Feel free to post your comments or reviews of the mnga you've read. I'm not going to hold anyone to any standards, but I do find that it convinces people more often when you write why you like something rather than just "I love it!"
If you're one of the people interested in manga, but don't know where to start, here's the place to ask for recommendations. Manga is like any other form of storytelling, there's a wide variety of genres and, believe it or not, there's a wide range of art styles. So if you post what genres you like to read, we can make better recommendations.
I'll start, for the purposes of discussion, but my manga exposure is admittedly limited.
I have trouble getting into most manga, if I'm honest. I just get the sense that most of it wasn't written or drawn with me in mind as an audience.
That having been said, there are exceptions. The manga I tend to enjoy stands out from the others visually and offers a story I can get into. I'm particularly fond of Lone Wolf & Cub, Samurai Executioner, the original Ghost In The Shell, Akira, and things like that. I've flipped through things like Blade Of The Immortal and the like as well.
LW&C and SE are manga, but they don't look like typical manga. There's a visceral kinetic style to the action. The characterization is really solid, but it's more subtle than what I usually see in US books. The stories tend to contrast samurai virtue with the dark reality of Tokugawa-era Japan. It's the kind of thing I'd love to see more of in US comics, but they never seem to capture it quite right.
thanks for the thread, Silva Shado. *a kiss for the lady*
mr Gray, u like the original Ghost In The Shell (from now on we can type GITS ) but not MMI (Man-Machine Interface) which is sort of a sequel (though different from the first)? i think the second is quite incredible as well in its own way as it's not typical of most manga where MMI is fully & truly coloured except for some sections which to note different situation rather than economising. another incredible thing about MMI is the CG plus amazing textures Masamune Shirow put in. the ideas he has about future, especially about future of the internet & interaction is just mind-blowing.
sorry i have to go with very vague descriptions as i fear i might spoil the stories.
i read that LW&C is one of the must-have classics which sadly i have yet to read & own. in Malaysia, manga is in abundance but almost all (if not all) are translated to mandarin (chinese). i am not chinese-educated therefore unable to read them.
obtaining them isn't easy for me; the best source is always friends who have collection & buy them overseas.
since u like GITS, i think u'll like Masamune Shirow's other works as they are more or less similar in styles; Dominion Tank Police, Appleseed, Black Magic etc.
also, since u like Akira, u might want to check out other works from the same author, Katsuhiro Otomo; Memories, A Child's Dream etc.
anybody reads the really classic Astro Boy or Metropolis?
I haven't read MMI, so I really can't comment on it. Thought about picking up Ghost 2, but figured it would be reprinted eventually, so I waited on it. So far, it's been a long wait for the trade.
I have long wanted to grab the Appleseed trades that I've seen, that having been said. Those, I may get. The others are more difficult to find. Problem is that I don't see most of it in the manga section, or I'd pick it all up.
Shirow is definitely one of the greats, that said. I consider Shirow's work to be illustrated science fiction novels rather than manga as such. That even shows in the few anime I've seen that were based on his work. (Even if the first Ghost anime didn't even come close to doing the manga justice.)
Thanks for the tips. I might look into more Otomo and see what's there.
Yeah, good idea Sarah. It's time we had a manga thread here.
I've only been reading manga for the last three years, ever since the American Shonen Jump magazine launched here. But I've gotten to the point where I think Japan has figured out the right way to do comics, and America is almost more of a backward culture in this respect.
Every manga I've picked up so far is genetrated towards telling a good well written story with memorable characters, usually with a beginning, middle, and end to the story.
Initially, the "stereotypes" of manga, as my friend Josh explained was the reason he didn't read much manga - such as big eyes, exaggerated expressions, T&A, and so forth, also made me think it was poorly done stuff, but nothing could have been further from the truth. What excites me the most is the variety of stories you can read from Japan. They do EVERYTHING I wish America would do - instead of superheroes, we get fantasy, sci-fi, sports, horror, romance, comedy, and more.
Right now, my favorite manga is Rurouni Kenshin. I think it is the best done Japanese comic I have read so far, both in writing and art. My second favorite manga, and it's become almost like an obsession for me now, is Naruto. The only thing that stops it from being my No. 1 favorite is because it's slow-moving, unlike RK.
Bleach is my third favorite manga for its modern tone, followed by Whistle!, a soccer manga, the first time I've ever taken any kind of interest in the sport beyond my photography assignments.
