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Manga series I have read recently 2Follow

#1 Nov 27 2010 at 3:30 AM Rating: Decent
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I like being recommended media and enjoy recommending. Locke made a nice thread a while back that covered some enjoyable series, so I thought I'd throw done some others that I've enjoyed.

Berserk (ongoing) - top of the list and for a good reason. People will tell the the anime is good, but had a problematic ending. Skip the anime, go straight to the manga. This by far the best manga I've read, and can easily pull off the description "visual novel," without sounding ridiculous. Berserk is a dark fantasy manga that explores a variety of themes throughout its many arc with camaraderie, fate, and suffering topping the list. Guts, the main character very early on seems like a paragon of cliche. HE is brutish, wields a giant sword, seems nearly invincible in battle, and has a character design very similar to those found in the late 80s. In truth, he is acomplex individual coming to grips with the hand fate has dealt him while also attempting to break free of it. The art is richly detailed, the atmosphere is thick with melancholy, and the characters richly developed.

Hunter x Hunter (hiatus) - I found it to be a strangely alluring series. Many of its elements are very stereotypical shounen, and there are some early weak plot gaps you simply have to ignore--such as how whole contrivance and pomp of the hunter license. However, there are manyvery unique elements within the series that I found to be entirely redeeming. The main character, Gon, is entirely amoral without being any sort of anti-hero, which is odd for a very shounen series. There is also a fair amount of avoidance of fights in the series, because the enemies tend to be realistically superior and not merely something for the main characters to surpass. Key characters are at times discarded in the story; that is that the author develops them to a great extent and then decides to move on to something else and perhaps bring them back later. And perhaps the most intriguing elements are the very unique abilities possessed by the characters and the very unique situations in which they must use these abilities. The author is also incredibly detailed in developing his world. At one point he introduces a virtual reality game that involves cards, hundreds (perhaps it was one thousand cards?), and he explicitly designed and listed each one in his manga in an index section. Also the guy is married to the mangaka of Sailor Moon, making him even more of a hoss.

Eyeshield 21 (completed) - Perhaps one of the more entertaining sports manga. I found its most defining features to be very strong humor and genuinely clever plans by Hiruma. I also enjoyed how in a setting devoid of any magic or advanced technology the players are all given very unique and defining abilities.

Zetman (ongoing) - A new generation reconstruction of the superhero genre. If you enjoyed Marvel and DC comics about spider-man and superman like heroes, this is a story which has rebuilt what Marvel and DC are still in the process of deconstructing. Zet is a revitalized take on the traditional anti-hero, and his counter-part Alfaz is an exploration on the very old traditional superhero.

Liar Game (hiatus) - If you enjoy Death Note styles plots of continual one-upmanship and xanatos roulettes with xanatos roulettes, Liar game will be your fix. Perhaps not quite as strong as Death Note, but definitely enjoyable is you enjoy game thriller stories.

Shigurui (completed) - If you want gore, violence, and hatred, you'll find it here. Extremely graphic, Shigurui is a story of samurai portraying some of the most ruthless and despicable elements within a person. This is not Kenshin; this is not Samurai Champloo. I would say it's a horror story.
#2 Nov 27 2010 at 10:39 AM Rating: Good
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Eyeshield was a very entertaining read, for exactly the same reasons you mentioned. Over the top sports action, complete with Fighter Game moves, and Hiruma really made the manga (and anime). However, not only him but the whole team was an actual team, not just one or two characters. Everyone had hurdles to overcome, and they all did. Even some of the secondary characters had much more characterization than some other mangas I can think of, like Bleach. The only con I can think of is that it actually ended, but at the same time it didn't really have a plot that could sustain life like Hajime no Ippo can. Though, its still a healthy length. I wouldn't be adverse to a "next generation." The only real problem I had was more with the anime, which wasn't bad itself but I didn't feel the voices really fit the characters, except Monta. Also, a little of the characterization was removed and it was more centralized on Sena instead of the whole team like the manga. The voices was pretty minor, as that's more of a personal preference, but the characterization was kind of a let down.

