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"I feel so empty…Why should a woman living life to the fullest on her own feel so empty? Momma, I want…Mr. Mizuno!!"
With how the world is today, we often hear stories about people who make others suffer and/or have no regard for the well-being of their fellow man. The media portrays them as heartless and cruel. But what if underneath their scary exteriors, they secretly have a yearning for a connection that they hope to find? This is extremely prevalent in Osamu Tezuka’s “The Book of Human Insects” with regards to the main lead character, Toshiko Tomura. She is considered to be a very callous individual who constantly manipulates men to achieve fame and glory. However, Tomura has a deep attachment to a former flame, Ryotaro Mizuno. Her confused mindset makes you wonder if extremely apathetic individuals can truly develop feelings of attachment.
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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!