Anime World Order's Manga

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Most of what I add to the encyclopedia is things I've seen all of. But some things were just never fully translated into English that I feel obliged to speak about. Again, www.animeworldorder.com and www.otakuusamagazine.com is where I tend to keep my lengthy manifestos these days.

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Golgo 13 (manga) Masterpiece At first glance, Golgo 13 seems terribly one dimensional. Indeed, Duke Togo's been doing largely the same stuff week after week for over 40 years without really changing his facial expression much. But it demonstrates possibly better than any other English language manga release that manga's target audience is not just kids, teenagers, or college students. This is manga squarely for middle-aged men, and so it's no surprise that the massive degree of negative sentiment towards Golgo 13 is from the writings and words of people decidedly outside of its single intended viewing audience.

Please note that this list is by no means comprehensive. It doesn't reflect all which I've seen or read, and my comments are [relatively] brief. My full thoughts on given titles are generally found within episodes of the Anime World Order podcast (www.animeworldorder.com) or at Otaku USA Magazine (www.otakuusamagazine.com).

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Battle Angel Alita (manga) Very good One of the first manga series I started reading, but that's not why it's still one of the best. http://tinyurl.com/ddob7x details that. In my mind, Yukito Kishiro succeeds at doing what Masamune Shirow fails to do time and again. He's also one of the best when it comes to depicting action scenes on the printed page that actually make sense and are planned out. Also: ROCKET HAMMER.
Battle Angel Alita: Last Order (manga) Decent The artwork's even cleaner than before, but what was supposed to be a replacement ending actually has nothing to do with resolving matters whatsoever. The setting changes, the characters all pretty much change, and frankly it's hard to care. Last Order is pretty, but it's turned Battle Angel Alita into Just Another Shonen Action Series. A martial arts tournament? Seriously? Bring back Rocket Hammer.
Eagle (manga) Masterpiece You want to talk about why manga beats US comics? Eagle is the reason. Even stuff like DMZ and Ex Machina are not politically-based comics the way that Eagle is a political manga. This is literally a manga about the process of a Hawaiian-born half-Caucasian running as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States against an old Republican Vietnam war hero. SUCH A THING COULD NEVER POSSIBLY HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE. Political manga is great stuff, and Eagle is one of the best. Unfortunately, traditional US manga readers will not touch Eagle with a 10-foot stick because the target audience for this skews for people in their older teens to 20s and up.
(The) First President of Japan (manga) Excellent If Eagle is compared to The West Wing as far as political manga is concerned, First President of Japan would be like 24. It's only a few volumes long, but every chapter contains one earth-shattering world crisis after the next, which is solved by the power of a bunch of old men in suits being COMPLETELY AWESOME. This ran in Raijin Comics, which despite running a lot of great stuff didn't have anything popular among American fans to hook in readers.
Fist of the North Star (manga) Masterpiece It's far better to demonstrate to people why Fist of the North Star was and remains the torchbearer for the entire shonen action/adventure genre by showing them the manga, rather than the anime. The artwork is much better, there's no filler, and it's seriously done throughout. Unfortunately, the only way to read the whole thing in English is via a one-man scanlation project. Raijin Comics did a superb job with the Master Editions they released, but by the time they got around to releasing those, America had already decided that Fist of the North Star sucked thanks to all the prior botched handlings. Pity.
Maison Ikkoku (manga) Good I own every single volume of the original Viz release of this, but I don't have it in me to repurchase the unflipped editions. I suppose this is Rumiko Takahashi's best work since it actually ends, but the ending sort of comes together just at the end; it doesn't seem like something she'd planned out. Still, if I had to pick the greatest romantic comedy anime/manga, Maison Ikkoku is my hands-down pick, no question. Granted, Yotsuya is my freaking hero and role model.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (manga) Masterpiece It's dawned on me that I haven't watched the animated movie for this in at least a decade, and the reason is perhaps because of the fact that I read the manga. The scope of it all is so impressive, and it's hard to look at the depiction of Kushana as the primary antagonist of the film when here she's arguably the real hero. Kurotowa was always my favorite character. I've bought this entire manga three times over; once in the dustcover jacket editions (which I still own), one in the Perfect Collection editions (gave away as a gift), and once as part of the unflipped full-sized Viz rereleases. The unflipped one with the bigger pages is definitely the way to go, since Miyazaki's artwork is so detailed.
Offered (manga) Masterpiece Of all the completely insane Kazuo Koike/Ryoichi Ikegami collaborations, this one might just be the most insane because it's so short. In the first few pages, you get the Nazis on a quest for Gilgamesh's frozen semen and that's downright normal compared to what happens next. Everybody's naked all the time just because, and it effortlessly goes from "fistfight aboard blimp" to "I'm going to have my own eyeball cut out while I'm being fellated, and then I'm going to insert said eyeball so deep into your vagina that you won't be able to take it out" in a heartbeat. Forget about Super Saiyans, because this is Super Seinen.
Phoenix (manga) Masterpiece If you've read it, then you know this is perhaps the single most important manga title ever created. The problem is that most people have not read it, because "Osamu Tezuka" to most manga readers sounds like "William Shakespeare" to most English students. They're sick of hearing about how important and influential he was. Well, you know something? In the case of Tezuka, it's all true. I say this one more than any other comic is what really pushed the boundary for comics as a storytelling medium. SORRY, WATCHMEN FANS, DEAL WITH IT
Riki-Oh (manga) Masterpiece Tetsuya Saruwatari is a mad genius, who is practically keeping the genuine spirit of shonen alive thanks to titles like this. Insane gore with an even more insane plot and an utterly deranged cast of characters makes it awfully clear that this man was trained by Kazuo Koike. If you liked the live-action movie Riki-Oh, understand that was a very faithful adaptation of the first 3 volumes of this manga. THERE ARE 9 MORE AFTER THAT.
Sanctuary (manga by R. Ikegami) Masterpiece I love to use Ikegami's almost photo-realistic artwork as counterexamples to when people start talking about "manga-style" drawing. News flash: there's no such thing. This is a tale from the great mind who brought us Fist of the North Star about two people on a journey to take over Japan by getting control of the government and the yakuza. But in addition to the high melodrama and political intrigue, there's lots of sex, violence, and the first volume alone has our hero use a can of tomato juice to trick a girl into thinking she got raped. Man, I miss the glory days of seinen manga actually being released in the US.
Wounded Man - The White Haired Demon (manga) Masterpiece Pretty much just like Offered, only the insanity persists for 9 volumes instead of 2. In the first volume alone, our hero gets naked and fights off the bad guys by swinging a tree at them. Tied to this tree is his naked girlfriend, whom he asks to pee in his eyes to wash out blood. It only gets crazier from then on, since our hero is out to get revenge against the evil porno studio that secretly rules the world: GPX. It stands for God's Pornographic X-Rated Video, and it represents the X-rated pornographic videos of God. Look, you may be thinking "what crap," and you're entitled to that since I think the same thing about your precious Fruits Basket. But the US manga market is overflowing with girls' comics at this point, and there are pretty much zero comics like this being released here anymore. You can have yours. I just want mine too, okay?