Manga Realities: The Art of Japanese Comics Today Exhibit

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Manga Realities exhibit opened at the Ayala Museum in Makati. The weather and schedules finally worked out so my friends and I were able to see it. I heard great reviews about it, a sharp contrast from the previous exhibit we went to.

Manga Realities exhibit at the Ayala Museum

First Floor
The Manga Realities occupies two floors of the museum. You’ll see the exhibit from the entrance. You might wonder if it’s a music related exhibit, what with a piano, an electric guitar and a drum set placed in prominent positions. These instruments showcase the contrasting music genres of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad and Nodame Cantabile. The former gives an edgy air with its animate displays and wall of album cover parodies (each chapter of the manga features one). On the opposite end, the Nodame Cantabile offers a more genteel atmosphere, what with the heavily framed prints that make you wonder if you’ve stumbled into an old European museum.


Beck album cover parodies

Nodame Cantabile framed prints

Go beyond these and you’ll find more original artwork from Taiyo Matsumoto (Number 5, a manga that I’ve not heard about until now); Sugar Sugar Rune and Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi. I wanted to grab the original work and take them home to study. My favorite exhibit here is Sennen Gaho by Kyo Machiko.

Children of the Sea

Sennen Gaho

Third Floor
The exhibit continues on to the third floor. The open hallway has shelves of manga, both in English and Japanese. Visitors can sit on the provided couches and read to their heart’s content. Among the titles I spotted were Beck, Hana Kimi, Hana Yori Dango, One Piece, Detective Conan and Solanin. Another huge painting by Taiyo Matsumoto makes an impressive background.

Round the corner is a surprise. The exhibit is presented in a form of a classroom, complete with a blackboard with a “lecture”, a teacher’s desk and seats for the students. A sound clip talking about manga was playing as we came in. This was for the manga “The World God Only Knows”, although there were a couple of Lum Urusei Yatsura manga on the side.

Solanin’s exhibit was probably the coolest one. I’ve heard of the manga thanks to its connection with Asian Kung Fu Generation and the artist Yusuke Nakamura. Ajikan sang the theme to the live action adaptation, while Nakamura-san did the cover art for the single (he also did the cover art for Ajikan’s albums).

The exhibit re-creates the living room of Solanin’s protagonist Meiko. A casual glimpse would make you think that it’s just a regular Japanese apartment, but when you step inside and look at the items, you’ll know that there’s a connection. A photo album of sorts at the coffee table shows pictures of places that were used in the manga. A display of CDs on the wall included artists like Alanis Morisette, Green Day and Oasis, as well as some Japanese rock bands. But what made me squeal in happiness was seeing three Asian Kung Fu Generation cds.

Outside the “room”, quotes from the manga were printed and posted on the wall. Solanin is a “slice of life” manga, showing the lives of young people like Meiko and their dissatisfaction with what they’re doing. Having not read the manga yet, I had not idea what those words meant, but they are familiar. For example:

Quotable quote from Solanin (a bit blurry though)

Needless to say that alone was enough to convince me to find a copy of the manga.

Manga Realities: The Art of Japanese Comics Today will be open until October 22 at the Ayala Museum. Please contact them for museum schedule and ticket prices. If you haven’t gone to the Ayala Museum before, I suggest purchasing the full admission so you can see the other exhibits like the paintings of Amorsolo and Luna, as well as the Gold of Ancestors exhibit on the 4th floor. It’s worth it, trust me. Please note that while taking photos are allowed with the Manga Realities, it’s prohibited with the other exhibits.

I hope we can put up an exhibit on Filipino Komiks, preferably if it’s a permanent one. Cheers all.

One comment

  1. I love comics and yes during my early days like elementary, I used to read comics everyday but my mother prohibited me from doing it since it school days

Comments are closed.