At mid-morning on a normal day you can find a queue of people in front of a store like those we saw in supermarkets, pharmacies, during the hardest stage of the coronavirus. Only this time it is repeated in a comic shop, as has happened intermittently but continuously in recent times. The manga phenomenon has underpinned the good health of the sector, muscled with the verve of superheroes and fed back by anime in the same way that Marvel and DC fuel their characters through Disney + and HBO.
Young people who read, breaking topics, and who also do it on paper, another bomb-proof tradition … today.
The fear of shortages of comics due to the pandemic was activated in summer: in the US, where the manga reading boom is even more pronounced, there were real moments of panic at the possibility of delays in deliveries and launches, and publishers got down to it. the work to reduce the impact of the slowdown in the production and transport of comics as a result of restrictions.
Three months later, we know that Harry Potter’s advent calendar will arrive late and skimming the crossbar to open its pre-Christmas windows on time. But the manga Tokyo Revengers It will arrive on November 26 to the happiness of its fans.
Delivery news and updates are happening at high speed. Norma reschedules her publications due to “existing problems with the supply of the raw material necessary to undertake the printing.”
The business was one of the first to see the ears of the winter of discontent, and just a week before the Manga Salon in Barcelona, the expected one has reached the bookstores Haykyuu, series focused on the adventures of a short young man who wants to be a great volleyball player.
Far away in time and place
They are stories of ink and paper, many times without color, but they have trapped millions of adolescents and young people, each time with wider age ranges, with more economic capacity, with more interest in the evasion that that reading and visual experience gives them , of fictional worlds and far away in time and place.
The next hit hitting Netflix, which is our public arena of conversation, will be a space western & mldr; anime: Cowboy Bebop. Sparks and all kinds of oriental onomatopoeias will come out of its premiere coinciding with the Barcelona Manga Fair.
Cowboy Bebop It is not for children as it is not The Squid Game, and it may be more accessible because it is a series that has jumped from manga to anime and now to flesh and blood actors. In his line of argument there are themes as current as indifference and existential emptiness. It is very characteristic of Asian societies – the manga, Japanese, is from the late nineties – but the ravages of long confinement and the limitations imposed on daily life have left an indentation in the youth of easy identification with feelings like this.
The French case
The phenomenon is worldwide. In France, the Government this year put on the table a cultural check of 300 euros for young people who turned 18, and if 75% consumed it in books, two thirds of those purchases were sleeves.
There are more or less violent or fantastic manga, but what they all share is their emotional hook: they expose extreme feelings that achieve instant empathy from the reader.
Manga connects from the rudimentary paper with the concerns of the times for decades, and its emergence into a pandemic draws us an unappealable emotional portrait of the response of the youngest to the challenges of this society battered by the different crises, because beyond From evasion, the cultural experience also involves the construction of identity and values.