Bass' Manga Hitlist – Part I
Not gonna waste too much time, so I’m gonna get straight onto my list. Be warned, most of the manga that I will cover are pretty mainstream stuff, with the bulk of them coming from JUMP. Since they’re all popular series, a lot of people should be familiar with the content so hopefully this can lead to some awesome discussions :)
It’s not that I don’t read outside of the popular stuff, it’s just that I feel like I would be able to concentrate more and stay focused if it’s on stuff that I know a lot, stuff that I will read instantly once released. Plus, I think morri would like to cover the niche and less recognised material since she does seem to have a preference for manga of that nature. Then again, morri, Fuu and I will be dropping by and release comments in each other’s manga posts so this hitlist is probably more of a guideline, rather than the rule.
As for the format of the posts, I haven’t decided on whether to concentrate on individual entries for specific series, or to release a weekly post which covers all my manga. Either way, I think I’ll just wing it for now and decide when the next round of scanlations come out. On the anime front, I haven’t been watching much this season so I’ll probably stay clear off that from now. Fuu does seem to be enthusiastic about anime though, so stay tuned for his updates very soon.
Ao No Exorcist「 青の祓魔師 」
Currently Scanlated Chapters: 9 (Monthly)
Details: The world of Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist) consists of two dimensions joined as one, like a mirror. The first is the world in which the humans live, Assiah. The other is the world of demons, Gehenna. Ordinarily, travel between the two, and indeed any kind of contact between the two, is impossible. However the demons can pass over into this world by possessing anything that exists within it. Satan is the god of demons, but there’s one thing that he doesn’t have and that’s a container in the human world that is powerful enough to hold him! For that purpose, he created Okumura Rin, his son from a human woman, but will his son agree to his plans, or will he become something else…? After killing Rin’s guardian Father Fujimoto in an attempt to bring Rin back to the Demon world, it led to Rin’s journey on becoming an Exorcist in order to defeat Satan.
My Take: I’ve only just got into this recently off a recommendation from morri and it’s premise alone was enough to get me going. In fact, I was very disappointed to find out that only 9 chapters had been scanlated, since I was quite into the characters and setting. I have particularly picky tastes when it comes to a manga’s art style and AOE fits my preferences to a T. It’s very clean and the character’s design have a sense of uniqueness to it, even though at first glance they make look quite generic and bland. It’s the emotions and expressions that make the characters and the protagonist Rin has plenty of amusing facial expressions throughout the series.
If I were to compare it to something, I would say that the setting is pretty similar to Soul Eater. It’s based in highschool, with classes where students learn to control their powers, facing off against Satan. With all the talk of exorcists, there’s even a hint of D.Gray-man in the mix, especially since one of the characters remind me alot of the Millenium Earl (with the exact same personality and very mysterious). Since it’s a monthly serialization in Jump Square, waiting for the chapters may be a pain but I think it’s well worth a read and it is definitely high on my blogging list (and I’m pretty sure morri shares the same view and will chip in with the posts).
Chances of Blogging: HIGH
Detail Source: WIKIPEDIA
Bakuman「 バクマン 」
Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
Currently Scanlated Chapters: 73 (Weekly)
Details: It’s not easy to become and live as a mangaka, Mashiro knows that from his late uncle. At his 9th grade, while trying to keep up with reality, school and then normal job, he left his notebook with a sketch of Azuki, a girl he likes. Takagi, a first rate student found it and trying to convince Mashiro to draw a manga with his story. Mashiro doesn’t like the idea and tries to decline. Takagi, however, tries to stick to dream and found out that Azuki also wants to be a voice actress and already got a good reply from a production company. Takagi, then, brought Mashiro to her house and telling her his dream…. Mashiro then tells her that he will write a manga with Takagi and will ask Azuki to voice their anime. Out of confusion, Mashiro asks her if the dreams become reality, will she marry him? She says yes, only if their dreams become true, and not otherwise!! Now, lifes of wannabe mangakas begin!!!
My Take: A mainstay in my weekly reading list, for me Bakuman has been growing stronger and stronger due to my interest in the manga’s content, as well as the characters. There’s actually quite a big number of characters introduced up to this point, ranging from the mangakas themselves, to their editors, voice actors, authors and plenty more. With Obata’s distinct art, everyone has interesting designs and it is definitely one of my favourite art styles of all time (behind Eyeshield and Slam Dunk). With the mangakas excellent track record (read: Death Note), the series has managed to keep itself from being stale and I really like all the problems the two protagonists have faced so far. From disappointment to joy, they have faced it all and it is certainly a highlight to see their development as mangakas.
The rival characters are also distinct, with Niizuma in particular being the most prominent. He is not your typical run of the mill genius and his personality is definitely different from the others. It also helps that his demeanor and comical nature is very engaging, since he is a complete 180 when compared to the more mature and serious protagonists. Anyways, with the manga getting an anime adaptation very soon, the popularity for this series is on the up and I will definitely be keeping up with this one.
Chances of Blogging: HIGH
Detail Source: ONEMANGA
Bleach「 ブリーチ 」
Currently Scanlated Chapters: 392 (Weekly)
Details: Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn’t change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family; but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits and, along with Rukia–who is slowly regaining her powers–it’s Ichigo’s job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace.
