The Magic of Fiction and Media

Yes, after causing you to suffer by reading that cheesy title, I’m assuming that you already have a good idea what this post might be on. If you don’t, then read on I suppose.

I will be speaking of the wonders of fiction in this post. No doubt you might have read such a post before or worse, had your English teacher preach this to you when you were young but either way, this is something I really wanted to post on.

Fiction. A word meaning anything that is thought up, with some or no actual basis in reality. One of humanity’s greatest use of our imaginative powers in my opinion. Also, Media. A method to broadcast any form of information to the masses through various technological means or word of mouth. Together, they form one of the greatest forces to reckon with on Earth.

Why am I writing about this you might ask? Well, it’s simple really. I adore fiction. Ever since a tender young age, I’ve been obsessed with reading, particularly books or novels. Not to brag but at age 8, I was reading books that even 12 year olds might have troubles comprehending. Maybe it was because of my circumstances growing up, but I was really introverted when I was much younger and spent my days with piles of books to comfort me. That paints a rather sad image eh but to me, it was the time of my life. Everyday was an adventure with new worlds opening before my eyes with every turn of a page

Therein lies the most powerful tools of fiction. The ability to transport the consumer to another place, to somewhere beyond reality, crafted by the author to tell a tale. Have you ever been so absorbed by a story that you felt like you were part of it? Or have you ever thought “Why can’t I do that stuff” after you complete a satisfying novel? Thus the true power is shown.

Through the means of stimulus, be it visual in the form of text or animation or audio through a story told to you as you lay in bed by your grandmother, fiction will always have this magical ability to transport you to a place far far away when anything can be done. Because screw reality, this is the human imagination. Not a single one of reality’s various “laws” must be obeyed there.

To me, fiction was a respite. To sound emo, what was around me in reality wasn’t that good to look at. Parents that expected a ton out of me, my classmates looking at me like a social outcast and general distancing towards me by others. To this day, I still have no idea why all that happened but in those times, my books and novels were a bright light. It was an effective way to escape the harsh reality of the real world. Not that my life sucked that bad now that I’m older and I can think about it more; but really, from your own point-of-view, your life always seems to suck massive d**k.

Fiction also has another amazing ability and that is the transmission of the author’s thoughts to you. That feeling that the author was actually speaking to you, trying to educate you about a moral or an idea, we must have all felt that once right? If you never have, I pity you. So go and pick up a good book and read the bloody thing. But really, after reading a book, our mind is always swarming with ideas and thoughts. Like “what happens next to this character” or maybe, at a deeper level “Maybe this was one of the values that the author was trying to put forth”.

Of course by now, many of my readers will no doubt be staring at their computer screens yelling “HOW THE F**K DOES THIS RELATE TO ANIME OR MANGA”. Well, if you don’t understand that Anime and Manga are also forms of fiction, there’s not much for me to say to you right? Maybe besides “hurr durr herpity derp” (No offence intended, it’s just a joke).

But yes, to give an example of all that, take Clannad and it’s After Story. It transported me to their world. I genuinely cared about each character and the ending nearly brought me to tears, one of those rare few anime that had the power to nearly topple my stone fortitude. (As to why that wall is there, that’s deeply personal but just know it’s a self promise.) But besides the ability to transport me to their world, Clannad also managed to put forth various little ideals and thoughts to me. Maybe it wasn’t intended but I felt Clannad was talking about family a lot. Like how a family should work and operate. Also, I was deeply touched when they began on loss and sacrifice, on friendships and relationships. If you ever watched it, you might get what I mean. But although it might not be intended, fiction will always have this abilty to put such thoughts and ideas into my head.

Take Usagi Drop or Tamayura Hitotose as another example. In my opinion, both tell of people just trying to enjoy and live life to it’s fullest in spite of the various problems they are saddled with. It speaks of that simple innocence in all that just causes us to desire the ability to enjoy life for all that it’s worth. Reading one of my Warhammer 40k novels always causes me to desire actually being able to be one of the Space Marines, the Angels of Death. And reading one of my favourite novels of all time, Watership Down (an excellent book in my opinion) always causes me to think about the messages it speaks of like taking risks, daring to try new things, of doing things for the good of the community and such. And Anime and Manga have this power too.

Ok, now to talk about the second part of this post. Media. It has been described as being the single most powerful weapon of war next to atomic weapons for it is a psychological weapon, transmitting new thoughts and ideas to all. Empires and governments thanks to the might of Media.  And this relates to fiction. Have you ever watched an excellent anime or read a great manga and thought “Why the f**k is this not widely known?” And thus Media comes into play. When coupled with Media, Fiction becomes an unstoppable force. The ability to transmit that one tale to may billions of souls and have them all experience what you did when you read/watched is a dizzying power. Because what’s the point of composing a great literary work if you are the only one to know of it. Fiction is meant to be shared to all, for all the enjoy and partake.

But anyways, now that my rant post is over, I would like to conclude on all that crap above. I love Anime, Manga, books and novels because they allow me to escape reality. Sometimes, I just want a respite from all the pain there or sometimes, I just want a change of pace. We all have felt that power before once, especially when carried to us on the wings of Media. I know I began to seriously watch Anime and read Manga thanks to the wonders of the Internet. So at the end of it all, what I want to say is to go and enjoy fiction in all it’s various forms. It’s a wonderful thing and one of the most beautiful things humanity created. Although I generally have a poor outlook of humanity, I look forward to these small gems that show aspects of humanity as being worth saving. Because all would be dark and gloomy if not for them.

Thanks all for reading this rant post and I do apologize if it seems a bit messy and disorganized. I wrote this on the fly with no clear idea how I wanted to do this. I just wanted to write on a subject I’m passionate on. And it was incredibly relaxing to write this out. I suppose I saw it as a way to explain my love for fiction and such, especially my new-found interests in Anime and Manga.


About Manfred Tham

Manfred can typically be found hiding from people behind his computer screen or a tall pint. However you can easily contact him in any given video game where he will either insult you or be really nice to you. In addition his nerdiness transcends the digital plane when he partakes in the arcane rituals of rolling dice in both table-top and board games. Disregarding the countless hours he has logged into games, Manfred loves nothing more than cooking food to satisfy his craving for Northern European cuisine or to sip away from the many bottles of whiskies he fondly defaults to. Manfred is also what is commonly known as a “metalhead” with a penchant for both symphonic and power metal. Manfred summarises his life philosophy with a quote by Samuel L.Jackson, but it has been redacted for being far too vulgar.

Posted on February 28, 2012, in Anime, Manga, Otaku-ism, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’m a huge fan of fiction and like you as a child, I read on a level much higher than my age group. I wasn’t considered a social outcast, though. People actually thought it was cool that I was the only first grader that could read. I would try to explain to people why I loved to read so much. It was my way of traveling places that I had never been and most likely never go (to space). I got to visit different states, different countries, all in one day! Books were always there for me and they still are.

    I’m glad that I discovered anime because it has done for me what books did. It allows me to look into another culture in a way I might not have. If I’m feeling blue, I can watch anime or read a book and all will be calm for a while.

  2. Escape is the main reason I love anime/manga (and fiction in general) as well. They take me away from my mundane life and gives me something both a little more exciting, or dramatic, or lovely, or relaxing.

    Same with books. Come to think of it, I’m in the mood for a good book now. I should go hit up a bookstore some time.

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