Monday, January 09, 2006


A few months ago, I asked my 12 year-old friend what she was most interested in. She replied, "Everyone at school is reading NANA. It's really good! I'll bring them over for you after school next week."

Eager to get a glimpse into the adolescent psyche of today, I genuinely looked forward to getting my hands on the comic book series. At the time, it was creating quite a stir; there was a movie in the works, and news programs were dedicating whole 15-minute segments on the NANA phenomenon.

Besides getting in touch with the masses, I'd also taken it upon myself to ensure that this girl grows up happy, smart, and healthy. I'm really not as old or as anal-retentive as I sound. I'm under 30, and besides the few weeks that follow my big New Year's housecleaning project, you can rarely see my floor. But you just want younger kids to avoid all the stupid mistakes you made, ya know?

Well, I've since given up my noble plans to shield this girl from the world. It's too late. I almost had a coronary reading Volume 1 and it only got progressively worse.

I don't think of myself as being particularly prudish, but oh my god. It's sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll... and borderline pedophilia, and pregnancy, and attempted suicide, and prostitution, and strangulation, and swinging, and oh my god.

And I thought it would give me some ideas for Kai's Magic Gingerbread House, the children's book I'm working on now.

I'm including a very tame (and blurry) example of what goes on in Nana-land, only because my friend and fellow blogger, Sameer, once told me I should have more pictures on my blog.

You know how "pink movies" have certain structural rules they have to follow (ie. one sex scene every 3.5 minutes)?This comic book, devoured ravenously by elementary and junior high school kids throughout Japan every day, features more sex than the Marquis de Sade. It's the Story Of god.

My friend is definitely too young for this material - trust me. But times change. It could be worse not knowing certain things, especially if it is considered common knowledge among one's peers. Then again, doing something because everyone else is has never been a good idea. At least it gives kids an opportunity to talk about tricky issues openly.

It's really only the grown-ups who feel uncomfortable about this.


Blogger sameer said...

i said use more pictures, not more dirty pictures ! happy new year etta-chan


3:10 AM  
Blogger e! said...

Shush. You know you love it.

1:30 PM  

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