My Take: I sort of have a love-hate relationship with Bleach. One week I may like it, the next I would hate it and Kubo’s guts. At this point I’m really just following it cos I really want to see how it ends. It feels more like an obligation at this point since the series has lost it’s appeal on me ever since the manga has turned into nothing more than a power battle. While the character art is very stylized and unique, I really disapprove of Kubo’s panel composition. It seems like he’s just wasting page after page with big panel after big panel, and there is little to no detail to be seen in the character design or backgrounds, just big blobs of white and black. This is what I’d like to classify as “lazy” since Kubo seems to be cruising through the rankings week after week on pure fan bias.
While it may seem harsh that I’m just pointing out things I hate, I do hope that there is redemption in the end. I still like the characters, and while the battles have been lethargic, I have hope that it will turn around now that the manga is on it’s last stretch, with the battle against Aizen underway. But yea, blogging on Bleach is more like an obligation nowadays.
Chances of Blogging: HIGH
Detail Source: ONEMANGA
Bloody Monday「 ブラッディ・マンデイ 」
Ryuumon Ryou & Megumi Kouji
Currently Scanlated Chapters: 110 (Weekly)
Details: A virus deal clinched in Russia on the Christmas eve. Purpose: unknown. Two clues: a mysterious lady “Maya”, one of the gangsters, and “Bloody Monday”, the keyword for the project.
Then an incident happened in far-distant city of Tokyo. Fujimaru Takagi, a second grade student at Mishiro Gakuin high school, is commissioned to find out the truth by Public Security Investigation Bureau for his great ability as a super hacker. Now, Maya, approaching to Fujimaru, as his high school teacher…
My Take: To be honest, I haven’t read a single page of this manga yet. In fact, putting in the details here is actually the first time I’ve even read the premise. I don’t know if I would like it but Leon from Kita Ze Inbou highly recommended it and I found the art to be pretty good. From what I’ve learnt so far, there are two parts to the manga, with the first ending at 96 chapters and the new part already accumulating 14 chapters up to this point (total of 110). Reading the premise up top, the manga does seem to be very fascinating so I thought it might have a shot at being a feature on the blog, so I’ll be putting this under the “we’ll see” bracket. All signs point to yes that I would like it though, so fingers crossed that I do.
Chances of Blogging: DEBATABLE
Detail Source: ONEMANGA
Deadman Wonderland「 デッドマンワンダーランド 」
Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou
Currently Scanlated Chapters: 29 (Monthly)
Details: Ganta Igarashi has been convicted of a crime that he hasn’t committed, and sent to a new, privately owned and operated prison, where the inmates are the main attraction in a modern day twist to the gladiatorial coliseums of ancient times. Throw in a healthy dose of weird little girl, some new-found super powers, and a little conspiracy theory, and you have Deadman Wonderland.
My Take: One of the most unique mangas I have ever read, the story is really quite out there as it is set in a fictional Alcatraz-like prison. Hell, the opening chapter alone is enough to get you wanting more, since the happenings within the first few moments are jaw-dropping enough that it will get you hooked. I’m not gonna spoil too much here but I gotta say that the insane amount of blood, gore and expletives used would mean that it is not for the faint-hearted. I’m not too sure of the popularity of this manga but I would love to see more people pick this up since it has quite the shock factor. With the duo from the popular anime Eureka Seven pulling the strings, the plot is always on the up and the art is easily distinguishable from other series, a definite plus for me.
The characters are also pretty out there. We have the hero Ganta who looks and feels immensely weak and pathetic, the female sidekick Shiro who reminds me a lot of Starfire from Teen Titans (in that she is carefree, a bit oblivious and naive, but strong and powerful when she needs to be. She also looks like Starfire in a skinsuit.) The denizens of DW are also as crazy and maniacal as they come (obviously since they’re mostly criminals) and the head of DW is just one twisted bastard. I may not have covered this in my past blogs but I have recently caught up to the latest release again so I’ll definitely try and get more of DW up in the future.
Chances of Blogging: MEDIUM
Detail Source: ONEMANGA
So that concludes part one of my manga list. There were too many for me to list out in one post so I thought I’d split it up and leave the next half for tomorrow. There are some series that I dropped from consideration, like Defense Devil, Air Gear and Medaka Box. In Defense Devil’s case, I’m still following the series but I don’t really like the direction the manga is going. It’s been a bit lackluster to me and some of the happenings seem to be pretty forced and unnatural (like the fanservice and love-moments). I’m starting to lose interest on it so until it changes drastically, I’m not gonna blog on it here. Air Gear has always been on my previous hitlists but I never actually posted on it even once. I think it’s probably due to the insane hamming up of details and events by Oh! Great, since it’s getting pretty outrageous even for me. Medaka Box was also dropped since it is now a generic battle manga to me, and the current arc doesn’t interest me enough for me to blog on it often (again, somethings feel a bit forced).
That’s it for now and I’ll be looking to getting part two up within the next few days, in time for the next round of Jump releases.