Manga is pretty well-known among us folks that don’t get out much and have a thing for anime. I’ve had a thing for anime since I was in Kindergarten when my shit was Voltron. That was my shit for quite some time, actually. I would get home from Community Christian (my school at the time, funny, right?), wait for mi madre to finish with her show (General Hospital. It just so happens to be where she got her name for me….from a male.), and watch that shit. It was awesome. There’s just something about giant robots kicking asses that just gets to a young girl. I dunno. It was cool. Well, anime was banned in my house for a bit after I got WAY into Pokemon because my parents considered it Satanic. Thankfully, that bit in their lives ended right about the time little lassy me got a hold of the Internet. Turns out that there are a lot of shows that hail from Japan and in similar styles and just as fucked up story lines! I was stoked, and got sucked in. It was when I discovered that you can actually read the stuff that I about lost it. There are tons and tons of places to find it for free on ze Interwebs, and works for those reluctant readers that also have a hard on for graphic novels. Because that’s what these are, essentially. Graphic novels. But they just keep going and going and going and going. Many of these manga have close to a hundred books, just in the one series.
So! That was the introduction to manga that I am giving you! And now I’m going to tell you some of my favorites! A lot of these have tv shows to go with them, naturally. If I were you, I’d watch them subbed, because that’s what I do…and you get to read your shows that you watch! As such, you don’t feel completely brain numbed when you finish watching 18 hours in a row of the stuff.
…Introduction Pt. Two: I should probably mention that manga isn’t read how normal graphic novels are read. Not left to right, but the other way around. It’s not like uoy evah ot daer gnihtyeve ekil siht. No, everything’s just like this, actually, it’s just you start reading where us Westerny folks usually think we’re done and follow the speech bubbles in a right to left manner. Examples will be given as I show you lovely folks a bunch of the goodies that I enjoy. (Note: These are not in order of most favourite. These are just in whatever the fuck order I decide to put them in so…yeah.)
Numero Uno! D. Gray Man
So, if any of you follow me on Twitter, you know all about my obsession with Lavi, or Bookman Jr. Well, he comes from this particular manga! Also, if you remember me telling you guys that manga a lot of the time has kind of fucked up plot lines…well, here is a prime example. It’s about a boy, Allen Walker, who finds out that he is an exorcist. Exorcism does’t work in this alternate world though like it does in ours. Demons are actually creations from this smiling bad ass called The Millennium Earl. Well, they’re part made from him, and part made from the souls of those who are grieving over a loved one who is now dead.
He provides a shell, and tells his victim that they can call back their loved one and the soul will end up in this shell and they can live happily ever after, if the living would only call them back from the afterlife. Which they do. Every. Fucking. Time. Well, the Earl wasn’t lying when their soul inhabits this skeletal looking shell thing, they do, but then they immediately find it amusing to tear apart the soon to be dead’s body, places the shell with the soul inside, and bang! You’ve got a new demon.
Yeah. To kill them you need to be an exorcist. But not just anyone can become an exorcist, you’ve got to be able to tune into Innocence, which is then made as a weapon for you. Because if you can tune into an Innocence, you’ve no choice but to be an exorcist. It’s forced. Also I should mention that the demons in this are called akuma.
So the Earl is making armies upon armies worth of these guys that evolve depending on how many people they kill and he plans on all but destroying all of mankind. It’s only a little bad ass. So here, I’m going to give an example of the artwork, which is absolutely beautiful.
As you can see, the artwork is beautifully done, lots of detail. If you are not a fan of blood, this manga isn’t for you…though in the manga format at least it’s only black…
Numero Dos! Death Note
D. Gray Man follows an alternate timeline set…a long ass time ago. This manga is slightly different in the sense that it is modern. Like D. Gray Man, this manga also has akuma, but they are slightly different. This manga could actually probably fit under “magical realism” in fact to go with my other class mentionings, because it seems as though this could happen. I guess kinda look at it in comparison to “The Book of Sand.” Rather, they could go by the name “Death Gods” and they get bored easily.
Each death god is granted a name to write names in. The unfortunate owners of these names die. They either get heart attacks or die in whatever way is specified. So. What happens when one of these death gods gets bored and decides to “accidentally” drop it into the human realm with the list of rules for the book into the human realm?
Well. Yagami Light finds it, and how he uses it is quite interesting, because he decides he not only wants to scourge the world of people who don’t deserve to live, but he wants to be a god himself. The police start to realize that something isn’t quite kosher and start to look for a cause. Naturally, they can’t find one by themselves, so they seek out the help of the world’s best detective, simply called L. Keep your pants on, ladies, because both of the gentlemen in this manga are amazingly smart. So I guess if you’re a jersey chaser that shouldn’t be hard to keep your pants on…but eh. Rambling now.
Numero Tres! Future Diaries
Like romance? Like games to the death? Well…this manga has both. More games to the death than romance.
Okay. So that picture was taken from the anime, but the manga is just as good. It takes place when Yukki, a loner guy, gets given a diary by his imaginary friend: the god of space and time. So…maybe he wasn’t that imaginary, because this diary that is on his phone can predict the future.
But that’s not all. He is not the only one with a diary to predict the future–twelve others have this same gift. Not a big deal, right? Except for the fact that the twelve are now in a battle royal for a limited amount of time. The last person living gets to take the god’s place as an immortal. Bad. Ass. So, the diaries are essentially used against each other, and it turns into a game of wit to see how each person will play their diary, as each diary has its strengths and weaknesses.
That being said I have introduced you lovely folks to a few of my favorite mangas…though I like a good deal more. You can comment if you’d like more advice. I feel manga is a great idea to get people to actually read. It works like a graphic novel, but the plot lines are a lot more in depth, I feel, with manga than with graphic novels. This could be in part because it takes books upon books in order to finish it, whereas a graphic novel has one book. A lot can happen in a series vs. a book.
Till next time, Fish.