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Let’s face it - getting deep into the world of manga is no easy task. Sure, manga is a big hit with many young folks and certain types of readers out there. Yet its wackiness is something that takes time to get used to. What if your friends are not sure what to get into? Do some of them believe in certain stereotypes about manga? The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Dark Horse Comics has got you covered with their upcoming book, “CBLDF Presents Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices”.
While the book is scheduled to release in December, copies were sold at Anime Expo 2013. A friend of mine managed to get a copy for me and boy, is this book something that gets you thinking about how to recommend manga to people and more.
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Have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a vampire? What if I told you that there are people that there are vampires out there and you could be one too? No, I’m not talking about those crazy people that try to be real-life vampires by drinking blood, but those who put a mental strain on others relationship-wise. The crazy world of Hiroya Oku’s GANTZ has been known to freak readers out with its violence and monstrous aliens. Midway through the series, things took an interesting turn as Oku introduced the Vampires, a group of individuals whose existence is to make the Gantz players’ lives a living hell. While not true “vampires”, the Vampires in this series reflect the desires of those who want to drain your life emotionally. In essence, we can all be “vampires”.
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It’s that time of year once again. The season of giving. Time to find out who’s been naughty or nice. Thankfully, there are a variety of manga series that appeal to folks who’ve been good all year or just a bit bad. In collaboration with the 2011 Great Manga Gift Guides, it’s time to present Manga Therapy’s 2011 Great Manga Holiday Gift Guide!
Here are a few manga titles that I feel make great gifts for readers.
Blue Exorcist (Volume 1-5+) by Kazue Kato, VIZ Media
Does it make sense that I have to start off with one of the hottest shonen titles in 2011? Blue Exorcist is a manga that continues the dominance of female mangaka writing shonen manga. The characterization is very well-done and the plot is original. Also, girls will fall in love with Rin and Yukio Okumura.
Fullmetal Alchemist Complete Box Set (Volumes 1-27) by Hiromu Arakawa, VIZ Media
Hiromu Arakawa’s grand masterpiece in one box set. Do I really need to say anymore? FMA is arguably one of the most epic manga series ever written. This series has everything you want in a shonen manga. From start to finish, you will enjoy the journey of the Elric brothers as they show off the power & perseverance of humanity.
Drifters Volume 1 by Kohta Hirano, Dark Horse Comics
Time travel? Check. Historical figures? Check. Lots of violent fighting to stop evil? Check. Drifters is an interesting title that highlights how cruel people can be. Plus, it’s from the same guy who did Hellsing. The main villain also looks like a Nazgul from Lord of the Rings.
The Drops of God Volume 1 by Tadashi Agi & Shu Okimoto, Vertical Inc.
This is for those who want to read a manga title that doesn’t focus on violence & sex. This international phenomenon has impacted reality in many ways and has received much press attention from popular media outlets. If you’re a wine enthusiast, you will LOVE this manga. For anyone else, it’s a nice change of pace from the usual manga you see everyday.
'A Bride's Story' Volumes 1-2 by Kaoru Mori, Yen Press
A title that has won critical acclaim in both Japan & America. The story focuses on a young lady named Amira, who marries a younger boy named Karluk in the Middle East. The artwork is gorgeous and realistic. This is a cute and fascinating title that takes a look at the structure of family and marriage.
20th Century Boys (Volumes 1-15+) by Naoki Urasawa, VIZ Media
One of the most suspenseful manga I have ever read, period. The Eisner Award-nominated 20th Century Boys is a title full of mystery and intrigue. If you want a title that throws crazy plot twists and you love crazy cult figures, then this is your book.
Sailor Moon (Volumes 1-2+) by Naoko Takeuchi, Kodansha Comics
This is the female role model that all the little girls should look up to. All I can say is that it’s a good title to show to young teenage female readers interested in manga. It’s also a great history lesson for them as well as they get a chance to read one of the most influential shojou manga out there.
Princess Knight Volume 1 by Osamu Tezuka, Vertical Inc.
A gem that would help set the tone for shoujo manga. You can’t help but admire Princess Sapphire and her determination to be a hero to others. This is another influential title that I feel young female manga readers HAVE to read.
The Book of Human Insects by Osamu Tezuka, Vertical Inc.
An intense, thought-provoking story where you see how certain people can be very manipulative towards others. The main protagonist isn’t someone you can actually root for. This title is recommended for those who love complex characters in their stories.
This is just a small sample of what I would recommend. What other manga titles do you think would make great gifts for readers? Post in the comments section below and let me know what you would give!
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Ahh, immortality. People seem to desire the ability to live forever. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? You can never age and plus you can never die. However, there are serious flaws to immortality. Our hero, Manji, seems to discover this when he becomes immortal in the Eisner award-winning samurai epic, Blade of the Immortal, by Hiroaki Samura. Being immortal can lead to so much mental & physical trauma that you wish that you were normal.
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Recently, I’ve been seeing advertisements & commercials for the upcoming “vengeful woman” film, Colombiana. The movie’s tagline goes like this: "Vengeance/Revenge Is Beautiful". Seeing the promotional media for the film has got me thinking about an old-school manga that I read not too long ago. That manga is none other than Lady Snowblood by Kazuo Koike & Kazuo Kanimura. This bloody tale of vengeance (& other various tales of women seeking revenge) has left me wondering if women really are more vengeful than men & what gets people fascinated with scorned females.