Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Favorite Mangas

For me there are certain comics that totally define manga for me. The story and art contains everything that I think a manga should be, plus a little more than I expect. These are the shojo manga series that have made the biggest impact on me as a reader and as an artist.

Special A by Maki Minami

There have been other mangas I've enjoyed reading before this one, but Special A is the first manga that turned me into a true fan girl. Every time a new volume came out, I would be right there to buy it, and after I devoured the volume, I would be ready for more. On top of that, it's one of the few mangas where I remember the names of the main characters. Not being used to Japanese names, they typically don't stick in my mind, but the characters in this manga are so memorable. 

Special A is basically about Kei and Hikari, two childhood friends who are rivals. Hikari's goal is always to rise above Kei, be it in grades, contests, or wrestling. Along with the constant competition between Kei and Hikari, the manga also includes little subplots involving their friends--which are also very entertaining.

My favorite thing about this manga is the level of comedy it has. At some points it's kind of random, but the randomness actually makes sense. It's a very well written, and it has definitely influenced the way I create manga.

And Kei is soooo crazy awesome!!! Kyaaa!!!!

Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi 

The artwork in Dengeki Daisy takes my breath away. I hope to be that talented of a manga artist when I grow up.

This story has a plot line that builds with each volume, which makes it a suspenseful read at times, and I have to confess--it's the first manga that made my eyes water a little--DON'T LAUGH AT ME!! I  couldn't help it. Really, I couldn't.

What I love about this story, besides the art, is the plot. It doesn't really follow the typical shojo manga formula. It's about a computer hacker and the guilt he carries as he works to protect his best friend's sister. It's different, the art is gorgeous, and it gives me a goal to shoot for. When I finished reading it, I was like, "I want to create a manga like that."

Lovely Complex by  Aya Nakahara

The art is cute, and it's fun to read. What I like the most about this manga is that it flips the typical tall and handsome lead male and the cute, little female lead characters upside down.

This story is about a love relationship where the girl is much taller than the boy. In one part, the boy actually stands on something just so he can kiss her on a equal level. What's not to love about that! So cute. As the story goes on, the girl's grandfather appears to express his disapproval of their relationship. He doesn't like her dating a boy who is so much shorter than she is. It's quite funny.

Honorable Mention

Faster Than A Kiss by Meca Tanaka
Lately I've been addicted to reading this manga. I can't exactly narrow down why I like it so much, but it is the only manga I've read where the main characters are married to each other, adding a different angle to things. Normally in a shojo manga, the characters are searching for love, not working to keep it alive.

Comics that redefine and stretch the definition of shojo manga, and break away from what is normal for that style, really catch my eye and they motivate me not to settle for average on any project that I begin working on. Fun stuff!