I've been reading B Gata H Kei. I'm not saying its great or anything, but its cute. Its the story of a girl entering high school who wants to have a hundred sex buddies. The problem is, she's got a hyperactive imagination, and is so egotistical that she's inept at all things romantic. Her plan is to start off with one guy, which will make her pursuit easier. The guy she chooses, however, is just as inept at romance that they end up both going in different directions. Like I said, probably not the best read, but the interaction between the two characters is cute enough to at least enjoy it.
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#3 Nov 27 2010 at 2:36 PM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
People will tell the the anime is good, but had a problematic ending.
Only reason the ending was problematic was because it ended too soon. The anime itself was excellent and I feel on par with the manga, but watching it will quite likely make you want to read the manga to know more of what happens.
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#4 Nov 27 2010 at 6:19 PM Rating: Decent
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I only watched about 8 episodes of the Berserk anime, but I noticed they skipped several very important scenes. These were scenes that dealt with either highly graphic or disturbing content, but were incredibly important. I also believe the art is a very important part of Berserk, and that understandably the same quality isn't possible in an anime.

Edited, Nov 27th 2010 6:20pm by Allegory
#5 Nov 27 2010 at 11:44 PM Rating: Good
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I don't remember learning much when reading through the manga section of that, so it's possible they were just in a different order. The only scene I can't remember for sure about when thinking on it was the whole Guts getting sold to that one dude thing.
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Wow, you've got an awesome writing style.! I really dig the narrator's back story, humor, sarcasm, and the plethora of pop culture references. Altogether a refreshingly different RotR journal (not that I don't like the more traditional ones, mind you).

#6 Nov 28 2010 at 12:50 AM Rating: Decent
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I definitely know they skipped over Guts being sold by Gambino, which is a far better reason for why Guts decided to kill Gambino and better explains Gambino's emotions toward Guts. I also don't remember, though I may have missed it, the anime showing Griffith selling his body to some rich royalty so the Hawks could obtain supplies. It showed just how incredibly strong his desire for his own kingdom was, and not only did he do it, but he did so unfazed. He sees only his goal. I also don't think they showed all of the introduction of Berserk, where Guts fights a caterpillar apostle and you learn about Femto for the first time.

Edited, Nov 28th 2010 12:50am by Allegory
#7 Nov 28 2010 at 4:21 AM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
I also don't remember, though I may have missed it, the anime showing Griffith selling his body to some rich royalty so the Hawks could obtain supplies. It showed just how incredibly strong his desire for his own kingdom was, and not only did he do it, but he did so unfazed. He sees only his goal.
I'm pretty sure they mentioned that, though not going into too much detail.

Allegory wrote:
I also don't think they showed all of the introduction of Berserk, where Guts fights a caterpillar apostle and you learn about Femto for the first time.
Didn't hurt the telling of the arc they focused on in the anime, though.
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Wow, you've got an awesome writing style.! I really dig the narrator's back story, humor, sarcasm, and the plethora of pop culture references. Altogether a refreshingly different RotR journal (not that I don't like the more traditional ones, mind you).

#8 Dec 01 2010 at 9:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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I can now chime in on two of these (and yay for referencing me in the OP!)

Berserk: when I first read Al's OP I thought "Oh, that series was just all blood and boobs." Unfortunately I was thinking of Bastard!, not Berserk. So I slacked at work and spent a lot of the last few evenings reading this series. My first mistake? Thinking it was finished. 317 chapters in, and I'm all caught up to present (well, there was a November 26th issue, but I couldn't find it translated). The result? I'm guessing at least 100 more chapters, probably more (NONE of the major villains are dead yet!). But oddly enough my initial review, despite being to the wrong series, still remained true. Berserk does have a much better story than most manga I've read, but like many action series that go on for far too long (200+ chapters is too long, IMO, especially when each chapter is only about 22 pages), the action scenes take forever and the initially compelling storyline begings to just plod along. Unlike many long series, however, there is not too much filler (the Misty Valley Elves arc comes to mind as a notorious exception); the action is usually related to the story... and as said, the story is good. Around chapter 290 or so, I found myself very torn on who to root for in the series, the "good" guys or the "bad" guys... though I have no doubt Griffith will eventually screw over everyone AGAIN.

