Manga is a style of comic book created in Japan and even in their English translations the books are read back to front, right to left, as is custom in Japan. Producing works that span a seemingly endless spectrum of genres from detective to horror to comedy and beyond, coupled with many being a series that can go on for 10, 20, or more volumes, Manga has a nearly unrivaled mass appeal. Below are three Manga reviews written by teen volunteer Reshad H. at the St. Louis Public Library's Buder library. If you're interested in writing reviews for us, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. For more Manga, visit www.slpl.org and check out our list of "9 Manga Series for the Uninitiated" on our Teens Site.
Bakuman - Tsugumi Ohba
When I heard that the guys who worked on Death Note were creating another manga together I was super pumped for it! I went out and immediately started reading the series one volume after another and I was not disappointed at all. The plot behind the series is two guys who love manga unexpectedly become friends and use their talents together to become mangakas themselves. They work hard together and stay determined to reach their goals even in their toughest times. The manga is filled with comedy and inspirational content all throughout its pages. What's special is that it goes behind the whole process of creating and writing your own manga giving fans an insight on possibly how their own favorite manga could have been created. You could in a sense see the creators themselves being the main characters since the two are great friends who work together with writing and drawing manga. Tsugumi ohba and Takeshi Obata have done it again with their work on Bakuman; another must read manga series!
Death Note - Tsugumi Ohba
One of Tokyo’s brightest student’s, Light Yagami, encounters a dark book one day that changes his whole life. He picks up a book dropped by a Shinigami with capabilities more frightening than anything in the world and that being the ability to end anyone’s life in any means just by knowing their name, picturing their face and writing their name down in the death note. Light Yagami takes this as an opportunity to deliver justice to the world’s most powerful criminals but he takes it too far and ends up in a battle against enforcement that believes that someone should not have the ability to judge others like a god. The manga does a great job integrating the Shinigami’s world and creatures along with Earth and humans and how the two develop throughout the story. People with the ability to judge others would go on to change into someone completely different. It just goes to show how much power can change anyone. While I wish the manga was longer, it did pack every chapter and volume with suspenseful and enjoyable content which has made Death Note one of my favorite manga of all time.
Monster - Naoki Urasawa
The manga starts off with a doctor who’s left with a choice on operating on a child who was next for an operation or skip him and operate on a rich man instead. The doctor ends up making a decision that haunts him for years to come. If you are looking to read a story that is very rich in detail and powerful in nature that dives deep into the human mind, you have to read Urasawa’s “Monster.” This is a very graphic graphic novel however (no pun intended) so if you aren’t interested in diving into a plot filled with violence, profanity, nudity, etc, then this may not be it for you but if you can handle the vulgar and mature elements and enjoy it for what it is then pick up a few volumes.
Reviews by Reshad H.