I think my reconciliation with my biggest passion—anime & manga—led me to opening many doors. And while I said that I was already huge otaku before I was still quite selective of what I’ll watch or read. There are genres that I’m not comfortable to try. One of them is historical-fiction and high-fantasy. I implemented this mindset with books as well. But as a bookworm I’m more lenient to genres I normally brushoff. So I guess that is why when I became an otaku again I became more open to trying out.
I never would I have thought I will be completely spellbound to reading historical-fiction and high-fantasy, or combination of both. I think it all started with Akatsuki no Yona, then Joou no Hana then some more. But a far splendid thing had happened when I decided to branch out from manga and tried its cousins: manhua (Chinese), manhwa (Korean).
Honestly before I felt a little off reading graphics novels that are not Japanese in origin. Ever since, I’ve been elitist otaku trash strict with my choices but now I realized how great it is to read other countries’ graphic novels. It’s very educational to read them because I get to learn a bit of their culture and traditions. I’ve always been charmed by a nation’s ethos & art and be able to glimpse it via these reading materials are very rewarding. I’m now both educated and entertained.
I don’t really consider myself a history buff (more on geography actually) but I can now see the charm with it. When I’m reading those graphic novels, it’s very enlightening. For instance, the Japanese kimono the way it is wear or what adorned with it changes that status of the person. A popular example of this is mistaking a geisha as simple courtesan when in fact they are highly valued entertainers who know various arts such as playing instrument. Same goes with Korean woman and their hairdos as a symbol of a person’s position. (Well you can know it through period drama as well but I don’t watch them that often.)
But what got me more was Chinese manhua. I love reading ancient politics and such. At first since I was so confused because I’m more used to Japanese/Korean names. Chinese took me a while to get used to and eventually memorized while reading. But the manner of their conversation threw me off a bit. I cited an example to my sister about as to why the King talked in plural in translation “Leave us.” “We are eating.” She told me when the King talks in formal manner he used plural because he represents the kingdom, it is him & the entire kingdom. When I found it out I was sparkling by the knowledge I learned. I guess I never paid too much attention with history class back then, haha. This was also applied to western countries and called as royal “we.” (I ended up googling to authenticate, interesting read people!)
In addition, some of my reads also had intriguing romance—mostly forbidden with love triangle, so…well, that got me very hooked!
Ah~ so many things to learn and made me realize how little I am in this world. To be able enjoy and then learn some is such a delight to me. I’ve always seen reading as an escape, but it can be very educational too. Of course there’ll be creative liberties applied in those stories (perhaps far from factual, especially for high-fantasy) but it can be a catalyst of something else (maybe you ended up researching it yourself, like me!). But most of all, to learn, appreciate, and respect culture other than yours is the most rewarding for me. Another benefit of reading!
How about you do you read manhwa, manhua or manga? Which ones your favorite! Rec’d it to me then!!!