Extrapolating further on the substance of Al's post, yes, Guts (or Gaats, or Gahtz, or whatever oddball translation you find) has a lot of great character development. He starts off as a right old jerk, then you see his past and figure out where he's coming from. He gradually comes to grips with a lot of his inner demons, but even in the current episodes there is still a central theme of "protect or seek revenge," with Guts having to choose one or the other. However, much like a cheesy romance where it goes back and forth again and again, it gets old after a while. The early development of Guts, especially dealing with his childhood rape, parental issues, and his learning to trust, I found infinitely more compelling than his "OH NOES I'm becoming evil! Oh wait, my friends made me remember myself again!" that he's repeated several times over.

The themes of the series are pretty good overall, and as said, the story is really good, albeit protracted. The story also seems to develop as guts develops. In the beginning (well, second arc) he's just a boy and couldn't care less about what's going on. He goes from fight and fight and never looks at the big picture. Then he meets Griffith and suddenly we learn about Midland and the 100 year war. From there we learn about the demons, and after that we see their effects in all sorts of human affairs. Lately we find out about all sorts of countries and get a really nice political view. The theme of fate is mentioned, but not explained. 300+ chapters in, I'm still going "Who is the Skull Knight?" (though I have a good idea), and he's basically the central theme of fate.

As for a visual novel, eh. Berserk is blood and boobs. People die approximately four times as often as they get raped, but as one or the other will happen in practically every chapter, it gets to the point where you're just going "Yawn, ok, tell me the story." Rape is used well in the flashback arcs, with both Guts and Griffith putting real feeling behind it. I still can't figure out why demons like to have so much sex, but honestly, Berserk's writing staff has to be the horniest bunch of boys ever, because they make most of the girls seems like they LOVE to get violated. Even Casca, one of the most brutal and important rapes in the series, seems like she's not entirely minding it (which actually goes along pretty well with her feelings toward her rapist, but still...).

All complaints aside, I fully realize the ONLY reason I'm complaining is Allegory's insistence that this is "by far the best manga I've read." I'll disagree. Berserk's story is good, its character development is of a better quality than many action series, and it'll satisfy your lust for blood or hentai, but it is not significantly better than other series I have read. It is, without a doubt, above average. It would make my top 10, but not my top 5.

Not that I can think of my top 5, but it's late, so screw off Smiley: lol

liar Game: Loved it when I first read it, but like all drama/thriller/psychological series, it lags when you need to wait for the next issue to come out. I stopped reading it about half a year ago for this season - I went back a few months later and couldn't get reinvested without restarting the series. However, I find it the best psychological/puzzle manga since Death Note, so I'd completely agree with the OP. If you liked Death Note, read Liar Game, but be prepared to get disappointed when you need to wait for the next issue.

Edited, Dec 2nd 2010 9:35am by LockeColeMA
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#9 Dec 02 2010 at 10:30 PM Rating: Good
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I stopped reading Berserk some time ago. About the time they all started getting the magic and weapons. Didn't that one religious warrior chick get a wind rapier or some sh*t? Once it got to that point, I didn't know if I should continue reading it. I can't remember where in the series it was.

There is a lot of inter-species rape in Berserk, from what I remember. Pretty much any evil thing had a penis that it wanted to force into the townsfolk.
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#10 Dec 03 2010 at 3:37 AM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
All complaints aside, I fully realize the ONLY reason I'm complaining is Allegory's insistence that this is "by far the best manga I've read." I'll disagree. Berserk's story is good, its character development is of a better quality than many action series, and it'll satisfy your lust for blood or hentai, but it is not significantly better than other series I have read. It is, without a doubt, above average. It would make my top 10, but not my top 5.

I have to say, that I think that even then you're selling Berserk short. On ANN it is the second highest rated series, and on MAL it is the highest rated series. Obviously these are ratings by average readers are not renowned literary critics, but the rest of the top rated series on each list are fairly tasteful.

I think that while Berserk may not appeal to certain audiences, that it does have strong objective merit.
#12 Feb 04 2011 at 11:40 AM Rating: Excellent
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I don't think this thread has fallen far enough to warrant a third one so, I'll just raise this from the dead with my awesome Necro rate-down immunity powers!
Warning: if you see a common theme in my manga selection, it's either of the harem or fan-service variety Smiley: lol

1. Eden No Ori: This series is still on-going, but I've enjoyed it so far. A high school class is on their way back to Japan from Okinawa when their plane goes wonky. The class ends up scattered on what appears to be an island with prehistoric monsters. The main character, Akira, tries to gather his friends and survive in order to find their way back home.

