I don’t know what it is about manga that can move me so deeply in a few panels where so many films, TV shows, books leave me lukewarm. It’s as though the mangaka is right there as I read, whispering their words and intent directly into my ear and onto my soul. I’ll be fired up for battle or laughing my ass off, or aching with the need to be loved and understood, totally lost and adrift from the shores of conscious thought. And when I’m done with a particularly perfect chapter, it’s a chore to come back to this world, come back into this body and pick up the humdrum strains of life. Films and TV should be more entertaining, so much thought and money has gone into them. Books should have the shortcut to my imagination, authors’ words flashing across my synapses triggering pleasure or contemplation.
I know intellectually that it’s an industry, a business. There are manipulations of leftover high school passions, endless repetitions of certain profitable themes, and the omnipresent specter of exploitation choking the individual voice and change. But all I experience is the passion, the flow of ideas from a mangaka’s mind down to the ink, bifurcating into words and drawing, only to join up again in my mind to communicate that idea. And that double punch knocks me out, every single time.
Do I ever feel the same way—always.