I've also enjoyed Shaman King, obviously about shamans, and One-Piece, a zany pirate comic, on occasion.
Ranma 1/2 was a surprise to me when I picked it up. It's one of the earliest manga I can remember seeing, but I wasn't overly impressed. But that was when I thought manga was just for kids. Trying it again a few years later, I like it a lot now as the best "zany" comedy comic out there.
I"s is another manga that surprised me. It's a romance manga, and I am NOT a guy who reads romance, but I'm loving this one. It's just so well written.
Death Note is another one that really caught my attention lately. It's a story of how a Death God purposely drops his Death Note, a notebook that can kill if the person's name is written into it, to Earth to see what a human would do with it. It leads to a rather intriguing drama where Raito (the guy who picked the Death Note up) wants to become the savior of the world and rid it of all of the most dangerous criminals as a warning to people to behave, and a detective that chases after him to try to stop his murder spree, even if it is criminals. It has some of the best art I've seen in ANY comic, American or Japanese. It also has the most fun premise in my opinion, one that could be easily adapted to a live action movie script if somebody would take it up.
Full Metal Alchemist is another one I got interested in. It's pretty fun. And then there's Chobits, which burned me out faster than any other manga I've read. It was a little too much bizarre romance for my taste.
I've tried Cowboy Bebop on the recommendation of at least six people I know, but surprisingly enough I couldn't get into it. Guess I can't like everything.
Let's see... I enjoy fantasy, action and comedic mangas the most, all with some romance. Other than CLAMP's work, I don't like straight romances.
My favorite CLAMP titles are Suki, Wish and Chobits, but I also highly enjoyed the one-shots Legend of Chun Hyang and Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland.
I did finally read all of Clover, but it makes little to no sense, though the artwork is the most beautiful I have ever seen!
Inu Yasha used to be one of my favorites, but I'm rather burned out on it. Rumiko's only problem is her inability to get to a conclusion that doesn't just re-establish the status-quo. Maison Ikkoku being the excpetion, though I haven't read/watched it all yet.
Bastard continues to be my all time favorite - sword & sorcery with a handsome main lead, what more could I ask for? hehe...
Rurouni Kenshin is my second favorite manga. I agree with everything Phil said about it. It's just the best comic I've ever read. There hasn't been a single volume that hasn't kept me on the edge of my seat while reading it. I'm so glad it's being released monthly.
I started on Bleach and want to read more of that as soon as some money frees up for it.
I also read Shonen Jump and enjoy all of the manga in it, now that DragonBallZ has left.
I'm looking forward to Shoujo Beat, the girl's version of Shonen Jump. The first issue will be coming out at the end of the month.
And I won't bore/gross you guys with the Yaoi titles I like.
Um, as for American manga, I'm really digging Usagi Yojimbo. I've read the first 3 volumes now and have the 4th. It's a great samurai story with animal-looking characters.
I enjoy quite a few of Antarctic Press' titles, though I'm sad that katie Bair's run on Ninja High School is over... but she's going on to new work and she's going to put it up as a web comic.
And I'm highly enjoying the first Vampire Hunter D novel. If any of you enjoyed the movies and wanted to know more of the story, this is the way to go - read the original novels that inspired the movie. I forgot how many there will be, but they'r ebeing released every 2 or 3 months, from Dark Horse and DMP.
Steve - you're comment about manga not being written with you in mind - you're absolutely right. Most of the manga released in English so far have been for younger audiences. It's only been in the last few years that older teen work has been released.
I had this discussion with my fiance the other day, the fact that the companies are getting behind the age curve. There are a lot of people in their twenties now, like me, who started reading manga in high school. But now we want stories that are more mature and relate to what's going on in our lives.
The sad part is that in Japan, the material is there. In Japan, they have manga for all age groups, male/female and any interest/hobby you can think of. It's all there, waiting for a publisher to have the balls to translate and release in English.
I say they need balls because the manga in Japan doesn't talk down to people. Sailor Moon was heavily edited for American audiences because companies didn't think kids could handle the maturity of it.
I wish publishers would stop trying to decide what's appropriate for people and actually listen to what they want.
... Sorry, old gripe of mine. I just figure that by the time companies actually start releasing material for people in their twenties, I'll be 40... I really need to sit down and learn how to read Japanese so I can just buy the Japanese versions...
