Greetings everyone, I’m going to just do a small piece of some recommended manga reading for the anime enthusiasts.
When I began my “through the looking glass” descent of anime-dom I only heard of manga through small snippets on the internet but it never interested me. I prefered watching the animated cartoon since it had voice acting and songs. That is until my mom got me Ranma 1/2 and a Tenchi Muyo manga and I enjoyed them immensely.
Despite only having limited volumes at the time I had a small appreciation for them until I was an adult and was into reading (and still am). I can safely state this, the original content of the manga is just as good, if not better, than the anime (depending).
So whatever some anime-weeb says something along the lines of “reading the manga sucks/the manga isn’t good as the anime” is deluding themselves or is one of those entitled ones that grew up in this day and age with internet to say an OPINION and choose to say it as fact that just has to say something for whatever reason.
That is what the internet community calls a “troll” or “butthurt fan” or “opinionated numbnut.
There is nothing wrong with reading the original content, not only are you getting the anime in it’s purest form and unabridged story, you are also getting more information by wording, characters are fleshed out and not base in generic anime tropes (though conversely the same thing rings here) and you are improving your mind of reading something instead of watching on a tv or computer screen.
I stand by that reading is something we all shouldn’t take for granted and even if it has pictures, you are getting a story which intrigues you.
But enough about that, let’s get to the heart of the matter. I will give my 3 recommendations of manga today.
The mother of all magical girls, Sailor Moon is paramount for anyone wanting to get into anime or if you want a quickie version of what makes Sailor Moon so special if you don’t like her personality in the old 90’s anime.
Written by Naoko Takeuchi, Sailor Moon is the story of a 14 year old girl who is one day approached by a talking cat named Luna, who informs of her an unknown enemy trying to take over the world and locate a powerful object known as the Silver Crystal.
The reluctant girl is soon charged with protecting the innocent and world from letting that evil spread and to protect the sacred treasure along with locate the Moon Princess. She transforms into the sailor suited warrior Sailor Moon that fights for love and justice.
She’s not alone as their are more allies that will aid our main character as they form a sentai-like magical girl team and incarnate of the planets by the names of Ami Mizuno; the genius level one, Senshi of water and ice as Sailor Mercury. Rei Hino the beautiful and mysterious priestess with latent spiritual powers who utilizes fire as she becomes Sailor Mars. Makoto Kino, the strongest one of the quintet but the most feminine that uses thunder and lightning and she goes by Sailor Jupiter. Finally Minako Aino, the first Senshi to actually be revived before Usagi as she had her own adventures as Sailor V, she uses the power of love and light based attacks and she is Sailor Venus.
With the two guardian cats, Luna and Artemis, along with the mysterious caped man that always saves Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, they fend off any threat to the world.
There are a total of 5 arcs in the Sailor Moon manga with a total of 12 volumes and two side story ones making Sailor Moon a plentiful read. The name of the arcs are The Dark Kingdom, Romance, Infinity, Dream and Star. These arcs were adapted into 5 seasons of the original anime with a lot of episodes to flesh out the characters and do a “monster of the day” scenario which was a typical trope in anime back in the day.
The difference with the anime is that Sailor Moon in the manga is far darker, the emphasis on reincarnation and love ring true in this. The Senshi are much tamer and less “anime” in this version as they each are more grounded that take their duty seriously. Destiny and fate play beautifully in this tale as well being stated by some of the Senshi in key points in the series, though determination is also a factor as well so it comes down to what you believe.
Along with you can believe that Usagi and Mamoru are the focal point of the entire series and it’s not just from the love they share; it feels deeper than that even one of yearning. The Senshi also are more heavy on killing their opponents as it’s not always Sailor Moon getting in the finishing blow as you could see someone like Mars vaperize Jadeite or Jupiter electrocute Nephrite.
The imagery is also beautiful, as manga tends to be and the dialogue is engaging as well. Some would think the Senshi are too skinny or pretty but I am always bewildered that is the case. Every manga is like that, depicting characters as perfect figures but it’s the drive each character that give them the spark of us as fans to care for them.
Sailor Moon is a worthwhile read and as a whole I give the series an 8.5 out of 10.
Written by Akihisa Ikeda, Rosario Vampire is the story of a high schooler named Tsukune Aono, an average student that had a normal life. He had a hard time going into high school due to his placement test so when the opportunity came along to get into school his parents jumped at the chance…though it’s not what he expected.
