Better Living Through Graphic Storytelling
A Comics Blog About Shit We Like
29 March 2007
What Manga Should I Read?
So about 11.5 years ago I spent an entire summer visiting family in the Phillippines. To this day I still tell stories about that trip. On this trip I spent a lot of time with my cousin Jim, who introduced me to Anime and Manga, which he was really into at that point (apparently his new obsession is the Dave Matthews Band, which I have yet to chastise him for). Most of the Manga he was reading was some of the very early Dark Horse books, published as floppies, like Gunsmith Cats, the original Ghost in the Shell book, and some of the Dirty Pair minis. My cousin Carlo, who was quite a bit older, had slightly more refined tastes in Manga Anime. As a Aikido master, he used to take frequent trips over to Japan and bring back some great Manga collections. I remember him introducing me to Gon, which I immediately fell in love with.

Anyway, 11.5 years later I am still a fan of manga. Probably not on the level of many other Manga/Anime fans here in the states, but I generally appreciate comics of all genres and formats, from all over the globe. With the giant Manga boom going on right now, it's kind of silly for me to not take advantage of its wide availability isn't it? The problem is, I've sort of out-grown a lot of the manga I used to read, and anything along those lines is probably not worth it for me.

So I propose a question: WHAT MANGA SHOULD I BE READING?

Here's the thing. I also really like Anime. Like really really like Anime. I don't cos-play, and I'm pretty terrible at figuring out what is "good" anime and what is "bad". But the few anime movies/series that I get into, I watch re-watch to a fanatic extent. I think I've broken all my Neon Genesis and Kemonozume discs from over-playing them. That being said, when it comes to Manga and their Anime counterparts, I generally prefer the anime versions. I know, I know. But I can only do so much to convince myself that the way I feel is horribly, horribly wrong (thank you Catholic upbringing!).

But I don't find that enjoying one version of a story is mutually exclusive to enjoying another version. For example, I stopped reading the Neon Genesis manga because it seriously read like a stunted version of the Anime. Same thing with the Cowboy Bebop manga. But, the Chobits manga started to diverge from the plot of anime about half-way through the story, enough to make it interesting in a completely different way than the anime was. That I appreciate.

So, again, if you are reading this, and you have a particular Manga that you are reading and think more people should try, please shoot me a comment or e-mail letting me know what you recommend. Keep in mind that I like pretentious comics, but I also really like cheesy and/or fun comics.

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