When you finally branch out from your comfort zone & realized what you’ve been missing out!

I think my reconciliation with my biggest passion—anime & manga—led me to opening many doors. And while I said that I was already huge otaku before I was still quite selective of what I’ll watch or read. There are genres that I’m not comfortable to try. One of them is historical-fiction and high-fantasy. I implemented this mindset with books as well. But as a bookworm I’m more lenient to genres I normally brushoff. So I guess that is why when I became an otaku again I became more open to trying out.

I never would I have thought I will be completely spellbound to reading historical-fiction and high-fantasy, or combination of both. I think it all started with Akatsuki no Yona, then Joou no Hana then some more. But a far splendid thing had happened when I decided to branch out from manga and tried its cousins: manhua (Chinese), manhwa (Korean).

Honestly before I felt a little off reading graphics novels that are not Japanese in origin. Ever since, I’ve been elitist otaku trash strict with my choices but now I realized how great it is to read other countries’ graphic novels. It’s very educational to read them because I get to learn a bit of their culture and traditions. I’ve always been charmed by a nation’s ethos & art and be able to glimpse it via these reading materials are very rewarding. I’m now both educated and entertained.

長歌行 (Chang Ge's Journey) &야뇌 백동수 (Honorable Baek Dong-soo)

長歌行 (Chang Ge’s Journey) & 야뇌 백동수
(Honorable Baek Dong-soo)

I don’t really consider myself a history buff (more on geography actually) but I can now see the charm with it. When I’m reading those graphic novels, it’s very enlightening. For instance, the Japanese kimono the way it is wear or what adorned with it changes that status of the person. A popular example of this is mistaking a geisha as simple courtesan when in fact they are highly valued entertainers who know various arts such as playing instrument. Same goes with Korean woman and their hairdos as a symbol of a person’s position. (Well you can know it through period drama as well but I don’t watch them that often.)

But what got me more was Chinese manhua. I love reading ancient politics and such. At first since I was so confused because I’m more used to Japanese/Korean names. Chinese took me a while to get used to and eventually memorized while reading. But the manner of their conversation threw me off a bit. I cited an example to my sister about as to why the King talked in plural in translation “Leave us.” “We are eating.” She told me when the King talks in formal manner he used plural because he represents the kingdom, it is him & the entire kingdom. When I found it out I was sparkling by the knowledge I learned. I guess I never paid too much attention with history class back then, haha. This was also applied to western countries and called as royal “we.” (I ended up googling to authenticate, interesting read people!)

In addition, some of my reads also had intriguing romance—mostly forbidden with love triangle, so…well, that got me very hooked!

Ah~ so many things to learn and made me realize how little I am in this world. To be able enjoy and then learn some is such a delight to me. I’ve always seen reading as an escape, but it can be very educational too. Of course there’ll  be creative liberties applied in those stories (perhaps far from factual, especially for high-fantasy) but it can be a catalyst of something else (maybe you ended up researching it yourself, like me!). But most of all, to learn, appreciate, and respect culture other than yours is the most rewarding for me. Another benefit of reading!

How about you do you read manhwa, manhua or manga? Which ones your favorite! Rec’d it to me then!!!


10 Responses to I ain’t history buff but love to read ’em!

  1. Andrea Joy says:

    Hello! As an otaku who loves to read mangas, manhwas, and manhuas, I agree with your post. I’m also a history buff, so reading historical mangas, manhwas, and manhuas makes me happy because I get to see the rich culture that they have. What I’m reading right now are The Bride of the Water God and Scarlet Palace. Have you read them already? ^ ^

    • Mitchii G. says:

      It’s really entertaining to read, plus educational part is a big bonus! Yep, read them both, I really loved Scarlet Palace!!! And my photo above is from my copy of The Bride of the Water God. 😀

  2. Kezia says:

    I’m your opposite then because I love history (especially Egypt!!!!) yet I don’t read historical much 😀 (idk… yet?) I’m not exposed to manhwa or manhua, I guess that’s because I literally know no one who likes reading them (other than you!) They aren’t very popular here and I don’t think my friends ever read them as well. But I do like the sound of them as a media to learn more about other culture and customs. Eeeek, the romance sounds right up my alley though! I’m not surprised about it mostly being forbidden (and I assume it has relations to politics?) but I do love budding relationships between royals and their retainers so yeah… ><

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Oh, you should! Manhua is pretty much the same as manga (right to left), manhwa however reads the same as ours (left to right). For shoujo-esque I loved manhua better especially their historical stuff. And yes, there are royals and their retainers drama & I loved it! For manhua, their action (shounen) line-up is interesting! <3

  3. Emily says:

    I’M A HISTORY BUFF!! And I love reading them too 😉 I’m so glad that at least you can appreciate historical fiction or graphic novels; the setting is always one that peaks my interest and I love relating and finding out what things were like back in the days! 😛
    Heehee, wonderful post Mitchii! And glad to know you’re a fellow appreciator of History! 😉

    • Mitchii G. says:

      oooh~ you are? That’s nice, kinda know why people like you love it! And yes, knowing how things worked back then, even fictional setting is such an amazing thing! 😀

  4. First of all, your site is amazing and I love it! I also adore your manga & anime blog as well. I might just be a little bit obsessed with you rn.

    I love this post, I find that fiction has a way to make me interested in history as well. Not just comic medium but things like watching historical drama, like most recently the Empress of China.

    I also adored Akatsuki no Yona! I think Bride of the Water God is quite inconsistent story wise but the art kills me.

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Oh wow! Thank you so much. I’m so happy to hear that! Nothing to be obsessed with me, I’m super plain old lady, haha.

      Yes, I think we should also branch out to other culture whatever medium it is. To learn something other than what you are accustomed to is quite refreshing.

      Yes, you like Akatsuki no Yona?! So happy to know that. Yes, BotWG is quite slow but the art is so pretty~ xD Thanks again!

  5. I used to be a MAJOR history buff when I was younger (major as in I loved history so much I started my own magazine to try and encourage kids my own age to get into the subject, LOL. That was years ago, though), and while I still love history, I definitely don’t feel as strongly about it as I did before. I’m afraid I’m still mainly manga and American comics right now, though. I’ve heard a lot about Korean manhwa but the fact that MAL doesn’t list them in their database kind of turns me off (I’m OCD like that, I need to list everything down T_T)

    But it’s so great how we’re able to learn so much from stuff lots of people consider just “pure entertainment” or “useless,” isn’t it? It’s definitely interesting to learn more about different cultures and have visuals too even though they may not be entirely true. I don’t even need historical fiction books to teach me about a different culture. Just reading plain ol’ shoujo manga was enough to open my eyes to what Japanese culture was like. 😀

    A side note: I love the brush stroke characters for Chang Ge’s Journey and Honorable Baek Dong-Soo!

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Wow~ that’s amazing Meg and very gallant of you to share your love for history to other people! I’m not into American comics and I don’t think I’ll ever be. There’s just different/huge vibe to me all together. I tried like those Marvel comics but I think I’ll pass. Manhwa and manhua share some similarities with manga (well, they are from the same region so I guess that’s expected) so it was easier to like.

      Yes, to know so much about one culture’s even through this mean is very enlightening. And yes, the brush strokes are drool worthy!

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