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Manga Before Flowers — True Anime & Manga Confessions

Time to come clean — 21 shocking, true confessions after the cut!

1. I have watched all 178 episodes of Prince of Tennis before Viz ever licensed the anime. Ryoma is my favorite character, followed very closely by Atobe.

2. I dislike Peach Girl (the manga — I never saw the anime). If I’m going for overly melodramatic shojo I’ll stick with MARS.

3. I don’t really get Negima — or as my local shop owner calls it, “Harry Potter with breasts.”

4. I think Hayate x Blade is the most enjoyable comic I read in 2008, but Tezuka’s Black Jack is probably the best comic I read this year. Takehiko Inoue’s REAL is probably my second pick for best comic of the year.

5. I thought Red Colored Elegy was over-hyped but still worth picking up.

6. I’ve never seen a Studio Ghibli film (remember: I’m a manga person, not anime person but still. There’s probably something seriously wrong with me).

7. Even if I sold off my Hot Gimmick manga in order to stay true to certain feminist principles, I still know that it was probably the best comic book soap opera I’ve ever read. Stupid feminist principles. (And yes, in spite of that experience I still have high hopes for Aihara’s Honey Hunt, currently running in Shojo Beat. Clearly, I don’t learn very quickly).

8. I despise Fushigi Yugi. Even more than Watase’s Absolute Boyfriend, which was just plain bad, while I found Fushigi Yugi outright offensive.

9. I like Hachi more than Nana from NANA. Related: I do not find Nana and Ren’s romance the least bit romantic.

10. Shojo Beat magazine remains the highlight of my comicbook reading month.

11. I couldn’t finish the third issue of Yen+. Sadly, it looks as though this magazine just didn’t work for me.

12. The Code Geass anime is my true guilty pleasure of the past year.

13. Kyoko from Skip Beat! remains my favorite manga heroine of all time. Related: Sho is probably the most enjoyable character in the manga in spite of the fact we all know only Ren deserves Kyoko.

14. I’m starting to have trouble telling various (bishonen) characters from REBORN! apart now that I’ve reached volume 7. I don’t know why — probably because I’m a lazy reader.

15. I just started watching the One Piece anime thanks to Funimation’s half-season set releases. I think I kinda like it…

16. I thought the second season of Blood+ was much better than the first. In spite of the fact they turn a normal, rebellious teenage character into an grown up saint (i.e. Kai), the second season was a much more exciting viewing experience.

17. I think Claymore may be the only shonen series I read that doesn’t have bishonen (or pretty men?) in it (even Gin Tama has Hijikata. Or well. Gin if you have really strange tastes). Of course, 99% of the cast of Claymore is women. So there you go.

18. I think I like yaoi so much because they are almost always about (romantic) relationships first, everything else second. I enjoy that because often shojo mixes romance into so many other things (epic fantasy, sci-fi, the trials of school life) sometimes I just like to read a story about how two people fall in love (or lust as the case may be….). Also gender relations in many of the shojo love stories I read are so imbalanced that I have a hard time enjoying them as pure escapism.

19. Like the most boring fangirl ever, it is Kyo over Yuki (Fruits Basket) and Zero over Kaname (Vampire Knight) for me. I’m pretty lame that way.

20. I’ve only read the first two volumes of Lone Wolf & Cub and the first collection of Akira. This needs to be rectified immediately.

21. I think Honey & Clover is a good comic but it rarely moves me much — I find myself most engaged when I’m reading about Takemoto’s family story, since I’ve also lost a parent, although not at a young age like the character. I also identify strongly with Yamada’s hopelessly one-side love, having experienced two years of that myself. But I find it odd I need to have actually experienced those exact things to feel connected to the story, when such a thing isn’t true for a lot of manga I enjoy quite a bit.

16 Comments

Cool list!

I’m a bit behind on my manga reading, but I’m working on PARASYTE now. I have some VAGABOND vol’s sittign around, but I’ll now have to start stocking up on REAL too!

“20. I’ve only read the first two volumes of Lone Wolf & Cub and the first collection of Akira. This needs to be rectified immediately.”

Yes, that you get a slap on the wrist for! Ask for some of these for x-mas! :)

3: Maybe you read the first couple of volumes? It starts pretty harem-like and full of fanservice, but then turns into an alright shonen… with more fanservice than other shonens, but less embarrassingly so.

6: Gotta say THAT’s weird. Even people that dislike anime have seen at least one in my experience.

8: I do too. I’m a man though, but I know plenty of girls that despise how the characters act and some of the angst for the sake of angst of the plot. Have you seen/read Ayashi no Ceres? Seems it’s better, though with even more drama.

16: Nothing wrong with that, the pacing of the show was awful during the first season (I assume you mean up to the incident with Diva in the ship as first season). Since it was building characterization, some episodes had nothing happen and were growing stale. But second season has a “Boss Rush”, leaving you in your seat due to non-stop action and plot resolution. And the ending was beautiful.

Nice list, Danielle. I have to admit, I’m giving up on Yen Plus as well. I have one more issue on order at my comic store, and then that’s probably it. It’s a nice all around effort by the publisher, but absolutely none of the series have grabbed me. Not even the highly touted Bamboo Blade series. Jack Frost and Pig Bride both had interesting beginnings, but the last couple chapters haven’t done much for me. And I absolutely despise When They Cry. Maybe I’m just accustomed (read: spoiled) by getting my manga and manwha in bulk helpings rather than chapter by chapter, but there’s not a single series that has made me want to even buy the trade so far. Oh well, a penny saved…

And ditto on the assessments of Hayate x Blade and Black Jack. I had almost skipped over Hayate but decided to give it one more shot, and was very pleasantly surprised by the first volume. It’s now on my regular reading list. And Black Jack, oh Black Jack. How I adore thee and your fantastically disgusting medical mysteries. My biggest fear is that the rumors of Vertical’s demise prove true and BJ’s release gets cut short in America…again!!

