Learning through experience and error

A Manga-Based Summary Of The Last Decade Of My Life

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Shounen manga is a Japanese comic, for the lack of a better word, usually aimed at young boys. These are famous for their obnoxiously loud characters who speak their hearts out without thinking.

A Manga-Based Summary Of The Last Decade Of My Life

Most of these characters are dummies with rather plain philosophies of their own and are often found screaming one extremely vague ambition all around. Some examples, if you’ve heard of them are Naruto from Naruto, Goku from Dragon Ball and so on. These are somewhat dimwitted characters with extremely clear resolves and even clearer goals.

I used to be like that. Believe it or not, as public as I am about most of my life and thoughts, I was annoyingly loud and rather abrupt about it as a student in middle school.

The Precursor To My Blog

There was a notebook which was ironically my personal diary just that every single one of my classmates has read it. It didn’t have a lot of personal to it though. It just had musings and thoughts and declaration of goals. A specific one that is the context for today’s post went as follows,

I will show everyone what I am capable of!

I remember my classmates having a laugh about it and asking me, “What are you capable of?”

The notebook was a running joke and also, now that I think of it, was somewhat of an offline blog. In a class of roughly thirty-five to forty students, I had over 50% readership, and most of my readers constantly asked me if I had written something new in it. Ha! It seems I was always this public about what went through in my head.

Anyway, coming back to that declaration. I never knew what I was capable of, just that I knew it would be something that no one in the small town and an even smaller circle could even imagine.

Middle school passed, and everyone forgot about the notebook and the goal. I did too. Most people in my life changed. To be honest, there are just two people from that entire lot of people who talk to me today. One of them is off social media and the other isn’t fond of reading though so I doubt they’ll ever read this post.

The Asspull

About five years later, a dip in my otherwise slightly upward graph would be followed by a rather odd and unpredictable achievement though. Both the fall and the rise are discussed in this post from last year. I do suggest you skim over it, at least. In shounen, we call it asspull. Yes, you read that right.

Asspulls are odd and rattle the manga community almost always. Mostly because they come in grave situations in forms of power-ups that wouldn’t be possible in that situation or that make no sense in the overall story’s context but somehow are bestowed onto the characters during trying times.

Asspull or not, my character arc was over. There was a simplistic goal. There were complex themes involving rather darker matters. The goal was achieved. The character grew through achieving it. This should’ve wrapped the perfect shounen arc.

The Timeskip

However, life isn’t as simplistic as a shounen manga. Timeskips are somewhat frequent in manga stories. The characters’ stories are shown during a particular age, and then a timeskip happens.

After the timeskip, the characters’ prime motivations are altered. While their essential natures remain the same, the addition and interaction with the complex themes change them slightly. This causes a tonal shift in the narrative.

A perfect example of this is Naruto and Naruto Shippuden and how different both are from one another regarding tone. Shippuden is slightly darker and explores convoluted ideologies. Bleach and One Piece are similar too.

After the asspull happened, I faced a lot of challenges. I think most of it happened in my head, and while I finally understand that the goal declared all those years ago was attained, I could never internalise it.

As a result, I changed immensely and in fact, my points of view at any gap larger than six months differ quite noticeably. If you read the blog, you’ve already seen it.

Two changes happened. The goal was no more and I had to forge a completely new direction in place of it. Most of my core beliefs changed as I earned the asspull backwards, trying to reach where it expected me to be mentally.

The tone of my own personal story changed extremely. That is the timeskip because as well recorded as that time is, no one post goes as deep into the last three years as the arc demands.

Enter Seinen

Seinen manga are stories targeted at slightly older audiences. These stories involve characters with more issues than your titular shounen heroes. The goals aren’t simplistic. There are no clear philosophies. Every character’s motivations are justifiable.

In other words, while shounen is all about the black and white, seinen is about the grey.

Today, as I was reflecting over the last decade over a cup of coffee by myself, I realised how in real-life, your arc doesn’t end at shounen. Once we’re over that age and given that nothing unfortunate happens, we reach the seinen stage. In that sense, manga identifies the stages of growth.

*There is a manga targeted at children as well, but we won’t go into that.

A Quick Rundown

As I explored my character arc, I realised that once I attained the main goal that I had declared all those years ago, I realised that it never aligned with my core motivations.

As the goal happened almost immediately, it qualifies as an asspull. In life as in the manga, asspulls are hard to justify because a lot of things beyond the character’s control are at work.

In trying to justify that asspull, my core motivations changed, and I grew over the obnoxious and bratty character I once had. A timeskip happened, and most of my character traits changed or evolved.

What’s The Point?

This is where, I think, life and manga slightly diverge. While in a manga, you’re stuck to one narrative style, it isn’t the same with real life. In life, your narrative style can change.

As you grow up, you realise that not everything can be put into clean blacks and whites. You forge new directions, become better versions of the bratty and everyday characters you once were, open some doors, close a lot of others. Some characters leave your story, and loss suddenly becomes a possibility.

You finally accept some core flaws in your arc and start understanding that you should leave straightforward ideologies in favour of more complex real-life counterparts of them.

You realise it is right for everyone to be justified in what they’re doing and that each person has an arc of their own. They have their personal goals, their convictions, their arcs and their transitions from the simplistic to the real.

You finally learn that the story isn’t just about you and that it’s better that way.

About the author

Deepansh Khurana

Blogger and writer from Dehradun, India. I'd say I love coffee but don't we all? I find stories, people and experiences. I blog about them.

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Learning through experience and error

About The Content

There are two kinds of blog posts here as of mid-2018 – The Journal and The Words.

The Journals are thoughts, lessons, events that unfold in my life word-for-word and as barebones as I can put them out there.

The Words are creative pieces, narratives, short-stories that take from my life but did not happen word-for-word.

You can read more about this change here.

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Deepansh Khurana

Blogger and writer from Dehradun, India. I'd say I love coffee but don't we all? I find stories, people and experiences. I blog about them.

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