(You’ll have to excuse my laziness today…)
Anyone else have this problem or is it just me? I have a rule. When an anime adaptation is announced for a manga that’s on my “to do” list, I won’t read it. I’ve always thought it was awkward to talk about an anime while having the manga perspective because you just have too much information going in…I also don’t like falling into a “the manga did this better” trap. However, when the anime ends with the story unfinished (and it almost always does), I’m going to be curious what happens next, but I often have trouble getting past the barrier of the events that I have already watched.
For series like World Trigger, where I wasn’t too invested in the early story, I just skipped straight to the part where the anime left off, but I’m constantly afraid I’ll miss something. I think the only exception to this has been Space Brothers. Despite my gripes with the filler in the anime, I had a good time watching it, so I didn’t mind going through the chapters I had already seen on the big screen. That doesn’t mean I didn’t fast-forward through parts, but still…I felt like I wasn’t missing out (for those that are wondering, you’re really not missing out if you just skip the chapters that were adapted into anime…the adaptation felt pretty faithful to me). So that brings me back to my first question: anyone else have this problem or is it just me?
I thought about doing a post on Rurouni Kenshin, partly because of laziness and partly as a joke (since I’ve talked about the anime before and it’s basically the same thing minus excessive filler and plus an extra arc), but let’s take this a bit seriously. There are two series in the coming season where I’m familiar with what happens in the manga, so I’ll just go a bit more in-depth about them.
Sousei no Onmyoji
This series revolves around Rokuro Enmadou, a boy whose only talent is being an exorcist like the rest of his family (which is pretty unlikely, but let’s move on). However, he refuses to be an exorcist, constantly failing at other aspirations until Benio Adashino comes into his life. Apparently, the two are the Twin Star Exorcists of prophecy (because prophecies never go wrong!) and Rokuro is dragged back into the exorcist world. The series is interesting so far from what I’ve read and I’m a bit interested to see how it plays out on screen. From the manga, I think Benio’s supposed to have a speech impediment or something, but it’s hard to convey in manga, so I’m curious how she’ll speak in the anime (and she’ll probably be a completely normal anime girl, knowing my luck). The prophecy pieces of the story certainly annoy me (they really bash into your head that Rokuro and Benio will fulfill the prophecy of legend despite their objections), but it’s a decent action series with the battles against impurities.
This series is pretty simple, but sadly I’ve read the translated chapters, so it qualifies for this post. The main character, Makoto Kowata, is a witch who moves in with a relative, Kei Kuramoto. You would think this is a setup for something, but the series is just a slice-of-life that follows Makoto’s life as a witch and how she introduces the people around her to who witches are and what they do. And honestly, I thought Shade (the cat) would play a larger role in the series since witch’s cats usually do, but he’s mostly just…there…and a cat. I also thought that magic would play a larger role in the series, but the more I read, the more I came to ask myself “would the series even be any different if they took all of the magic and witchcraft out?” Maybe I’m heavily biased, but I’m just not looking forward to this…
I don’t really hear much about this series…I myself read it a while ago and didn’t think about it when I was choosing the series for my survival games post. The story is pretty simple…a group of people with supernatural powers gets gathered in an abandoned building to play a survival game by an unknown figure, Enigma. In order to to win, they have to solve a series of puzzles to escape from their captivity. If they succeed, they will each be granted a reward that is their big wish (or something to that effect). The main character, Sumio Haiba, has the ability to see the future when he falls asleep, which he writes in his notebook.
This was a series that I picked up when I was reading Bakuman because it was somewhat similar to a survival game series that was presented in that series. While this series probably doesn’t really stand out as a great one, I still think it did a decent job with interesting puzzles and interactions, but I don’t think it gets too deeply psychological. It’s a story we’ve probably heard before, but I’d say I was more interested in it for the mechanics rather than the pictures as a whole (if that makes any sense).
So I’ve been avoiding this series for a while now because the anime was announced and I was planning to talk about it before the anime aired. I’m not sure when the anime is planning to air, but let’s pretend it’s going to air this coming spring (though it’s starting to look like it might air in the summer). The series follows Kaizaki Arata, a man who has been having a rough time finding a job after quitting his previous job (I’m sure we’ve all experienced the job hunting grind in our lives). He is approached by Yoake Ryou, who offers him a chance to join the ReLIFE project, which would allow him to relive his high school days for one year with the promise of a job offer at the end if he’s successful. This experiment is facilitated by a drug that gives him the appearance of a 17-year old.
