Friday, November 13, 2009

Where I've Been

Over at Manga Before Flowers there's currently a Manga Recc Challenge going on. Danielle has said 'Tell me what you like, and I'll recc a Manga'.

This is my submission over here. But as I realized I wanted to make it even longer, I figured I could just make the longer post here, because have I even been mentioning where I went when I gave up on Marvel & DC?

I don't think I have.

So my initial response here:

I would dearly love some reccs if you have the time.

In order of adoration:

I adore HunterxHunter.

I liked the first volumes of BLEACH (I'm actually still watching BLEACH anime in 10 episode bursts). But I really liked the initial story about an unusual boy, with an unusual talent trying to balance his various obligations.

I like Kekkaishi, Amatsuki and Manhou Sensei Negima!

I liked the first volumes of Death Note (when it was about L vs Light).


I recently discovered Gyakusou Shojo and am on page 3 or so of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.

I am also devouring The Hour Of The Mice.

I cannot decide whether or not I like Leviathan (I think I don't) and at some point I got bored with Monster and just stopped reading.

Oh and my baby sister of all people convinced me I really would like Fruits Basket and I'm extremely surprised that I do.

Hmm what else can I add. Sisters of Wellber and Corpse MURDER Princess are both animes that hooked for the strong relationship between female characters. I think of such friendships as rare and would love to find more.

Finally artwise, I am picky. I can handle reading either left to right or right to left. What I can't handle is messy panels; either abstract drawing styles or abstract presentation. If five different things are on the page, I want them in five different boxes, contained. I don't want a mural to study in the middle of reading my story.

And what I'd like to add here, which is some stuff those of you reading might already know. Namely that Junni Kokki is my favourite anime and one of my fav stories of all time, followed by Seirei no Moribito / Guardian of the Spirit followed by Claymore (manga then anime).

Some other things I've discovered is a love of Shounen Ai, particularly school life tales and a strong dislike for certain popular Yaoi trends (namely all the rape fic, and couldn't help himself (mostly, but possibly also her) and it's a sign of desire and flattering) - I was almost positive I'd mentioned my thoughts on that here, but a quick search on the word Yaoi reveals it is not so.

In sum - when readers proclaim the trend is so common they don't even think of it as real rape anymore - there is a problem. But that's a tangent for a different day.

As is a stream of consciousness writ on the frequency of absentee, dead or neglectful parents in many of these tales. I am aware it relates to young adult fiction in particular as a way to get the heroes to be the young adults themselves, but the effect is still alarming when one ends up reading a series of first chapters where car accidents eat the parental figures up.

I've been sating my yen for urban fantasy along with my wantings of super heroes. And I haven't even touched the copious amounts of mecha manga yet.

So that's where I've been in my sequential art reading hours, feeling like a newbie but plunging into manga head first, using my love of animation as water-wings and not updating my account at Anime-Planet nearly enough.

[Comments Open For Reccs Etc...]


  1. ::thoughtful::

    Okay. These are all over the board but I'm going for variety in the belief that something will land close.

    - Samurai Champloo (anime)
    - Black Lagoon (manga though there is also an anime; this is violent)
    - Blade of the Immortal (manga & I don't recommend the anime; also violent, but in a different way from Black Lagoon; also the death murals might bother you)
    - Nabari no Ou (manga although there is an anime)
    - Skip Beat! (manga although the anime's decent too; don't let the initial set-up fool you, it's better than the cliches it purports to follow)

    If you've tried any of these already & they didn't work for you, let me know what about them you didn't like & I'll refine.

  2. I just want to say that I have to watch 12 Kingdoms.

    Have you watched Michiko to Hatchin? It may have some problems, some of them bigs, but it hasoneof the most amazing relationships between women of color. Well, at least I ship it like mad.

  3. I am enjoying Read or Die: The TV series (apparently there is also an OVA). It is about two bibliophilic sisters and their book-hating younger sister who protect a grumpy author with their magic paper-control powers. I like the theme of adopted/created family that is in the relationship between the sisters and the author, and the action sequences are well done. And the reader in me likes how crazy the sisters go over books.
    - Blake

  4. Noir:

    Michiko to Hatchin actually came up when I was looking for things similar to Sisters of Wellber. It's on my to-watch list. But having an extra recc will bump it up a few :)

    Although I thought the relationship there was supposed to be more mother/older-older sister to daughter/younger-sister.