Oh, and I forgot to address number 6. Yes, there is something seriously wrong with you. You need serious help. I recommend two helpings of Porco Rosso, a Princess Mononoke, and either a Totoro or a Castle In The Sky. Then post here in the morning.

Ok. I’ll bite. What should I read?

I have really only read a few manga.

I have read all the Deathnotes and have read all the Daigo! Firefighter of Company M as well as the three volumes of Cowboy Bebop.

What should I pick up next?

hi garbonzo,

I usually send folks to a series a posts I did on manga for adults when I first joined the blogs:

Part one:
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/02/19/manga-before-flowers-manga-for-adults/

Part two:
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/02/26/manga-before-flowers-manga-for-adults-part-two/

Part three:
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/03/04/manga-before-flowers-manga-for-adults-part-three/

The recommendations are divided into genre so if you happen to be a person who likes horror, you’ll find a few titles that are quite good under that genre category. I also have some posts on shojo (comics for girls) since that is one of my favorite types of manga but judging from the list of manga you’ve already read you’ll probably be more interested in action / mystery manga.

Hope this helps!

Andrew — oh, let’s not even think about the possibility that Vertical won’t be able to finish Blackjack! My heart palpitates just at the thought!

Also, yeah, seriously, I’ll try to watch some of the Ghibli films over xmas break (I think my local library has all of them — now i need to take advantage of that bounty!)

garbanzo, my response to you is waiting moderation — once that clears you’ll find a few links to posts I did recommending manga titles for adults (hope that comes through soon).

[…] Danielle Leigh’s True Anime & Manga Confessions. Reading these today filled me with delight. Not only do I agree with many of them (thank you, […]

If I made a top ten list of anime movies it would be almost all Ghibli movies, and I’m not sure what order I’d put them in.

[…] Leigh posts her true confessions, anime and manga style, at Manga Before […]

You know, Dark Horse and Marvel missed a brilliant opportunity this year. They could have joint released a 20th Anniversary Akira Omnibus in honor of the first manga to really take off this side of the Pacific.

Blood+ is such a better series than it sounds like. Yes, it is a story of a girl who discovers only she has the power to kill evil monsters, but you are right, the second season is less about killing monsters (though it happens a lot) and more about family and relationships and accepting one’s fate.

You also need to remedy that Lone Wold and Cub issue…(though I think I have only made it about 10 volumes in)

@ Dalarsco: When Kodansha moved into town Dark Horse lost their Akira license…but I totally agree with you.

negima creeped me out, with the 12-year-olds lusting after their teacher (the adult one, not negi). i can cope with student-teacher relationships but only when there’s a point to it. and not when they’re underage. no shota for me.

“even Gin Tama has Hijikata. Or well. Gin if you have really strange tastes”

I do NOT have strange tastes. >_<
This list was hilarious, though. Thumbs waaay up.

Not to show my biases but I agree that you should see Miyasaki movies. They are extremely good (though they don’t really have much in common with Bishojo so you should watch them as movies, not because they’re related to your hobby).

>Porco Rosso, a Princess Mononoke, and either a Totoro or a Castle In The Sky.
I strongly agree that Kurenai no buta (Porco Rosso) is a “must see”. It’s underappreciated and the female lead is more dynamic; but it’s an older simpler movie too.

Everything that Miyazaki makes is considered a classic, and Totoro and Laputa (Castle in the Sky) are probably the “most classic”. But if you aren’t a MIyazaki fan and not watching them for some other reason (i.e. you want to see a movie that every person in Japan has seen and likes) then I wouldn’t put them first.

Mononoke is… if you like Miyazaki (and I love him) then it’s a great movie. It’s not something I would inflict upon someone who is no prepared. It’s convoluted, somewhat incoherent and extremely preachy. Miyazaki makes it work and I love the movie and watched it three times in the theater but it’s an intellectual exercise (especially if you don’t speak Japanese and have to work through a translation or subtitles).

If you can only see one Miyazaki movie it has to be Sen to Chihiro (Spirited Away). It’s probably his best movie in terms of 1) totally insane stuff 2) “being locked into character development” (i.e. not letting the action or the themes of the movie overwhelm the characters and their interaction/development). Every great director makes a transcendental movie. This is his. I love that he’s still out there and making movies (I loved Howl for example) but…
…. it’ll never be better than this.
And your Bishojo leanings will feed very nicely into it I think.

If you like romantic stories you should probably consider Majo no takubin (Kiki’s Delivery Service, which would probably be one of his “classic movies everyone knows and loves” along with Totoro and Laputa/Castle in the Sky) and Mimi wo Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart), which is a minor film I suppose but very romance oriented. (Though it was still popular enough that people made him make a pseudo-sequel).

This is a controversial thing to say but…. skip Nausicaä. It’s one of his first movies and many Japanese people (like my wife) have an irrational love of it but it’s incoherent and skippable in the same way that Akira is. (i.e. it’s based on an brilliant manga and was crammed and cut into a movie… by the end they’re trying to finish so quickly that it makes no sense. I’d say more but anyway….) Read the manga, watch the movie if you’re bored or a completionist.

PS Akira is a fantastic manga; One Piece is an acquired taste, but once you’ve acquired it can be very hard to shake. (read: I like it a lot, mostly because it loves its flaws an nurtures them until they become an entire, insane, pirates-with-trippy-super-powers genre)

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