i know what you mean!

I know why Poly got confused

Posted on: February 27, 2007

aka “I know why i couldn’t read chinese manga for the life of me!”

Considering how Son is still a part-time devotee of comics (mostly imported stuffs I have never heard of, but then again, were he to name a classic American comic series like spiderman or something, I would be just as deaf), it’s worth questioning why I have not picked up even the slightest interest in that area. Even back in the days I was stalking him and studying my “enemy” closely, ready to launch full psychological warfare to conquer and annex, I still couldn’t bring myself to tackle the world of comics. The closest I got was anime, and that’s about it. Not that I haven’t tried.

About 7 years ago, I visited Sharon and picked up Clover from her collection in an attempt to explore manga once again, might as well since it was pretty and only 4 volumes in length, right? Right. Brough the books home. Read them. Understood about 70%, and left 30% open to random interpretation. FFwd to 2005. Clover got made into a short anime music video, which I found on youtube. I googled “Clover” to look up for more info, and got a complete synopsis of the story, which left me like this >> OH GEEZ.
This is how Poly got so damn confused:

WHAT POLY SAW IN COMIC BOOK (just for example’s sake):
picture of sky.
bird.
playground with ferris wheels.
Girl inside glass cage with wings in beautiful loligoth clothes looking wistfully.
Text runs in the background: Take me away somwhere …

WHAT POLY UNDERSTOOD: girl wants to go away, right.

WHAT TRUE MANGA READER SAID POLY SHOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD:
Growing up in complete isolation from the rest of the world, she’s like a cage bird yearning to sing her song under the blue sky. Her pure heart has yet understood the ways of the world, therefore she will deeply touch the war-weary captain whose task is to possibly destroy her… (add about 3 more paragraphs of contents similar to above).

That’s why Poly got so damn confused. Not all comics are like that of course, but apparently I kept on stumbling onto this kind. That’s only the beginning of my struggle. In 7th grade, I was hanging out with the Chinese immigrants crowd who read lots of translated manga. I remember these goddamn manga parties where everyone just brought their favorite manga and sat around reading them. I was pretty disruptive during these parties, as you can imagine. First because I couldn’t read in Chinese at the time, of course, and, that aside, I could not orient myself with the story flow were I to simply look at the pictures. I get totally confused if you don’t give me same size panels, 4 panels each line. Japanese manga, of course, loves the weird big + small + pan all cells + 1 page cell. To this day I still cannot do it naturally. I get all alarmed when my eyes rest on a page where I see uneven cells next to each other, though I did look up “how to read managa panels” on google and tried to educate myself.

Then there are memories of reading these bishounen series when I was in 9th grade (most of them were CLAMP I think, my friends were big CLAMP fans back then) in Chinese and got absolutely bewildered because:
1. picked up book with girly looking people, but knowing that there’s a man in there somewhere
2. proceeded to read, not sure if I was reading the panels in the correct order.
3. understood about 3 lines then got to a line where the sentence made no sense at all
4. pressed forth, understood the next few lines, then again, a line that made no goddamn sense whatsoever, thinking to myself “what the hell is wrong with these Japanese people? ?
5. got to about 30 pages, still not sure which character is which, then realized that those goddamn 4,5 chinese words that kept on making no sense were actually Japanese characters’ names!
6. said to myself “alright, that’s it!” and quit reading altogether.

O the trials and tribulations of puberty.

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