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Magnificent Manga

  • Sep 22, 2010
Here is a list of some of my Favorite Manga. Many of them are quite realistic but others have more Fantasy element to them. What they all share is that they are masterly drawn and tell a Good story.
Manga - Sixty years of Japanese Comics
Paul Gravett's book gives a good overview on this Fascinating genre.
Post apocalyptic Manga by Hayao Miyazaki who is of course better known for his Brilliant Anime films but his Manga is fantastically drawn and the story of the flying Princess and her battles for survival and preservation of all live is simply Great. These books come in 7 volumes.
Phoenix by the Legendary Osamu Tezuka are 12 books each which tells a seperate story but are linked by themes like Reincarnation and immortality and they take place in different times, some in times long gone and other in the far future. Of all his Manga series this is the one i like best.
Red Snow
Red Snow by Susumu Katsumatais a Collection of short stories which happen in pre-modern Japan. Most of the stories a dramatic but with some comic element. His drawing style is midway between cartoony and realistic. Not a collection af happy feel good stories but they are realistic and human.
The Times of Botchan
Jiro Taniguchi is my Favorite manga Artist. His drawing style is brilliant and very realistic and he always tells interesting stories. This is based on a famous Japanese novel Botchan, and is mainly about how the story came about. It happens when Japan was modernizing and so many things were changing, the clash between the old and the new the western and japanese. Brilliant books which come in 4 volumes.
Walking man
This is a Masterpiece by Jiro Taniguchi. hardly any words the story told mainly with pictures and nothing out of the extraordinary happens. Just quiet walks in the town or in the forrest. But it is Fantastically drawn and Taniguchi's Genius is such that he can make these ordinary everyday activities quite fascinating.
See the full review, "The Walking Man - A Celebration of the Ordinary.".
The Quest for the missing girl
Here jiro Taniguchi tells the story of a mountaineer who comes to town and helps an old Friend. She has not heard from her teenage daughter for a few days and the search begins. A blend of a detective story, social critisicm and love story. Great book.
A Distant Neighborhood vol 1
These two books by Jiro Taniguschi explore time travel. What would you do if you suddenly find yourself to be 14 again but still retain you middle age mind. Would you change things and what are the consequences if you do. Greatly drawn and fascinating story.
A Distant Neighborhood vol 2
The second volume of this Great story by Jiro Taniguchi.
The Ice Wanderer
The Ice Wanderer by jiro Taniguchi explores the North. Most of the stories happen in icy regions, up in the mountains, battles with wolfes and the elements. There is also a story that takes place in Japan and probably is based on his own live, a young Manga artist tells the storie of his first Manga and the place he lived in and the people who lived there. Good stories expertly drawn.
Icaro - Moebius - Taniguchi
This is a collaboration between two great artists. The French Moebius and The Japanese Jiro Taniguchi. The story is by Moebius and is based on a dream of his and is about a young man who can fly without any machines to aid him. The Art is by Taniguchi. This is a very interesting story with fantastic drawings.
Mushishi is a Manga Serie by Yuki Urushibara. It tells the story of Ginko who is a seer who sees and knows how to deal with Mushi, which are strange creatures who live on the borders between realiities and are not seen by ordinary people. The Mushi often create problems for people and Ginko is a kind of spiritual healer. This is a Great series which has a slow calming, spiritual feel to it. There is also a great Anime series and a live action film which was only ho hum in my opinion.
See the full review, "The Calm Flow of Mushishi.".
Red Colored Elegy
Red colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi is from the early 70´s and tell a story of a young couple and has a great and unusual drawing style that is quite artistic. Not many words are used but the pictures tell a great story of Love and conflict.
Moyasimon Tales of Agriculture is a Manga Series by Masyuki Ishikawa and is a Comedy/drama about two friends in an Agriculture university and one of them can actually see bacterias with his own eyes. Interesting stories that blend drama well with comedy and there is also an Anime series and live action TV series based on this manga.
Tekkon Kinkreet: Black & White
Tekkon Kinkreet is a story of two orphans who live in a fictional city who have to fight for survival. They deal with the Cops and small time crooks and Yakuza. Great story of powerful friendship in difficult situation with an added fantasy element. There is also a Great Anime based on this Manga.
