Thursday, January 10, 2013

Manga Geek

This may hurt my Geek cred, but I did not like Manga for the longest time. I was spoiled by comics. I will get into this more in another posting, but I loved comics. What spoiled me with comics was all the vibrant color. Going from all the color to black and white Manga is not an easy task. It is because of this I refused to read Manga for the longest time.
That all changed when I heard about Battle Angel Alita. I read the synopsis and several reviews. I looked for the Anime, but quickly found only a small portion of the story was animated and it was no longer available. Out of desperation I bought the first couple of volumes of the Battle Angel Alita Manga. I actually had an easier time reading right to left, than I did with the black and white artwork. However, the story was compelling and the artwork was amazing. I was completely sucked in.

I wasn’t sure where to go from there. I didn’t want to pick some random Manga in the hopes I’d like it, but end up hating it so much, I would swear off Manga for life again. I played it safe and went for a series that I had watch in Anime. So, I picked up Trigun, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, and DragonBall. Yes, all of them at the same time. Yeah… I plunged headfirst into the deep end with the Manga.
Something else that really helped was spending lots of hours on the Barnes & Noble floors reading through the Manga. I found several other series I liked. I even found a couple of unlikely favorites. I like to think I’m a typical male Geek. I’m all about the action and adventure stuff. However, I was surprised to find I really enjoyed Train Man. It is a romantic story about a Geek who saves a fashionable girl on a train. They start going out and they fall in love. I think I liked it because I could cheer for the Geek.
Another favorite I found in obscurity was I Luv Halloween. Now this isn’t a Manga in the sense it was created in Japan, but everything else about it is just a really great Manga. It’s funny, creepy, and disgusting. The perfect kind of thing you would want to read around Halloween. The best way to describe the story is a bunch of kids go trick or treating on Halloween, but there is a lot of maiming, killing, zombies, aliens, and teenagers trying to get it on. You’ll just have to read the title to understand.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years about Manga. One Geeky technical note; Manga 9 times out of 10 start off in chapter installments in magazines like Shonen Jump. Once the title is popular enough it is collected into the graphic novels we see in our bookstores. These volumes are called “Tankobon.” It is good to follow the Manga and Anime of the same title because they almost always are different from each other. Also, there may not be any color, but it is amazing the moods Manga can set with shades of grey and black.
The saddest lesson I learned was no series is safe. I was heartbroken when Tokyopop closed shop and killed all of their storylines. There were two series I was in the middle of when this happened. I was loving Deadman Wonderland and it was just getting good. The one that was really hard to lose was Future Diary. This was one of the most original stories I had read in a long time and it was gone. The worst part was Future Diary had only one or two more volumes to go before it was finished. It was like someone ripped the last ten pages out of the book I was reading. (I actually had that happen when I was a kid.)

Just like so many other Geeks, I have amassed a large collection of Manga. I even have a few titles, I have not been able to start reading, but I collected them out of fear of never seeing them on the bookshelf again. I love looking at my three full bookshelves of Manga. I sometimes wonder if I could have spent all that money on something else. Probably, but the hours of reading and conversations and dreaming that I have enjoyed have been totally worth it.

 
Thanks To:
         Geek Queen by Junawashere @ deviantart.com
         Gally Motorball by BattleAngelGally @ deviantart.com
         ILuvHalloween by CacaoDrinker23 @ deviantart.com
         The Library by Tobi Chan Lisseul @ deviantart.com
         Reading by Ravenngo @ deviantart.com