When 12-year-old Mojo discusses her condition, it’s with adolescent knowingness: She pronounces herself “ridiculous” to be in love with a cartoon. And still, the obsession consumes her.
With allowance and Christmas money, and through strategic alliances with her little brother, she’s procured the first 15 books in the Naruto series — all that are available on the ever-growing manga aisle at our Borders. Mojo likes to hang out there, paging back-to-front through the novels, sampling the different series: other boy-oriented adventure series like Bleach and One Piece, and even sometimes Fruits Basket, a series aimed at girls.
At school, she hid manga novels inside her science textbook until a teacher busted her for reading them in class. But at home, she’s free to peruse them over and over, like holy texts, and to supplement them with the animated versions on YouTube.
By watching the original cartoons with English subtitles, she’s picked up a little Japanese — erudition that she generously shares with her brother. Last week, with a Sharpie marker, she wrote “Baka” on his forehead.
“It means ‘idiot,’ ” she explained.
Because it was in Japanese, the language of manga, he thought it was cool.
The article dovetails nicely into the nature of fandom, and fan fiction, as Mojo’s affections drift to Sanji and Zolo (Zoro) from One Piece.