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If there’s one interesting habit that I have, it’s that I tend to treat certain emotional moments in manga as real-life stories. In other words, I share them with real folks. A recent article I read, "Who Am I? The Heroes of our Minds", went into detail on the power of telling stories in psychotherapy. Sometimes, therapists use narrative to get their points across to people when simple advice doesn’t register. So I ask you all if you have shared any manga stories to help inspire others.
For example, when someone is extremely depressed, would you tell them a story of Himura Kenshin’s depression stage in the manga and talked about how he got through it? How about saving someone from despair, by telling that person about how Naruto got some sense (literally) slapped into him by Hinata Hyuga after Obito Uchiha tried to break his spirit? One of my fans on Facebook even talked about how anime stories cured his blues.
Here’s a dream that I wanted to happen before I started my blog. I wanted a mental health clinic that incorporated manga to help motivate others. Seriously. That’s how much I believed in the power of manga since it helped to save my life. I actually wanted to start a movement for such an establishment. However, given the state of mental health in my country and how manga is viewed in North America, the chances of that happening are next-to-impossible.
However, stories do need to be told as their power can’t be underestimated, regardless of whether they are told in a medical setting or not. A trick to use when it comes to using manga stories as narrative motivation is to make them “real”. Let’s use BLEACH with Rukia Kuchiki’s psychological impact on Ichigo Kurosaki. You can replace Rukia’s character with a peer that you may know and say that there will always be someone to give them strength. Or say that you knew a friend that was motivated by a special person that changed their world. This probably would be a hundred times easier if you use the stories from a series like Great Teacher Onizuka, but you can get the general idea of what I’m suggesting.
Manga is truly a powerful medium and full of rich stories. Stories that can be used to ease the mind. You never know how much they can affect someone for the better. Why do you think manga has become such a global phenomenon?
As Naruto would say, BELIEVE IT.