He winds up at Yokai Academy, school for monsters. Along the way he meets a long haired teenager, Moka Akiyashi and she’s the full package except for one tiny quirk…she’s a vampire and though she shows an interest with being a friend and love interest she also loves sucking his blood at any given opportunity and with the fact of a mysterious trinket, a rosario, around her neck sealing off her powers which can only be release by her “destined partner” (Tsukane, no surprise) which reveals a hidden, mature but serious no nonsense manner known only as “Inner Moka” with silver hair and access to her full powers, as she fends off the student body as a “monster of the day” (literally) scenario to protect Tsukune and the rest of his friends/love interest that fall for him due to plot and harem/romance factor, his life will be getting complicated.
Being a lone human, which remains a secret to the main cast and some other powerful figures shown and explored through this series, how will Tsukune survive in a full of funky monsters that appear human due to trying to blend into human society when they graduate to not stir up anything?
Along with this being a harem manga as well with Shonen elements, supernatural and some horror, will Tsukune find love with the flirtatious big-busted wonder Kurumu, the chill sardonic wit snow fairy Mizore, the smart but child witch prodigy Yukari, another witch by the name of Ruby with a penchant of masochism or even the “Inner Moka” and “Outer Moka”, falling in love or rivalry has never been so much fun!
Rosario Vampire does might hold strong to typical tropes like school scenario with love rivals, gags and even romantic/love moments of the females showing and telling why they love Tsukune but there is another theme that might go undisclosed at times; the fact of human/monster relations.
Work with me, despite it being fiction it reflects the times of learning tolerance/respect/acceptance for others that aren’t your own race/culture/sex, etc. With the real plot occurring in the second season in manga form you can tell that plays it heavily.
Despite the anime being passable with the so-so plot and good song choices it also ended in a way that didn’t offer no explanation or truths being revealed about the hidden secret of Inner and Outer Moka, a bad society of bad guys wanting to bring the monster race to prominence to take over the human world and deeper mythos of the plot as a whole.
This manga gives you all that and then some in a plot that gets very big with the Shonen-esq battle scenes and leaves you worried with how it all goes down.
I give the Rosario Vampire manga an 8 out of 10.
Magic Knight Rayearth
Story created by CLAMP Magic Knight Rayearth is about 3 girls from different middle schools, Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki and Fuu Houji are transported to the mysterious world known as Cepherio, a land of the will, while on a field trip to Tokyo Tower.
They are brought there by a small girl known as Princess Emeraude, the Pillar of this beautiful land of sea and sky where the princess supports it’s existence with the power of her will.
The trio are soon brought up to date why they are there by Master Mage Clef who informs them that Princess Emeraude has been held captive by her high priest, Zagato. These teenage girls need to complete the prophecy of becoming the Magic Knights to defeat him. Clef also grants them magic to aid them and as they grow over the course of the first arc they gain internal strength to be granted different spells.
To accomplish that they need to gain swords and find the Rune God in order to do that. Of course it won’t be easy as Zagato sends his minions to defeat the girls from accomplishing this task by any means necessary even killing them!
With the short but strong willed hyperactive girl Hikaru, wielder of fire that uses a medium length sword and is a tomboy, the snarky fast-tempered tsundere Umi, wielder of water with her weapon of choice being a rapier and the intelligent gentle Fuu, wielder of wind while using a long-broadsword, these girls will fend off enemy after enemy, befriending allies and foe alike and becoming very close in the process in order to become the legendary magic knights of Cephiro and find the Rune God(s) with the little companion by the name of Mokona.
Magic Knight Rayearth is a fantasy adventure, mecha, sword-buckling, friendship battle series that combines everything nicely. The imagery is beautiful ue to it being CLAMP and the themes of fate and death are still prominent.
One rule of CLAMP stories is that “life isn’t permanent” as in the character only has one life and if they die they stay dead. Through the course of the manga you as the reader begins seeing how consistent that is.
The first arc covers the trio becoming the magic knights and finding out a terrible secret about the world of Cephiro. The next arc in Magic Knight 2, covers the aftermath of the fated battle with the girls returning to Cephiro.
Now I will say this the manga and anime are pretty consistent with how the plot goes besides small changes but this is one of the times that the anime did the manga justice. Despite two very drastic endings by the end of the 2nd arc you can read or watch depending how you want it to end but I suggest doing both and pick.
Along with there is an added bonus to the manga second story regarding Mokona and I’ll leave it at that.
Magic Knight Rayearth is another awesome series with very good development of the characters, the plot is strong and the themes are well versed that I found myself looking up some terms.
I give this series an 8.5 out of 10!
That’s it for my manga recommendations. I’ll be doing another post about this in the future so look out for it!
*What to read next?*