Rent-a-Girlfriend: An Encomium to Anime & Manga

Reaching into my bag of analogies, here’s what I’ve got for you today:  Sometimes you’re on a high-protein diet.  You’re eating nothing but healthy foods:  Lots of Kashi cereal, quinoa, fruits, asparagus, spinach, and broccoli.  You’re a machine and your body’s a temple.  You only shop at Whole Foods, eat organic, and nothing but the best of the best enters your system.  You are, after all, what you eat.

And then, there are other days:  Häagen-Dazs Double Chocolate Chip and Rocky Road, Kettle Salt & Vinegar chips, beer, wine, the worst of the worst.  You know the diet is awful but it just tastes so good, at least initially.  You’re fully cognizant, in your infinite wisdom, that you’ll pay for such extreme decadence later and that you’ll regret having consumed such unqualified abject garbage into your body.  But you simply don’t care.  YOLO, etc.

Reading manga, I essentially equate, to consuming garbage.

Very little of it is, shall we say, intellectually or spiritually nourishing.  And much of it, at least the material I like (Rent-a-Girlfriend; Code Geass; The Pet Girl of Sakurasou; My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected; Bakuman) is at best, “problematic” and at worst, outright sexist. And I don’t even mean, “of-its-times-sexist.” I mean, content that is literally being produced today, in 2020.  (It’s important to keep in mind that Japanese culture is, in many ways, different than here in the west and I encourage everyone to not immediately leap to judgment.)  But in summary, the conclusion stands:  This isn’t James Joyce or Bleak House.  I generally pride myself on being a well-read and deep thinking individual.  But I’m telling you, no human being is able to operate in the highest gear, that redline gear, all the time.  If you try, you’ll simply burn out and die.

Thus, that’s why I’m a big fan of anime and manga.  Like anything else, there are tons of flavors of the mediums– some extremely deep and philosophical (eg. Death Note).  And while I do enjoy such fare, that genre of anime/manga is definitely not my default, go-to content.  Nah.  At the end of a long day when I’m at the end of my rope and am running on fumes, I reach for the light and feel-good stuff.  And I regret nothing!  Mwahahaha!