It’s a great medium for storytelling
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
I know it’s a matter of personal taste and it’s not for everyone, but people need to stop hating on manga and just give it a chance. Seriously, I know it might be “cool” to hate manga and anime and anything that differs from Western culture, but manga is great as both a visual and literary medium.
People often associate manga with “weeaboos”—people who are unhealthily obsessed with Japanese culture—but don’t let one group of people ruin it for you. Manga is fascinating visual way to read a variety of different genres. Many people say they would prefer to watch a movie or read a book, but manga combines the graphics that we love about movies and the imagination that goes into reading books into one comic.
While reading books allows you to make mental images of the story, characters, and settings; and films on the other hand give you the visuals from one director’s point of view; manga meets in the middle. It shows you key scenes and dialogue, but you get to fill in the blanks for yourself. Readers can supply for themselves the colours and background noises of the scene, what the characters sound like, and what happens that we don’t see in the panels. Manga also provides some entertaining onomatopoeias: “Blarf!”, “Glurk!”, and “Bwom!” to name a few.
The art that is used in manga is often beautifully-detailed and immersive. The stories and dialogue are so well-written that you can almost forget you’re reading a book and not watching it unfold as a film. It’s an easy format to read once you get used to going right to left instead of vice versa. Also, there are so many different manga out there and so many different genres that you’re bound to find one that’s in your taste.
I suspect many people don’t like manga because of the artistic style or because they view it as too weird, too different from Western culture, too much of a culture shock, I get it. Some manga is a bit outlandish—however, if you give it a chance you’ll realize it’s unlike anything you’ve read or seen before, and it’s great.
You can also gain a lot of insight about Japanese culture from this medium. Some of these are small insights about traditions, references, vocabulary, social practices, or education, while others deal with deeper concepts such as gender roles or how religion is viewed in Japanese society.
Manga also covers genres that aren’t often utilized in comics or films. If you’re into horror or gore, manga may be just the thing for you. Junji Ito is a great horror manga author to read: His art is gruesome and some images will be burned into your brain forever. If you’re not into that, there is a plethora of cute, adventure, psychological thriller, or casual manga to read as well. Finally, most manga can be read for free online, so there’s no reason not to check this graphic medium out.