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Manga recs for girls middle school?


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LHanson11



Joined: 04 Nov 2014
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:29 pm Reply with quote
I am a parent at a progressive all-girls middle school in California. Our family has "adopted" the library, revamped the collection, started a library club, and gotten parents to staff open library hours so the girls have access during the school day.

I would like to add 5-10 manga series to the collection. Right now we have volume 1 of Sailor Moon, and that's it. Sad We do have a somewhat decent graphic novel collection, so what I'm really interested in is manga.

I have read this post many times: animenewsnetwork.com/bbs/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2856807&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 and perused the posts at Teen Librarian Toolbox and School Library Journal, and I am overwhelmed by all the options. I have started reading some titles I got from the public library, but the choices are many.

So far, I've read the first volume of Bleach (which I liked in general, but disqualified itself when Orihime's brother suggested she "just shove those magnificent boobs in his face and let HIM attack YOU") and OnePiece (no major female characters, but at least not demeaning). 15 more on the way from my local branch library but I'm already a little overwhelmed.

Which series' would you recommend for girls 10-15? Ideally, they'd feature strong girl characters, and NOT a bunch of scantily clad girls. I also don't want to insult their intelligence by offering only children's titles, fluff, or romance. Some of that is fine, just not all. Smile Some profanity, violence and sexual reference is fine, these are middle schoolers, as long as it's not demeaning to girls/women.

Any must-not-miss titles within these parameters?

Thanks in advance!!
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RAmmsoldat



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
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Location: North wales coast

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:29 pm Reply with quote
I quite like Kimi ni todoke, its a romance and the anime was the "sparkles and bubbles" show but its got some great characters in it and i don't feel like it depicts anyone too badly (sawako can be a bit naive but its more to do with her lack of social skills).

And also Honey and clover is very dear to me, again its a romance but its not conventional and has some good life lessons in it (personally resonating with me was the theme of finding your way) and again has a great cast of characters and isn't patronizing or full of fan service.

I assume you'll be checking out any recommendations prior to stocking them in your library so I wont throw everything that i can think of at you but these 2 are titles that I've enjoyed from my collection and I do try to get some shoujo in there as I like to take in good manga whatever its target demographic.
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Tamaria



Joined: 21 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:08 am Reply with quote
If you're up for another long shonen series, perhaps Kekkaishi or Fullmetal Alchemist (both Viz)? Both are drawn by women and they know how to write interesting and strong female characters.

The Story of Saiunkoku (Viz) may be a good choice, as well. It's about a young girl who wants to work as a civil servant in the imperial court of a country were women are barred from holding office.

A series that will probably appeal to the 13-15 crowd is No. 6, published by Kodansha USA. It's a dystopian manga. The main character is from what seems the perfect city, but of course he soon discovers the people beyond the high walls of No. 6 lead very different lifes. One thing I should warn about: the two main characters are male and develop feelings for eachother. The manga is really light on romance and they won't go beyond a simple kiss, but yeah, you should probably be aware of that before placing it one the shelves.

Or maybe a classic like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind? Viz releases a new edition every once in a while.

And if you don't mind tracking down a somewhat older series: From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa, also published by Viz. It's got some romance, but it's mostly an adventure series set in a fantasy world. The main character is not a fighter, but she's clever and a hard worker.
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st_owly
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 20 May 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:29 am Reply with quote
I'd definitely agree with the Story of Saiunkoku. The female lead is a great role model as well. Kekkaishi and FMA are great shounen series, and perhaps most importantly, they're complete so you won't have to worry about constantly buying new volumes.

Kimi ni Todoke is a great series too, and you might find shy girls can relate to the protagonist.

I'd also suggest Library Wars, perhaps for the 13+ girls. Although it's military themed, it's not particularly violent, and the themes of censorship and literary freedom would be great things to discuss with your library club. Here's the synopsis from Wikipedia:
"The premise of Toshokan Sensō involves the Japanese government passing the Media Betterment Act (MBA) as law in 1989 which allows the censorship of any media deemed to be potentially harmful to Japanese society by deploying agents in the Media Betterment Committee (MBC) with the mandate to go after individuals and organizations that are trying to exercise the act of conducting freedom of expression activities in the media. However, local governments opposed to the MBA establishes armed anti-MBA defense force units to protect libraries from being raided by MBC agents under the Freedom of the Libraries Law. The conflict between MBC agents and library soldiers has continued to 2019, when the story begins."