The story itself is very violent. There are something like 300 people on the plane originally, and maybe half have shown up so far. Of those, a solid majority are dead. At the same time it's pretty interesting too because of all the extinct animals. The fan service is unrealistic, but hey, the entire story is fantasy, so why not? It's not bad, but it's not great.

2. Mx0: A schools days/magic series about a kid without magic getting into a magical high school. The story is complete and apparently a sequel is not going to be made due to lack of popularity; too bad, because it set up another arc very well. I actually really enjoyed this one for some reason. School days makes me yawn like crazy most times, but this was pretty good and funny.

3. Umi no Misaki: Straight fan service harem here. Well, pretty much. The story reminded me a bit of IO, except there's no scuba diving, not white whale. Instead you have three Cape maidens who are devoted to the incarnation of the Dragon God of the island, who happens to be a newly arrived boy. Their entire goal in life is to serve him. Add in a lolicon teacher, a younger sister-like character, and a movie star who just likes flirting, and it's a harem through and through. Still, I'm not positive which maiden the main character will end up with, but it's a 90+% chance it'll be the one on the cover, lol.

4. Pet Shop of Horrors: FINALLY, a good manga. I really enjoyed this one, although it is old (from the late 1990s). The jokes are hilarious and American-oriented, making me enjoy them much more than the standard references to Japanese culture that are lost on me. The plot format is told in practically stand-alone episodes. Outside of the animals, Count D, the detective, and Chris, hardly any character reappear. Each chapter usually goes like this:
-Person wants a pet, usually a rare or interesting one
-Count D gives them a pet that looks quite like a human and has them sign a contract with rules to follow
-The person breaks the rules or does something stupid, and usually ends up dead or an emotional wreck
The formula changes a bit later on, focusing more on cases the detective has and how they tie into the Count. By the end of the series, the Count's history is partially revealed. The best part of the series is the character of Count D, who is just really engrossing. Figuring out his motivations, and why he gives certain pets to certain people (and what the pets actually are) is really fun. I recommend this series.
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#13 Feb 04 2011 at 4:08 PM Rating: Good
I read all of Zetman & Berserk because of this thread. Outside of "where" they happen, they & Gantz (A Swords & Sorcery Epic vs Sci-Fi Monster Movies), they're the story of utterly unlikable @#%^s whom kick ass that eventually become somewhat likable as you get to know them & they discover the value of friendship.

With lots of gore, boobs, & rape.

I really liked Berserk up until the point mentioned above where Gutts got the Berserker Armor. Berserk was always at its best when Gutts was fighting, only as a man, against anything & everything that a man shouldn't be able to. Honestly, at current, it feels like a "filler" arc where they're at on the island while the main story is actually going on with Griffith. The art does get quite a bit better over time as the series goes on (20+ years!) & the splash pages are pretty epic. Hell, almost the whole thing is epic, aside from the current ark.

Zetman is good as well, but I feel that I'm missing out on a ton having read the scanlations as I just don't feel the translations were very good. Justice in english can't mean whatever the @#%^ the word they're getting it from in Japanese is. Art is good, story is good albeit incredibly @#%^ed up.

But jesus Japan, just how many demon/alien/monster rape scenes do you really need?
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#14 Feb 06 2011 at 4:21 AM Rating: Good
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But jesus Japan, just how many demon/alien/monster rape scenes do you really need?


All of them. They need all of them.

Quote:
I still can't figure out why demons like to have so much sex


Because they are nothing, if not portions of the human psyche taken to excess.
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#15 Feb 06 2011 at 4:25 AM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
4. Pet Shop of Horrors: FINALLY, a good manga. I really enjoyed this one, although it is old (from the late 1990s). The jokes are hilarious and American-oriented, making me enjoy them much more than the standard references to Japanese culture that are lost on me. The plot format is told in practically stand-alone episodes. Outside of the animals, Count D, the detective, and Chris, hardly any character reappear. Each chapter usually goes like this:
-Person wants a pet, usually a rare or interesting one
-Count D gives them a pet that looks quite like a human and has them sign a contract with rules to follow
-The person breaks the rules or does something stupid, and usually ends up dead or an emotional wreck
The formula changes a bit later on, focusing more on cases the detective has and how they tie into the Count. By the end of the series, the Count's history is partially revealed. The best part of the series is the character of Count D, who is just really engrossing. Figuring out his motivations, and why he gives certain pets to certain people (and what the pets actually are) is really fun. I recommend this series.