The series is mostly a mix of drama and comedy…I guess comedy too. I found it interesting because Kaizaki enters the school as an observer because he’s told everyone’s memories will be erased at the end of the year, and we get to watch the school life of his classmates through his eyes as he tries to support them without building too much of a relationship. Plus, I’m sure the question of “if I had the chance to do high school over again with the knowledge I have now, would I do a better job?” is a question that has crossed all of our minds at some point. By the way, the answer is “Yes, I would do a much better job”…there’s no way I’d fail tests like Kaizaki.
Another positive point for the series is the sheer number of funny reactions it has…don’t believe me? Have a look!
And my personal favorite…
So, did I go a bit too far into the violence territory last week? How about something cuter for this week? You’ll forgive me for last week, right? These are the series I would read if I really don’t feel like thinking too much.
Okay, this series might not be the greatest if you’re a dog fan. If you are one…well, I don’t really know what to tell you (you could try Chokotto Hime?). But back to the main point…I’ll admit straight up-front that this series is completely fluff. There’s really nothing going on here except watching anthropomorphic cats doing…cat things. So moving on…
Okay, this series is technically a romance because it follows several couples and their relationships. But for the most part, it skips the confession part and focuses more on the actual relationship. Personally, I only really like the first story (the one about the video gamer couple). The rest of them are really hard for me to read for some reason. If you find reasons why I should check out the other couples, let me know!
Okay, if the last one was “technically” a romance, then this one is “definitely” a romance. That being said, the romantic aspect of this series felt more mellow…the lack of drama made it feel less like it was driving the series forward. Anyway, the main character, Ozawa, just broke up with her boyfriend and runs into the room of a man who lives in the same building, Oyamada (she’s drunk, of course). Oyamada’s brother sends Oyamada random things (ranging from souvenirs to exotic memorabilia to condoms), and Ozawa finds herself returning to his apartment to hang out while she figures out what to do with her life. This series is actually completed, so you can read the whole thing!
We’ve reached an awkward point, so I’ll just pose the question. Do you like what I’m doing so far with manga and want to continue to see more themes? Or do you think it’s time I delved into other languages with manhwa (Korean) or manhua (Chinese)?
Enjoy watching people try to kill each other? Well, have I got the series for you!
Doubt (or Rabbit Doubt)
This one’s a short one. The premise of the murder game is simple. There is a group of people (the “rabbits”) trapped together, but one of them is secretly trying to kill the others (the “wolf”). Either the rabbits find the wolf and kill it or the wolf kills all of the rabbits. I will go ahead and warn you that the ending is not that great (culprit is very predictable and employs a flimsy mechanic to trick everyone). But hey…people get murdered, so if you’re into that, go for it! Also, if you really like this series, there’s a sequel called Judge, which you could also read…
I debated using a picture of the main heroine naked to bait people into reading this series, but decided that might be too mean. This series has the murder game take the form of a mobile game of sorts. To the outside world, it seems like an innocent game, but the players are actually trying to kill each other. The main character gets invited to the game by an old friend of his, who dies immediately after sending the invite. The players in Darwin’s Game are each given a supernatural power to help them as they battle each other, which I think is a stupid reason to give the series the name “Darwin’s Game”, but whatever.
What’s better than watching a bunch of people trying to kill each other and become the last one standing? Team games! This series features a murder game where the main characters must work together to build a kingdom and “conquer” other kingdoms. To make this happen, each day each person in the group is randomly assigned a role in the kingdom and must follow the orders of anyone with a role higher than theirs (with the king/queen being at the top). And naturally, with a mechanic like this, one of the characters is a yandere girl who really likes the main character. That can only go well, right?
Don’t expect this to be the last 4-koma edition…I read a lot of them.
Yeah, I got baited by this title too. The “yan” is an abbreviation of “yankee”, so it’s not the “yandere” you were expecting. The basic story is a fairly plain-looking guy falling in love with a delinquent (the titled yankee). Most of the chapters are comedic one-offs, but the main story kicks in every now and then, whether it’s developing specific characters or exploring new relationships.
If you want a more serious take on young love, you probably want to be reading Hatsukiai. Tsurezure Children takes a more comedic approach. The chapters jump back and forth through the stories of various couples in a school. For me, the couples are hit-and-miss. Some are very funny (like the student council president with the delinquent) and others are incredibly boring (like the girl with the mask).
Bonus Round: Sword Art Online 4-koma
Like making fun of SAO? Well, so does this 4-koma. Experience what the series would have been like if the writer hadn’t been taking it so seriously. I thought it was a great improvement over the actual series and it’s a pretty quick read. I was done reading before I knew it!
It shouldn’t be too surprising that I enjoy playing strategy games…it also shouldn’t be surprising that I like reading manga about these games. Here are some of the series I liked.
