Why is manga still taboo?
Perhaps you don’t know this about me, as I don’t really talk about it much on here, but I’m a huge fan of manga! Well, I should say I used to be. When I was younger, I borrowed manga like Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2 from a friend while also bingeing anime like Dragonball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho on Toonami. Those were some good times! And I even owned a few manga myself (only a few because it was hard justifying the price for a young person without a job.)
However, my love of manga was struck down because of America’s negative opinion of it. (In the form of my parents, obviously.)
You see, to many Americans who are not familiar with manga and, therefore, uninterested in manga, manga is considered childish, wasteful, and well, dumb. It’s seen as a juvenile cartoon (despite many anime being WELL beyond the age, violence, and content restrictions of many adult TV shows.) It’s seen as expensive (because we also pay for the exquisite, amazing, time-consuming, years-worth-of-training artwork, not just the story-telling.)
And, for some ungodly reason, it’s seen as being a worse hobby/interest than comic books, which, by the way, are only now widely accepted by the general non-comic-book-reading populous in America because… What? They got made into action movies with sexy actors and actresses? o.O If they’d made the comics into animated versions as they do with many of the TV versions of those same comics, the general populace wouldn’t give a dang! Which is exactly what is still happening to manga. It’s still being severely shunned by that same general populace.
But why are manga and anime still TABOO?
Well, for one, people have a tendency to judge something and avoid that thing because mainstream media/society tells them to. Oh, mindless fear of being ostracized from society for being who you are. 😒 Anyway!!! Manga, for many years, fell into a similar realm with comic books. The only people who were supposed to read it were geeks who were middle-aged and lived at home with their mothers or were young teens who hadn’t ‘grown up’ yet and found ‘real’ hobbies. (Because mindlessly consuming hours upon hours of bad reality TV counts as a real hobby. 😉)
Manga, to those unfamiliar with it, is also seen as being a children’s picture book. The whole thing is pages upon pages of pictures, which means that there couldn’t possibly be any actual, depth-filled content in there. It’s seen as just a bunch of vapid, naive stories like one would find in children’s TV shows. Thus, it’s supposedly over-priced cheap (in the sense of quality) entertainment. This is one of the reasons why only certain people are expected to read it because those people are considered to be of a lower quality that people who a) read ‘adult’ books or b) don’t read at all because they have ‘lives.’
But that’s not true!
Despite what the ‘cool kids’ would have people believe, manga is extremely popular! (And not just by geeks or shut ins or pre-teens.) It’s so big that there are massive, well-attended conventions in numerous cities around the country and around the world. If the stereotype about manga readers was true, uh… pretty sure these widely acclaimed conventions wouldn’t exist.
Additionally, manga is not for children. Yes, there is manga designed for children, but like every piece of literature, it has varying age-groups and genres. The problem is, that most non-manga readers only ever hear about shojo, a form of manga designed for young girls. This genre is often filled with adorabley cheesy romance and a whole lot of ‘squeeing’ and nose bleeds.
However, that’s not the only form of manga. I know for a fact that’s not what’s going on in shonen manga (manga designed for young men) like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or I dunno, say Attack on Titan? Yeah… let me know next time people being ripped to pieces and obliterated was considered ‘squee-worthy.’ (Though, maybe some people find that adorable. 😜)
Okay. I could honestly go on and on and on about this FOREVER! And I wish I could because I am disappointed in myself for having given into society and its pressures and getting rid of my manga because it was ‘childish’ because it was ‘weird’ because it wasn’t a ‘normal interest.’ (Like make-up or dating or… whatever stereotypical activity teenage girls are supposed to do. *eye roll*) And honestly, having seen first-hand how normal and accepted manga is in Japan, and how accepted comic books have become in America, I just canNOT fathom why Americans find manga – another form of literature (because it is in fact literature despite what society may falsely spew into the ears of its catatonic followers) – to be so abhorrent! WHY?!
But what do you think?
Why is manga taboo?
Should this change?
Leave your thoughts below!
And check out my discussion from last week: