This essay will discuss the educational capability and relevance of manga as popular media for interrogating problems faced by adolescents, and providing responses to issues that are just as valid as novels and films. The global popularity of manga has been growing, along with the socio-cultural and commercial significance of manga, although there is still strong criticism of the medium as ‘childish,’ ‘trivial’ and potentially ‘harmful.’ One of the strengths of this medium is captivating storytelling and many manga, particularly “shōjo” (girl’s) manga, contain psychological believability and a sense of realness in dealing with a number of serious issues that the readers may face. Such manga often feature fantasy and encourage the reader’s emotional alignment with the characters, expressing the subjective ‘truth’ involved in their treatment of social issues. Using the very popular manga series, “Fruits Basket” by Natsuki Takaya, this paper will look at how effectively manga can employ fantasy to represent issues facing adolescents, focusing on interpersonal relationships, especially the leading characters’ relationships with their mothers.
|Keywords:||Shōjo Manga, Takaya Natsuki, “Fruits Basket”, Adolescent Issues, The Educational Capability of Manga|
Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Senior Lecturer and Head of Japanese Studies, Faculty of Arts, Department of International Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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