Manga Mania.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 rinachan
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In this post, I’ll discuss manga that was brought to America and give reviews, plus tell you what it’s about.

NANA

A popular manga brought to America by Viz Media, NANA follows two girls – Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu (known as Hachi) – that suddenly meet each other by accident while the both of them set off to Tokyo one cold winter’s night to follow their dreams. Nana Osaki is the lead of Black Stones (lovingly known by the fans as BLAST) and dreams to make it big. When her ex-boyfriend, Ren, leaves the band to become a guitarist (which he was originally a bassist) for the popular band Trapnest, BLAST is left devastated. However, they move on, and, with the help of Hachi, find a new bass player. However, Hachi is a normal girl, heading to Tokyo with hopes of making her own dreams come true. When her boyfriend left for Tokyo in order to become an art student at a college, he told Hachi not to follow after him until she had a plan and some money. When Hachi raised up enough money, she chased after him to Tokyo so that they could be together. Both of these girls meet on the train to Tokyo and don’t meet again until they set off to find an apartment – in which, they both, surprisingly, are interested in the same apartment. They decide to live together and split the rent, since the apartment had two bedrooms. The two were inseparable ever since and remained best friends through whatever ups and downs (as NANA mainly focuses on) life throws at them.

I, personally, find this as my all-time favorite manga. I buy every volume and I can never wait until the next one. Highly recommended for anyone who likes real shoujo.

LIFE

LIFE follows Ayumi Shiiba, a ninth grade student, soon going into high school (which starts in tenth grade for the Japanese). She has a fairly normal life, having her friend Shii-chan by her side for anything. But when it’s time to decide your school, Shii-chan decides to go to a school that Ayumu couldn’t possibly pass the tests for, becauses, after all, Shii-chan is her smart best friend and Ayumu has grades that could certainly be avoided. Not wanting to lose her best friend, she asks Shii-chan to tutor her, and Shii-chan happily accepts. And so, when the entrance exams are taken and the results come back, Shii-chan does not get in. But Ayumu does. It seems that when Shii-chan focused much of her time on tutoring Ayumu, she had no time to study herself, and so, she was rejected. Destroying Shii-chan’s dreams tears both Shii-chan and Ayumu up inside, and when Shii-chan tells Ayumu “I hate you!,” Ayumu begins to cut herself with a razor blade.

Coming into a new school, though, is where the problems truly begin. She meets a girl – Manami – and they instantly become friends. At first, Ayumu is leery about befriending her, but she gradually accepts it. As a good friend, Manami introduces her boyfriend Katsumi to Ayumu, and Katsumi instantly takes a liking to her. One day, he tricks Ayumu to coming over to his house and nearly rapes her. When a friend of Manami sees Ayumu leaving his house, she tells Manami. Manami becomes very mad, and soon manipulates everyone into bullying her. She even gets the teachers on her side, although they know the truth. After almost being forced to swallow needles (through a promise they made to each other) and getting put into many difficult situations with Manami’s boyfriend, Ayumu finally finds a real friend. Hatori, a strong, tall, and beautiful girl, compels Ayumu to make it through the troubles she has and to stop cutting.

This was originally my favorite manga until I started reading NANA, but it is very good. A quick read, with detailed pictures and not as much words as the typical manga, it tells a very compelling story that’ll have you cheering, “GET HER, AYUMU!”

Sand Chronicles

Sand Chronicles is a retelling of a woman’s past. The story begins when she is twelve. Her mother collapses and so, Ann (the main character) decides to take on jobs in her mother’s home town, Shimane. In Shimane, she meets Daigo, Fuji, and Shiika. Fuji and Shiika are brothers and sisters, and Daigo is her boyfriend-to-be. Daigo and Ann take up jobs in Fuji and Shiika’s mansion, doing many odd tasks around the house. When her mother collapses again, Ann’s grandmother literally tries to slap some sense into her to tell her to be strong for her daughter, but Ann’s mother instead jumps off of a cliff and commits suicide. When Ann is told of her mother’s death, seemingly, the only ones to comfort her were her best friends. As with all stories, this isn’t the end of the story. When her estranged father comes to Shimane, three years after her mother’s death, Ann completely rejects his offer to move with him into Tokyo. But when Ann finds out the truth of why he never came, not even once, Ann is filled with guilt and regret…

Regardless of how the story goes on after that, this is another of my favorites. It’s sad, it’s shoujo, and it’s serious. My favorite. It’s not your average shoujo with pretty girls and flowers and bubbles, as they’re associated with, but is more down to earth.

High School Debut

This manga is about a girl who was formerly on the soft ball team in middle school. Stepping up into high school, she wanted to change. She wanted cute clothes. She wanted to look good. Most of all, she wanted a boyfriend. While she spent her whole time in middle school playing soft ball, she developed a body that was hardly compatible with anything cute. Everything she tried on looked tacky on her and she just couldn’t attract the right guy. That’s where Yoh (You) comes in. She hears about a guy who can turn any girl into a beautiful and attractive piece of steak, and boldly approaches him. After asking for his help, he declines to help her in any way. In fact, he says something like, “Girls get upset easily and cry. No freaking way. I hate girls.” But after being very persistent, he eventually gives in and helps her out. The only exception was that she had to promise not to fall for him, or he would immediately back out and drop her like a burnt hot dog. Only, she does fall for him. So what happens next? The story certainly doesn’t end there.

Haha, this is also a favorite of mine. I could sit here all day talking about my favorite manga, since I have so many of them. Maybe in the future I’ll review more than just these four, but for now, check out any titles above if they interest you. They sure have my going to the mall every couple of months.

And that’s my cue! Rina-chan, out.

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Entry Filed under: Manga

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