Wednesday, January 23, 2013

TOKYOPOP's Best Coming of Age Stories

Kids will be kids...

Last week, young adults across Japan celebrated Seijin no Hi ("Coming of Age Day"), an annual holiday held to congratulate and celebrate those who have turned twenty, the age of majority in Japan. Making the transition from the carefree days of youth into the cold, hard realities of adulthood can be a difficult pill to swallow. Rather than sugarcoat it, we decided to take a page from David Bowie's book by turning and facing the strange and asked our readers to tell us their favorite coming-of-age stories in anime and manga. Who knows? Maybe you'll glean a life lesson or two along the way.

Clannad – Discord with parental figures? Check. First loves? Check. Heartbreak? Check and mate. Clannad has everything a good coming-of-age anime needs. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, but hopefully not at the same time because then you’d look kinda crazy. Chances are that you'll find something to relate to in Clannad, especially if your family runs a melodramatic bakery.

Kiki’s Delivery Service – This tale of a young witch on her own in the big city has become a treasure in the world of anime because it contains themes we can all relate to – living on your own for the first time, making ends meet at a low-wage job, meeting your first love and having a talking cat. Okay, maybe not that last part. If you do relate to that last bit, please call us because we want to hang out.

Eureka 7 – Nothing puts a chip on one's shoulder like having a parent who died saving the world. How are you supposed to live up to that? Issues of self-identity, first love and diversity dominate the fast-paced life of Renton Thurston, who is forced to grow up at a breakneck pace in Eureka 7. If you thought you had it bad as a teen, be thankful that you didn't have giant robots and evil sentient coral in addition to acne and awkward middle school dances.

FLCL – Underneath the fast-paced wackiness of FLCL lies an alternately heartfelt and harrowing story. We think. Maybe. There's a lot of head wounds, so it's hard to tell. In all seriousness, FLCL manages to capture the complex cocktail of feelings that come from having to grow up before you're ready to grow up (and the complex feeling of robots coming out of your head). Facebook fan Brenda Valdez said it best: “FLCL. Just so awkward. Like coming of age should be.”

Paradise Kiss – With an eye-catching signature art style, Paradise Kiss deals with discovering one’s self, love, and finding meaning in life. It's about testing your mettle in the gauntlet of adulthood and coming out the better for it. Also, it's about the most important thing in life: fashion. It may not be the most important thing in your life, but try telling that to a teenage girl. Yeah, we thought so.

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