Manga, anime, indulging one’s fondnesses …

A while back, rachelmanija wrote a thought-provoking manga unmanifesto. One of the things about manga, she pointed out, was it’s lack of shame–it doesn’t flinch from indulging the authors fondnesses, their guilty pleasures.

A couple weeks ago lnhammer brought home the first thirteen episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena, a girl-focused anime that he’d seen highly recommended. I slowly got pulled in as well. And what struck me, more than any specific element, was the story’s unashamed earnestness. Not that there isn’t humor scattered about–but that humor isn’t trying to lighten up the earnestness; the serious moments are allowed to be unashamedly serious, no matter how over the top the actual events surrounding them are. Thinking about it, a lot of the scattered bits of manga and anime I’ve read/watched through the years share this earnestness.

I’ve been thinking and thinking about this. Because one of the things I have to be careful of, in my fiction, is not getting too earnest. It’s someplace I rein myself in on, something I know I have to watch for. In American print fiction, it’s tedious, and a little goes a long way.

But anime and manga seem able to indulge in earnestness, at least sometimes, to wallow a bit, even. And it seems to work, in a way it wouldn’t work in the forms I write in. I’m still trying to figure out why.

I think it’s time to learn more–to watch more and read more and ponder more. (Alongside my Norton reading–right!)

Any manga and anime suggestions for someone who wants to explore further, who is enjoying Utena, and who counts Battle of the Planets (the watered down American Gatchaman) among her early influences?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *