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Manga Before Flowers — Recommendation Post #6

Eric Rupe gave me the following three key words: “Sci-Fi.  Fantasy.  Cyberpunk.”  He also wrote “My favorite comic writer is Grant Morrison so anything similar to his work is also something I’d be interested in.”

I thought I should mention there are really two “go to” titles that everyone would think of first when trying to match up the categories of “cyberpunk” and “manga” — Akira and Ghost in the Shell (both of which are now being re-issued by Kondansha Comics in the U.S.).  But because these are the obvious titles, I’d thought I ‘d recommend two titles slightly off the beaten path for Eric.

1.  BLAME! by Tsutomu Nihei, published by Tokyopop.


Description by publisher: In a future world rife with decay and destruction, Killy is a man of few words who packs one very powerful gun. He wanders an endless labyrinth of cyberdungeons filled with concrete and steel, fighting off cyborgs and other bizarre silicate creatures. Everyone is searching for the Net Terminal Genes, but no one is quite certain what kind of power they contain. The answer may lie hidden among the scattered human settlements of this vast and desolate future world.

2.  Clover, by CLAMP, published by DarkHorse (Omnibus edition).


Description by publisher: Kazuhiko is a young, but already deeply wounded black ops agent of a baroque, retro-tech future – pulled out of retirement to escort Sue, a mysterious waif, to a destination she alone knows. Sue and Kazuhiko have never met, yet she knows him, having grown up since the age of four with her only human contact, two distant voices: that of her elderly “grandma,” General Ko, and of Kazuhiko’s dead girlfriend, Ora. And Sue has been kept in that cage all these years because of what she is, and what the Clover Leaf Project found her to be – a military top secret, and the most dangerous person in the world!


I think another great title that would fit is Battle Angle Alita.

Joe — I think you’re probably right! That is a title I’m not very familiar with, though, so I wasn’t sure about the quality….

Definitely second the Battle Angel Alita recommendation, Joe. One of my favorite manga ever!

Wow, Clover does feel eerily similar to what I imagine Grant Morrison would write if he was shojo/josei author. Clamp has some things they do really good, but when they experiment instead of doing blatant fanservice (ie Tsubasa) and crossovers (ie same) they are at their best.

Blame I haven’t read much beyond the start, the characters just wouldn’t shut up (hehe). One day maybe.

I third the recommendation for Alita, both the original and Gunnm Last Order.

The quality of the story is excellent. I’m only 3 volumes into it and I’m a bit ashamed of myself for not trying harder to get up to speed with it.

I just read up on Blame! and holy crap, it sounds awesome. Every review I’ve seen mentions “architectural spaces,” which appeals to me no end. I swear the perfect manga would be Jiro Taniguchi’s Guided Tour Through Everything Frank Lloyd Wright Ever Built.

And since Amazon has some of Blame! and its oneshot prequel, NOiSE, under the 4-for-3 deal, I’ll go ahead and get the first two volumes of Battle Angel Alita that’ve been on my wishlist, too! :)

Michelle — heh. Also, it looks as though the creator of BLAME! has a title that will be released by Viz in the Spring (Biomega). I’ll be curious very curious to check that title out….

Yeah, I didn’t realize they were by the same person until today. I’ve been looking forward to Biomega, and while I had at least heard of BLAME!, I didn’t know anything about it except that it had a protagonist named Killy.

I really, really wish Blame! was easier to come by in my area. It’s something I’ve been fascinated by for a while now. I love what little artwork I’ve seen from it though. NOiSE wasn’t shabby either and there are a few momnets which gives you a nice sense of the scale of Nihei’s artwork. But yeah.. man I wish I could find it around here. :(

Btw, as an example of my building geek feelings, this is the phrase that sold me on BLAME!:
“labyrinth of cyberdungeons filled with concrete and steel”

Me: Ooooooooh! Concrete!

@Ken H.: Yeah, I had to buy the first volume used, Amazon had volume 2, but then the next few would be used purchases again and one is, like, $59 or something insane. They did have NOiSE in stock at Amazon, though. :)

Michelle — Crap! All the volumes I happened to glance out on Amazon.com seemed to be affordable when purchases used. I didn’t realize that there were some at such ridiculous prices.

I would certainly encourage folks to make use of Interlibrary loan, though, for something like this. It certainly seems to be worth it….

oh dear lord. Could I have any more typos in that last comment? Jeez….

I didn’t actually notice them. :)

And yes, I love interlibrary loans!

Thanks for the recommendations. I actually got the Clove omnibus from the library last week and I’m still making my way through it. I think I like it, for the most part, but I’m not quite sure just yet. My library also has all 10 volumes of Blame! so I’ll definitely check them out. I also heard about Biomega and was already planning on picking that up and I’ve had Battle Angel Alita recommended to me before so I’ll have to see if I can work it into my budget somehow.

Eric — I’m so glad your library has Blame! I didn’t realize some of the later volumes might be out-of-print / hard to find.

[…] Leigh has more recommendations in her Manga Before Flowers […]

@Eric: Oh, you’re so lucky your library has BLAME!. My library has a good manga collection, but I think that series came out before they earnestly began building their holdings.

My library system actually has a pretty great selection of comics and manga and I’ve usually been able to find everything that I’ve looked for. They have all of the popular stuff and decent selection of less popular stuff as well.

Only more to add to my ever expanding collection of great Manga books! The second book is a little samey as a few of the other greats though, but it is still a good read.

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