Expecting Fridays

June 27, 2008

Friday is my favorite day of the week, not because it’s the premature start of the weekend or because less people are in the office. But it’s when translations of the weekly mangas (Japanese comics) are posted to the internet. Most people outside of Japan have no understanding or interest in manga. I really can’t blame them, why would they spend time reading comics when they can watch Tila Tequila search for a man/woman or Jason Taylor dance his little heart out wearing a leotard.

Surprisingly, the popularity of manga (and anime) has been growing at a rapid rate. I would probably contribute this fact to the Pokemon generation but that saddens me. I’d like to think that the cultural mish-mash of America has alleviated the taboos and misconceptions alleviated with manga (and anime). Either way, it’s a great trend, and I’m a full supporter of it.

What many people don’t know, and are beginning to realize, is that  manga (and anime) is not for children in Japan. Granted there are titles that target children, but a majority of manga targets the older age group, i.e. 16-30 year olds. Beneath the black and white drawings are themes that relate to morality, love, loyalty, friendship, etc. If taken to heart, a person can definitely learn from the lessons taught in each chapter and story arc.

Anyways, if you’re interested there are definitely some great series that are ongoing right now. I’ve spent some time reading Naruto, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist, One Piece, and Eyeshield 21. I would say that either FMA or One Piece is so far my favorite. Feel free to check them out at Onemanga while you still can.

By the way, sorry for the lack of posts this week. Spent all week painting an apartment.

One of my favorite childhood TV shows was Voltron: Defender of the Universe. The basis of the show was a team of five heroes who each commanded a robot lion. The five lions would combine to form a large ass-kicking robot named Voltron, smiting bad guys with his gigantic sword (see picture). Each episode the Voltron team would fight to protect the planet Arus, usually from the evil galactic ruler King Zarkon, his son Lotor, or the witch Haggar.

According to earlier comics, Voltron used to be a wholly intelligent entity not the five piece robot I’m used to. This fact I did not know. Apparently, Voltron was tricked, by the scheming Haggar, into landing on a black comet, in which she subsequently attacked and blew him into five pieces (five lions). The five lions each have a distinctive personality, along with the heroes who piloted them. Captain Keith pilots the Black lion, and is the leader of the Voltron force and does leader-like stuff. Lance Charles McClain pilots the Red Lion, and is the second in command and the reckless ladies-man of the group. Darell “Pidge” Stoker pilots the Green Lion, and is the scientist and academic of the group. Princess Allura, of the planet Arus, pilots the Blue Lion, and is the beauty and can also raise the dead (Nice combo). Tsuyoshi “Hunk” Garett pilots the Yellow Lion, and is the strong-man of the group but with a soft heart and an affinity towards Fruit Loops.

Anyways, when this show appeared on TV, I would watch every minute of the show including commercials. I cried out when I found VHS tapes of the show, and would watch them repeatedly. One of my favorite toys was the Black Lion and the Yellow Lion. I sadly never completed the entire set. Luckily, other people shared my enthusiasm. I recently found the Reebok Voltron pack. With each shoe comes a Lion, so after getting all five shoes I could form Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Too bad the shoes are so terrible, even though the Voltron robot might be worth it.