More Guilty Pleasures

I suppose I wouldn’t label these as actually guilty but I have taken pleasure in them of late.

First, manga.

I’ve been a fan of anime for quite some time but have to admit that only recently have I gotten into manga. I do read graphic novels but manga-not so much. That is until lately.

Manga, for those who don’t know, are Japanese comics. They’re very popular in Japan, read by all age groups and genders. They represent a nearly $5 billion market in Japan. They’ve also caught on here in the States. Most large bookstores now have a huge manga section and even my local library carries a lot of them. Manga, like American comics, cover a wide range of topics and genres.

Now, I have to admit it took some getting used to reading not only from right to left, but from back to front. And some manga are published in what we probably consider a more traditional format.

Here are the manga I’m currently reading. Oh, and for those who are more into manga than me, you’ll probably notice that most of what I’m reading is shojo manga, which is manga targeted to girls between the age of 10 and 18, although Midnight Secretary is regarded more as josei manga, which is for a more mature audience.

Midnight Secretary by Tomu Oomi

Considered to be the “perfect secretary” yet constantly criticized for her ultra-conservative dress style by the Director, Kaya lives a seemingly normal life until she finds out that her boss is actually a vampire. Despite uncovering his identity, she dedicates herself to serving the Director to the best of her abilities. The early part of the story focuses on the trials and tribulations of Kaya’s increasingly hectic workload, then shifts to the developing personal relationship between her and the Director. (From Wikipedia entry)

Major guilty pleasure!

Ceres-Celestial Legend by Yuu Watase

The series focuses on Aya Mikage, who learns on her sixteenth birthday that she is the reincarnation of a celestial maiden named Ceres, and her twin brother Aki the reincarnation of Ceres’ former husband. Ceres begins manifesting in Aya. To try to save her brother, Aya must find Ceres’ lost celestial robe while trying to avoid being killed or captured by her own family, who wants to use Ceres powers for their own gain. (From Wikipedia entry)

I like this series because it starts out kind of fluffy and then, wham! it suddenly turns dark and serious but there’s still a lot humor and, of course, a romance between the heroine and the handsome, but mysterious, hero.

Emma by Kaoru Mori.

Set in Victorian London at the end of the 19th century, Emma is the story of a maid who falls in love with a member of the gentry. However, the young man’s family disapproves of him associating with people of the lower classes. (from Wikipedia entry)

I just picked this one up from the library but I was drawn to it’s Victorian setting. There are no vampires, werewolves or any kind of paranormal goings on in this manga. Just a story of a maid and the man she loves but is separated from due to class.

Megatokyo by Fred Gallagher and Rodney Caston.

This is a manga that my son recommend I read after I expressed an interest in reading more manga.

Set in a fictional version of Tokyo, Megatokyo portrays the adventures of Piro, a young fan of anime and manga, and his friend Largo, an American video game enthusiast. The comic often parodies and comments on the archetypes and clichés of anime, manga, dating sims, and video games, occasionally making direct references to real-world works.

Megatokyo originally emphasized humor, with continuity of the story a subsidiary concern. Over time, it focused more on developing a complex plot and the personalities of its characters. (from Wikipedia entry)

And, last but not, least The Crow

This movie was on television over the weekend (so it was heavily edited) but despite a lot of gratitious violence and less than savory sex, I still love this movie. It was Brandon Lee’s last role as he was killed during the making of it. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s gothic, it’s violent, but it’s also a tender love story in that Eric Draven, Brandon Lee’s character, comes back from the grave to avenge his death and the death of his true love.

So, there they are. Some of my “guilty” pleasures. I have more, as I know I’ve only touched the top of the iceberg when it comes to manga, but I don’t want to bore anyone. 🙂

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2 Responses to More Guilty Pleasures

  1. Manga was very popular in the bookstore where I worked back in the States. I remember one woman coming up to the register saying, “My daughter asked me to pick these up for her. But there seems to have been a printing error. The first page is at the back. It’s backwards.”

    Now, I could totally understand the confusion by someone not familiar with manga. So I explained, “Oh, that’s actually how it’s supposed to be. When Manga first started coming out here, they polled American fans and asked them if they wished to have the book changed into the usual American format, or if they preferred to read it in the original format. They preferred reading it the original way- that’s why it’s right to left.”

    woman: “Right to left?”
    me: “Yes. Well, you know how there are some languages that are written right to left, rather than left to right. Like…Hebrew.”
    Woman stares at me with the blankest expression on her face.
    So I just politely told her the book was formatted corrctly, but could be returned if need be. But I couldn’t understand how a grown woman didn’t know that not everyone writes or reads left to right.

  2. jennareynolds says:

    I suppose that just goes to show that in America we still have a somewhat American-centric view of the world. To be honest, I’m never surprised at how some people just don’t seem to get that the world is not just European or Christian or reads left to right. I’m fascinated by the diversity we still manage to find in this world but I suppose some people might find it too disorienting to explore further.

    Yeah, it took me a little getting used to, reading right to left, but I’m quite comfortable with it now. Actually when I pick up a manga that’s been formatted in the left to right way I find that disorienting for a moment or two. 🙂

    I’m pretty excited that I’ve found this whole new type of fiction to explore. I get the feeling that the Japanese writers and artists are willing to tackle subjects that still give many of us in the States the willies. Maybe they’re not as weighed down with all that Puritan guilt and/or poliltical correctness as we in the States appear to be.

    Anyway, I love reading mangas and have become a bona fide “fangirl”. In spirit if not in age. 🙂

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