Let’s set the scene, I’ve been into the whole anime thing for many years now though I’ve never been into the whole manga section of the medium. I was always struck with the mentality which was perhaps jaded and clouded why look at stills when you can look at moving images. This means in my case rather than reading for example; Hellsing, I watched it. Although the original series breaks away from the original Manga release I still felt buying and reading each volume would be tedious.
With that said one manga that no person in the anime fandom could avoid, or would want to avoid. Katsuhiro Otomo’s iconic Akira. Whether you read the manga first then watched the anime or vice versa it still remains as one of the move influential and notable creations to come from Japan. Even those people out there who aren’t aware of the whole Anime culture or what it is are no doubt probably well aware of Akira.
Clearly Akira was not the thing to get me into Manga. Even after reading it I still did not feel inspired enough to go out and buy any other manga releases. Well that’s enough Akira rambling, you’ve probably heard it all far too many times.
There is this little manga series called 20th Century Boys written by Naoki Urasawa. Friends of mine will know I’ve been reading the shit out of this as of late. But why? What does this have that’s drawn me into reading it religiously. Well for a start just being able to read scans online makes it tempting as of course it’s free! Though it didn’t end there as I started to fall in love with the series reading it on my desktop computer was damn annoying. So I started buying it…and downward spiral begins. Downward in regards to my bank balance, Manga is not cheap by any means. You’re looking at around 6 quid for a single volume, I’m now at Volume 14. Yes, I’ve spent far too much for being unemployed.
The reason I fell in love with this was due to their being no Anime counterpart for it, which may well change in the future. I had no other way of consuming this story that I keep getting told is amazing.
It’s all about Japanese store owner, Kenji. He meandours through his hum drum life looking after his sisters daughter and living with his mother. Meanwhile, a cult group named Friend begins to emerge. They appear to be behind disapearences and other unlawful goings on. It turns out Kenji has more to do with this ‘Friend’ than he could ever begin to imagine.
I gave the first volume a blast and I was blown away by how interesting the characters were as well as how engrossing the narrative is. Before I knew it I was reading Volume 2 and so on. The story is full of cliff hangers and twists which keeps the readers gagging for more. Cut to 4 month’s later and I’m completely up to date looking at a stack of Manga and a hole in my bank account.
I needed to get my fix somewhere, so I looked for other Manga written by Urasawa. So now I’m completely invested with anything Urasawa has to offer.
You can experience his most acclaimed work with 20th Century Boys , Monster, Pluto and the currently ongoing Billy Bat. Certainly go out and give them a read. You can also experience the 20th Century Boys saga via the three live action movies that were released. Though I’ll be avoiding those until I’m completely finished with the 22 tense as hell volumes.
Who’d have thought the man who hated manga is now a major Urasawa fan boy. I’m looking to try and get into more Manga series’ but it will take something great to draw me in like 20th Century Boys managed to. I’m thinking Vagabond may stand a good chance.