☆ anime/manga,  ☆ being a mangaka,  ☆ i heart japan

☆ My favorite manga ☆

Thank you guys for all of the comments recently! I feel so validated =^-^=

A lot of people asked me to, so I thought that it was about time that I talked about the manga that have inspired me, and what it is that makes them so good. Are you ready to come with me? Yeah? Let’s go! (ノ⌒∇⌒)ノ

Well.. for me, this starts right out at the beginning!

The series, that was, really, my first exposure to manga/anime in general.

And that was,
Sailor Moon.

I used to call it my gateway anime. The tale of miniskirt wearing tough little girls with legs up to there who fight bad guys and fall in love. They had cool powers, guardian planets, and most importantly– a continuing storyline! It wasn’t the episodic animation that I was used to, and that was AWESOME. I tuned in every single day during my Sophmore year.

I didn’t have cable tv in my house during high school, so I didn’t get the channel (USA) that it was shown on. So, I did what any obsessed girl would do, and went to my best friend Rachel’s house. Every day after school. I’m sure that she was sick of me. (she certainly was years later, when she told me, “I didn’t care if I lost you. I just wanted to -expletive involving mouths and genitals- your boyfriend.” Some best friend! I would have gladly loaned him to her if she’d asked, too. ANYWAYS, I’m not bitter or anything, no no no nooo.)

ANYWAYS! I already loved animation, and it was the wide range of strongly-personified girl characters with a continuing storyline that made Sailor Moon an instant hit with me. This was when the internet was still in it’s baby stages, and video online was pretty much unheard of. But still, we sought out clips from the movies and the last episodes. We sat through episode after episode, riveted to the tv, wondering who the next Sailor Scout would be, what the new transformation sequence and power sequence would be, and how Princess Serenity would be revealed. (Though it was totally obvious from the beginning who it was!).

I bought video tapes with sparkly pink boxes from Toys’R Us, and spent hundreds of quarters in the trading card machines to get whole set.


(pictures from Moments Like Diamonds)

It was when I started to copy Sailor Moon that I first started drawing anime-style. I made up Sailor Scouts of my own (I was Sailor Sun, and my friends each had their own characters). I guess you could say that, without Sailor Moon, I might never have gotten into anime at all. Or at least, not for a much longer time. I’d like to think that I would have found anime somehow, somewhere.

Anyways, I can’t pin down exactly why Sailor Moon is so awesome. It might be the characters, it might be the story, or it might just be because it was the first. I have to recommend that everyone, everywhere, gives it a chance, no matter whether they like girl’s manga or not.

I heard that it just started coming out in English again, and you can get it from Amazon here

Interestingly enough, I’ve never read through the whole series, although I own them all in Japanese. That will be my next project, then! (^o^)/


Legs up to there!

My next favorite..

Well, this time it’s a Shonen (boy’s) title.

Hunter x Hunter

Hunter x Hunter is a Shonen Jump manga by Yoshihiro Togashi (creator of Yu Yu Hakusho, and incidentally married to Naoko Takeuchi, the mangaka of Sailor Moon. Coincidence that they both rock?)

It is the story of Gon, a young boy who wants to follow in the footsteps of his absentee father and become a Hunter. What is a Hunter? Well, it’s complicated, but to put it basically, Hunters are an elite group of people who, well, hunt things. It’s far more complicated than that, and there are all sorts of hunters– from bounty hunters to rare-plant hunters. Some are in it for money, some for altruism, many for other reasons. It’s basically THE profession, and it’s one of the hardest to get. A Hunter is licensed by the Hunters Association, but as Gon soon finds out, becoming a Hunter is one of the hardest things in the world to do.

One thing I love about Hunter x Hunter is the diversity of the character designs– there are bishies for the ladies who like them, “cool” characters for the little boys who just want a hero, weird-looking characters galore for everyone else, and just… well, it’s refreshing! No two characters look alike. That’s not something you can say of, well, almost any manga out there.

I’d say that HxH is basically an adventure story, with the themes of “if you want something, give it you all,” and “friendship is the most important thing.” (A common theme in Shonen Jump manga).