How is the animated version; If it's solid I'll give it a watch, as I prefer that medium.
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What if the bird will not sing?
Nobunaga answers, "Kill it!"
Hideyoshi answers, "Make it want to sing."
Ieyasu answers, "Wait."
Timelordwho answers "Just as Planned."
#16 Feb 06 2011 at 9:02 AM Rating: Good
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Timelordwho wrote:
LockeColeMA wrote:
4. Pet Shop of Horrors: FINALLY, a good manga. I really enjoyed this one, although it is old (from the late 1990s). The jokes are hilarious and American-oriented, making me enjoy them much more than the standard references to Japanese culture that are lost on me. The plot format is told in practically stand-alone episodes. Outside of the animals, Count D, the detective, and Chris, hardly any character reappear. Each chapter usually goes like this:
-Person wants a pet, usually a rare or interesting one
-Count D gives them a pet that looks quite like a human and has them sign a contract with rules to follow
-The person breaks the rules or does something stupid, and usually ends up dead or an emotional wreck
The formula changes a bit later on, focusing more on cases the detective has and how they tie into the Count. By the end of the series, the Count's history is partially revealed. The best part of the series is the character of Count D, who is just really engrossing. Figuring out his motivations, and why he gives certain pets to certain people (and what the pets actually are) is really fun. I recommend this series.


How is the animated version; If it's solid I'll give it a watch, as I prefer that medium.
I thought it was pretty good, but unfortunately quite short.
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Wow, you've got an awesome writing style.! I really dig the narrator's back story, humor, sarcasm, and the plethora of pop culture references. Altogether a refreshingly different RotR journal (not that I don't like the more traditional ones, mind you).

#17 Feb 06 2011 at 11:47 AM Rating: Good
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The One and Only Poldaran wrote:
Timelordwho wrote:
LockeColeMA wrote:
4. Pet Shop of Horrors: FINALLY, a good manga. I really enjoyed this one, although it is old (from the late 1990s). The jokes are hilarious and American-oriented, making me enjoy them much more than the standard references to Japanese culture that are lost on me. The plot format is told in practically stand-alone episodes. Outside of the animals, Count D, the detective, and Chris, hardly any character reappear. Each chapter usually goes like this:
-Person wants a pet, usually a rare or interesting one
-Count D gives them a pet that looks quite like a human and has them sign a contract with rules to follow
-The person breaks the rules or does something stupid, and usually ends up dead or an emotional wreck
The formula changes a bit later on, focusing more on cases the detective has and how they tie into the Count. By the end of the series, the Count's history is partially revealed. The best part of the series is the character of Count D, who is just really engrossing. Figuring out his motivations, and why he gives certain pets to certain people (and what the pets actually are) is really fun. I recommend this series.


How is the animated version; If it's solid I'll give it a watch, as I prefer that medium.
I thought it was pretty good, but unfortunately quite short.


Ka-Pow! added to Netflix queue then.

Short means I can justify spending the time to watch it, unlike, say, bleach which I would like to catch back up but have limited temporal resources.
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What if the bird will not sing?
Nobunaga answers, "Kill it!"
Hideyoshi answers, "Make it want to sing."
Ieyasu answers, "Wait."
Timelordwho answers "Just as Planned."
#18 Feb 08 2011 at 3:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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Just finished another, a nice long one called Jiraishin (Ice Blade in English). A series of suspense and violence revolving around a detective who toes the line of being unlawful. He's kinda like a cop-version of House, except instead of being mean he's simply unemotional. The series was good, and 19 volumes (holy crap!), but read easily online. Apparently there is a new series following it called Jiraishin Diablo, but I only found three chapters of it so far. Anyway, it's a good read, but very dark. Lots of death and violence and sometimes rape, so if you're queasy, don't read. If you like mystery and suspense, it's a good one (not wonderful, but good).
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