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"I’ll peel it all off. All the skin you’re hiding behind."
This world…is corrupted. It is filled with temptations that want to sway our hearts. Our hearts tend to harbor dark desires that we don’t want anyone to find out. If we get caught, we are labeled as perverts. But what is a pervert? Shuzo Oshimi tries to answer that question throughout his thoughful yet twisted ”The Flowers of Evil.” How much of that skin should we put on to live a life not affected by judgment?
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Ever grow tired of the fact that a majority of shonen titles are always about friendship, hard work, and victory? What if the world of “dark” shonen titles takes over the spotlight? In a 2012 manga retrospect at Otaku Champloo, Khursten Santos wonders what direction shonen manga seems to be heading towards to when she talks about the amazingly-written, coming-of-age shonen title, “The Flowers of Evil”. Is it changing for the darker perhaps?
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March 8, 2012 marks International Women’s Day! To celebrate, I want to briefly promote another headstrong female that North American readers will be seeing later this year: Mikasa Ackerman, the lead female of the smash-hit manga, Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin), by Hajime Isayama.
Mikasa is a character who’s driven by her dark past to fight for her adoptive brother (and main character), Eren Jaeger. Mikasa is considered to be a prodigy in the series as she excels in combat. The character is portrayed to be a kick-ass woman who remains calm and efficient in the heat of battle. She truly is a character that doesn’t take crap from anyone and is willing to question authority. Fans have also argued that Mikasa really acts on her actions unlike most female leads.
If you love female characters like Olivier Mira Armstrong, you will love Mikasa. She’s up there on the list of tough female characters. Need more proof? Here’s Mikasa showcasing her desire to protect Eren and her friend, Armin, from ANYONE, even the army that she fights for.
Kodansha Comics will be releasing the first volume of Attack on Titan on June 2012. You can pre-order Attack on Titan at Amazon.
Dare I say Mikasa is the antithesis to the wimpy shonen girl?
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I usually don’t write requests for certain Japanese manga titles, but I feel like this manga deserves a chance to make it big in the West. For those who have been keeping up with manga news, you may have heard about the new-found & ever-growing popularity of the shonen manga series in Japan, Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan), by Hajime Isayama. It is a series that has been critically praised by both fans & critics alike. The manga recently won the 2011 Kodansha Award for Best Shonen Manga. This is one title that should be taken seriously.
To sum up real quick on the plot of Shingeki no Kyojin, the story revolves a conflict between humans and the Titans. The Titans are a mysterious race of giant humanoids that eats humans. Humanity hides itself in cities surrounded by huge walls and people have created defense forces to fight against the Titans. A young man named Eren Jaeger is thrown into this conflict as his mother was viciously eaten by a Titan when he was a child. Together with his adoptive sister, Mikasa Ackerman, Eren seeks to kill the Titans and eventually get out of the walls that confine him. Think of this as a manga version of the Sony PS2 game, Shadow of the Colossus.
What’s interesting is that this title was pitched to Shueisha for one of its JUMP titles, but was rejected. The story does start off somewhat slow and the artwork can be a bit messy at times (then again, most first volumes tend to be like that). However, Kodansha seemed to love the idea and went with it.
What I like about Shingeki no Kyojin is the emphasis on walls. In the story, the walls surrounding the cities are EXTREMELY large and not many people can get past them. As much as those walls protect, they also prohibit as well. In some ways, it relates to how people have a lot of mental walls they want to get past in life. Some are small, some are large. Eren Jaeger represents someone who isn’t going to sit there and just wait while opportunities pass him by. He wants to break the “walls” down to live the life he wants to live. An overwhelming majority of people can relate to this, no matter what differences may define them (culture, race, etc.)
The title has appeared to hit it off well in Japan possibly because of its focus on complacency. In a time where things are uncertain in Japan, Shingeki no Kyojin has probably given off some vibes that people have to take initiative. Instead of waiting for hope, create hope.
Fans of dark fantasy manga titles like Berserk & Claymore are sure to like Shingeki no Kyojin. Kodansha Comics USA or Vertical Inc. should definitely consider it when they look over new properties to license. Then again, they might already be looking at it right now…
With its recent collaboration with Monster Hunter, Shingeki no Kyojin looks to be gaining more momentum. Let’s hope that momentum travels across the West.