful, the characters were engaging, and the world building was fabulous. Once it was over, we wanted more anime-style we discovered a Japanese series called Mushishi...And then another called Kuregehime (Princess Jellyfish)... And I found I was needing an anime fix between our weekly movie sessions, so I came across Fruits Basket on Netflix a few months ago.

Fruits Basket was really mesmerizing and when it ended, I KNEW there had to be more to the story, so I discovered scanlations... It wasn't my first encounter with manga, though: I had previously collected "Ranma 1/2" and started collecting Saiyuki (but gave up once I realized I would run out of shelf space). 

Fruit Baskets made me realize that there was a rich world of storytelling whose surface I hadn't even scratched...And that led to some more amazing discoveries...Discoveries that I'd like to share here, because until very recently I knew almost nothing about the genre.

Whether you are new to manga or are a seasoned reader, I hope my recommendations and insights lead you to explore, comment, and support these very interesting, entertaining, occasionally heartwarming, and often humorous, modes of sharing stories!

PS- I'm still pretty new to anime and manga, so if you want to steer me in the right direction,  give me some suggestions, question what I've said, point out that my banner is crooked (I'm letting it go- I'm swapping the OCD for a Zen outlook), I'm open to it. That being said...I don't tolerate rudeness... and how to put it clearly? Plain mean-spirited attitudes. I am all for a good argument, can dish it out and take it...except for aforementioned behaviors. In those cases, I will exercise my right to hover my cursor over the delete button above your jeremiad.

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