Monday, July 16, 2012

Manga and Anime

One of my biggest loves in life is manga and anime, comics and cartoons from Japan. Manga are cartoons, usually serialized in popular Japanese magazines and later converted into books while anime refers to cartoons, usually based off a manga or book.  Manga and anime is created for all ages in Japan, from young children to adults, and is a huge part of their culture.

To my disgust I've found that most people in America don't find manga worth reading and don't consider it viable reading material. Like books, some manga is silly and funny while some can focus on serious questions and moral issues. What most people do not realize is how much work goes into creating a manga, most manga are hand drawn, hours of work go into creating one volume.

Getting into manga can be daunting, some series contain over 100 volumes and their anime counterparts can contain just as many, if not more, episodes. In this post I've compiled a list of fantastic manga and anime series that I love and sincerely hope you will give a try.

One of my favorite series, Bleach has become one of the more popular anime/manga series in America. Bleach is about a fifteen year old boy, Ichigo Kurosaki, who becomes a Soul Reaper (or "Death God") in order to save his family. It follows the adventures as Ichigo and his friends as they defeat ghosts gone bad called Hallows, who are out to destroy human life. The manga has been translated into English and the anime is both subtitled and dubbed in English. Personally I prefer the English subtitles because the low-budget in America for anime causes the voice actors in English dubs to be rather poor. Bleach appeals to both boys and girls but is aimed more towards boys.
The Wallflower:

The Wallflower takes the cake as my favorite manga/anime series. The Wallflower is a bit of an obscure series but never the less fantastic. Sunako Nakahara is a goth girl, obsessed with horror movies and gore. When she is sent to live with her eccentric aunt she finds that her aunt as employed the help of four beautiful boys to turn Sunako into a "proper lady", in exchange the boys receive  free rent and are able to live in the luxurious mansion Sunako's aunt owns. Absolutely hilarious The Wallflower is full of side-splitting moments as the boys struggle to make Sunako a lady and Sunako vehemently resists. The manga and anime are equally amazing, but the manga is a bit dark while the anime has a more lighthearted tone. The Wallflower is focused more toward girls and both the manga and anime have been translated into English.
High School Debut:

High School Debut follows the story of Haruna Nagashima, a tomboy softball star who recently started high school and is desperate for a boyfriend. With a tendency for ridiculous outfits and awkwardness she is having a bit of trouble finding the love of her life. When she meets Yoh Komiyama, the most attractive boy at her school, she begs him to become her mentor. Yoh eventually agrees with one condition, she must never fall in love with him. High School Debut has some of the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen in a manga, the characters are flawlessly drawn and the plot is hilarious. The High School Debut  manga has been translated into English and there is currently no anime series, High School debut is aimed at girls.
Death Note:

Death Note is on the more serious side of manga and anime, when Light Yagami finds a notebook on the ground, called a Death Note, he is granted the power to kill someone just by thinking of their face and writing their name in the notebook. Light soon becomes obsessed with killing criminals and cleansing the world of evil, his main goal is becoming a god of the new land. The killings soon become noticed by the government and by other nations, bringing in the force of the detective merely called L. Light and L play a game of cat and mouse as L embarks on his quest to catch Light and Light stays one step ahead of L. Death Note brings to question some serious moral questions, such as who has the power to decide who lives and dies. Death Note is both a manga and an anime and both have been translated into English, Death Note is centered toward boys but can also appeal to girls.


  1. I totally agree with you. I'm a massive fan of manga and anime, and I also think that they are as equal to books when it comes to telling fantastic stories. Some of my favourite stories are from manga! High school debut is such a lovely story. In terms of anime, I think dubs are a terrible let down. I prefer the original language as I think Japan puts alot of stock in it's voice actors- they seem to have more training, or something. Maybe dubs put english speakers off, because they aren't quite as good as subs?

  2. Yes! The Japanese voice actors are fantastic, unlike the English dubs where almost every character has a monotone. I think since manga and anime are so popular in Japan they get the best voice actors possible, meanwhile in English speaking countries there's little marketing so the dubs are usually low quality. That would explain why anime isn't popular among English speakers, no one wants to watch something where the characters have no emotion.

  3. I'm more of an anime fan myself. Have you read/watched Revolutionary Girl Utena, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, or Azumanga Daioh? The first two are a bit more serious, but the third is really lighthearted and hilarious!

  4. I love anime as well! :) I haven't read or watched any of those but I should definitely check them out, I need something new to watch.