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With all the manga titles available out in Japan and the world, one wonders how much manga do we consume that’s not really “outstanding”. While titles like Naruto, BLEACH, and One Piece rule the world, readers can get bored with them from time to time. It’s either that or all they know are the mainstream manga titles. Over-consumption of certain manga titles/genres can be pretty dangerous to a reader’s mind as it can create strong biases.
A book called “The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption” discussed an “information obesity” epidemic that’s happening with people in America. There’s too much information out there and people let themselves consume a lot without ill regard. Not many people are able to filter out the distractions the age of the Internet provides.
So, I want to ask you readers what makes a good “manga diet” in your minds. Send me some of your lists/suggestions/ideas and I will post them up here for everyone to see! What manga titles should make the “fruits and vegetables” portion that people need to consume more of? What titles should be our “sugary” guilty pleasures? How much of the “meaty” shonen battle manga can one be allowed to read? Are there “whole grain” titles that naturally get you pumping?
Feel free to send your suggestions to tonyyao82 (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject title, “MANGA DIET”. You can also comment below!
Looking forward to see a variety of diet plans filled with thoughtful stories, great characterization, and riveting protagonist/antagonist conflicts!
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Have you ever read shonen battle manga and wonder why do battles drag on and on for ages? Have you thought about why there is so much talking during battles as well? More importantly, why are shonen heroes so intent on training hard? There’s one manga series that asks these same questions while providing a solution in the most average way possible.
Look out, world, because here comes Onepunch-Man. This extremely wacky webcomic series by ONE and Yusuke Murata (of Eyeshield 21 fame) takes a look at the absurdity of shonen battle manga. It gives us an unappealing superhero who kills everything with one punch and has no desire to help people. Onepunch-Man also greatly questions how motivated can a person be after they achieve their goals.
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Yes, this is the only title. Look how pretty Masakazu Katsura’s art is!
On all seriousness, Matt Blind of Rocket Bomber recently asked manga bloggers to give thanks to the manga industry for all their hard work. He also asked folks to highlight what manga titles we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving 2012. I decided to join in on this feast since hey, creators and publishers really do look out for their fans. With a bit of Jimmy Fallon quirkiness, here are some notable manga series (both licensed and a few unlicensed titles) that make me go, “Arigato, Soushite, ARIGATO!”
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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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This is actually how I spend my Christmas every year. I sit outside with a weird creature and dote about when I’ll get my spotlight.
I want to wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year. If you read many manga (especially Shonen Jump manga), you will learn that friendship and bonds are important. Spend some time with the ones you love and never take anything for granted. Reflect on the year and think about what you can do to make next year better for you. Just be sure to make reasonable goals that you know you can achieve. While there are a lot of external factors beyond anyone’s control that can cause chaos, you have the power to control how you react.
2011 was quite a mixed bag this year for me. I can’t really say that it was either good or bad. All I can tell you is that I’m still learning about many things and realizing that I have to keep evolving in terms of gaining a greater sense of self-confidence.
A few days ago, I met with my boss at my daily job and she mentioned recommending me to be a social media consultant for one of her colleagues. I told her that I don’t know if I can do it since I don’t think I’m that good at social media. She said that I really shouldn’t think like that, because if I don’t take on that challenge, how can I grow mentally and get ahead in my career.
There are times when I don’t know what to write on my blog and I get frightened about what to say. I then tell myself, “You know what? Just write it out and get your brain flowing.” The worst thing you can do to yourself is stagnate.
Regarding manga, I’m starting to enjoy more seinen manga than shonen manga. I love series like GANTZ, Vagabond, ZETMAN, Liar Game, 20th Century Boys, Arakawa Under The Bridge, Chi’s Sweet Home, Twin Spica, I Am A Hero, Moonlight Mile, Eden: It’s An Endless World!, Billy Bat, Jormungand, House of Five Leaves, Blade of the Immortal, and Sprite. While I still enjoy reading shonen series (like Gintama and Blue Exorcist), the complexity of seinen just lures me in or it could just be the graphic violence/sex (*COUGHGANTZCOUGH*). Do I have high hopes for more seinen manga published here in North America? Of course.