The Kurosagi Corpse delivery service
This Manga Series blends in a fascinating way Spiritual Buddhism, Japanese Ghost stories, Detective Stories and Horror stories in a great and unusual blend. The drawing style is very good and realistic which is a great contrast to the fantasy element of the stories. The stories are by Eiji Otsuka and the Art by Housui Yamazaki
New Engineering
New Engineering by Yuichi Yokoyama - I'm still not shure what I think about this - it's certainly different and original, the drawings quite technical and even a bit alien and the stories told mostly in pictures only. The first story is a fight in a Library but who are fighting and why, in many of the stories there are quite Alien looking people terraforming strange landscapes. Not a warm emotional Manga but the visuals are stunning.
Yukiko's Spinach
Nouvelle manga is a stylistic movement that blends the Franco -Belgian with Japanese drawing styles. Frédéric Boilet who is French but lives in Japan is a great artist. Yukiko's Spinach is a realistic love story that is quite erotic.
Cinderalla by Junko Mizuno
Junko Mizuno has a unique drawing style, which often blend the super cute with elements that are quite macabre. This is her take on the Classic Cinderella story which she twists and turn to suit her strange world. It's more like Cindarella in Zombieland. I think many of her works are great and this is one of her best.
Children of the Sea
Children of the Sea is a prize winning Manga Series by Daisuke Igarashi. Rich realistic art that is similar in spirit to the works of Miyazaki. The story is a mysterious fantasy and is grand fun.
An epic Sci Fi Manga by Katsuhiro Otomo. It was very influential and the Anime based on the story is one of the most popular Anime ever made. Set in post apocalyptic Tokyo it tell the story of a biker gang and how they get mixed up in military psychic experiments. Greatly drawn and the story is gripping.
Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vol 1
Award winning manga Master Naoki Urasawa creates brilliant Manga, his stories are always interesting and he is a master at drawing. This Manga is Great, friends create a comic book world and sketch out the caracters in their head but then simply forget about them. Some years later when they are grown up and have forgotten about their manga creation they suddenly realise that their creation have started to become real. 14 volumes.
Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka volume 1 by Naoki Urasawa
This brilliant series is an homage to Tetsuo's Astro boy but it reminds me more of Bladerunner. It happens in the future where Robots are a part of everyday life and the most sophisticated Robots are indistinguishable from humans. Someone is on a murdering rampage and is killing the best robots and humans associatied with them. A Robot detective is on the the case and he realises that he is obviously one of the intented victims. Brilliant story and fantastically drawn. 8 volumes.
Lady Snowblood
Lady Snowblood by Kazuo Kamimura and Kazuo Koike is a Manga series that is a Samurai style revenge story, beautifully drawn and full of Classic Samurai Action. Nothing profound going on here but the drawings are great and they know how to keep the supense going. Inspired Kill Bill.
Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 1: Assassin's Road
This is a Classic Samurai Manga series written by Kazuo Koike and Drawn by Goseki Kojima. Full of Splendid Samurai Sword fighting and action galore. Close to 30 books have been published and there are also quite famous live action movies available.
Manga: Masters of the Art by Timothy Lehman
"Manga: Masters of the Art is a great book with interviews with some of the greatest modern Manga Masters. Great as an introduction to this facinating Art form.

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September 24, 2010
Wow, this is impressive. Sorry it took me a little while to get around to reading it. I've been really busy of late. Anyhow, of all of these, I've only read some of the "Lone Wolf and Cub" comics. You've put me to shame when it comes to Manga.
September 24, 2010
Well then you're in for some fun and good times. :-)
September 24, 2010
whoa.. I've only read like hallf of the titles on your list. Been hearing a lot about #'s 8 and 9, how are they?
September 24, 2010
Well I'm a huge fan of Jiro Taniguschi and find all his stuff fascinating and these two are really good. Also I find this idea so interesting, what would you do if you would suddenly find yourself to be 14 or some other age again but retain all your memories, because if you change the direction in your live you would perhaps avoid some unpleasant things that happened but you might also loose some positive ones or not meet people who are important to you now.
About the list creator
Örn Leifsson ()
Ranked #110
I have a BA in Philosophy but my main interest is Music. I play the piano andI have also learned a little to play the Guitar, Violin, Drum Set and the Djembe.   The Music I love the most is … more
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