Enough is Enough. I am not ashamed that I read Manga.

Two announcements before I begin today’s post about reading Manga:

The Nerdy Girlie is giving away two journals along with an eBook of Minutes Before Sunset to one lucky winner. You can join the raffle until July 10 so click here, join, and good luck!

I’m also going to start putting the title at the top of my post after the separation between announcements and the articles, so they are easier if you don’t want to read my announcements. (But please do!) Being able to share my author life with you all means a lot to me, and your kind support is the extra boost of energy I need when the author life gets tousled around in chaotic troubles.

Enough is Enough. I am not ashamed that I read Manga.

So – originally – I was hoping to upload a new video to my YouTube Channel Coffee & Cats (since I haven’t in two months!) but I was unable to, so my plan didn’t work out, but I am planning on uploading a new video soon. That being said, I sat in front of my laptop last night, slightly panicking over which topic I wanted to talk about instead. If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know I’m a planner. I have dozens of pre-written blog posts for moments like this, but I just couldn’t share one of those today because I had this urge to share what is at the tip of my tongue, and that is Sailor Moon. If you didn’t know, a remake released last night all around the world. (And it was amazing!)

But Shannon, wait, you only blog about reading and writing…What does Sailor Moon have to do with that?

A lot…to me. Maybe not to you. But stay with me because I’ll explain everything soon.

You see – to me – Sailor Moon is more than just a silly cartoon that played in the 90’s. I still remember the first time I saw it. I was sitting on the floor in my grandparents’ living room, watching it on a little, old television that could be turned to black and white by opening a panel on the right side and twisting a knob. If you turned the knob too far, everything flickered to neon green. (I got a kick out of doing this!) After that first episode, I was hooked – or obsessed, however you want to say it.

Photo from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal website
Photo from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal website

At this point, you might still be wondering – Sailor Moon is a television show. Seriously, why are you blogging about this?

Because it has to do with some hard reading lessons I learned.

Sailor Moon, yes, started out as a television show for me, but I grew up, and it disappeared from daytime television shortly afterward. At some point during my preteen years, I remembered that show because I read Daughters of the Moon by Lynne Ewing (still one of my favorite YA series) and it reminded me of my once-loved show. So I went searching, and I found out it was a comic book. I did not know the word “manga” yet, and I definitely didn’t know how different (and more mature) the manga was compared to the show I watched as a kid. But I quickly learned after that.

I read every manga I could get my hands on. (And I hid this because I was embarrassed.) You see, I feel like manga has a worse reputation than reading YA as an adult – it’s something we should ashamed of. Adults don’t read cartoons. Teens shouldn’t read cartoons. That stuff is for kids. Blah. Blah. Blah. It goes on and on. And I will admit that I fell into this at one point. I even asked for gift receipts at the local bookstore because a clerk once said something about how he could never read something like that. What can I say? I was fourteen and impressionable. Now, that I’ve gotten over it, I can admit that I was embarrassed because I fell into reading bullying.

But enough is enough.

I like manga. I like it a lot. It’s currently one of my “go-to” reads, especially when I can’t afford novels (or the bookstore is closed because it’s two in the morning, and I need a break.) But I read it anyway. I read it because I like it.

I’ve only started admitting to reading it within the past year. Perhaps this is because I’m older, and I don’t see a reason to hide it anymore. (And now I’m ashamed that I hid it at all.) After all, grown adults read Spider-Man and go to the theatres to watch Iron Man – both of which are comic books – but I, somehow, convinced myself that manga was different, that it was childish and immature and weird.  And it’s not just me. When I started admitting to reading it, I had friends and family say the same things (ironically, as they were talking about the new Batman movie.) It was almost like Marvel and DC comic books are acceptable, but manga isn’t.

Manga is not weird or childish or immature or something we should be ashamed of. It’s just like everything else. It can have bad and good stories with great characters, mystical plots, and wonderful emotions.

To me, watching the new Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal last night reminded me of how strongly I feel about this subject. Even though it was an anime that I started with and not the manga, it turned me on to manga. (Warning. I’m about to fangirl like crazy.)

Seriously. If only Bogart looked like this.
Seriously. If only Bogart looked like this.

You see, Sailor Moon is more than Sailor Moon to me. It was independence. It was power. It was being graceful and strong at the same time. It was not relying on a man but also not hating on men. It was friendship AND love. It was wearing boots with heels on them. It was kicking ass, being equal, and finding strength within yourself while believing in the strengths of others around you.

Oh. And a black cat. (Seriously. If Bogart was female, he would’ve been named Luna.)

Stories are more than stories to fans. They make up intricate parts of ourselves and resonate in our every day lives as lessons, hopes, and dreams. No, my dream is not to wear a mini-skirt and fight the Dark Kingdom. But it is to be true to myself and fight whatever it takes to get there. To me, even though Usagi cries and whines at the beginning, she grows into herself and she always steps up to the challenge. Always. And she’s never selfish when it comes to her relationships with her various loved ones. (Unless you consider getting bad grades selfish…then, okay. I’ll give her that.)

So, go ahead – poke fun at the fact that I’m 23 and reading a manga or a comic book. You can’t hurt me. You can only hurt yourself but not giving various types of literature a chance. You might miss out a story that resonates with you for the rest of your life.

But if I had to be completely honest, the older I get, the more I don’t understand reading bullying. It’s pointless and destructive. Please don’t make fun of anyone for reading anything. Seriously. It is okay if a type of literature isn’t for you, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to hate it. Read what you enjoy. Give new things a chance, and even if you don’t like it, don’t bully other readers. What if you bully the next J.K. Rowling, but that reader never becomes a writer because they are turned away from reading because of reader bullying? Let them read what they enjoy, and perhaps, you’ll both find new types you enjoy when you support one another.


42 thoughts on “Enough is Enough. I am not ashamed that I read Manga.

  1. A cartoon is easy to visually understand, so people associate modern manga graphic novels as books for children. If they’d read them, they would find some meaningful, emotional stories.

    I’ve read a couple of series: Alice in the Country of Hearts (I really liked that one), Scott Pilgrim and O’malley’s “Lost at Sea” (It’s my favorite, really felt related). I’m currently reading Tenjho Tenge.

    I also credit my illustration skills to manga. Hmm, I wonder how many of your fans are closet manga fans? 😀

    1. I’ll have to check those out! I agree with you. I also think a lot of potential manga fans are turned onto manga the wrong way, like begin shown a kind they wouldn’t like when they start, so they end up rejecting the entire concept of manga. (Which is really silly when you think about it. You wouldn’t condemn an entire library over one book, after all.) I know quite a few fans that I’ve spoken with have suggested mangas to me, so they are out there. 😀

  2. Hey Shannon,

    I’ve lived in Japan and it blows my mind until I read a post like this, that some people belittle reading manga. In Asia, businessmen are reading it on their commutes. This is a cultural misconception the west will eventually overcome. I see it happening already and you and others will push it over the edge.

    My husband has several shelves worth of manga, some of it bought for him by me as gifts. It’s all in Japanese, and sadly, I can’t read it, but I watch anime versions of manga frequently. I highly recommend One Piece, print form or film form. I’ve cried, laughed, walked away and pondered life lessons and serious social issues from that manga/anime and many others. Thanks for standing up for this amazing storytelling form.

    1. Ciara,

      I am so glad you added your experiences from Japan here. It allows others to see how seriously it should be taken because manga is a beautiful art form, and I hope the United States overcomes the taboo hurdle they’ve put up for no reason because readers are truly missing out on many amazing stories. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  3. I love reading Manga :). They’re fun and easy to read. I’m currently making my way through the “Black Bird” series, though otherwise I haven’t got much variety at my library (they tend to have the later versions, but not the earlier ones).

      1. I’m up to volume 11 :). I borrow them about 4 at a time from the library. ^_^

  4. Thank you! I’ve yet to read a post that has so summed up what it’s like to read manga, enjoy it and how other people react. So a big thumbs up from me on that score 🙂

  5. I feel that way about a lot of films. I am an unregenerate devote of lowbrow cinema. I own “Con Air” and “The Rock” and every single James Bond movie ever made (thanks, Sue!) and most of John Carpenter’s catalog.

    Let the film snobs chortle at me, I’ll take “Big Trouble In Little China” over “Persona” any day. I like movies, darnit, movies with likable characters and witty dialogue and exciting action.

    1. I can relate to the film aspect! I prefer black & white movies – like Key Largo – and I love film noir. When I say that, most people ask, “What is film noir?” lol It’s safe to say that I never get to pick the movie on movie night, but that’s okay with me, too. I’ll watch Casablanca over Transformers any day.

  6. Than you for pointing me to this post. I live in the west and grew up on manga and anime. I even watched sailor moon with my little sister every day. It was our bonding time, plus it came on before Dragonball z which I made her watch. 😉 I love that story telling medium so much it inspired me to write a manga story. Eventually I found artists to team with and got it drawn. Now I own my own publisher company that is looking to create western manga and even have over ten series that have been created! My dream is to not only bring manga to the world but I feel there are a ton of people who have great stories to tell and are amazing artists so I want to give them a shot too.

