July 30, 2007

manga report

so, i've been reading quite a bit of manga in the last month or so, and thought i could sum some of it up. maybe someone finds it useful. note- i read most (ok, all) of these as scanslations, so you can easily find and check out any of them. also, a big part of them is available in english (or french) as well.- - -since reading 20th century boys, which is amazing, and Monster (both by naoki urasawa, monster volumes 1 through 10 or so available in english), it's been tough finding something interesting. i googled some lists of best manga, and most of them had these as top three- one piece, death note, and bleach. one piece i just can't stomach since i really don't like the drawing style (and also, hear it's very similar to naruto, so might just as well read that). bleach i discarded for similar reasons.
death note, however, turned out excellent. i've read the first seven books, and it's been the best fun since monster. lots of twists, good pacing, good drawing, interesting characters, and it's been very thrilling through all of the first seven volumes. it totals at 12 volumes, available in english (i got the first 6).

homunculus is equally excellent, or better even. it's a completely different thing, weird, sometimes scary, and drawn wonderfully. there's no sign of it being translated and published in english (dunno about french), so it's just scanslations (7 volumes, read all of them). highly recommended.

biomega (from the creator of blame!; same universe, same stuff again) is quite popular, but not very good, actually. some good cinematic moments, and a surprisingly non-annoying combination of giger and such biomecha/dark art (with a fascinating drop in quality in volume 2); complete lack of plot and characterization on the other hand. bummer. if you don't need the plot and are around 14, check it out, otherwise no need.

akane-chan overdrive was on someone's list so i read the first volume. had some bright moments, but didn't really feel compelled to read the second book yet. classic boy-girl bodyswap.

genshiken is quite a popular one, or so it seems. it's about otakus (manga geeks, basically), and it's understandable why people like it. it wasn't bad, since i read all of the 8 volumes i could find, but missed something to make it really good. definitely worth reading, though.

team medical dragon is another random download, which started out as a GTO-ish medical thing, but got more serious in the second chapter. art is erratic, but it's an okay read.

uzumaki/spiral by junji ito is one of them classic mangas. only three volumes, read the first two, and it's good. scary stuff.

dragon head is responsible for the whole manga download mania for me. i saw a panel in a taschen book and loved it, however... it starts out wonderfully, as a lord of the flies/postapocalyptic thing, and gets kinda boring along the way. read the first six books or so. worth reading, you might find it better than i did. the first couple of books are nice, at least.

king of thorns seems grossly overrated. even though i like postapocalyptic, "what's going on", survival stories, this one just doesn't do a thing. also, the drawing part seems very fan-made, or a sideproject or something. dunno. i liked the atmosphere, but then again, i liked the atmosphere in the first resident evil movie.

maison ikkoku is a classic manga, and i love it! it was wonderful reading this after king of thorns, laughing my ass off through all of the 15 volumes. great characters, great drawing. this one's for everyone, check it out, at least the first book.

ranma 1/2, also by rumiko takahashi (as maison ikkoku) is great as well. read the first 8 volumes and it keeps cracking me up. stating the obvious again, but wonderful stuff, also a classic.

my balls is a good way to close up- this is a perfect example of why i love the japanese. only they can make a funny, sexy comic about the queen of darkness sealed in a poor guys balls. there's no sign of it being released in english, but the kind people are scanslating it chapter by chapter.

next on the read list - mushishi, alive, gto 8+, tokko.

- - -
ok, that's it. if anyone even reads it, or especially finds use in this, good. i'm off to cook something now, and draw.

hope you're enjoying the summer and stuff.

p.s. there's seems to be some interest in these little reviews of mine, so i'll post some more in a few weeks.


a small 2012 update
(since this post is still very popular)

First, an apology to Bleach, or at least the first 25 volumes of it. Large parts of it are terrific, suspenseful and very vell drawn. Inevitably, though, it degenerates into an infinite cycle of stronger and stronger enemies and it's easy to lose interest after volume 20.

I've since reread Dragon Head, and liked it much more. It has my full endorsement.

Things not on the old list
(that you absolutely must read)

Bakuman, from Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, authors of Death Note, is excellent and very, very fun. Making comics as a battle manga? Yes, please. While it maintains a very quick pace and has a lot of humor, it's not silly (like The Terrible Tales of Mangaka - which is also something you should read); it manages to show almost every aspect of the industry and personalities behind the comics. It has recently wrapped, and a lot of it is already available in english, on paper (the other option... is still there, but-).

Pluto by Naoki Urasawa - his eight volume remake of an Osamu Tezuka story combines the best of both masters of manga. Also a great place to start - the box set makes a great gift for an unsuspecting spouse or a friend that needs irrefutable evidence that manga isn't silly stories about people with big sparkly eyes.

A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. This one's also about making comics, but has nothing to do with the exuberance of Bakuman. A perfectly paced, engrossing, moving and very personal memoir. One of the books I keep returning to all the time. This one would also appeal to people who aren't necessarily comics fans- it's simply a great book.


That's it for now-- i've read a great deal more in the five years between these posts, but I don't really have time to write reviews of all of it, so I may keep adding to this if time permits, but it might be another five years...


tobbe said...

Thanks man! this is great help for me, now I know where to start reading :D

Efendi said...

hi there, came here from drawn.ca :)

manga have a wide range of story and drawing style ;) on the first part of your list i agree, Naoki Urasawa is a GENIUS !

Death Note and Homunculus is a great pick :D

but then again if you say that bleach and naruto have a bad drawing style, i'd say the rest of your review is much more standard than these two.

at least bleach and naruto have a unique fantasy story line :)

ok, to begin for another one, i will recommend you some of other nice manga for you to read or search ;) (from the most good quality in my opinion :D)

- Vagabond (The same author of Slam Dunk)

- Hajime no Ippo

- Rough, Touch, H2 and all other series of Mitsuru Adachi

- Yakitate Japan

- Say Hello to Black Jack

- Air Gear

- Eye Shield 21


- Mar

- I'll

- Rookies

- MPD Psycho

- Bowling King

- Futari Ecchi

- Perfect Girl Evolution

and so on, i can take all days babling about manga :P

so that's all for now :P

if you still need more, don't hesitate to contact me ;)

tonci said...

tobbe: glad i could help =)

efendi: thanks! sure, drawing style shouldn't influence the review, it was just my personal view (and i'm certainly no authority on the subject, just a reader). thanks for the recommendations too- some of them i already have (vagabond / futari ecchi / air gear), and i'll definitely check all of them. cheers!

oishiiniku said...

You should check out Eden by Endo Hiroki if you can find it online. It's a kind of post-apocalyptic thing with more than a passing nod to Otomo (Actually, it borders on plagiarism at times in terms of drawing style and overall tone...). It's well drawn and I remember the first four volumes or so being very good (I read it a few years back now, though...)

Have you read Pluto (Urasawa Naoki)? More good stuff from him.

Keep up the great work!

Ta, Nick.

tonci said...

heya -
since i trust your recommendations, i'll pick up eden at the bookstore, remember them having it. and yeh, pluto is awesome, but i'm waiting for it to pile up a bit, since waiting for new chapters can be a bit hard =)

Anonymous said...

thanks, i'll definitely give these a chance. I'm an animator and could never get past the "ugliness" of anime/manga but strangely always assumed their stories were probably where it was at, yet, being the superficial simple man i am, never chose to get into it.

now i have no excuse, thank you, i'm looking forward to expanding my horizon.

spit & spite

Anonymous said...

Wow, you're really missing out by not reading One Piece. It is in no way similar to Naruto.

I stopped reading your list after that. I read manga for the plot, and someone who would dismiss something for it's packaging isn't worth listening to.

tonci said...

hm. i should've prefaced the post with the statement that i'm no holy man or authority on manga.

also, the reasoning in your comment is quite interesting.

Hmpf said...

Got here via random link surfing; just commenting to recommend the works of Mohiro Kitoh - especially Naru Taru (partly avaible in English as "Shadow Star" from Dark Horse, I think), and Bokurano (scanlations done by Mangascreener). His art style takes some getting used to - his humans look a bit weird, or rather, look weird in a slightly different way than we expect in manga - but he's really a very good artist, imo. Plus, he takes these really cliché genre situations and, not exactly turns them on their ear but rather, sort of, takes them *deadly* seriously and takes them to their logical extremes - an interesting way to subvert something.

alice said...

Try nodame cantabile. very very good and entertaining. I also just read the first volume of Hikaru no Go, which I have been avoiding because I didn't think I would like it, but its rather enjoyable.
also densha otako by hidenori hara (there are sevaral other authors that have retold the same story but I don't know about their versions) is rather enjoyable, though it has a less attractive art style.

Anonymous said...

hey mate,
good recommendations on some manga. I'm taking your sugestions up on several.

You should read Slayers and Rurouni Kenshin. 2 classics i love. Also try Neon Genesis Evangelion, if you havent already watched the Anime.

Anonymous said...

Got one word for ya


(BOOK III will be out soon I hear)

very under represented tokyopop book.


Bahmunt said...

OK... Whatever about the other recommendations, you MUST read these three:

Battle Royale

All three are manga in it's highest art form.

Lana said...

Death note je odlican :D. Steta pa ovdje nema nabaviti, pa se klosarim po netu xD

Meni se takodjer svidio FullMetal Alchemist :D.

tonci said...

lana- da, ja sam svoje death noteove narucio s amazona (zasad 7 od 12), al fino je sto se moze cijeli na netu nac. potrazi i homunculus!

Anonymous said...

Well if your into a type of scifi thing with an interesting plot and good storyline parasyte is good.


Anonymous said...

Gantz is excellent, I agree totally, even if it is a little explicit

Ares is a korean manga that is just brilliant, anyone thats been reading manga a long time and can appreciate the quality of it, should definitely give this a read

And yeah, One Piece is fantastic, everyone should read that for the sheer comedy of it

- Bleach (its a must read)

- 666 Satan (good if you have the patience to stick with it)

- Full Metal Panic (gets better throughout)

- Clannad

- Fairy Tail (its great, the art reminds me of One Piece and the story is good)

- Houshin Engi (interesting, very good, and its completed so no frustrated waiting around for the next chapter)

- Gintama


Go to www.onemanga.com if you havent found it already
You dont download anything and theres no registration required

Peace out

Ariel said...

Hey, if you like manga you should check out http://www.9panels.com/

It's a new manga site with no ads, fast loading, and flash viewing.

This is not meant to be spam only FYI -_-

Nice blog!