Sunday, August 09, 2009

I've been reading a manga lately. And I've been reading it too much. Its a manga by the same guy that did a handful of classic mangas. One is about a robot boy who wants to feel human emotions (I think that might be Astroboy. I only know the Japanese title). Another is BlackJack. Which is about a renegade doctor who doesnt play by anyone else's rules but his own.

But the one I'm reading is based on the life of the Buddha. I say based on because I'm kind of familiar with the traditional story, and the story in the manga seems way more dramatic. But as it is supposed to be entertainment, that is naturally to be expected. It also has lots of characters being weaved in and out of the story. So the story doesnt completely focus on just the Buddha, it also tells various characters back stories etc. But I have no idea which characters are actually part of the original story and which are there for plot devices.

At any rate, true to tradition or not, I'm enjoying reading it. Its split into 12 volumes, about 250 pages a piece. I'll say its standard manga size, but no one is going to know what that means. I can read one of the volumes in about 2 days. I would say I understand about 80% of everything, considering its a comic book so theres lots of action in the pictures to draw context from. Theres always kanji I dont know how to pronounce, but I'd say I figure all the ones out that are used repeatedly. The hard part is that since its a manga, a lot of effort went into writing the dialogue in the way that people talk. So theres lots of contractions and shortcuts and what not that are naturally in languages, and sometimes they can change the meaning of what somebody says, without me noticing it. For a few frames anyway. Then I have to go back and figure out where I mixed up who was supposed to be doing the killing and who was supposed to be doing the dieing etc.