Manga, Ties and Bonds


Comics are a powerful way to convey a sense of wonder, adventure, entertainment and information to readers. It is a very effective means to depict different relationships among characters. In this exhibition, we select and present outstanding pieces of work from manga that rely deeply on human bonds and emotions.

For many months now, the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly altered the way we establish and maintain ties with the people around us. In most countries of the world there have been lockdowns, restrictions and a general fear of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, all of which have caused social distancing, loneliness and the impossibility of meeting up and enjoying time together with family and friends, as well as the inability to organize and attend mass events, and, of course, make new acquaintances. Certainly, many personal dramas have emerged from this situation, from infected people forced to fight the illness all alone, isolated in their rooms or homes, to families that have suffered tragic, irreparable losses.

Many people are familiarized with what the Japanese call “the red thread of fate” (運命の赤い糸 unmei no akai ito). Although this “red thread” usually refers to the intangible link between two lovers connected since birth with an invisible cord, their fates forever bound together, we can extend this belief to other special relationships that all of us have with certain people in our lives. Soul mates, lovers, friends, allies, even bitter enemies... Characters and situations that give birth to love stories, tragedies, comedies… that move, thrill and amaze thousands and thousands of manga readers not only in Japan but also, increasingly, in the rest of the world.

Japanese manga offers an amazing array of stories that touch on all kinds of themes and that can, of course, be entertaining but also motivating, emotive and even, in some cases, life-changing. In this exhibition, we aim to present some outstanding manga works related to the bonds and ties between people that contribute to making a better world, especially during and after the trying times of this world-altering pandemic. All of them were distinguished by the Japan Media Arts Festival jury as outstanding and have been awarded recognitions, such as the Grand Prize, the Social Impact Award, the Excellence Award, the New Face Award, and the Jury Selection prize.

About the director


Marc BERNABÉ (L’Ametlla del Vallès, Barcelona, 1976) is a manga and anime translator since 2000, and a writer and lecturer specialized on Japanese language and culture. He has translated a long list of manga titles, among which Crayon Shinchan, Naruto, Death Note and the works of famous authors such as TEZUKA Osamu and URASAWA Naoki. He is the author of the “Japanese in MangaLand” series, and the books “Japón - Manga, traducción y vivencias de apasionado del país del sol naciente” and, together with Oriol ESTRADA, “501 mangas que leer en español” ( With Verònica CALAFELL, he leads DARUMA Serveis Lingüístics (, specialized translation agency since 2004, and ESPAI DARUMA (, education center for Japanese language and culture since 2015.