Friday, August 30, 2013

Fandom Friday: Ashley Is a True Manga Fan!


Ashley steps up to the mic for today's Friday Fandom and she's here to talk about some fandoms that have some seriously devoted members:

My top fandoms are actually all manga communities, and I realized that I haven’t really talked about them yet.
Fullmetal Alchemist is about two brothers—Ed and Al Elric—in a world where people possess powers of alchemy. An accident occurred that resulted in Edward’s loss of limbs and Alphonse lost his body, but Edward managed to bind Al’s soul to a suit of armor. The brothers are in search of the Philosopher’s Stone in order to recover their bodies, and the story follows the two of them, telling about their past and their trials and tribulations. Alchemy is an archaic science, but it’s really interesting to read about—I think chemistry nerds can appreciate the historical significance (don’t take my word for it—I did very poorly in university chemistry). It’s a complex story that presents a lot of ideas about science and ethics, but it can be pretty funny and sweet too.
One Piece is an awesome series about pirates. Monkey D. Luffy eats a devil fruit as a child and now has the power to stretch his body any way he wishes, except he can’t swim (bad idea for a pirate). The story is pretty care-free and full of action, but the stories behind the different characters and the plot of the story actually is extremely rich.  Be forewarned, you’ll laugh with the characters but oh my gosh you will cry. My favorite part of One Piece is the character designs and relationships between the different characters. There’s a reason why One Piece is the most popular manga series in Japan and best-selling in history. It’s still on-going, unlike Fullmetal Alchemist, and is up to 70 volumes (67 are out in the US currently).
Attack on Titan is a new series to the US, though it first appeared in Japan in 2009. This is my current passion. The world is a deadly place where gigantic titans have wiped out much of the human population. The remaining people live in cities enclosed by enormous walls designed to keep the titans out. One day a colossal titan and armored titan destroy the outermost wall and destroy our protagonist’s hometown. People can’t do anything against them, they can only run. There are those who fight back—the scouting legion—who go outside the wall and try to find a way to recapture land for the humans. Eren wants to join the scouting legion and escape the walls, but most importantly: he wants to defeat the titans. The whole series is intense and very thought-provoking. I admit, the violence initially was off-putting and I didn’t think I’d bother getting into it, but my friends started talking about it and what they were saying was really interesting. There are so many unanswered questions and twists that it leads to lots of theoretical discussion and analyses of the aspects of the world and characters. Since its ongoing you’ll inevitably go into a mourning state awaiting the next volume.
My favorite fandoms are those that offer a lot of discussion about the different ideas and theories, but I definitely love talking about my favorite characters and art. Some of my favorites that are a bit more light-hearted are Dengeki Daisy and Kimi ni Todoke.

More manga love from Ashley:

Library Wars: Love and War by Kiiro Yumi

Gate 7 by CLAMP

A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori

Middle School Monday: Otomen by Aya Kanno

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