Monday, January 02, 2006

[Blog Entry] Manga of 2005

Manga of 2005

Because deep down, I’m really an anime and manga fan at heart, although lately, it’s been more of the latter. So here’s what I’ve been reading for the past year, not all of them of course are notably good.

Addicted to Curry. Yes, it’s a cooking manga… about curry! There are even recipes at the end of each volume, and well, it’s funny and touching in general.

Beck. Tales of a fictional rock and roll band. Quite down to earth, although admittedly, the pace is quite slow. Just goes to show that the path to greatness isn’t always quick.

Bleach. Basically the Yu Yu Hakusho (“Ghost Fighter”) of this generation. Lots of fighting action, group camaraderie, and interesting villains. It’s going to be a long ride though, so brace yourself.

Bowling King. The only time you’ll see me read Chinese comics. Pop culture comedy with soap opera elements. And oh yeah, bowling!

Death Note. The battle of the super geeks! It’s mystery with a touch of the fantastical… and an incredibly smart Villain in the vein of Ozymandias in more ways than one. Too bad the protagonist(s) are just as smart…

Detective Conan. Get your typical cool calculating detective, give him James Bond gadgets, then shrink him into a kid. It’s actually classic mystery with closed-room cases and seemingly impossible crimes. There’s also a fictional detective profile with each volume.

Eyeshield 21. I’m telling you, this is the next big thing in sports history. A meek, bullied boy becomes the star player of a not-so-perfect football team. Mayhem ensues. Lots of fun characters, and post-modernist in several ways.

Full Metal Alchemist. If you liked the anime… well, the manga digs deeper. Sheer fun.

Gantz. If this were a film, it would get the XXX and R ratings. Sheer juvenilia for the first few dozen chapters, and then it suddenly develops depth. Add in the weirdest things you can imagine from aliens, vampires, and alternate dimensions.

Hajime no Ippo. One of my favorite mangas ever, it’s boxing with lots and lots of character. In certain ways, it’s formulaic (train, fight, train fight…) but the appeal doesn’t wane.

Hunter x Hunter. At least, protagonists who wins fights not with brute strength/skill but with their brains. Lots of challenges, puzzles, and is probably one of the few anime where the heroes are weaker than the enemies they fight.

Initial D. Think Speed Racer without the campiness or the conspiracies. It’s real motoring action.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures. Funny, campy, and at times, the heroes have to use their brain as well. A manly man’s comic.

Naruto. A really long epic saga that promises to be rewarding. Ninjas abound.

One Piece. Another epic saga that’s serious, funny and touching at the same time. Wacky characters that you just gotta love.

Prince of Tennis. Uh, isn’t it obvious I’m kinda into the sports manga thing right now? Really a great series, with an ensemble boy band-type cast.

Yakitake Japan. Never underestimate the power of hunger. It’s funny bread manga. Be wary though as some of the comedy is filled with puns and pop culture references.


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