Manga is everywhere.
Hailing from Japan, manga are graphic novels or comics usually aimed at more mature audiences. Being an adult these days is tough, so a little playful imagination-rich break, can go a long way.
Distraction is a powerful tool to help with anxiety and depression.
Manga stories cover a large variety of relatable topics; from the classic hero’s journey, to mental illness. These content-rich stories, such as Akatsuki no Yona and Real, depict the internal struggle of depression, and highlight a path to healing.
Graphic Medicine is a term that was first coined by Dr. Ian Williams in 2007; “The intersection between the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare.” The use of graphic novels, comics, and visual storytelling in medical education, patient care, and other applications related to healthcare and self exploration are not new, but the rise in their popularity has soared over the last couple of years.
Graphic medicine uses various forms of media entertainment (e.g. manga, comics, graphic novels, and anime) to help increase a client’s autonomy, and to create room for mutual expectations, understanding and communication between clients and health professionals (Halovic, 2018).
It’s not hard to imagine why the notion of fantasy and the ability to escape reality is of interest to many of us in 2022. It’s hard to stay plugged into the 24 hour news cycle and not feel more stress and anxiety.
Manga provides us the ability to get out of our lives and dive into a good story. It’s easy to pick up and put down; especially on an e-Reader where the vivid images and high pixels allow one to quickly leave the home-schooling and home-office duties aside for a few minutes, and escape into much needed distraction and peace.
The rise in popularity of these stories can be seen on the big screen as well. Manga typically gets adapted into an anime, but sometimes these stories can become feature-length films. 2002’s Road To Perdition starring Tom Hanks was inspired by the manga series Lone Wolf and Cub (1970), and the action movie Edge of Tomorrow (2014) starring Tom Cruise, was based on the Hiroshi Sakurazaka manga All You Need Is Kill (2004).
Whether you are an avid reader of manga and graphic novels, or have only stumbled upon a movie inspired by them, it’s clear that manga’s accessibility, creativity and relatability can be thought provoking, powerful, and perhaps even therapeutic.