Konichiwa Everyone,

(I suck at spelling stuff like that, so it's Japanese for Hello...)
Japanese greeting in theme of my post! I feel as though manga can get a pretty bad rep considering when one thinks of the people who like manga/anime, they think freaky nerdy kids who own T-Shirts of "Dragon Ball Z" or something like that...
Well, as a girl who loves her Glamour and Teen Vogue just as much as she loves her "Ouran High School Host Club" chapters each much, I am here to open the world's eyes to how funny and awesome some manga are! I too once thought, "Um, ew... wtf is with you still like japanese cartoons as a teenaer?" but, alas, on accident I came one Furuba and all was changed.
For starters here are some terms to know...
Shoujo- This is the manga I read, as it is aimed for girls AND is far more realistic of the two, as in it deals with actual people and actual situations, NOT outerspace fighting or fire balls, or whatever. (Though it can...) It deals with romance most of the time. Examples: Fruits Basket (Given that is a little bit of fantasy, with the animal thing...), Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers, or Ouran High School Host Club.
Shounen- For boys mostly. I don't really read this, as they don't interest me as much as Shoujo. Ex: Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Bleach...
Cosplay- It's dressing up as your favorite anime character. Okay, yeah, I don't do this. Not my thing in the least bit.
Manga vs. Anime vs. Live Drama- Manga is the book form (like comic books), Anime is the cartoon, and Live Dramas are pretty much like teenaged soap operas derived from a manga. (Sort of like the OC for us or Gossip Girl)
Japan vs USA- There are obviously culture differences between Japan and the US, so bear that in mind when reading the mangas. Example: Japanese schooling is different. Their term starts in, like, March or somewhere near that, with long breaks each season (something like that, I'm still not totally clear myself). Also, the high school is more like sophomore to senior (refering to each as first year, second year, third year), and the junior high is more like seventh to freshman.
Also names: Almost ever name ends with -san, -sama, -kun, -chan, etc. -san is for when the two are still unfamiliar with each other, -chan when they are like family. Characters will typically call each other by their last name-san until they become friendlier. -chan is mostly used for families, and childhood friends. -kun is used when they are friends.
Mangaka- author

So, some manga are actually really, really cute, and equally heartwarming as any good novel! If you're iffy about spending 10 bucks on a book (like I am), there are translating sites where fans translate the manga into English. I use the most. But I plan on buying the mangas I read, so please buy them, the professional translating far exceeds fan translating.
Okay, enough on selling you manga. Here are some of my absolute favorites: Warning, I'm posting my favorite scenese from the manga, so there may be spoilers. (Like kisses...) Also, the summaries I give in quotes are from onemanga, because I'm horrible at summarizing...

Fruits Basket/ Furuba
This is the manga that first piqued my interest, and led to my further interest in manga. I love this manga to death. The anime wasn't too bad either, but the ending sucked so bad since it was only 26 epiosdes, and the manga spanned 130 + chapters....
"The enigmatic Sohma family shares a great secret, its members are possessed by spirits of the Chinese Zodiac, and when they are hugged by members of the opposite sex, they transform into their Zodiac animal! Tohru Honda, an orphaned high school freshman, is given lodging in the Sohma household in exchange for taking care of household chores. The humble Tohru is quite grateful for the Sohma family's generosity, and the longer she stays with them, the more they realize what a blessing she is in their lives, as well."
My review(Spoilerish): I LOVE the KyoxTohru pairing. I don't care about the whole YukixTohru some people want. Kyo was by far my favorite. Also, Tohru made me want to be such a nicer person (too bad that didn't last very long...), as she was so sweet. There are also sooo many more characters in Furuba, but they get introduced along the way.