Anything by Arina Tanemura is a pretty good bet as well, and perfect for your age range. Full Moon is a sweet, if tragic story, and Phantom Thief Jeanne is a fun adventure. Mistress Fortune is fun, and also only 1 volume.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
Posts: 1612

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:19 am Reply with quote
I don't read manga, but I suspect Nodame Cantabile would be a good choice. It does have some boozing and a somewhat lecherous side character, but it's rare to see anything for teenagers that takes classical music seriously. Nodame can be pretty ditzy at times, but she's actually quite canny and obviously a very talented musician.

Volume 1: http://www.amazon.com/​Nodame-​Cantabile-​Vol-​Tomoko-​Ninomiya/​dp/​0345481720

I'd also endorse Saiunkoku Monogatari. Shurrei is a terrific heroine and role model.

The light novels for Twelve Kingdoms and Seirei no Moribito are also available in English.

http://www.amazon.com/​Twelve-​Kingdoms-​Paperback-​Sea-​Shadow/​dp/​1427802572/​

http://www.amazon.com/​Moribito-​Guardian-​Spirit-​Nahoko-​Uehashi/​dp/​0545005434/​
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Aylinn



Joined: 18 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:24 am Reply with quote
I suggest Nodame Cantabile; a series about a girl who is a talented pianist. Also, Pandora Hearts, a story written by a women who was inspired by Alice in Wonderland, is a good mystery with plenty of character development. It is not yet completed, but that it will end soon was already announced. I think it may have 2 or 3 more chapters, which means it will end in two or three months.
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RAmmsoldat



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
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Location: North wales coast

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:49 am Reply with quote
Wasn't that series left unfinished when del rey packed in though?
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Touma



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:07 am Reply with quote
^
According to my records Del Rey released only 16 of 23 volumes of Nodame Cantabile, and Kodansha Comics did not pick it up.

It is possible that my information is out of date.
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RAmmsoldat



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:30 am Reply with quote
no that sounds right, its unfinished
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:57 am Reply with quote
I looked at the summaries of anime episodes for Nodame at Wiki and the blurb for each volume at comicvine.com.

Volume 16 of the manga corresponds to episode nine of the Paris-Hen sequel to the original anime series.
spoiler[Nodame travels to Saint-Malo with Chiaki, Tanya and Kuroki for her very first recital. However, her companions are worried about her insecurity, as she usually has trouble in playing pieces by Mozart.

Piece featured: Sonata in D Major Allegretto, K576 - by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jeux d'eau by Ravel ]


The library could buy the first nine volumes of the manga which end where the original anime does: spoiler[Chiaki asks Nodame to go to Paris with him.] That's as good a place to stop as any.

The original anime season streams legally at Crackle with English dubbing, so the students could see how the manga was translated to the screen. None of the animated material beyond that first season, and none of the live-action adaptations, are available legally in the US as far as I can tell, though they are all most certainly "available."
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Dessa



Joined: 14 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:20 pm Reply with quote
I'll reply later with input from my teen librarian roommate (yay for having a live-in reference for these things!), who has a link to a website by the ALA on great graphic novels for teens (boys and girls, and western and manga, but it's a good starting point).

I know you said manga-only, but I do feel I should point out ElfQuest, despite it being American. Dark Horse's representative and I had a lengthy conversation at Sakura-Con over how much the audiences for ElfQuest and anime/manga overlap, and I was shocked that they hadn't brought any of the issues with them (they made a note to change that for their next anime con). However, I'd go more toward the DC editions, which were traditional manga size. I'll warn you, there is nudity, sex and violence (blood but no guts), but none of it is gratuitous, so you might consider it for the older girls. I was in late elementary school when I got into the series, which I read from my mother's comics. It's penned by a wife/husband team (she's the artist/lead creative drive, he's the writer and editor), and was originally done independently, and is still going 36 years later. Even better, you don't need to even get it from the library to check out, you can just check out the official website (note: start with the Original Quest, not All New ElfQuest). Heck, you might even just consider sending the girls you think would enjoy it to the website, not even having to buy it. All but the newest stuff is there, and the newest stuff is currently being released bimonthly by Dark Horse as comic books (far too long of a wait!).

