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Valkor's Top 5 Favorite Manga Series

Hey folks, Valkor here. You know I’ve always been a big fan of anime since I first began to fully realize how truly great it was back in the 90’s. Sure I grew up watching Voltron and Robotech, but that was just watching it mindlessly and not knowing how great they were in their uncut, unedited form. Frankly folks, Anime kicks ass and blows away the stuff that come out here. Even stuff like Batman: the Animated Series or Justice League, could use a touch of spice that anime has. I don’t blame the people who make them because they do what they can to please all sides so that everyone is happy, and not go into a rant of how bad it is for children. Anime, the hard stuff, doesn’t take any prisoners. Now while I watch a lot of anime, I’ve never read too much Manga. Not that I don’t like it, as a reader and lover of all things comics, I should have been all over it. But I simply brushed it off and continued with the anime stuff.

However, one day, and with the push from a friend I picked up my first manga, which was Saiyuki #1. Now for those who have never read a Manga before, these comics differ from the one’s we’re used to reading. The biggest difference is you’re reading it in reverse, back to front, because that is how the Japanese read it and that’s how their language is written. Most fans have grown to accept it, hell they demand it. Not all Manga you pick up is written that way, but 95% of the English-translated Manga is kept in its original form. The second thing you’ll notice is that they’re in black and white. That’s not to say there aren’t any Manga in color. But I have never seen any and if it does exist, please someone point me in the right direction.

So I’m reading Saiyuki and for the most part, I’m going through this whole adjustment of reading backwards. It took some getting used to, but once I started in on the second book it became easier. Soon enough I was breezing through Manga like I would my own comics. Not only that but I was enjoying the hell out of them. Some were simple drama or comedies. Others were complex fantasy. But book after book I became intrigued until I finally realized, what many have known all along. Manga and Anime compliment each other. They belong together and should you find your self with one medium you will do yourself the favor of trying the other.

OK after swimming through all that, you must ask is there a point to all this? And the answer is yes, because I’m here to list my top five personal favorite manga series. Please note the order means nothing really because they are all my favorites, bar none. And if you have any suggestions on Manga I should try, definitely drop me an email.

1)      Hikaru No Go

By: Hotta Yumi & Obata Takeshi

When little Hikaru goes searching through his grandpa’s basement, he stumbles across a Go board that unleashes within him a spirit from long ago named Sai. Now with the help of Sai, Hikaru will learn the game of Go whether he wants to or not. And through his journey he will make many new friends and one adversary, Akira Toriyama who will track him down no matter what. Its simple fun with some fantasy tossed in. What I like best about this series is that the game Go isn’t over-exaggerated like, oh say Yu-Gi-Oh. The characters don’t go into all these freaky poses and shit just to entertain, yet it still keeps you in suspense, plus it’s such a fun story. I like how at first Hikaru simply hates the game of Go and tries to avoid it at all cost. If you watch the anime you don’t see it, as they kinda jump ahead. Overall if you need to break away from the magic and monsters, this is really the way to go.

2)      Berserk

By: Kentaro Miura

If you’ve seen the Anime first, you know about Guts “The Black Swordsman” the “100 man slayer” If you haven’t seen the anime then OH MY GOD, what are you waiting for? The anime basically starts with book 4 of the Manga, which goes into Gut’s past and how he got the way he is. But the manga goes much further. For instance as a child, Guts was raped by this guy who paid his father-figure Gambino. OUCH! Gut’s quest takes him to find the Godhand, to face off against his former friend Grifith, who you will learn about once you dig into book 4 and beyond. The series itself is very complex, but also very riveting and suspenseful to the point of nail biting. Plus this series is mad hardcore, I’m talking if it were possible for this book to sweat blood, dude you would be soaking in it. I mean blood would pour from the books like it was freakin Niagara Falls. It’s just that gory. This is a serious manga and not for anyone who’s never seen anything get sliced and diced. This is not a fun Manga, but damn is it good. If you’ve already watched the anime series and sat befuddled at the end, then read this manga, it will serve you well.

3)      Midori Days

BY: Kazurou Inoue

Seiji is not your average high school kid. He’s like the king of all fighters, I mean he really kicks ass. But he’s not a bully. More like he battles bullies, however he’s missing the one thing he longs for the most and that’s a girlfriend. So one day he wakes up and low and behold on his right hand (the hand that he mostly uses to fight with mind you) he finds a girl attached to it named Midori. Midori has always loved Seiji, but from afar so she makes a wish one night to be with him and soon comedy ensues. The laughs are on or above par with Ranma with all the zaniness that goes with it. Actually it’s even more disgusting if you really thing about it, I mean a girl on your hand? So long lonely nights, hello new found way to masturbate! As I’m writing this I am up to book 3 of the series and I am itching for book 4. If you like Ranma then yes definitely give Midori days a try.

4)      Genshiken

By: Shimoku Kio

Ok this one came out of left field. I literally as I write this just finished the first Manga of this series and it kicks ass. If you are a true Otaku, then you already know about this book. But if you wanna know a bit more or read a book about Otaku’s then this is the book for you. Sasahara wants to join the Genshiken club. He’s an Otaku at heart, but he’s kinda shy about joining up, he’s not sure how the others will respond to him, so he pretty much forces himself to join and find out that the guys in Genshiken are pretty much like him… Otaku! Then there’s Kousaka, who doesn’t even look like an Otaku, hell he even kinda, sorta, somewhat has a girlfriend, but damn he is pure otaku. We’re talking the purest of the pure. Manga, gaming, animes, he’s into it all. And that’s about as much of the story I know so far. Sure they’re other characters involved too and you will learn more about them. For now I am settling in with number number 2, with 3 and 4 waiting to be read.

5)      Cased Closed (aka “Detective Conan” in Japan)

By: Gosho Aoyama

Jimmy (Shinichi in Japan) Kudo, is not your typical 17 year old High school kid, he solves crimes the police can’t crack with the skill of Sherlock Holmes. One day while investigating some suspicious activity, he comes across some men in black. And rather than flat out kill him, these guys feed Jimmy this mysterious and experimental poison that’s supposed to finish him off, but instead it turns Jimmy into a little kid. So he takes up residence with his friend Rachel, who doesn’t know who he really is, and her dad who is a sub par detective, to help him find the mysterious men in black. Jimmy also changes his name to Conan Edogawa for fear that if the bad guys knew who he really is, his friends and family could be in danger. Finally with the assist of Doctor Agassa, Conan will use all sorts of nifty gadgets to help him, help Rachel’s dad solve a serious of unsolvable crimes. I happen to catch “Cased Closed” one late night on Cartoon Network, though I am not a big fan of dubbed anime, this one felt right in every way. And after reading about 6 books of the Manga, I gotta say I am even more hooked on the series. It can get a bit bloody at times, but it gives the manga a more “real” feel to it. The artwork is great and so are the stories. Will Conan ever find those men in black? One day I will finally know the answer as I get to the bottom of the series.

Valkor out!

Email: valkor@the-other-view.com

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