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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Manga - Why it's a part of my life - Tarran Jones

  My first real experience with anime and manga was when I was 12 or 13. As a child, I didn’t really watch many cartoons in the morning unless I was over my best friend’s house. I saw all the old school cartoons like Smurfs, Jetsons (which I loathed), Flintstones, Dungeon’s and Dragons, Thunder Cats, Gummi Bears etc.. but I didn’t eagerly await them in the mornings like I did when I discovered Sailor Moon.  I had a TV in my bedroom but only switched it on when I came home from school, but this one morning, I had just gotten out of the shower and I turned it on. Cheez TV was came onto the screen and they played Sailor Moon - my dad had to yell at me to get ready for school.

Sailor Moon was the first anime I saw that completely captured my attention. I had never seen colours, story and animation like that before. I was enraptured by the big eyes and long legs ( I wished I had legs like that) Thus began my love affair with Japanese Animation. I devoured everything that came my way. I watched Slayers, Pokemon, Yugioh, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, and so many more I can’t remember. I then discovered that the dubs were cut. I was devastated. So I endeavoured to get all my anime in Japanese and watch them with English subtitles and I discovered a whole new world (cue dreamy music)
Going online in the so called early days of the internet (1995) I found many internet pages devoted to my obsession  and that was when I discovered I wasn’t alone in my anime/manga madness and there were other like me.  I miss those early days, because those type of pages has since disappeared. You could find character histories, pictures, songs, etc..  They were called all manner of names and I spent hours trawling through them. (I’m sure there are pages still out there but I haven’t been able to find them how I use to remember them.)

It was when I went online I found out about the written expression of anime – Manga. On my quest to discover manga in Adelaide I went into many comic stores and finally came across a comic store in the city that stocked what I wanted.  In fact I saw they had Sailor Moon manga! I was so excited. It was very expensive at the time (remembering I was only 13-14) I could only afford to buy one at a time. After I devoured those, I went onto others until my library was quite large. I find that manga and anime have such indepth storylines and you grow really attached to the characters. I bawled my eyes out at the end of Sailor Stars (last season of Sailor Moon that will never get released here due to gender issues)  The authors are not afraid to get their hands (or pens) dirty with the storylines. I have been shocked at some manga (DearS) and have teared up at others (Chobits) I have never looked back since starting to read and watch anime/manga. I read this types of books because most of them have fantastic concepts, the story arcs are huge and expressive.

Now when I order manga in for the store, I am reminded of the feeling I used to experience each time they come in. The covers are so bright and attention grabbing. We have brilliant series like Bleach, Naruto Kamisama Kiss, Blue Exorcist, Slayers, Cardcaptor Sakura, Death Note, Pokemon instore and I love to see that look on people’s faces when they come in and find the book they were looking for.  I am now 28 years old and I still have every scrap of Sailor Moon merchandise I have collected. In fact, at the end of the year they are re releasing Sailor Moon manga and releasing for the first time Code Name Sailor V!!!!!!! What manga do you enjoy reading? What got your interest in the genre? Do you go to conventions like AvCon, Supa Nova, Animnation?


  1. Hey Tarran, I really enjoyed this post about your anime/managa journey. I enjoy graphic novels, but so far have mainly skimmed the surface of manga, but you have made me realise that I probably need to explore further--altho' maybe when I've finished the WALL series, heh-heh! :)

  2. Hi Helen,

    Thank you for your comment, I love novels but manga holds a special place in my heart for the times when I just can't hack a wall of text. Sometimes you have to have illustrations(and they are usually beautiful) to help tell a story.

    I agree, you must finish the WALL series!! I must find out what happens in book 2 :D After that, there are so many great ones you should read. One I read recently was called Kitchen Princess, it dealt with the magic of cooking, eating disorders, love and death. It also included recipes.

  3. Tarran, as a foodie I will definitely give "Kitchen Princess" a go. I am having a bit of a holiday right now while waiting for the copyedit of "The Gathering of the Lost", and so am reading and blogging on all the Hugo Award nominees for Best Novel. I enjoyed NK Jemisin's "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms" and will be blogging about Ian McDonald's "The Dervish House" tomorrow, which I ended up really loving.

  4. Nice :D I gave 'The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' to a friend for his birthday and he loved it. I will have to pick it up and have a read myself.

  5. thanks tarran for your love of manga and anime!! i too love anime but i'll have to start a collection of manga now. recent books i've bought from you, THE WORLD HISTORY OF ANIMATION, COMIC BOOKS 101 and THE ANIME ENCYCLOPEDIA are great and helpful in understanding anime. i would love to get both the anime & manga of ARION,the one about greek mythology. i've only been to AVCON where i met you and am looking forward to attending more conventions in the future. from steven smith.


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