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Journal #30 : Meditating through Mangas

Meditating through Mangas



My, my, my! What have I gotten myself into? It's not even a week since my new Kindle Oasis got delivered and I've finished reading six books in the Kindle in itself. It's my first Kindle and so you can say it could be an infatuation to the new object that my soul vessel got attached to. May be. We could revisit after a month how's it going. But that is totally not the point what I am getting at right now.



Four mangas and two graphic novels, the six books that I've read so far in Kindle. And the first book that I read was a graphic novel, 'THEY CALLED US ENEMY' by George Takei. The author is none other than Mr. Sulu from the Original Star Trek TV series. This book is about the internment of Japanese nationals in America during World War II after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. I never knew such a depressing leaf in history existed until I started reading this graphic novel.



Reading graphic novels were just an outburst of my sudden addiction to mangas that I discovered in the month of March 2024. I knew these category of books existed but sadly, I never ventured to explore them until in my thirties apart from reading superhero comics occasionally. "An instant attraction and a love at first sight". That's how I would like to call my addiction to manga and graphic novels. I've come to realize that reading them is not just amusing but also striking, poignant and powerful. I would like to describe it as "Meditating through Mangas", a one of its kind.



Have you ever been in a moment of complete oblivion, floating in space, ignorant of the world all around you, neglecting the sounds of your environment, and attentively focused on something you do? It could be working on your homework, writing a story, listening to music, eating a burger, watching your favorite shows, etc. The animated movie "SOUL (2020)" depicts this state of complete oblivion in a pretty way. You just enjoy doing something so much so that time comes to stop and your soul is disintegrated. A text tone, or phone call, or someone calling by your name, will instantly snap you outta of your suspended state and you come back to reality. This is pretty much how an unsettled individual can easily get close to mindfulness, or rather meditation. And that's exactly how I feel whenever I read a manga, comics or a graphic novel.



Reading a graphical story is completely different from a print novel. I don't know how others do it. I generally read the dialogues first and then look at the picture and then look at both the dialogues and the picture. Well, sometimes it's extremely striking that I keep looking at the same frame or page for a long time. It took a significant amount of 'brain energy' when I was reading "THE MAUS" by Art Spiegelman, a depressing story of European Jews during the WWII times. The story, the sketches, the dialogues and the narrative of this novel were wholly powerful, stirring and breathtaking. I could only read ten pages a day because I wanted to savour the experience forever and not finish reading the book soon. Unfortunately, the number of pages were limited and I had to come to the last page of this wonderful story in sketches.



Fortunately, the mangas come in volumes and loads of them. You see, the difference between comics and graphic novels are just in length. To put it in simple terms, shorter coloured versions are comics and longer uncoloured versions are graphic novels. What about mangas then? It's a combination of both. It's uncoloured and comes in volumes. Not just five or ten but a myriad of them in such a way that there are 'Manga Box' sets to be collected for the manga lovers.



You can never get missed out on a story or a character from a manga. You start reading volume one and hours or days, before you realize anything, you would be reading the nth volume, the n would definitely be a higher number than one. The Japanese way of storytelling and character building in mangas are utterly simple and addictive. And hence, the anime are more popular than the manga in itself. But reading them gives a slight edge and that's because while you're meditating, you go into the world in your own mind rather than just watch the world unravel.



Print books are great. But what's so special about graphical stories? I introspected on this question. Print books makes a reader to construct and visualize the world entirely from scratch, and it is unique to an individual. There are higher chances to get into meditative state reading a normal book provided the story is gripping and captivating. But the graphical novels, comics or mangas, they are completely different. You need effort, energy and enthusiasm to read one. It simply means you must be mindful to read a manga or a comics. Imagine reading a Batman comics and if one's alone, I'm sure no adult would shy away from enacting a dialogue in Batman's cold voice. So, when you pick a comics or manga, you simply volunteer for meditation with or without your consciousness.



So, are you ready to meditate through mangas? It took me a couple of weeks to realize what mangas were doing to my soul. They were (and are) cleansing it, uplifting it, and most importantly, helping me to meditate, which I can't possibly do everyday, trying to close my eyes and concentrate on the self. I may be wrong but definitely, graphical stories bring in their own kind of mediation to individuals. All we have to do is just pick up one of them and read.


There are a cornucopia of mangas and comics available right now. Graphic novels may be limited as I am still exploring. But one thing is for sure. Print Books and Graphical Books are two distinct categories altogether, similar to movies and documentaries. And I have discovered my eternal shrine in these graphical books. All I plan to do now is, meditate in this shrine and worship the plentitude of gods that it holds.



A funny note. I read volume one of a manga, Fairy Tail: The 100 year quest and then came to know at the last page from author's note that it was the sequel to another manga named Fairy Tail. I suppose a bit of research is needed to even pick a manga. So far, my "read" list on mangas, comics and graphic novels (in chronological order) are:


Manga [under two months]

  • 20th Century Boys - Volume 1 (Naoki Urasawa)

  • Land of the Lustrous - Volume 1 (Haruko Ichikawa)

  • Berserk - Volume 1,2,3 (Kentaro Miura)

  • Vagabond - Volume 1 (Tahehiko Inoue)

  • Noragami Stray God - Volume 1,2 (Adachitoka)

  • Fairy Tail: 100 years quest - Volume 1 (Atsuo Ueda)

  • Fairy Tail - Volume 1 (Hiro Mashima)


Graphic Novels

  • The Complete Maus (Art Spiegelman)

  • Watchmen (Alan Moore)

  • They Called Us The Enemy (George Takei)

  • Embroideries (Marjane Satrapi)

  • Some days (Maria Wernicke)

  • We Only Kill Each Other (Stephanie Phillips)


Comics

  • The Adventures of Tin Tin All Volumes (Herge)

  • DC Universe Rebirth Justice League Volume1: The Extinction Machines (Bryan Hitch)

  • The Simpsons Colossal Compendium 1,2 (Matt Groening)

  • DC Universe Rebirth Batman Volume 1: The Gotham (Tom King)

  • DC Universe Rebirth Wonder Woman Volume 1: The Lies (Greg Rucka)


You can check more in my GoodReads Profile.



MaddiE's Note:

  • I wrote this blog without any AI's inputs.

  • If you find any mistakes or need for improvements please comment or reach out to me.



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