I think you've accurately described the problem, Silva. I lost most of my interest in anime/manga years ago, and I think it's because I outgrew a lot of it.
I've reached the realization that the only major company that consistently releases manga titles I want to read is Dark Horse. All the Shirow books, LW&C, Blade of the Immortal, etc. are all Dark Horse reprints. I really hope they release more of the more mature stuff, because I highly doubt we're going to get it from anyone else.
I find it interesting that the US manga market and the American comics market suffer from opposite problems. US comics are having trouble reaching younger readers, but have no problem reaching an older audience. Manga is great for bringing in younger readers, but don't have enough material for anyone older. I would like to see a more even distribution, but sadly I don't see it happening.
I can only hope things change in the future. We'll see.
OK, Phil, got me reading Naruto and I admit that if it gets better as the story progresses, I think i am going to be hooked.
So far I have only read the first two chapters, but there is something about the way it is written that it continues to draw you in (a suspense of its own).
And Sarah, I am going to start Bleach and Chobits this week. I have already downloaded some of the chapters. Will let you know what I think?
Fantastic! Do let me know what you think, but don't make judgements too early on Chobits. It takes a while to get going, but then the same can be said about Bleach. It was volume 3 that solidified it for me.
I still think you should read Wish. Put that on your to-read list.
Well I like Bleach a lot more than Chobits, but that's probably because Rukia is my favorite female manga (and comic book in general) character.
I still think that good female comic book characters are hard to come by, even in Japanese comics. But Rukia is a great one - as well as one of the best secondary characters I know of! ( Ichigo, a red-haired tough boy, is the main character of Bleach )
Bleach has more good female characters than any other manga or American comic that I've ever read (with the possible exceptions of X-Men and Sandman.)
So I'm sure you will like it, Shantara.
Edit: Although I have never read the fan online translations of Bleach, but have so far followed it mainly with Viz's translations - by buying the graphic novels as they come out. They might differ. I'm on volume 6 right now, and looking for volume 7.
I can't compare Chobits to Bleach because Chobits is a shojo title and Bleach is a shonen title. Two different animals there. Though there are a lot of males who like Chobits... and there are a lot of females that like Bleach...
But they're still very different. Chobits is a romance, Bleach is an action. I like them both for what they do best.
Hope that makes sense.
Anyway, Shan, you probably won't find an online download of Wish. I'm sure your funds are limited, but if you ever have a chance, I highly recommend buying them. Only 4 volumes. If you have a Waldenbooks or Borders Express near you, they sometimes do a buy 3 get the 4th free sale.
I'd scan my copies, but that'd ruin the spines...
As with a lot of manga, you can't get a good sense of it by just reading one chapter. Chobits will get better as you read more.
Silva, true I don't have money to throw away, but I don't mind buying them if I can just find them. Waldens here does not carry comics of any kind and we do not have the other store you mentioned.
I found a regular comics store in the phonebook and I am going to call them and ask if they carry them. They are about 30 minutes from us. And if that doesn't work, then there are some other bookstores over that way too. So far I have only checked the ones closest by.
And I would never ask you to scan them. I know what you mean about it breaking the spine. I am very picky about my books and I don't like getting the spine broken in them either. In fact when I was little I was afraid to open a book even wide enough to read it because I was afraid I would ruin it.
I had no idea. If that is the case, then I would never have found them. I checked the magazine section and around it, and then assumed that they didn't have them. I just assumed they didn't have them and never asked. Need to go back and ask.
Do they usually have a special section for them and if so what would it be called?
Shan - just ask for manga. They'll point you in the right direction. It is called the manga section. It's gotten that popular.
The waldens near me used to have them on shelves in front of the magazines, but moved them infront of sci-fi/fantasy. There should be several shelves of manga. The one near me has 6 bays of manga. (a bay is a shelving unit with shelves on both sides.)
Also look for shelves with stuffed toys laying on top. The one near me has lots of manga/anime merchandise strewn across the shelves.
Some comic book stores carry manga. The good/smart ones do. I have two stores near me that do, but the other don't or have very limited selection.
I should have asked about manga when I was in Waldens, but I never dreamed they would be on the shelves. I did look at the bays in from of the magazines and all through that section and found nothing. That is why I assumed they did not have them, but chances are that I was in the wrong place.
I should get the chance to go back this weekend and I will just ask.
Any idea as to why the bookstore is carrying the manga but not the comic stores? That seems a little strange to me.