Hikaru no Go
Let me start this off by saying that I play go at a very casual level. It’s one of those games that’s really hard to get into. This series, Hikaru no Go, was my introduction to the game. It’s an old Shounen Jump manga that I used to read when I was in high school. The story is about a kid with no experience playing go who is possessed by the ghost of a go player, who then introduces him to the game (somewhat forcefully). I will go ahead and say up front that the ending of the series is very disappointing. That being said, I still thought that the story was fun to read. The series does teach a lot of the basics of the game, but doesn’t get too technical about the details.
I’m still pretty behind in the manga for this series, but I’ve watched the anime adaptation. Unlike Hikaru no Go, this series is a grittier look into the gambling world. It’s set in the same world as Kaiji, if you’re familiar with that series and would prefer a broader look at gambling. I personally prefer Akagi because I find the game of mahjong more interesting. There’s not too much to say about this story…it’s about a guy named Akagi who gambles playing mahjong. I think it’s interesting because I like reading about how Akagi outsmarts his opponents, but I admit it may not be for everyone.
Chess is easily my favorite of these strategy games and the game I probably know most about…that being said, finding a chess-related manga has been a serious struggle. The only one I’ve ever found is Chrono Monochrome, which is about a guy who controls a chess robot, and I couldn’t really get into it. But hey…if you know of another series I can try, let me know…
This type of story is becoming a lot more common these days, with the main character usually either trapped in a game world or suddenly transported to a fantasy world with many video game powers. Here are a few of the ones I’m reading.
Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari
The main character in this series, Naofumi, gets summoned to a fantasy world by a spell that is intended to summon the legendary four heroes to save the world. Each hero is given a legendary weapon, with the Naofumi’s being the shield. The video game tie-in for this series is a bit less important, with some of the characters vaguely remembering a video game that is similar to the fantasy world. This series is more on the serious side when it comes to these kinds of stories, with the focus mostly being on the judgment of society and things like betrayal. I’ve found it pretty interesting so far, but the new chapters come out monthly, so there aren’t that many chapters. I guess I just find the concept of discovering the uses of the weaker class interesting.
The New Gate
This series follows the more common video game theme. The main character, Shin, defeats the final boss of a game and finds himself transported to the future world of that game. It’s an interesting series that dives deeper into the NPC perspective of the player characters in a video game, but it’s another series that has infrequent releases. Most of the story seems to be Shin trying to find his place in this world…exploring and such. I have trouble seeing the direction of the series, though…what exactly is the end goal for Shin? Most of the chapters don’t really show a desperation for finding his home. I feel like this series mirrors Log Horizon in many ways.
Isekai de “Kuro no Iyashi Te” tte Yobarete Imasu (In Another World, I Am Called the Black Healer)
This series is a newer one that I’m still evaluating. The main character, Kanzaki Misuzu, is suddenly dragged into a fantasy world one day as she’s walking home. With fairly little explanation, Misuzu finds herself trapped in this world with a video game-like interface as a mage of some sort. The series is still acclimating Misuzu to the world, so it’s hard to say for sure whether it’s going to continue to be interesting, but I’m sticking with it for now. I’m mostly curious what the limitations of her new powers are, since she seems to be able to cast whatever spell she wants. They are hinted at in the latest chapter (chapter 4) as some sort of backlash when she runs out of MP. Anyway, the series takes a different spin with a female protagonist…though I have to say that casting her as a healer is still pretty stereotypical.
Okay, I’m going to give fair warning before I start talking about this series. The manga is not completed and has been on hiatus for about 2 years. That being said, this is probably one of my favorite series. The premise is simple. The setting is a world where all children have a power called Iris, which is some sight-related power that is pretty much unique to each person. If I remember correctly, this power goes away at adulthood. The main character, Toru Mishizuma, is a rare exception that has absolutely no power, making him an Iris Zero. As a result of the teasing and bullying he has experienced because he is an Iris Zero, he tries to keep his interaction with others to a minimum. However, his resolve is shaken when he is asked for help by Koyuki Sasamori.
The series itself follows Toru as he tries to help other Iris users with their Iris-related problems despite having no power of his own other than observation. I find these kinds of stories fascinating that explore people who have powers that they rely on so much that they handicap themselves in other ways. Toru just shows up on the scene as a sort of neutral observer capable of providing a completely different perspective, which is almost like an Iris of his very own. The problems these characters face also feel very real despite the supernatural powers they possess, making it seem like the power almost isn’t needed for the story (but it provides that extra push). While I almost can’t recommend this series enough, I really do have to warn you, though, that you will likely be trolled as I have at the lack of resolution…unfortunately the mangaka fell ill, so the manga has been languishing for a while now.