  5. Inkstone:

    If someone can explain to me the point/what's going on in Samurai Champloo I might try it. But the basic summary never seems interesting. I think I tried it once and didn't get past the first episode.

    Blade of the Immortal sounds a bit like Togari (which I'd been enjoying and plan to get back to next year). So I'll hunt down the first volume and see how it feels.

    Nabari no Ou is the program I watched where the subtitled version had someone saying one thing, and the english version completely changed not just the tone and context but the intent.

    It kind of threw me out of the right headspace to watch the show. Hmm, it could be something to get back to if someone's reccing it. It was urban wuxia (is that even a term?) with clan building and mysterious powers (introspection of self).

    Skip Beat!'s Manga Baka Updates' summary doesn't ping for me. For exactly the cliches involved in just the summary. And the art style also seems mid 80's - which is usually a point in the negative (it's the round faces, round eyes with spikey hair and the kind of watercolour inking that does me in)

  6. waffleboredxz:

    Which do you prefer? waffleboredxz or Blake?

    I have had people mention Read or Die (the tv series), I think somehow in my head I was getting it confused with Gunslinger Girl (which just seems depressing no matter what points it brings up).

    Clan building is a big thing for me, so I'll totally erase the 'WTF?' I had beside it on the list.

  7. I second the rec for Michiko e Hatchin. I didn't mention it earlier because I was trying to stick with licensed stuff but if that's not an issue, then we'll go with that. The relationship between Michiko and Hatchin is akin to that of mother/child and/or older sister/younger sister but I think the relationship Noir is referring to is that of Michiko and Atsuko. (Atsuko grew up in the same orphanage as Michiko and the two were best friends getting into trouble. Now Atsuko is a cop and is the one chasing after Michiko after she breaks after jail.)

    Samurai Champloo is basically about a girl named Fuu who's looking a man who smells like sunflowers who may or may not be her father. Along the way, she picks up two very different swordsman -- Mugen and Jin -- as companions/guys to help her in her search on the condition that the two of them can't kill each other until they find her samurai. It's a quirky show in the way Cowboy Bebop was (same director; Michiko e Hatchin was also made by the same studio as Champloo although with a different director). Mostly episodic with some really good episodes and some episodes that make you go, "" It's very anachronistic -- if Cowboy Bebop was laden with pop culture references; Champloo is laden with historical ones -- albeit not necessarily all from the proper time period as the show.

    I've only read the Nabari no Ou manga and I will add the caveat that it undergoes a similar thing as Death Note in which an event happens and the plotline loses all tension. I'm not sure where the anime follows up to; I know it was only one season but even so. Nabari's a light enough read that they could cram a fair bit in an episode. It does have quite a bit of the various clans though, which is nice.

    [If I didn't have so many reservations about the title, I'd rec Naruto to you because it is all about various ninja clans and group dynamics and making families but alas. I can't, really.]

    Based on what you've said here, I think you might like Blade of the Immortal quite a bit. Like many shounen/seinen titles though, it does take a bit to get going. The manga tends to be rather episodic/bad guy of the week until the Mugai Ryu are introduced. But it is my favorite manga for a reason, so I wanted to mention it.

    Let's see. Have you given Rurouni Kenshin a try? It's older and was Nobuhiro Watsuki's first title so if you do give it a try, his art absolutely evolves over the course of the series. The same could be said for Skip Beat! -- I didn't much care for the art in the early volumes but I love the art now.

  8. No, Willow! I'm not talking about that relationship, yeah, the main one is a mother/daughter one. XD I mean the Michiko/Atsuko rival one. At least Atsuko is obviously in love. No one can convince me otherwise. XP

  9. It's interesting to me that you also enjoyed the early "Death Note" books but seem, by implication, to have been disappointed by the later part of the series. I think it jumped the shark for me after the fifth book, partly because I also enjoyed the battle of wills and wits between L and Light, and partly because later on it got to the point where I couldn't follow anyone's machinations anymore. A big part of the joy of the early volumes (and I think this is true of a lot of thrillers, whodunnits and howtheygonnadoits) is that I could actually follow the characters' competing thought processes; it was intellectually exciting.

