Lovefool 03.07.11 | I Catch My Own Trains

A survey of what manga scenarios female readers in Japan want to see come true has our Lovefool asking "Are you for real?"


Jason Green, Fearless Editor, sent me the weirdest link a few weeks ago. It was a survey taken by Goo, a Japanese portal site, over the course of two days in December polling site visitors about what manga scenarios they’d like to live out in real life. Anime News Network kindly translated the results, which can be found here. Being a longtime manga reader, I don’t think I should’ve been surprised at all at the results, but it was kind of a shock, seeing the results in black and white.
The survey spoke to 1,128 people, most of whom were in their twenties and thirties but as young as teenagers and as old as people over 60 and, seriously, they want to be “patted on the head and told to “do [their] best” and to be “asked out in a slightly forceful manner, e.g. ‘You’re going out with me today’" for real? For really real?
If Mr. Jameson tried any of those things with me, he’d be greeted with a tart “Are you high?” and a snort. Patting my head, indeed. “Seeing [him] off at the train station and being dragged onto a train” is all fine and well but I’ve got stuff to do. If I wanted to be on the damn train, I would be on the train. Maybe it’s that I’m married? Maybe it’s that I’m older? But the majority of respondents were older than I am, so I’m confused. Is it a cultural thing? I’m trying very hard to put myself in the shoes of a 33-year-old Japanese woman and, of course, I can only do so much, but Japan’s come a long way, baby, and they should be getting on their own trains. Were the questions skewed and these ladies were just picking the best of a bad lot?
The budding relationship tropes that they’ve covered are pretty absurd, too. If one of my “male confidant[s] confessed his love to me,” I’d laugh myself sick. Really? Since when? If they’re my confidants, they’ve always known better than to board this crazy train. “Being fought over by more than one man” also sounds pretty exhausting—how do you pick? Do they arm wrestle or what? Because, honestly, I bet the girl has very little to do with the outcome of this competition if they’re basing it off of manga.
But, somehow, these things are all believable to me at one point or another in quality manga. Venus in Love, a series we’ve discussed before and one that I adore so much that my Playback banner features some of its art, features a love triangle that I loved to love. Boys Over Flowers, on the other hand, features one of the most obnoxious fictional males I’ve ever encountered but, eventually, after some character development, I found myself quietly rooting for him. If I knew Tsukasa in real life, I’d probably have maced him in the earlier volumes of the series, which I’ve previously described as "umm, kind of gross." And by "kind of gross", I mean I absolutely, definitely would’ve maced him.
Is there something about curling up with a good manga that shorts out my brain? I know that we’ve had this conversation before but I’m confused about the transformation that overtakes me when I actually have one of those squat, fat volumes in my hand. I may poke playful fun at these tropes, but I’ve sighed over them in those magical grey pages myself, again and again, maybe even as many times as I’ve rolled my eyes. | Erin Jameson

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