Having just purchased an iPad, taken a trip and heard about other manga blogger’s support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF, for short) during NYAF/NYCC, I wanted to discuss traveling with manga.
I never bring manga that would cause problems on a trip with me. After all, I wouldn’t read manga like Sundome anywhere near my mother, who is my usual travel companion. I don’t own too many manga that are much more explicit than Sundome, so I figured I could always explain your standard shoujo romance in terms that didn’t paint me as some kind of pedophile.
Then I downloaded Ai Ore onto my iPad…
Not that Ai Ore is a bad manga, but I wound up reading it on the plane ride home and got a little embarrassed about it. I had completely forgotten how smutty Mayu Shinjo manga is and, despite the fact that no one actually had sex in the volume I purchased, I wasn’t sure I could explain it away to a suspicious customs agent. (There was non-con, underage kids cross-dressing, a lot of flashing, etc.)
And, with the manga-related customs case going on in Canada right now, it makes me a little more nervous to travel with manga, especially since I travel to a lot of countries where they might be less forgiving and where I might not speak the language.
Even though Ai Ore probably wouldn’t get me into too much trouble in Canada, judging by the list of comics they’ve prohibited before, I’m definitely going to be deleting any smutty manga or comics from my apps before I go through customs. Thank goodness you can just re-download your purchases later.
What do you think? Would you travel internationally (or domestically, since TSA can still search your possessions for anything they deem suspicious) with risque manga? Which do you think would be a safer medium to carry, print or digital?
For that matter, do you think you could convince a customs agent that manga is a non-threatening work of art? How would you go about explaining the differences between manga tropes and those of contemporary Western fiction?