Reading is bliss. I read most of things, news, novels (including thriller, fantasy, romance, adventure, self help, etc.), magazines, comics, everything with maybe exception of course handbook. Of all those, I should say Japanese comics also known as manga (漫画) is my favorite even until now. My parents dislike me reading those, they told me it has poor content, low intelligence and only made for kids to enjoy. They prefer me to read “higher level” of readings such as novels or papers instead. I believe this is another one of world’s stereotype where fairy tales, cartoons and comics are meant for kids only because of their not so sophisticated content. While is it true that most manga is drawn with excessive body features and have exaggerated plot, not all stories are shallow. A lot of series I read actually triggered deeper thinking on various real life issues; such as bullying, depression, trafficking, drugs addiction, etc., some tried to depict the possible future; mostly related to digitalization and artificial intelligence (AI), which actually happening at the moment (read: Japanese companies substituting workers with AI ) , whereas others talk about passion and achieving one’s dream.
Note: NOT all manga are worth to read, there are numerous manga I personally think are worthless and should be forgotten.
Some masterpiece manga could be interpreted differently according to readers’ maturity. For example, I have read the popular series One Piece (1997-present) three times, in junior high, senior high and university. Initially I just followed the plot line and did not put much thought on it. The second time I read it, I started to think how wonderful that the main character and his nakama, despite their painful past are moving forward and try very hard to achieve their goal. Advancing back to back, such and such. But then, when I read it again, I know that they did not just fight due to trivial reasons, it actually incorporated discrimination, slavery, justice, stereotyping, uncontrollable technological advancement, child abuse, fake society, etc. It also touches on hope, dreams, recover from trauma, trusting oneself and your friends. Translated version of the series is currently on episode 852 and I don’t think it will end so
on, which discouraged most people from reading but there are some others series I would recommend too;
– Death Note by Ohba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi – 108 chapters
– Ansatsu Kyoushitsu by Matsui Yuusei – 180 chapters
– Full Metal Alchemist by Arakawa Hiromu -108 chapters
– Doubt by Tonogai Yoshiki – 20 chapters
– Joker Game (anime) – 12 episodes (on going)
And many more, try to read those recommended with psychological tag, those are more likely to be worth reading, but others could be great too. Comedy tag series could be entertaining such as Sket Dance and Penguin Brothers. I normally try to avoid ecchi (might nudity or semi-nude), smut (include offensive esp. in regard to sexual content), yaoi (love between male), and yuri (love between female).
Anyway, I actually wrote about the very same issue twice without realizing it. Couple days ago I wrote about manga in general while another one included my interpretation to series One Piece. This reminded me on how strong my feeling towards this issue so I finally post this combined version minus the One Piece spoilers. Hope that if you are one of those people who think that manga is just worthless comic, this post could make you reconsider, at least by trying to read and look at them from different perspective 🙂