Manga & Anime: the Unseen Dream

Some years ago I met an old sailor who told me that in every place he had been, "people had in their heads whatever they watched in their TVs", and I'm afraid he was right, at least that would explain why me, not having watched TV since 1994, now in 2018 seem to have somewhat different things in my head than most other people around me.

To tell the truth, it wasn't something that happened on purpose, I was 15 at the time, and after noticing that most of the musical groups I liked would never appear on TV or radio, got the feeling that I was being taken advantage of, so decided to gave up on TV, and then good things began to happen one after the other; never regretted my decision.

First good thing was investing my "TV time" in going to the public library to search for those interesting books that "sure must exist but the newspaper never tells you about them", second one was to switch from Windows 95 to Debian 1.1 and stay there until 8.0 when migrated to FreeBSD, it may look silly, but thanks to that I have earned my life with Unix systems for almost 20 years now.

Along the way I discovered manga and anime, not any kind of it, but the kind that makes you think and dream of a different and better world than the one you live in, as one friend of mine likes to say: "for wanting a big chocolate bar, first you need to know what chocolate is".

For example, let's take the manga/anime "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind", basically a tale where a brave and intelligent woman would lead the two sides of a stupid war to make peace instead of destroying each other.

In case you don't know, it's a more than 1000 pages comic that I recommend you to read if you haven't done yet, is considered to be the masterpiece of Hayao Miyazaki.

Nausicaa fixing a wind mill

Just look for the differences between the typical Hollywood movie and Nausicaa's movie:

  • In the first one you have 2 sides in the war: the good guys and the bad guys, while in Nausicaa's story it happens that both sides of the war have their good and bad things, but none of them are "better" than the other.
  • Then Nausicaa happens to be intelligent, brave and sensitive, nothing to do with the typical stupid female character that has to be somewhat sexy to compensate for her complete lack of personal qualities.
  • Nausicaa's story is complex while Hollywood ones use to be very simple, to the point they can be really boring.

There are hundreds more examples like this one, and basically, the problem is that if you just know the official things aired in TV, radio and newspapers, your points of view are so limited and poor that you are completely lost in life, to the point of not being even conscious that you are lost.

I have met plenty of people like that, they think we are the "good guys" in every war our country takes part, if they are male think of women as a property and a sign of social status, and if they are women spend most of their time and energies trying to be like a TV character; then all of them think life should be simple and easy, and when they find it isn't they feel lost and get depressed.

On the other hand, it happens that because of several socioeconomic factors, many mangas and animes of the second half of the 20Th century have an extraordinary variety of points of view compared to what we have had in the official media for the last decades.

And at the end of the day, that variety of referents and points of view makes you think much wider and, hopefully, help you make the right decisions in your life, or at least understand where you are and where is realistic to try to go; you may also get lost, but at least you have a map to try to find your way ;-)

As Cape Verdean people like to say: "the worst of poverty is inside your head".



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