So yeah, enjoy the holidays and have a good time! Go under the mistletoe, drink some eggnog, give gifts, andshare embarrassing stories about your friends and family to everyonehave civilized conversation with everyone.
Finally, for the Gintama fans, since the title of this entry mentions two of the most frightening characters in the series, here’s an Android game that just came out in Japan recently featuring those two.
Apparently, there’s now a mobile game version of Kagura’s story from episode 222 of the anime, “Record of Light and Dark: Fakinaway”. Don’t you just love how they spelled the title in Final Fantasy lettering?
If anyone pisses you off this holiday season, shout out ‘Hell’s Fakinaway!’ and orchestrate the Catastrophe of Sephiroth on them.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, Y’ALL!
Special thanks to Bobbie for the Fakinaway screenshot.
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This past Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending a wine-tasting event in New York City to celebrate the release & success of the hit wine manga “The Drops of God”, hosted by Vertical Inc. & Bottlerocket.
It was truly a fun experience as I got to see some familiar faces and also meet a few new faces. I can’t ever recall a time where I discussed comics and video games over a glass of wine.
Much thanks go out to the crew of Vertical Inc. and Bottlerocket for putting a event like this. Let’s hope that more events like this happen for young adults who want to learn more about wine.
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“Wine does not live in a vacuum and it is sampled and savoured in the context of our life experiences.”
While shonen manga is the mainstream genre of manga, there’s one manga that has gone beyond mainstream & plays a direct effect on reality itself. The trio of Tadashi Agi (the pen name for the brother & sister duo, Yuko and Shin Kibayashi) & Shu Okimoto have created a title that can decide the fate of one of the oldest drinks known to man, wine. The Drops of God (“Kami no Shizuku” in Japan or “Les Gouttes de Dieu” in French) has been a mainstay in the wine world since its debut in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning back in 2002. The manga is a great example of how wine plays a huge effect on the people who are enthusiastic about it.
The story of this fascinating tale revolves around a young man named Shizuku Kanzaki, who is trying to gain the inheritance of his late father, Yutaka Kanzaki. In order to do so, Shizuku has to find & name thirteen different wines that are of great significance. The first 12 wines are known simply as the “Twelve Apostles”, while the 13th wine is the Holy Grail, the “Drops of God”. Standing in Shizuku’s way is Issei Tomine, a popular wine critic who just happens to be a second “son” to Yutaka. Shizuku is not a wine drinker, but goes forth in exploring the world of wine & using his great senses to become the “god” of the Kanzaki family. You can say that The Drops of God is a “wine battle manga”. Naruto vs. Sasuke has nothing on Shizuku vs. Issei.
Out of all the alcoholic drinks out there, wine seems to be the one drink that truly brings people together. Wine stimulates conversations and enriches your soul. It is also noted that wine can spark creativity. The manga even notes that the original purpose of wine is for it to be shared with others during meals. All of these benefits can lead to improved social status in reality. The health benefits cannot be ignored as well as wine can be considered a form of medicine.
Even though wine is such a powerful tool for networking, it seems that American young adult culture is still quite fascinated with other alcoholic drinks. The manga has grabbed hold of the Asian & European wine markets, which has led to a new wave of young wine enthusiasts. In America, a majority of young adults are caught up with beer, gin, whiskey, vodka, etc. Even if they do drink wine, it is mostly due to it being associated with a celebrity. Perhaps it’s the grown-up & sophisticated image that wine portrays. With regards to the character of Shizuku, he is young and sells beer for a living. Shizuku was at first very reluctant to try wine, but his father trained him during childhood relentlessly to be a wine enthusiast (much to Shizuku’s displeasure). Maybe it would help if there were some more great, yet casual, education about the intricacies of wine towards young people. Or better yet, show them the manga.
Possible poster boy for young wine enthusiasts everywhere?
There are a couple of things that I appreciate the series is trying to educate people on: the sense of taste & smell. Your senses can be taken for granted at times. They help to experience mindfulness and can make you feel very alive. Treasure the pleasant aroma that travels through your nasal passages and savor the amazing flavors in your mouth. You never know what good things could come when you pay attention to your senses.
“The Drops of God” has a great chance of being a big hit in North America and hopefully encourage more young adults to enjoy wine. So much passion & effort goes into making wine and winemakers’ efforts can be reflected in their products. It’s similar to a Japanese swordmaker making a blade that reflects its potential user’s soul.
Wine is truly one of the gems that has BOTH style & substance, wouldn’t you agree?
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Our world is faced with debt. We owe somebody something. Hell, our lives almost involve some level of debt. The important thing is to not let that debt spiral out of control. However, what if your financial situation got so bad that you have to resort to the shady world of loan sharks & the black market? This scenario is explored in the critically-acclaimed seinen manga by Shohei Manabe, Yamikin Ushijima-Kun (also known as “Ushijima the Loan Shark”). If you think your debt situation is bad, wait until you check out this series.
The story revolves around the lower class of Japan and their struggles to survive. The main character, Ushijima Kaoru, is a loan shark who is the head of Kaukau Finance, a black market group that lends money to those struggling & charges high interest on its loans. Although Ushijima is the protagonist, he is not a good guy. He is very ruthless when it comes to money and will resort to tricks to get what he wants. Even most, if not all, of his clients aren’t the greatest of people. They all have some sort of vice (gambling, drugs, etc.) that they want to feed. Yamikin Ushijima-Kun is arguably one of the most realistic depictions of Japanese society today. The series has gone on to have a TV drama adaptation in 2010 and will have a live-action movie in 2012.
I remember someone wrote about how debt is considered to be a “rite of passage” in order to become an adult. Having debt teaches responsibility, enables you to create a credit score, & forces you to make wise decisions. You can’t succeed without some sort of debt. At the same time, things can go horribly wrong & people end up borrowing more than they can chew. In Ushijima, our “hero” wants to put an end to those who decide to keep fooling around with money by charging insane interest rates (as much as 50% every 10 days) & forcing people to do unpleasant things for money.
Why does the lower class of society tend to be the ones in debt the most? It could come down to the belief that money is the source of all happiness. Those on the lower end may believe that having money makes themselves worthy of praise. They can’t seem to see past that belief. Those individuals tend to have low self-esteem. Money, in their eyes, determines what kind of person they really are. Another big issue is that they simply do not know how to deal with debt when they take it. Sometimes, people underestimate making payments and rather deal with them when the time comes. By not planning now, they end up kicking themselves even more than they need to.
The manga also presents an interesting dilemma: can a loan shark be a blessing in disguise? Loan sharks are technically terrible people to deal with and you really don’t want to be caught under their web. They will give money to ANYONE, including criminals if need be. The protagonist, Ushijima, says that those in debt are complete morons and need to be taught a lesson. That is his reasoning for being extremely evil towards his clients and have them perform unfavorable jobs to come up with cash. Ushijima is quite the character and he really makes you question whether we should be sympathetic to those in debt. The manga also makes you think about how we need to deal with a bigger issue: poverty. What changes do societies need to take in order to ensure that the poor don’t stay that way forever? How do we prevent those who are financially stable from falling down to poverty levels?
Yamikin Ushijima-Kun is truly a thought-provoking manga that gets you thinking about the power & temptation of money. It also could be telling us that we should have some responsibility in educating others that money isn’t the true source of happiness.
This is a title that is worthy of being put on JManga (which the manga should be on). If you want a hard-nosed, gritty, no-nonsense, & realistic manga, Ushijima’s tense adventures will beat their way into your brain and leave you floored. Who ever thought evil can actually do some good?
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After seeing the 1st Gantz movie, I was wondering whether the 2nd part would have a chance of premiering in America. The 1st part drew much attention and made it big at the Japanese box office. This past Saturday, Japan Society fulfilled my wish as they showed GANTZ: Perfect Answer, the conclusion to the Gantz live-action movies, to a sold-out audience. Was it a satisfying end? Let’s just say that things started out with a bang, but ended with a few pitfalls.
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Ever felt like you were just stupid? Feel like you should’ve been important, but really, you weren’t? Then you might have been just like Hon’iden Matahachi from the critically-acclaimed manga series, Vagabond. Matahachi is a man who grew up with the protagonist, Miyamoto Musashi, and spends so much effort to share the same spotlight with him to the point where it literally drives him insane.
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