Friday, February 26, 2016

The Awesomeness of Manga

It's been a while since I've done an 'Awesomeness of . . .' post. Since I work in a bookstore, I thought I'd write about the blooming popularity of manga. So I consulted a few experts and read the recommended ones.

Manga can be as original and moving as graphic novels. The artwork is stunning and lovely. The characters are usually younger, so they fit in with YA--they aren't all schoolgirls with super powers or boys with weird little creatures that have super powers. Most follow the arc of the Hero's Journey, and others are stories of friendship or about finding love.

I've chosen 13 manga I loved to set you on your way:

ALICHINO (Kouyou Shurei) Fantasy. A beautifully illustrated and dark tale about a young man named Tsugiri who is sought by evil, fairy like creatures called alichino.

GODCHILD (Kaori Yuki) Victorian fantasy. A young earl named Cain and his faithful manservant Riff, like Sherlock and Watson, solve dark crimes in 19th century London.

THE TAROT CAFE (Sang-Sun Park) Contemporary Fantasy. Another gorgeously illustrated tale. This one is about an immortal witch named Pamela who reads fortunes for supernatural creatures and learns their stories.

LET DAI (Sooyeon Won) Contemporary Fantasy. A poignant look at love and friendship, good and evil, set in an urban environment.

DESCENDANTS OF DARKNESS (Yoko Matsushita) Contemporary Fantasy. Tsuzuki and Hisoka are partners in the ministry of Hades, making sure the good souls get to where they're supposed to and policing the bad souls.

MODEL (Lee So-Young) Contemporary Fantasy. A young woman, an artist, named Jai is lured into a dangerous triangle between two elegant vampires.

AFTERSCHOOL NIGHTMARE (Setona Mizushiro) Contemporary Fantasy. A surrealistic gender bender about a boy named Mashiro who attends a very strange high school where people who fail tests disappear.

TOKYO BABYLON (CLAMP) Contemporary Fantasy. A young Japanese spiritualist named Subaru Sumeragi and his twin sister and their mentor, (a handsome vet with a dark side) save souls and exorcise ghosts.

ARCANA (So-Young Lee) Fantasy. A sumptuously illustrated fantasy about an orphan girl named Inez who is chosen to be her world's savior.

VAMPIRE KNIGHT (Matsuri Hino) Contemporary Fantasy. Set in a high school for vampires and non-vampiric students, this is the tale of  a love triangle.

ANGEL SANCTUARY (Kaori Yuki) Contemporary Fantasy. Rebellious teen Setsuna learns he is the reincarnation of a rebel angel--and that a worse angel is hunting him.

CANTARELLA (You Higuri) Historical Fantasy. Set during the Renaissance, with supernatural elements, this is a dark fantasy about Cesare Borgia and the young guardsman who befriends him.

SNOW DROP (Choi Kyung-Ah) Contemporary Romance. Son-Na and Hai-Gi's romance is sweet, funny, and seemingly doomed. They are helped/hindered by various interesting friends and enemies.

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