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Have you ever noticed how men tend to act differently when they are around women? Compared to when they are not near or are influenced by them, men become gentler and/or may become crazier. In Neon Genesis Evangelion, one of anime/manga’s most memorable fathers, Gendo Ikari, falls right into this shell.
He treats his son, Shinji Ikari, like garbage while treating one of his soldiers, Rei Ayanami, like a goddess. In addition to that, Gendo’s actions throughout the series have been motivated by his dead wife. His story is quite a look at how men transform when a women is involved in their lives.
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With people talking about the importance of physical strength, mental strength isn’t spoken of as much as you would like. For anyone who’s strong internally but doesn’t feel that way, here are a couple of quotes from two notable manga series that I hope will reassure you that you are.
Here’s the first one from Takehiko Inoue’s samurai epic, Vagabond:
"What is the meaning of ‘strength’? It’s to have a mind that doesn’t sway, while continuing to move and change." - Miyamoto Musashi
Musashi says this when he’s taking on the challenge of growing a paddy field for a starving village. If you ask me, true strength is about being committed to a purpose, person, or a ideal, while also being bold in questioning and acknowledging flaws in the process as needed. Basically, be humble. Many things will happen as you get older, but being able to work changes to your advantage in a positive manner is a sign that you’re growing.
The 2nd quote, from Yoshiaki Suweno’s comedy manga series, Binbougami ga!, applies to women, though you can say men can learn a thing or two from it:
"That girl (Sakura Ichiko)…Compared to when we first met, she’s really grown. It gives me this stinging feeling that girls are amazing and guys are just impatient…or something like that." - Keita Tsuwabuki
What’s cute about this quote is that one of the main characters, Momiji, teases Tsuwabuki and suggests that men should feel inspired by the actions of women. Women possess more power than most men would ever know. In some ways, men need women. Women do help men to evolve into being better human beings and get them to provide strength towards others.
With that said, the strength to be empathetic and humble goes a long way. By showing that you’re “human”, you’ve already won a huge battle that some people don’t care to win.
And THAT makes you one of the strongest people in the universe. Believe it!
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"Eren…as long as you’re around, I can do anything."
When Attack on Titan debuted in late 2009, it took the manga world by storm and debuted a female character whose behavior is different from many other heroines in shonen manga. Mikasa Ackerman blew many readers (and anime viewers in 2013) away with her strength, determination and intelligence. What’s interesting about Mikasa is that her positive attributes have been honed due to the main protagonist, Eren Jaeger. She is loyal to him to the point where it seems romantic. Is it cute or creepy? Let’s find out, shall we?
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"What should I do? What do I want? Do I want a boyfriend? Do I want a relationship? Am I interested? Or not? Should I give up? Or expect something? Will I…like him someday?….Or won’t I?" - Ayane Yano (Chapter 67)
For those who are single and have not experienced love (or anyone that’s been through love for that matter), how do you know that you have that intense feeling inside? Can you say to yourself that it’s not just a simple crush? What if you’re afraid to find out? A while back in Karuho Shiina’s Kimi ni Todoke Volume 16, one of the more mature characters in the series, Ayane Yano, tries to address this concern in her heart with regards to the flirtatious behavior of Kento Miura. So when do those butterflies begin to fly in your stomach and should you let them float around?
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Who would have figured that going from ninjas to mobsters would still provide an interesting look at people? A while ago, Shonen Jump recently released one of Masashi Kishimoto’s oneshots, Mario. It was a story originally drawn in 1998 and brought back in the June 2013 issue of JUMP SQUARE and the May 13, 2013 issue of VIZ’s Shonen Jump. Unlike Naruto, Mario is pretty violent and the setting is much more mature. The main character is noted to be a “mama’s boy” near the end of the story and it poses a question as to why men are still quite fond of the first women in their lives.
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