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Princess_Irene



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:04 pm Reply with quote
This was attempted in another thread which has now run off the proverbial rails, but it was a very good idea, so I'm taking the liberty of starting it under a slightly different heading. Obviously we reviewers can't cover everything that comes out, manga-wise, even if the sheer numbers of series coming out aren't what they once were...and many of those "once were" titles are now out of print to boot. So what are some hidden gems of manga that for whatever reason never got the critical attention they deserved? Mistress Fortune and Kimi Kiss have both been mentioned, what are some others?

For me personally, I would offer up Line by Yua Kotegawa. It's a story, essentially, about learning to pay attention to the people around you, ground that has certainly been tread before, but it has a slightly more action-packed take on the story, not to mention a bit of fanservice, and I've actually used it in my classes before. ADV kept it in print for a fair amount of time after they stopped publishing manga, so it's pretty easy to get.

I also have a very soft spot in my heart for Saint Tail and Dream Saga, both by Megumi Tachikawa and published by Tokyopop. The former is a magical girl story about Meimi, a girl who becomes the mysterious thief Saint Tail and with her nun-in-training friend Seira does good deeds that look bad right under the nose of the police chief's son, her romantic interest. It's sort of like Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne Lite. Dream Saga is about a group of kids who can remember the land we all go to in our sleep, Takamagahara (taken straight from Shinto mythology). Only certain people can remember their dreamlives, which adds tension to the romantic subplot, and overall it is an unusual, interesting fantasy, particularly the mythological aspects. I don't know how easy either would be to find now - Saint Tail was one of TP's earliest - but a library should at least be able to ILL them.

Other series anyone can think of?
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st_owly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:22 am Reply with quote
<looks>

Tokyopop published a lot of josei back in the day. I was just reading some of my Erica Sakurazawa and Mitsukazu Mihara stuff yesterday, and it's so nice to have a romance story which isn't set in high school.

Another, more recent Tokyopop series I'd mention is Eensy Weensy Monster, by Masami Tsuda. It's just 2 volumes, and one of the last things TP managed to complete before they were sunk. It did get reviewed on this site, but I think it's still relatively unknown. It's a cute little story with a firey protagonist, which is always good.
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poonk



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:50 am Reply with quote
st_owly wrote:
Another, more recent Tokyopop series I'd mention is Eensy Weensy Monster, by Masami Tsuda. It's just 2 volumes, and one of the last things TP managed to complete before they were sunk. It did get reviewed on this site, but I think it's still relatively unknown. It's a cute little story with a firey protagonist, which is always good.
I just read the synopsis for Eensy Weensy Monster and decided it sounded like a winner and e-mailed RightStuf to see if they could add it on to the order I just placed a few hours ago. *crosses fingers* Though I usually eschew anything with a HS setting (save BL, it's sometimes unavoidable), this sounds... different. And the brevity of the series (2 volumes, completed) helps. Thanks for the rec! And... more, please? Anime smallmouth
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Tamaria
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:36 am Reply with quote
Quote:

For me personally, I would offer up Line by Yua Kotegawa. It's a story, essentially, about learning to pay attention to the people around you, ground that has certainly been tread before, but it has a slightly more action-packed take on the story, not to mention a bit of fanservice, and I've actually used it in my classes before. ADV kept it in print for a fair amount of time after they stopped publishing manga, so it's pretty easy to get.


Line is one of my favourites from ADV, but I have to admit I never noticed the fanservice. Sure, Chiko's boobs are pretty big, but the mangaka fails at making them look sexy.

Quote:
Though I usually eschew anything with a HS setting (save BL, it's sometimes unavoidable), this sounds... different. And the brevity of the series (2 volumes, completed) helps. Thanks for the rec! And... more, please?


Have you ever tried Love Roma? It's set in high school, but it's very different from the typical high school romance manga. Love isn't threated like a high ideal with soulmates and what not. It's mostly teenagers being awkward and having fun. It's laugh-out-loud funny, but nothing too over-the-top. All five volumes were published by Del Rey and went out of print last year, but should be easy to find.

Another short and funny, out of print but cheap manga is 888, published by DrMaster. It's a light-hearted take on the detective genre, even approaching parody territory and the character say some strangely quotable things. The series was canceled after just one volume, but that one volume doesn't end with a cliffhanger, so it's a save buy.
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classicalzawa
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:50 am Reply with quote
Trust me when I say I can talk about "Hidden Gem" mangas for a long long time. I'll probably make a post now, then totally forget some things and make another post again in the future (partially because I'll discover new manga, partially because I'll have forgotten last time). I feel like I'll mostly be going through my collection. Sure, I have some uber popular things like Fullmetal Alchemist that I won't mention, but I also have a lot of stuff that more people need to know about too. Hopefully I shall mention at least one thing that any given person reading this hasn't heard of (I anticipate Tamaria being the hardest one on this as I feel like Tamaria has all of what's in my collection and then some). This is gonna be a maybe long post (I'll try to keep my talking about each series to a minimum to help that)

Now then, how could I possibly not mention Banana Fish here? I've made it very clear that it's my favorite series of all time, anime or manga, and I've read it at least 4 times and enjoyed it just as much the fourth time as I did the first. The story follows Ash Lynx, a street gangster who decides to rebel against his boss after a man dies in front of him saying "Go see Banana Fish". The man was killed by some people under Ash without Ash's consent (which rather pissed Ash off) and he decides to find out what Banana Fish is, after all, his comatose brother has been mentioning it too. What follows is a story of street gangs, the mafia, politics, and gun fights, and how it starts off is hardly describing why the story is so damn good. Also in the first volume, a naive but sweet kid comes over from Japan as a photography assistant and he ends up getting involved in the whole mess too. Romantically. With Ash, so yeah, there's a bit of yaoi tease there too, but the story knows that it would only be a distraction, so most of those yaoi looking scenes you secretly want are in the artbook. Banana Fish is really just a masterpiece of story telling, no thread out of place or left hanging and engaging from start to finish. I can hardly believe it's a shojo at all, it rather doesn't add up in my mind as such as it's incredibly un-shojolike (for example, a lot of shojo tend to look at rape as a reason for the two characters to get together, which usually leaves the reader going "you're falling for your rapist? Are you insane?", but in Banana Fish, rape is a horrific thing and not an excuse for love, so I do approve. And don't worry, all rape happens off page). So all I can really say at the end is "Go read Banana Fish" if you like seinen or think it at all might be your thing, and even if you're unsure, just go read it anyway.

While Banana Fish might be out of print, you should have no trouble finding Hikaru no Go. Hikago (as it is commonly abbreviated to) is basically a coming of age story using the game of Go as the backdrop. Don't worry if you don't know anything about Go, after having read the series twice I still only know the basics. But really, it should be a testament to the author that the story is still so damn engaging despite me still not knowing much about the subject material. Part of this is that you almost never just watch a game be played out like episodes of Yugioh tend to do. You'll see bits and pieces, but mostly see the character's internal thoughts, which is where the series really shines as I loved all of the characters and found them all interesting. It's just a great series and it made me wish all shonen were this cracktastic.

Time for a manhwa! And an accidental pun! Threads of Time is an 11 volume series about this modern day high schooler who starts having visions where he's back in (I guess) feudal Korea with Korea on the verge of going to war with the Mongols. But then he gets trapped in his vision and is now the son of a prominent family where the father is a war general. My problem with a lot of feudal stories is that I feel like I'm expected to know some basic level of history going into it, but Threads of Time didn't do that to me at all. It was written very well that way in that they story is still easy to get into without needing to know anything and without being told a history lesson either, so I must commend it for that. But you don't just follow the Koreans side of the story here, you also see a lot of the Mongols and their internal politics too. It's another politic war story, but it's damn addicting, the artwork is nice, and it's just a really interesting story. Definitely recommended to those who would like to get into more manhwa but are off put by how subtly different manhwa and manga feel (this series feels more manga to me)

A lot of you might say "Maison Ikkoku? That's such a no-brainer!" But keep in mind that for newer to manga people, it's so easy to overlook, especially since it's out of print now. It doesn't have the action that Rumiko Takahashi's other series do which seems to be instant appeal for manga newbs and it's also a far more reasonable 15 volumes long. However, I think most of us on the manga board will probably know this as one of the best romantic comedies ever created, which is what I'd want to stress to those new to the medium; This is the series you go to for romantic comedies before you attempt to read any other. And yet somehow it's not as popular as other Takahashi series, shame.

Let's go with one where it's hard to tell if it's manga or OEL with Felipe Smith's Peepo Choo. If the name sounds familiar, he also did MBQ, an OEL which Tokyopop pushed out which was actually pretty damn awesome, so I'm recommending both series. The key difference is that Peepo Choo ran in Kodansha's Morning 2, but was sadly cancelled after 3 epic volumes, and for such short notice, Smith did a good job giving it a conclusive ending. They're both the types of series that have a lot of plot threads going on at once that somehow all cross paths and eventually merge together. But the important thing here is that Smith remembers how damn fun and awesome it is that he's creating manga! So with the story, especially on MBQ, you just gotta go with the flow and enjoy some of the over the top-ness of it all. Peepo Choo is especially filled with great characters, like the poor little weeaboo Milton, the busty but annoyed that everyone is looking at her bust not her brains Reiko, and Morimoto Rockstar, the yakuza psychopath obsessed with American culture, all of which he has learned through (what are considered in America to be) so bad it's good gangster movies. His attempts to write cool sounding English words on a dead guy are nothing short of hilarious (spoiler[So/Cool/Groove/Dead]). The whole thing for both is really a tongue in cheek humor thing. Felipe Smith is really a unique experience that can only be summed up with "give it a try yourself"

Another personal favorite cracktastic shonen of mine is Firefighter Daigo. Also known as what is possibly Viz's worst selling manga. But trust me when I say it doesn't deserve it. It's mostly exactly what it says on the cover, a story about a firefighter named Daigo who joins the world's least active fire station. At least until Daigo joins and then everything from house fires, department store fires, hospital fires, wild tigers on the loose, a missing helicopter that crashed near a construction site, the list of craziness goes on, and then that place is possibly the busiest fire station in existence. It's like fate makes sure that every time Daigo is healed up from the injuries he sustained in the last epic fire situation, a more badass one will immediately commence. It makes the whole thing incredibly addictive and incredibly fun, since it's more than just burning houses. And I learned what a "# alarm" fire means too, so there's a bit of education in there, but it's so fun you won't notice it. Since it sold so poorly, it should be an easy series to pick up (because as far as I can find, no known scans of it exist), and it probably didn't do well at libraries either as a quarter of my collection is ex-library but it doesn't look it. I think due to the license agreement, Viz had to publish the whole thing when they clearly would have rather dropped it, but trust me when I say it's worth hunting down and that your collection will be better for having this unexpectedly awesome little gem.

NG Life was one of the last series that Tokyopop finished before shutting down. The day I got vol 9, I came back from the Borders, came over to ANN to brag that I got it, only to see the news that Tokyopop was finished. It's another romantic comedy, this time involving reincarnation. In particular, the cast all lived in Pompeii (with the expected volcano ending to their tale) and have been reborn in Japan between the ages of teenager and 20 somethings. The main's best friend from the past has been reborn as a girl, and his fiancee from the past has been reborn as a guy. The main remembers his past, but the best friend and fiancee do not, putting most of the awkward on the main himself (other characters will comment when he does those funny random poses manga characters tend to do when they're thinking too hard). What follows is a romcom that knows how to use each and every side character to the greatest effect possible and is interesting the whole way through. For those looking for a more modern romcom, NG Life is the way to go.

Another one I'm sure everyone around here knows about is Twin Spica, after all, a lot of us posted in the thread when we found out it was going OOP. For those not in the know, it's a coming of age story involving space school instead of Go, but it's every bit as engaging and addictive. But it's also somehow very sad, reading most of the volumes for the first time made me inexplicably want to cry my eyes out even when nothing actually sad was happening. Maybe it's because it involves a lot of talk about dreams and space, and space especially makes me sad since the NASA space program was kinda killed off in the past few years. All I can say is not to let the covers fool you into thinking it's not a serious drama, go pick these up asap.

And now I suddenly only feel like writing about one more, so I'm going to make it Flower of Life. It's hard to pick just one Fumi Yoshinaga series to talk about because they are all good. All of them. But this is her only series about high schoolers. In an age where I'm like "meh" to most high school drama comedies, it doesn't matter because Fumi Yoshinaga made this one. And all of her signature style is in here too, her incredible ability to go from comedy one panel to drama the next and have it work is here. And maybe the reason I liked this series so much is that these are the sort of people I could imagine hanging out with in high school: comic book and manga nerds. But I also love it when Yoshinaga pokes fun at yaoi (not the only time she does that) and other manga tropes. I can't possibly spoil the one in the first volume as I was laughing so hard I had to put down the book for like 5 minutes, she's simply brilliant. It also has some of that "characters make a manga series" thing, I quite like it when she does that. She really can make a series about anything she wants to and I will buy it. If you can't find Flower of Life, just read something by her, anything! Flower of Life is simply my favorite one is all. DMP printed it weird though, they printed 1-3 on a normal schedule, then there was a 2 year delay for volume 4 (with a low print run) and most people totally missed its existence, so now only vol 4 is OOP. Still, even if you can only get 1-3, do it!
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Princess_Irene



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:17 am Reply with quote
st_owly wrote:


Tokyopop published a lot of josei back in the day. I was just reading some of my Erica Sakurazawa and Mitsukazu Mihara stuff yesterday, and it's so nice to have a romance story which isn't set in high school.


Angel and Angel Nest are two of my favorite Sakurazawa titles - they really introduced me to the joys of josei. If only there had been more volumes of The Aromatic Bitters..! On that same not-in-high-school front, Tramps Like Us was another real winner from Tokyopop, and one of the more tasteful renditions of the "I'll keep you as a pet" genre. I loved the emotional growth that Sumire underwent over the course of the series.

Tamaria wrote:
Line is one of my favourites from ADV, but I have to admit I never noticed the fanservice. Sure, Chiko's boobs are pretty big, but the mangaka fails at making them look sexy.


Yeah, I actually didn't notice it either until I taught it to a class who had little to no manga exposure. They were pretty funny about it and certainly made me glad I teach at the university level. Laughing

classicalzawa wrote:
And now I suddenly only feel like writing about one more, so I'm going to make it Flower of Life. It's hard to pick just one Fumi Yoshinaga series to talk about because they are all good. All of them.


So, so true. Since you went with that one, I'll add Garden Dreams. I'm not sure what it was about this medieval-set single volume about love gained, lost, and generally not fulfilled that touched me so much, but in a single volume she managed to invest me in the story and characters. It put me in what we call in my house a good book rut - I couldn't find anything to read that even came close to measuring up.
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Tamaria
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:20 am Reply with quote
Quote:
(I anticipate Tamaria being the hardest one on this as I feel like Tamaria has all of what's in my collection and then some)


Quote:

It's another romantic comedy, this time involving reincarnation. In particular, the cast all lived in Pompeii


You got me! I'm not to sure about the romcom thing, but I love Please Save My Earth and Oyayubihime Infinity and this sounds kind of similar. I'm going to go read some reviews and maybe put this on my wishlist...

Oh yeah, Oyayubihime Infinity, that's a good one for this thread! If you're one of many who has lost faith in shoujo manga because all those indecisive, clumsy heroines who can't decide what to have for breakfast without a man in her life, this is the shoujo manga for you. Geishas, lovers' suicides, reincarnation and a somewhat geeky and withdrawn, yet confident main character who wants nothing to do with it. When she does get dragged in the whole mess by the boy who may or may not be her long lost love, her life changes for the better. And no, in this case that doesn't mean a stereotypical transformation, because Kanoko is too awesome for that.
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Mylene
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:25 am Reply with quote
I'm rather disappointed I missed out on getting Flower of Life, given how much I've liked Yoshinaga's other manga that I've read. Unfortunately, I originally crossed it up with Name of the Flower (which I found to be utterly blah) and it was too late when I had the wrong CMX "flower" title.

Speaking of CMX, while technically it's not all that unique, I found what they released of Venus in Love to be rather charming for the high school romance genre. It doesn't do anything new, but I just really enjoyed the characters and their interactions.

This is a hard thread for me, because I guess in some ways I can't get myself to quit associating "hidden gems" with just plain "obscure/artsy titles" so I don't know what I could write about here that I wouldn't write about in the Underground Manga thread. I'm a bit too black and white, it's either well-known (NANA) or underground (Fluffy Gigolo Pelu).

I suppose Paradise Kiss might qualify here? It's OOP, it's been overshadowed by NANA, and it really is excellent. I will always compare it to the anime, which I watched before reading the manga and was not all that impressed by (the seiyuu for Caroline really dropped the ball, in my opinion). But the manga made the characters much more likeable or at least understandable. It was easier to understand their motives for me than it was in the anime where George and Caroline seemed to lack personality or any sort of humanity.
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classicalzawa
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:03 am Reply with quote
@Mylene
Paradise Kiss isn't OOP anymore, at least not soonish. Vertical got the license, remember? Anyway, I remember renting PK from the university library and being the only person I know to not instantly fall in love with it, but when the library gets Vertical's release, I'll give it another shot.
Also, Flower of Life was DMP, not CMX (all these three letter publishers)

@Tamaria
OMG, something you haven't read yet?! Sweet! I would definitely give it a shot if you can, in some ways it's troperiffic, but it uses them well so I'm willing to let it slide.
I had considered mentioning Oyayubihime Infinity as well but figured that you (or I think Lys, who has an avatar from that manga) would probably mention it and gush over it for me. And yeah, I really liked Kanoko, she was a great heroine! Shame I didn't really like Dragon Girl by the same mangaka as much. DG was by no means bad, but it wasn't exactly special like OI was. And Yen Press' translation left me cringing at the strange use of talking about oneself in the third person when it wasn't a character quirk, it just made everything feel so awkward to me and it reeked of a lazy translation.
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poonk



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:18 pm Reply with quote
classicalzawa wrote:
And now I suddenly only feel like writing about one more, so I'm going to make it Flower of Life. It's hard to pick just one Fumi Yoshinaga series to talk about because they are all good. All of them. But this is her only series about high schoolers. In an age where I'm like "meh" to most high school drama comedies, it doesn't matter because Fumi Yoshinaga made this one.
...
DMP printed it weird though, they printed 1-3 on a normal schedule, then there was a 2 year delay for volume 4 (with a low print run) and most people totally missed its existence, so now only vol 4 is OOP. Still, even if you can only get 1-3, do it!
I could absolutely kick myself for not getting this series when it was still possible to get that v04 for under $50. Back then I only paid attention to Fumi Yoshinaga's BL* titles (also excellent, btw) and neglected her other stuff. Now I've gone back and collected all of that too, save FoL v04 (though I suspect one of these days I'll just cough up the money for it on Amazon Marketplace and consider it a lesson learned).

*[Or rather, "BL-related," as Antique Bakery was the first one I bought-- after watching the J-drama version-- and that's not really BL.]

Princess_Irene wrote:
On that same not-in-high-school front, Tramps Like Us was another real winner from Tokyopop, and one of the more tasteful renditions of the "I'll keep you as a pet" genre. I loved the emotional growth that Sumire underwent over the course of the series.
Oh, yes, I love Tramps/Kimi wa Petto! First I loved the J-drama! Then I loved the manga! And then I, erm... liked the recent Korean film. Laughing But seriously, this is what I want to see more of in manga.
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Tamaria
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:06 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
@Tamaria
OMG, something you haven't read yet?! Sweet! I would definitely give it a shot if you can, in some ways it's troperiffic, but it uses them well so I'm willing to let it slide.


All right, sounds like I have something to look for next time I'm near a bargain bin/Boekenfestijn! Very Happy

There's plenty of shoujo manga I haven't read yet. I lack the patience for long shoujo series, the main characters stay far, far away from the shoujo tropes. If I do read a longer shoujo, it usually has a healthy dose of adventure. Like Red River or From Far Away.

Quote:
I could absolutely kick myself for not getting this series when it was still possible to get that v04 for under $50. Back then I only paid attention to Fumi Yoshinaga's BL* titles (also excellent, btw) and neglected her other stuff. Now I've gone back and collected all of that too, save FoL v04 (though I suspect one of these days I'll just cough up the money for it on Amazon Marketplace and consider it a lesson learned).

*[Or rather, "BL-related," as Antique Bakery was the first one I bought-- after watching the J-drama version-- and that's not really BL.]


I think I've got more or less all her non-BL titles, the ones that were released in English anyway. I adore her stuff, but I'm not really into BL, so.. yeah. Has anyone read Garden Dreams? It's a oneshot DMP published several years ago. It's not her best work and appears to be (too) heavy on drama for most of the book, but I love the plottwist.
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classicalzawa
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:19 pm Reply with quote
Oooh, maybe I'll be able to find another one you haven't heard of, Tamaria!

Anyway, going to mention Gimmick! here, which is not to be confused with Hot Gimmick, a series which makes me gag. Anyway, Gimmick! (with an exclamation point) is about a special effects makeup artist. And he's trying to do some shonen thing like avenge his teacher and carry on his legacy and has this semi-sacred silver makeup spatula from his mentor etc etc, but mostly the point is to see Kohei do awesome special effects makeup and learn some cool stuff about it. He's also friends with a stuntman and a girl who can paint those Indiana Jones warehouse-style backgrounds (yes that's a painting in case you were unaware). So part of the purpose is mostly to have fun seeing Kohei be badass at being a special effects makeup artist and learn some stuff about the behind the scenes of movies too (and not just showing, but actually explaining how some of this stuff is done). The manga certainly notes that it's a CGI world, but you just can't beat a good special effects makeup artist, and it goes damn far out of its way to prove it (I'm certainly a believer in special effects over CGI now). It's one of those shonen where even when the plot threads are predictable, it's still just so darn much fun to read anyway!
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st_owly
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:12 am Reply with quote
I'm going to start with a shonen series this time.
Tegami Bachi is a really interesting fantasy/adventure story, published in the same Japanese magazine as Blue Exorcist, yet I never see anyone talking about it. Viz quietly puts out a volume every few months, the anime's still on Crunchyroll (it was popular enough to get 2 seasons) but it's just seemed to slip under everyone's radar. I just happened to find the first 3 volumes in a second hand bookshop for 2 quid each, so that's what got me started on it, and I adore it. You can tell the author has spent a lot of time crafting the world it's set in, as there's so much detail behind everything. Yes, it has the standard shonen tropes, but the characters, and the underlying mysteries in the plot easily make up for that. The art's very detailed as well, in some places it almost looks shojo-esque, and the series has an unusual feel to it because so many pages are black (the world in the story is mostly dark). The covers are also mostly a gorgeous shade of pastel blue.
I'd definitely recommend this series if you want something different from the usual "I've got a bigger sword than you" shonen manga. The first volume is definitely very much about setting the scene, but it's so worth it later on.

Now a BL series. Kazuma Kodaka's latest series, Border. I picked up volume 1 because Fake is one of my favourite series of all time, and I thought this seemed similar. Despite DMP giving the series an 18+ rating, there's not a lot of sexual content in the series compared to some BL. Instead, there's a lot of violence and the author is absolutely not afraid to show how brutal the criminal world is. I'm not entirely sure where the overall plot is going, nor who is going to end up with who, because of the 3 volumes that have been released in English, most of them have been spent exploring various characters' backstories and how they ended up where they are at the moment. That's not a bad thing though, and I'm looking forward to see where the story ends up going after everyone's past has been revealed. If you enjoy action/crime/mystery stories, you'll probably like this.

A dip into Del Rey's back catalogue.
Othello by Satomi Ikezawa. Although the plot seems very sterotypical shojo, and lots of unbelievable things happen, I did enjoy the use of multiple personalities in the story and most of the ridiculous things worked nicely as comic relief. I think the ridiculous things would've failed if the series had tried to be super serious, but it doesn't take itself too seriously at all, and the more serious bits tended to happen at the right times. I did actually feel sorry for the main character at points, which to me is always an indicator of good writing.
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Mylene
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:53 am Reply with quote
classicalzawa wrote:
@Mylene
Paradise Kiss isn't OOP anymore, at least not soonish. Vertical got the license, remember? Anyway, I remember renting PK from the university library and being the only person I know to not instantly fall in love with it, but when the library gets Vertical's release, I'll give it another shot.
Also, Flower of Life was DMP, not CMX (all these three letter publishers)


I know, but it is still currently OOP. Until it actually does get released anything can happen (look at Tokyopop, CMX, DMP, Del Rey/Kodansha's lost titles, etc.) Vertical is dependable, but so was CMX until one day they just didn't exist anymore.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 776
Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 4:12 pm Reply with quote
I have an admittedly dim view of a lot of manga-style Western comics, so I was pleasantly surprised when one of my students insisted that I read The Dreaming by Queenie Chan. First of all, I was relieved that her last name is "Chan" and she wasn't trying to sound cutesy, but that's probably my own issue. Embarassed More importantly, the story was a wonderful mix of touching and creepy. Based loosely on an Aboriginal myth (Chan is Australian), the story follows twins Jeanie and Amber as they move to a boarding school out in the bush. There are strange stories about the place, and about girls who have gone missing there, and soon Amber begins acting strangely. The truth about what happened years ago - not to mention in the more recent past - is chilling and Chan does a laudable job with atmosphere and mystery both. It isn't a happy story, but it is a haunting one and really deserves to be read.

Also on the "not from Japan" front, back in the day DrMaster translated two of Taiwanese author/artist I-Huan's works, Real/Fake Princess and Divine Melody. The second never finished, but the former is done at five volumes. It's the story of a missing princess from a Chinese dynasty and whether or not she can reclaim her heritage...or if she even wants to. There's also a love triangle in there, and Huan's art is static but beautiful. (If I could sew, I would make all the dresses.) Divine Melody is the better story, the tale of Cai Sheng, a fox demon who has the rare ability to become male. The other foxes, who can only be female, want her to be a boy to propagate the species, but Cai Sheng is more interested in reconnecting with the reincarnated spirits of her childhood friends from a couple hundred years ago. Of course there's some gender bending fun and romance, but Cai Sheng herself is just a fun, interesting person to follow, and it's a shame only five volumes were released in English.

And now I'm off to pre-order the new Hetalia manga! Very Happy
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