It’s still being continued to this day in Shonen Jump. Lately the story has been amazing, so I always look forward to Mondays eagerly! It’s been published only sporadically the last few years in Japan, but seems to be finally getting back on track. Actually, for many years it was the “carrier” manga of Shonen Jump– that is, the manga that is consistently most popular, that basically keeps the magazine afloat.

Again, I was introduced to the anime before the manga. But both are equally as awesome. And comes with my highest recommendation, for any reader of any age! If you don’t like it, you can always stop reading, right? =^-^=

PS: Amazon has it here. 🙂

What’s next?

Well.. probably (for me) the title that impacted me the most over the past few years:

Nana

Nana changed the way I saw manga. Not just manga in general, but my own manga. Up until then, I’d read a lot of fluffy or dramatic shoujo (girl’s) manga, and a smattering of other stuff. But while I’d read some adult-oriented women’s manga, I’d never read one that I liked. I’d never read one that made me think: Hey, I want to draw that too!

Nana did that.

Nana is the story of two girls who meet on a bullet train to Tokyo. They couldn’t look more different. One is a tough, punk-rocker type with lots of thick eyeliner and a guitar, and the other is a girly, frilly every-girl. But the train getsdelayed by the snow and they get to talking. It turns out that they’re both moving to Tokyo from their homes in the countryside, they’re both the same age (20), and they both have the same name. Nana.

There was some bit of destiny in that meeting, and things soon get very complicated. And although they couldn’t be more opposite on the surface, they are actually very similar deep down inside.

Nana is far, far more dramatic and sad than it is happy. As with all of Yazawa’s manga (she also did Paradise Kiss and Gokinjo Monogatari, among others), it’s gorgeously drawn with excellent characterization. There’s also been a rumor for years that she doesn’t use any assistants. I don’t know how she did it. (Nana is currently on hiatus in Japan because the author went through surgery)

Nana is for mature audiences, and as such is a roller-coaster ride of emotions and drama, with tons of sex, more rock-n-roll, and even drugs. Oh, and did I mention sex? This manga is very sexy, but in a non-explicit way of course!

As I said, Nana made me think that I’d like to write manga for women. And that, more importantly, manga for women can be good! By the end I’ll know for sure, but right now I’m thinking that it’s one of my favorite, if not my favorite manga of all time. 🙂

Nana is available from Amazon here 🙂

Next, and last in this small list of my most-loved works, is:

20th Century Boys

Urasawa Naoki was the genius who brought us Monster. So I already had high expectations.

I wasn’t let down. When I first discovered this manga a few years ago, it had already been finished (in Japanese). So, for days I sat there almost straight through. Every waking minute that I wasn’t working or going to the bathroom, I was glued to this manga. It was that good.

20th Century Boys is the incredibly complicated story of a group of boys who have a secret club who one day make guesses about what will happen in the future, and when they grow up, some of those things suddenly start coming true. It’s a seinen (young men’s) manga, so it is a bit more gritty than something in Jump. It’s also pretty complicated, with tons of interwoven plots and characters.

You should try it! I don’t want to say any more than that about it, in fear of taking away the fun of reading it. Go, read it and tell me what you think!

You can get 20th Century Boys at Amazon here 🙂

There are actually a lot of manga out there that I love, and that influence me in some way or other. Artists, too. I really loved Ranma 1/2,

Anything by Arina Tanemura (art only, I find her stories dull mostly),

And Death Note/Bakuman (love both!)

They’ve all influenced my drawings and my preferences in various ways.

Now I’d most like to know:

What are your favorite manga(/anime)?
Leave a comment with pictures, titles, descriptions, anything and everything! =^-^= Maybe a review of everything suggested will even show up on a blog post here one day!

(721 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.

One Comment

  • GuitarFreak

    Wow! Omg! I LOVE Ranma 1/2!!! Anyway, my faves include

    Deadman Wonderland
    One Piece
    Tokyo Ghoul
    Gravitation
    Kiss x Death
    Ranma 1/2
    Voice Over

    Plus many more that I can’t really think of atm XD

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