    1. Wow! That is amazing! Do you have a website? I would love to check it out and try to spread the word. You have a lot in common with my older brother. He used to watch Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z with me 😀 I hope your publishing company works out! I would love to see more manga-styled publishing companies in the west. (Especially since there is that argument – that I don’t agree with at all – that says westerners can’t draw manga. I’ve met some incredible artists, and it would be so neat to see them share their art with the world!)

  7. My girls currently 19 & 23 loved sailor moon. She was an amazing female heroine who made a lot of goofy, human mistakes. I was turned onto manga, so to speak, with Speed Racer. I loved that cartoon, and the car :-).

  8. I didn’t know hating manga was a thing. I’ve run into criticism about watching anime because ‘adults don’t watch cartoons’. Seriously, I’ve wanted to tie these people to a chair and have them watch almost anything out of my collection. They’re a lot deeper on the storytelling than the cartoons that Americans tend to think of. Still that’s anime and I’ve gotten that heat. Manga never caused an issue, so it’s odd hearing that people judge on that.

    Funny that this gets brought up since I finally got the last 8 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. Well I could if they came with a free ‘Edward Elrich Jacket’.

    1. I honestly think it might depend where people are located. I’ve had a few friends in bigger cities here in the states, and it’s no big deal, but here in the Midwest, I watched tons of teens get ridiculed in my high school for it. (Just another reason I hid it.) And I still get funny looks when I openly admit to fangirling about Sailor Moon, but I don’t give funny looks to those who love The Walking Dead (originally a comic.) It’s very confusing. It’s definitely a double-standard over here. But I think if we talk about it, the easier it will get for manga readers.
      P.S. I love Fullmetal Alchemist.

      1. I see it around here (New York) too. There’s the odd idea that certain things like manga, anime, and superhero comics are kids only. Any adults indulging in it are immature. Then, as you put it, you have adults who love The Walking Dead or superhero movies, which came from the mediums that they look down on. I just chalk it up to all people being crazy.

  9. …Shannon? I’m 55 and watch anime. I don’t read manga or American style comic books much any more because of time constraints. People who have such condemning opinions on things they know nothing about just aren’t worth worrying over.

    1. I agree. Not worth worrying over. But I wanted to share my struggles with it in the hopes that it might help others who are still going through it like I did when I was 14.

  10. Shannon you know I love manga. I never hid it nor am I ashamed to admit that if my TV choices are between Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and anything else, Power Ranger are gonna win. AS you said, sometimes things mean a lot more because of what we associate to them – that we art becomes representative of life, and better yet, it becomes personalized to every single individual.

    I’m not ashamed at all to say that I have memorized the schedule of episode and chapter releases and that I wait every Wednesday for Mangareader.net to translate the latest Shonen Jump comics.

    Also, on a geeky point: did you know that the author of Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi, is married to Yoshihiro Togashi? Who writes my favorite manga series Hunter X Hunter. Seriously, in Birthright I sort of rip off one of the fight scenes from HxH – when Tenzin goes all Hand God against Crowley, that’s Netero vs Meruem (chimera ant king).
    So well done Naoko for this reboot. And please tell your husband to get his ass to work and stop taking 2 year hiatuses.

    End of rant.

    1. AHH! I actually did know that. I believe you told me that once when Amber, you, and I were talking about various mangas. (My autocorrect just tried to correct “mangas” to “mangos.” Thought that was kind of funny.) I currently have a subscription on Manga Here – I think that’s just the first website I found myself reading the most on. Thanks for sharing this blog post! Happy manga reading.

      1. Yeah I remember that conversation. Isn’t that the one that degraded into the tentacle conversation?

        I read manga for free and stream anime online. Hell I can converse in limited Japanese because I watched so much subtitled anime.

  11. Reblogged this on Elie Eldritch and commented:
    As bizarre as manga may seem, it does have a lot of depth to it. Love this post and enjoy reading new insights about how manga shouldn’t be frowned upon in the world of reading.

  12. As a fellow adult manga-reader (read crazy otaku in my case), I really appreciate this post. And frankly, I’ve read stories with more maturity and depth in manga than in a lot of other books. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I love manga and anime so much! I don’t imagine that I’ll give it up anytime soon no matter what people say. I’m lucky though that my school was a lot more open about it than most. We even had an Anime Club, which was really just a bunch of kids nerding out while stuffing our faces with whatever snack the librarian brought us. Haha.

  14. A brilliant post, and so true! You should never be ashamed of what you like to read. Stories come in a variety of formats, and each one is as powerful as the next. As long as you’re enjoying what you read, that is what is important in the end!

  15. I will freely admit to loving that show while it was on the air. Good story telling is still good story telling no matter the media form it takes.

  16. i like you more every time you post something…
    Sailor Moon was a major part of my childhood… I can’t even describe the feelings of the remake now..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s