Manga with a dash of magical realism and good dose of reality

Reading manga is addictive, just like drinking coffee or smoking. It is habit forming, one very hard to break. You get sucked in not because it gives you a kick but it introduces you to so many ideas that you never thought possible. I have lost count of manga I have read till date, most…

Kotodama, spirit of words

Language or rather words, have power. I have often heard my grandmother or father advising my sister and I about the way we use words through anecdotes. My father would say, “Words have power. They attract the good and evil, positive and negative energy.” I would hear stories about how devas grant wishes by saying…

Shinsengumi, the Japanese version of Karna from Mahabharata

Who would not like tall, tanned men with taut muscles in sexy yukata that reveals their six-pack? Add that badass smile and tragic story, women are seriously a goner. That is what Japanese Shinsengumi are all about. Shinsengumi is a military faction formed to support Tokugawa Shonungate led by Serizawa Kamo, Niimi Nishiki and Kondo…

Kimi no na wa, a movie with a soul

You watch so many movies, some good, mostly trash and others that just refuse to leave your mind like Kimi no na wa (Your name) by Makoto Shinkai. I saw the movie when I was on the flight from Denmark to India two months back. It has possessed me since then. I chose the movie…

Youkai and its relevance in modern Japan

Do you believe in the supernatural? Not many would at this time and age when many are turning atheist. Well, how can anyone rationalise spirits and ghosts. But don’t you think sometimes the way supernatural beings manifests in literature holds deeper meanings? For instance, youkai in Japanese culture. For people who are reading manga, youkai…

Evolution of Japanese script

Japan as we all know is one of the most ancient cultures in the world. The world’s first novel Tale of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu, was from Japan. But interestingly Japanese got their script later than most civilisations. The journey it took for the Japanese to create their own script is as fascinating as…

Bento: Japan’s fascination with boxed lunches

For most of us lunch boxes never held much fascination. These boxes are usually filled with rice, sometimes mixed with sambar, rasam, curd or more kuzhambu or packed separately. Rice and curry are usually accompanied by vegetable kootu or fry, eggs or fish and rarely meat. It is the more elaborate typical Tamil lunch box…

Poetry in Makoto Shinkai’s movies

It was raining. The garden where lilacs are in full bloom resonated with the sound of falling rain drops. There she was, under the resting area built of black stones, sleeping. He looked at her, went there and sat beside her. She opened her eyes and smiled at him. This was a scene from the…

What makes a good manga

Ever since a long time ago, I have been reading manga aka Japanese comics. I remember vaguely watching an anime called City Hunter, which narrates the story of a hit man. I could catch only few episodes on TV, but I liked it to the extent of watching entire series online. It was based on…

Back in ancient Anatolia and Egypt, manga style

When I was in school of all the subjects I loved history, especially world history, the most. I would read school text as if it were a novel and try to imagine what it would like to live in those times. Sadly, history syllabus in a government school barely covered what was considered basics. I…