My daughter is 15. She is a sophomore in High School, with pretty decent grades. She's in love with a cartoon character. You may think this is very strange, however it means she's not out experimenting with real boys, now, is she? If she wants to wait to start dating until she's in college, that's fine by me. Her current perception is that most boys her age are stinky slobs that pick their noses in public -- unless they are gay. That may have something to do with the fact we live in the Northwest, but again, fine by me.
But why does she love this cartoon guy so much? Well, it all started when she was in Kindergarten & used to watch Sailor Moon. For those who don't know, Sailor Moon is a teenage super-heroine in Japan. She fights with her buddies, the Sailor Scouts and they are all very leggy and western-looking. Rather than the typical cartoon shows we enjoy in the states, Japanese cartoons (anime) have long intricate plot lines. There's a lot of action, romance, character development, etc. They can be quite addictive. Manga are the comic novels drawn in the same style (remember Speed Racer? Kimba?).
In Jr. High, she discovered a monthly book called Shonen Jump. She subscribed immediately (she has a paper route and can afford these things), and has a complete collection from three years ago. This magazine features things like Naruto, Dragonball Z, Ruroni Kenshin, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu Yu Hakasho. Shonen Jump also takes time between comics to enlighten the reader on Japanese customs and culture. Because of this, our daughter is now a huge fan of Japan. She cooks Japanese food, decorates her room with Japanese things, and is President of the Japanese Club at her High School.
If you go into any bookstore nowadays, you'll find hundreds of Manga books. And How to Draw Manga books. And a bunch of kids and teens sitting on the floor, reading manga books. Cartoon Network airs "Toonami" which is mostly Anime shows from Japan, dubbed in English. Our daughter's favorite is Full Metal Alchemist (and she wears her FMA gear from Hot Topic). Before that it was Inuyasha.
She just loves everything about Japan, Manga and Anime. If she wants to dress as a Digimon character to school, that's okay too (not the monster, one of the kids - even if it is a boy - Koichi). She's having a good time, she knows Al from FMA is a cartoon, and as long as she keeps up her grades, etc., I have no problem with the whole thing.
If you want to take a look at her webcomic, check out this link. And post comments if you have something you want to tell her. She loves getting comments and fanart.
Hope that works - I have to go watch TiVo now.
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