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“Castle-topplers whisper idle nothings to entrap their guests. Yet they become ensnared by their own traps.”
With how the world is today, people often tend to deceive themselves to make sense of it. Reality is harsh after all. Especially if you grew up in a unsuitable environment for a child, as in the case of one young girl in Moyoco Anno’s Sakuran. The title takes a look at the lives of courtesans living in one of the craziest sex districts in history, Yoshiwara, Edo, Japan. You get to learn about the women being forced to work there and how they are groomed to lie to get ahead. At the same time, those women are prone to being lied to as certain men proclaim that they love them. It makes you wonder whether it is human nature to be full of deception.
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With all the manga titles available out in Japan and the world, one wonders how much manga do we consume that’s not really “outstanding”. While titles like Naruto, BLEACH, and One Piece rule the world, readers can get bored with them from time to time. It’s either that or all they know are the mainstream manga titles. Over-consumption of certain manga titles/genres can be pretty dangerous to a reader’s mind as it can create strong biases.
A book called “The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption” discussed an “information obesity” epidemic that’s happening with people in America. There’s too much information out there and people let themselves consume a lot without ill regard. Not many people are able to filter out the distractions the age of the Internet provides.
So, I want to ask you readers what makes a good “manga diet” in your minds. Send me some of your lists/suggestions/ideas and I will post them up here for everyone to see! What manga titles should make the “fruits and vegetables” portion that people need to consume more of? What titles should be our “sugary” guilty pleasures? How much of the “meaty” shonen battle manga can one be allowed to read? Are there “whole grain” titles that naturally get you pumping?
Feel free to send your suggestions to tonyyao82 (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject title, “MANGA DIET”. You can also comment below!
Looking forward to see a variety of diet plans filled with thoughtful stories, great characterization, and riveting protagonist/antagonist conflicts!
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Love. It comes in many shapes and forms. We talk about how love is something that can help inspire us. At the same time, it can do us harm and too much love often leads to disaster. Shirokuma Cafe (Polar Bear’s Cafe) takes a quirky look at human-animal love with the exploits of Rintaro “Rin Rin” Hayashi. He is a florist who just happens to have quite a huge fascination with pandas, especially the main character, Panda. Rin Rin’s behavior towards Panda begs the question: are some people focusing too much of their attention towards animals instead of human beings?
When we are first introduced to Rintaro, he is shown giving Panda support and is admired by many of his female customers at his flower shop. While Panda was working full-time for a week at a zoo, Rintaro sent flowers every day to him under the guise of “Rin Rin”. Panda believed that Rin Rin was a girl and becomes motivated to do his best every day at work. After finding out that Rin Rin was a man, Panda becomes dejected and frightened. The second time we see Rin Rin, he was delivering flowers to Panda’s house much to his excitement. He gushes in glee over seeing Panda’s family and even tells Panda’s mother that the flowers would be free of charge. Rin Rin’s obsession knows no bounds as he even asked a high school girl with a panda keychain (who had a crush on Rin Rin) to go with him to the zoo, just to check out Panda. He freaked her out to the point where she ran away from him after listening to his long diatribes about Panda. Man, what is it about pandas lazing around and eating bamboo that gets us flustered?
Is it possible that people love animals more than human beings? Of course. After all, animals aren’t “evil”. They don’t bar any ill will towards human beings if not provoked. Though at the same time, it is possible that animal lovers start to become too emotionally attached to them. Those feelings could become those of one who has zoophilia, which then becomes a huge ethical issue. You can say love becomes completely misguided in a sense.
Here is another fun fact about Rin Rin: it is shown that he has posters of Panda all over his home. You can argue that he is suffering more from attraction than love. Attraction is extremely magnetic as it pulls you in without giving you the time to think. Rin hasn’t even built a legitimate bond with Panda, yet he tries to build one. Unfortunately, it seems like his brain is wired to Panda’s physical appearance like how some people lose focus when noticing the physical appearance of others. Sending Panda flowers is a clear sign that Rin is not thinking rationally to the best of his ability because of his fascination with how cute Panda is.
What’s scary is that Rin could be a borderline zoophile. You can argue that his character is a criticism of those who have this mindset about animals:
“Animals can’t object if we mischaracterize them in our minds. There’s something very comforting about that.” - Lori Gruen, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University. (New York Times, “The Creature Connection”, March 14, 2011)
If you mischaracterize animals as emotional support, you’re in for a world of hurt. Animals don’t really express sympathy and empathy towards humans. There are limitations to how much they can comfort you. You can’t expect an animal to tell you how to do well on a job interview/relationship/exam/work project or how to cope with depression and anxiety.
A lot of people have been been flocking towards animals for comfort these days and I think Aloha Higa, the mangaka for Shirokuma Cafe, had this in mind with Rin Rin’s creation. How do we ensure that enough love goes out to both humans and animals equally? Perhaps we need to relieve the social anxiety present in those who love their adorable creatures a little too much. While animals do help ease tension, there’s nothing like experiencing the compassion of an unselfish and emotional human being.
Empathy + cuteness = the sexy and inspiring combination to rule them all, wouldn’t you say?