    Question: did you like Light? I couldn't stand the guy, but I'm interested in the fact that some readers (the neighbour I borrowed the books from included) relate to him as heroic, and I'm still undecided as to whether the author intended that or not...

  10. Inkstone:

    Oh Naruto been there, bought the t-shirt, burned it and cut down the heart carved tree.

    Hmm, there looks to be the chance I got Rurouni Kenshin confused with Samurai Deeper Kyo; which I started watching a good couple episodes of via Netflix and then just completely lost interest in.

    *makes note*

    Samurai Champloo... perhaps the shifting time period references threw me off. Then again, part of me always goes 'Sunflowers have a smell? And some guy smells like them?!' And then gets all distracted. And then I start thinking 'Two warriors, one woman, do I want to deal with those cliches'.

  11. PandorasBlog:

    I did like Light, but not as a hero. I'm not even sure I'd call him an anti-hero or a dark anti-hero. He was pretty much the soap-opera-villain whose daring you're in awe of, but whom you want to see get his comeuppance. Eventually.

    For example I enjoyed when things didn't fall into cliche with him being swayed by emotions etc and instead being practical about retaining his power and influence.

    I also thought heart-attacks showed a definite lack of imagination possibly related to his not so hidden egomanical need to be recognized a superior vs actually getting away with murder. Aka, he was no Dexter.

    I stopped reading at Chpt 61, which I think is the last chapt in Volume 7. That chapter, seeing as it did not involve resolution but instead sharkboot was the end of Deathnote for me. I didn't even finish reading Chpt 61 all the way through.

  12. Oh, I absolutely do not recommend the Samurai Deeper Kyo anime. That's pretty much an anti-rec for me. The manga is much better but it doesn't get good until volume 5.

    The best episodes of the Rurouni Kenshin anime (television series, not OAVs) are the ones covering the Kyoto arc. I can't remember the exact episode numbers. Those are the ones in which the anime stayed so very close and true to the manga and it shows.

    Any episode after the Kyoto Arc, however, is terrible and I do not recommend them at all. (The anime had caught up with the manga at this point and they wanted to give Watsuki a little more time to develop the manga storyline before they started animating it. But instead of taking a season off, they instead made a season of fillers and it was terrible and the show got cancelled.)

  13. This is a bit late, but I tend to actually read your blog posts as opposed to just skimming them like I do with pretty much everything else so it took me a while to get to it.

    *After School Nightmare by Setona Mizushiro
    It's about Mashiro, who's intersex but hides that part of himself to try to live as a "normal" high school boy, until he's summoned to a special after school class that takes place in a dream world. Everyone there is depicted as their "true form" and in order to graduate they must find a key hidden in the body of another student. When another student, someone depicted as an empty suit of armor, attacks Mashiro and reveals to the rest of the class he's half-male, half-female, he makes it his mission to find out who that student is and get him back for it.

    It's really a story about emotionally-broken people who develop into stronger people through realistic relationships, wrapped up in a surreal mystery. When you get to the ending, find out what the school really is and all, you'll want to reread the entire series to catch all the hints and symbolism you missed before.

    *Black Night
    This is a BL series about a prince who falls in love with a soldier that looks after him that takes place in a generic European country at war. Which sounds all sorts of awful, but it is not, I assure you. It has great art, which includes both characters and settings, which you don't see too often of the latter with these type of comics. Plus, the main couple actually have loving, realistic sex. I mean, gosh, the top is actually concerned when he finds he's hurting his lover. I wish I could give a better description to urge you, and everyone else I rec it to, to hunt it down... But I just can't.

    And there's also Off*Beat I'd like to reccommend, since it describes exactly the type of BL/shonen-ai you describe liking, but I shouldn't considering the final volume maybe never see print.