Interview Series – Manga #5

Welcome to my Interview Series. If you’re new, read this first. Today’s topic is manga and this is interview #5.

Name: RH

Self-identify as: Japanese

  1. 一番好きなマンガは何ですか?

−手塚治虫「火の鳥」Phoenix by Tedzuka Osamu

  1. マンガはいつ読み始めたんですか?何で読み始めたんですか?

−大学3年。長編マンガ、文芸作品を読みたかったから。Junior in university. I wanted to read long comics and literary works.

  1. マンガにとって何が一番面白いですか?

—絵と、ストーリーテリングの手法。Pictures, and the techniques of the story telling.

  1. どうやって次に読むマンガを選ぶんですか?

—同じ作家のシリーズ。the series of the same author.

  1. マンガを読んでない人にはどのマンガから読み始めたほうがいいと思いますか?

—好きなテーマ、もしくは好きな絵のタイプ。the themes that you’re interested in or your favorite types of pictures.

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Interview Series – Manga #4

Welcome to my Interview Series. If you’re new, read this first. Today’s topic is manga and this is interview #4.

Name: AT

Self-identify as: Japanese American

  1. What is/are your favorite manga?

AT: I don’t have any favorites that I consistently go back to. I read manga in fits. I’ll find a series that I like (which I’ll usually find because many Japanese dramas tend to be live-action adaptations of manga series) I’ll read the first volume to start; if the story engages me, I’ll continue reading. If not, I’ll drop it pretty quickly.

  1. How or why did you start reading manga?

AT: The main reason I started reading manga was to improve my reading comprehension and kanji retention. I wanted to get my reading and writing comprehension up to par with my speaking skills, a goal that is very much still in progress.

  1. What is most compelling to you when reading manga? In other words, what aspects of the manga encourage you to read beyond volume 1?

AT: The story, hands down. If I find that I’m disliking a character’s development, or if the plotline is getting too shallow or predictable for my tastes, I tend to drop it like a hot potato. Like I mentioned earlier, I tend to read manga that have been adapted into films or drama serials. I’ve always been interested in filmmaking, and it’s interesting to see the process of adaptation, what filmmakers choose to discard or embellish, how they choose to tell the story in the limited time frame that they’re given. This is especially the case with dramas. If a drama REALLY interests me, for example (which, unfortunately is rare, because I tend to dislike shallow, predictable, cheesy romantic storylines), I will read the volumes that the drama episodes are based upon. If the storyline engages me beyond that, I might invest in volumes beyond the stopping point of the drama, but I may not.

  1. How do you choose what manga to read next?

AT: Sometimes I turn to recommendations from friends, manga series I’ve heard about during an interview or something similar. If I find the summary compelling after looking it up on Wikipedia, and it’s highly recommended by people I trust, I’ll go down that road.

  1. If you were recommending manga to someone who has never read it before, what would you recommend and why?

AT: I’d probably try to get a feel for what the person was interested in, for example, or if they have any manga series they’re keen to start. For example, if they saw a live-action adaptation of a manga in drama form and liked it, I would recommend they start there if they were interested. Having read very few volumes of manga up to this point, it’s hard to determine what my go-to manga is, especially since people have such varied interests.

Interview Series – Manga #3

Welcome to my Interview Series. If you’re new, read this first. Today’s topic is manga and this is interview #3.

Name: YY

Self-identify as: Japanese

  1. 一番好きなマンガは何ですか?

「サザエさん」

  1. マンガはいつ読み始めたんですか?何で読み始めたんですか?

小学校低学年くらい?

よく覚えていません。

  1. マンガにとって何が一番面白いですか?

マンガが面白いとは思っていません。

  1. どうやって次に読むマンガを選ぶんですか?

私はマンガを読まないので次に読むマンガを選ぶ必要がありません。

  1. マンガを読んでない人にはどのマンガから読み始めたほうがいいと思いますか?

絵が上手な人が書いたマンガがいいと思います。でも、マンガを読まなくても困らないので無理に「読み始める」ことは必要ないと思います。

Interview Series – Manga #2

Welcome to my Interview Series. If you’re new, read this first. Today’s topic is manga and this is interview #2.

Name: YM

Self-identify as: Japanese

  1. What is/are your favorite manga?

YM: いじわるばあさん, サザエさん, 天才バカボン、おそまつ君

  1. How or why did you start reading manga?

YM: In 60’s and 70’s, weekly manga magazines were very popular and a lot of middle and high school students read them.  I was one of them.

  1. What is most compelling to you when reading manga? In other words, what aspects of the manga encourage you to read beyond volume 1?

YM: Most of manga had a good story line and entertaining just like any fiction.

  1. How do you choose what manga to read next?

YM: Author, pictures, story line

  1. If you were recommending manga to someone who has never read it before, what would you recommend and why?

YM: I recommend what I listed in 1, what are classified as “classic” and reflect the era.  You’d like them because they make you laugh.

Interview Series – Manga

Hi, welcome to my Interview Series, a new feature I’m trying on the blog. I highly recommend reading this before proceeding. Today’s topic and the first topic in this series is manga! In this very first interview, I will be interviewing myself.

Name: Me

Self-identify as: Japanese

  1. What is/are your favorite manga?

Me: My current favorites are よつばと! and 風光る. But I’m a relatively new manga reader, so my answers may change in the future!

  1. How or why did you start reading manga?

Me: I started reading manga for two reasons. One, after moving out of my parents’ house, I realized my Japanese skills were starting to get rusty because I no longer used it on a daily basis. Manga seemed like the perfect way to engage my brain while also entertaining me. Two, in the course of writing Japanese stories, I realized I needed to know more about how Japanese in Japan represent Japanese culture in its various iterations. Since manga is so widespread in Japan, I figured it would be a great introduction to reinterpretations of Japanese culture via writing and art. As a side note, I’ve since realized manga is also a way to connect with fellow Japanese because it’s an experience many of us share. Good incentive to keep reading!

  1. What is most compelling to you when reading manga? In other words, what aspects of the manga encourage you to read beyond volume 1?

Me: Both the story and the art need to engage me. They don’t need to be equally compelling, but if I don’t like at least one aspect of each, it’s very difficult for me to keep reading. For example, in 田中くんはいつもけだるげ, I really enjoy how Uda Nozomi draws Tanaka-kun and his classmates. The story is a bit slow at times (I believe this is intentional, considering Tanaka-kun’s character) and occasionally I put the book down to do something else, but the artwork keeps me committed to the series. By contrast, I recently purchased volume 1 of Naruto. I haven’t read it yet, but a cursory flip-through suggests neither the story nor the art are really to my taste. I still plan to read it, but nothing about the manga has really grabbed me yet.

  1. How do you choose what manga to read next?

Me: Usually I find my new reads by browsing at Kinokuniya. Sometimes I ask my relatives or friends for recommendations, but these can be hit-or-miss. Funnily enough, I think “judging by the cover” actually applies to choosing manga, especially if the volume is shrink-wrapped and the store will not open it. If I don’t like what I see on the cover, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to endure a 100+ pages of the same art style. Of course, there are always exceptions…

  1. If you were recommending manga to someone who has never read it before, what would you recommend and why?

Me: Ooh, I think this depends on who the person is. I know my own current favorites, よつばと! and 風光る, have received very high ratings in Japan, so I think it’s safe to say there’s a strong general appeal there. (Then again, my cousin said he thinks the plot of 風光る moves too slowly, so it isn’t universal.) I’ve heard of some other manga that are also very popular, but since I haven’t read them yet, I’ll reserve judgment for now!*

*See the Favorites page for a full list of manga I’ve read AND chosen to recommend.