Saiunkoku, Library Wars, Pandora Hearts, and Nausicaa I will heavily back as well.

I'd also recommend La Corda d'Oro. There is romance, being a Hana to Yume/Shojo Beat series (and based on a dating sim), but it's very back burner to the story. Seiso Academy has both a regular department, as well as a music department where students focus on music. There's also a big music competition every few years, and this year, a regular student has been chosen by the school's fairy, and given a magical violin, to remind people of what the word for "music" means (it's made of the kanji for "fun" and "sound").

Chrono Crusade takes place in 1920s US, and has a nun and a demon working together as exorcists. It gets a bit dark toward the end, but not too dark.

Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse is a new take on the Evangelion story, giving it a feel very similar to the Persona video games, specifically 3 and 4.

Magic Knight Rayearth (both I and II) actually features middle school girls, transported to a magical world, where they're told that it's their job to become Magic Knights, summon the Rune-Gods, and rescue the princess that supports the magical world. Obviously, there's more going on than they're told, which is where a lot of the story comes from, especially in the second half.

They're light novels and out-of-print, but if you can track them down, Slayers would be a great addition (I'm not big on the manga versions). Slayers is about a small (glances around), flat-chested (is ready to run) sorceress, who travels the world looking for treasure, accompanied by a dumb-as-brick swordsman, and some other friends who come and go. And they end up in all sorts of (mis)adventures that are way bigger than they'd really prefer.

Suikoden III is also out-of-print (don't let the name fool you, it's adapted from the third game in a series, but it's a stand-alone story), but a really good fantasy story. In some aspects, I actually prefer the manga to the game, and it's one of my favorite game series (and my favorite game in the series). There are 3 lead characters (each with their own storyline), one of whom is a female Knight Captain, and each are equally important. There are also a number of other strong female characters. If you look deeply into the story enough, you'll see pretty strong themes involving ethics, multiple sides to war, and to what extent is it okay to "do the right thing", when it hurts other people in the process.

Vampire Knight skews to the romance side, but it also appeals to fans of vampire stories. Things do get a bit squicky, depending on your POV, after spoiler[it's revealed that Kaname is both her brother and her ancestor, and they're still romantically involved,] and that spoiler[her parents were siblings], but it's still a strong series. The final volume (19) was just released recently. I haven't read the latter stuff yet, I was waiting to get the last volume so I could read all of the second half together.

Well, that's to the end of my personal collection. I'll get that link from my roommate later.


[edit] Here's the link from my roommate: Great Graphic Novels for Teens, which is updated yearly.
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LHanson11



Joined: 04 Nov 2014
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:00 pm Reply with quote
This is FANTASTIC, thank you!! So helpful!

I got From Far Away, Magic Knight Rayearth! and Vampire Knight out of the public library the other day. Picking up Kimi ni Todoke today, and have put a bunch of others on hold (I'm limited to 10 Smile)

I ordered the first volume of Suikoden III and Phantom Thief Jeanne used on Amazon because none of my public libraries have them. And we actually have the first Moribito book in our library (I think there are 2), but no one has checked it out in over a year. May be time to hand sell it. Smile

Would you also recommend we check out Sakura Hime by Arina Tanemura?

Let me know if you all think of anything else -- this is an amazing start!! Thank you so much!!

Lisa
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Alan45
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:11 pm Reply with quote
Concerning the Moribito novels, by "hand sell" I seriously hope you mean recommend them and not get rid of them. They are both excellent, very reminiscent of vintage Andre Norton.
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LHanson11



Joined: 04 Nov 2014
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:01 pm Reply with quote
Sorry, yes, sometimes I have to talk individual girls into reading great but less popular books! Usually, that starts a chain reaction.

Sometimes it's hard to compete with the bestsellers, but we have a solid core of fantasy-lovers who should be willing to give it a try. It's the realistic fiction fans I have a harder time with, probably because I'm generally a fantasy fan myself. Smile
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Dessa



Joined: 14 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:20 am Reply with quote
I read the first volume of Sakura-hime, and while it definitely wasn't bad, it felt "off" to me somehow, like she wasn't sure what she was going to do with it. It almost felt as if it was meant to be a one-shot, and then it was popular enough that she was asked to continue it (not sure if this is the case or not, but it has that feel).

I'd give it a try and see what you think, I didn't get further than the first volume.
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