Ouran High School Host Club

Love this manga too, as it is SO funny. It makes me laugh ALL the time, and male lead, Tamaki, is too funny for words. There is a manga of 26 episodes, and they do a good job of covering the manga. Sadly, though, they ended it with the idea of only doing 1 season, so the ending is different. Plus OHSHC is still going on now, the 64th chapter coming up in late August.
"One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the "Host Club", a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it's there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else."
My Review: I LOVE it. Haruhi is a truly awesome female lead, and Tamaki is completely adorable. I want them to be together in the end, despite fans like Hikaru too... There are also a slew of characters you have to read about to understand. Though the main characters, besides Haruhi and Tamaki, are Hikaru & Kaoru, the twins, Kyo, the smart one behind the host club, Honey & Mori, the seniors of the club. Honey is like a little boy & Mori, his cousin, is the stoic one. Keep in mind, the mangaka doesn't take into account of the time, so consider them all eternally in their current grade, because if she did take into account of time, they'd all be in college now.

Hana Yori Dango/ Boys Over Flowers
Out of all of them, this one is definitely my favorite, by far. I flew through the 240 plus chapters, wanting to know more and more. The lead, Tsukushi Makino, is my favorite lead. She is the most realisitc of them all, and has a solid backbone.
"Although Tsukushi Makino is from a poor family, she attends an elite school for the super rich, where her life has become intertwined with the "F4," the ruling boys of the school, in a whirlwind of love and confusion."
My Review (Spoiler): Okay, F4 characters: the leader is Tsukasa Domyoji, the quiet one is Rui Hanazawa, the manwhore, Soujiouroh Nishikado, and the older woman lover Akira Mimisaka. At first I really wanted Rui and Makino to end up together, since I thought Rui was such a cutie. But in the end it's Domyoji & Makino, their relationship the basis for the story, and the mangaka made me fall in LOVE with Domyoji. Absolutely loved the guy, and as the drawings improved, he turned into a hottie with his curls. Also note there is an anime that goes to the first 100 chapters (maybe a little more...), and a live action drama. I didn't watch the anime, but I watched the live action (two seasons), and loved it. They really brought the characters to life, and took all the cute moments of the manga and put them in, weaving the same story. There's a movie out now, but I'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD for it to be subbed... Sigh, can't wait for it. Also, I know the title sounds totally gay (Boys Over Flowers, wtf?) But honestly, don't think about it.
Those were the main ones, and their the long ones (mostly). There are others that are much shorter (only fifty chapters at the most), so if you don't want to be tied down to one. Like

Akuma de Sourou
This one is too cute, only 42 chapters.
"High school is difficult for most kids. But for Kayano, a shy girl whose single mother seems to work all the time, it's even worse than usual. She's so afraid of drawing attention to herself that she can't tell the handsome Kamijo how much she loves him-until one day she finally gets up the courage to write him a letter confessing her feelings. But her plans go awry when the letter falls into the hands of the school's most notorious students, Edogawa Takeru. To Kayano, Takeru seems to be Satan himself. Not only is he devilishly handsome, he is the son of the school's principal. To make things worse, her mother comes home to announce she's getting married -- to principal Edogawa! Now Kayano will have to live with this devil Takeru 24/7! How will she cope with This literal "living hell"? "
My Review (Spoilers)- Loved it. The fashion was a little... strange... and it took some time to get used to the fact that Takeru was younger (even by a year), but them as a couple was very cute. Kayano was a decent character, she was a little weepy for my taste, but she turned out well enough. I started the like action, "Devil Beside You," this one's Tawainese, and I like it so far. I've definitely developed my first Asian crush in Mike He. He is definitely a hottie. Haha

Also, on a cheesy note, as being an Asian in America, it definitely made me love my ethnicity (whereas before I'd give anything to be a blonde, California looking girl).
Okay, well that's all the manga I'll give you! You'll have to look up others. Right now I'm reading, "Hot Gimmick," which is okay... It's not the best in the world, and the characters are showing NO growth, but it's alright. I definitely want to read Hana Kimi next. Also on the list (but they're still being done) is "Kaichou wa Maid-sama!" but that has 9 chapters translated, and about 25 out, so if you don't like waiting, I wouldn't read this just yet. (It's driving ME crazy).
But, yes, over all, manga is NOT for weirdoes. The right ones are adorable, and just as good as any book you might like. (Well, classics are a different story all together...) So give them a chance.

*Note, I'm using the Romantic way of saying the names. The Japanse way would be last name first, first name second. ie. Tohru Honda is actually Honda Tohru.

No comments: