Category Archives: Manga

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2013 Manga Wrap

If you can’t believe we’re already a few weeks into 2014, take a look back and reminisce about the year that was 2013 – a year that proved massive in the land of manga. Here are some of last year’s highlights:

Magi Volume 1

Magi

This one may just be the next big thing. Magi is an Arabian Nights themed manga adventure featuring characters such as Aladdin, Ali Baba, Morgiana and Sinbad with a Japanese spin. Magi follows these characters as they journey to discover their destiny. It features plenty of action, adventure and magic. Fans of titles such as One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist and Blue Exorcist should definitely give this one a look.

3-in-1s

We love our 3-in-1s. With three volumes in one book for little more than the cost of a single volume, what isn’t to love? I’ve mentioned Bleach, Naruto and One Piece in a previous post, and now there’s a few more to add. Fan favourite D.Gray-Man has started to be released in these combined volumes, and is well worth a read if you haven’t already. Also new to these collections is one that needs little introduction. The classic Dragonball manga series is also now available in 3-in-1s.

InuYasha Collections

Some of you may be reading this and thinking there’s nothing new about InuYasha. However, it’s a personal favourite and it, too, is seeing a release of 3-in-1 collections which are new in-store. These collections, however, are a little more interesting. The original English release saw the images in the manga being flipped as to be read from left to right. These collections present the manga in its original Japanese right to left format. They also boast a slightly larger page size, which is very nice to look at.

Pokemon Adventures Black and White Box Set (vol 1-8)Pokemon Adventures

Chances are most readers have heard of Pokemon. Saying it is popular is like calling Harry Potter fairly well liked. With the October release of the new games, X & Y, Pokemon has never been bigger. The Pokemon Adventures manga throws you into the world of the games like never before. There’s a manga series for each game in the series up until Black and White. Grab your favourite, or start where it all began with the original and see the characters you know and love in ways you never imagined.

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Manga 3-in-1 Collections

It’s no secret that some manga series can run for a really, really long time. Popular series such as Naruto and Bleach are fast approaching 60 volumes, while One Piece has long overshot this mark. There’s still no end in sight for any of these titles either. Let’s be honest though. If you’re a new reader, these big numbers can be pretty daunting…

Fortunately, there’s help to ease you into it (and to make it easier on your wallet). All these series now have 3-in-1 collections available. There are currently five available for each title, collecting the first fifteen volumes of each. Take a look at them here. The better news is that there also appears to be more on the horizon.

I’ve mentioned Bleach in a previous post here, and long-time manga fans probably don’t need any introduction to Naruto or One Piece. For new readers though:

Naruto is the tale of ninja in training, Naruto, and his fellow students. Naruto is a bit of a joker whom no one takes seriously, yet he still dreams of becoming the greatest ninja ever. With his friends he’ll embark on a journey to realise his destiny.

One Piece follows Monkey D. Luffy and his misfit band of pirates. They’re on a quest to find the mystical treasure ‘One Piece’, said to be the greatest treasure in existence. Finding it would mean fulfilling Luffy’s dream of becoming King of the Pirates.

Now you know a little about each series. All you need to do is decide whether to read about pirates, ninjas, demon slayers… or all three!

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Manga on Television

 

With the addition of all the new digital channels recently, anime has found a regular spot on TV with ABC3. Vampire Knight airs on Wednesday and Saturday nights, with episodes of Fruits Basket and Ouran High Host Club airing on Sunday nights. There are also a number of other series available to watch on ABC’s online iView.

As anime are often shorter than their manga counterpart it’s quite common for the story, and the ending, of an anime to differ from the original manga. Other times, the manga will continue the story further than the anime. So if you want the whole story the manga is the way to go!

Vampire Knight is set in Cross Academy, a boarding school with a day class of humans, and a night class of vampires. Yuki is an orphan, adopted by the chairman of Cross Academy. Kaname is head of the night class, and Yuki’s vampire saviour, while Yuki’s friend Zero holds a deep hatred of vampires.

Ouran High Host Club is, again, set in a high class boarding school. However it’s more of a light hearted tale. One day, while looking for a place to study, Haruhi accidentally destroys a priceless vase belonging to the Host Club. Now, to pay of the debt, she must work for the strange members of the club.

Finally, Fruits Basket is a fan favourite. Tohru Honda is invited to live with her classmate Yuki Sohma when her home is washed away in a storm. While there, she uncovers the secret that the Sohma family have tried to keep hidden. Each of them can transform into one of the animals of the zodiac!

Wishlists have been put together for all three series, listing all available volumes. You can view these by clicking the titles above. There’s also a lovely Vampire Knight art book with illustrations from the author of the series. And, for Fruits Basket fans, you can get the entire series in a single box set.

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Catching Up With Bleach

It’s an exciting time if you’re a Bleach fan. Starting in August, multiple volumes of Bleach were  released in English in an effort to catch up as close as possible with the Japanese release. That means two new volumes for August, and another three in September and again in October until we’re caught up. That’s a lot of Bleach!

For those of you out there that haven’t heard of Bleach, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m talking about a cleaning product. In fact, Bleach is one of the biggest manga titles out there at the moment, both here and in Japan. It’s spawned an anime series, video games and a wide range of merchandise.

Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki, a young high schooler with the ability to see ghosts and spirits. These spirits include the evil Hollows, who prey on humans. In an encounter with one of these he meets Rukia, a Soul Reaper who fights against Hollows. After inadvertently absorbing all of Rukia’s powers, Ichigo himself becomes a Soul Reaper. Now it’s fallen to Ichigo to protect the world from Hollows, and help these spirits find peace.

If you don’t read Bleach, but are interested in starting, there are three, ‘3-in-1’ volumes available to get you going. These combined volumes cover the first nine books of Bleach and are available now!

 

Bleach 3-in-1’s
Bleach 3-in-1 Vol 1 Bleach 3-in1 Vol 2 Bleach 3-in-1 Vol 3
August
Bleach Vol 38 Bleach Vol 39
September
Bleach Vol 40 Bleach Vol 41 Bleach Vol 42

Click here to view the complete range of Bleach titles.

Sailor Moon & Pandora Hearts

Sailor Moon and Pandora Hearts

Sailor MoonEven if you don’t know a thing about manga and anime, chances are you’ve heard of  Sailor Moon. For many anime fans it was one of the first series they watched. It helped to introduce western audiences to the world of Japanese anime and manga.

The manga series recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in Japan, where they even announced the launch of a new anime series! Unfortunately, the English manga has been out of print since 2005. But, no longer. A new translation, planned to spread across 14 volumes, is currently in the works. The first few volumes are now available, with more on the way!

Click here to view Sailor Moon online.

 

Pandora Hearts Vol 1Also new to The Co-op Bookshop is the manga series Pandora Hearts. Blending mystery and fantasy, Pandora Hearts tells the story of Oz Vessalius who, at his coming of age ceremony, is condemned for a sin he knows nothing about. He’s thrown into a mysterious prison known only as The Abyss, where he meets a young girl named Alice. The mysterious Alice may be his only chance to escape and solve the mystery behind his sin.

Pandora Hearts is one of those series that’s a joy to read for its art as well as its story. It has plenty of drama, mystery, action and suspense to keep everyone happy. It does have a large cast of characters, which may be a turn off for some. However, it feels to me that this only adds to the story, watching every character working toward their own goals and manipulating others. A definite must for fans who like a touch of fantasy to their manga.

Click here to view Pandora Hearts online.

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Farewell Fullmetal Alchemist

It’s always an exciting time of the month when the new manga releases come in. This month it’s even more exciting for me, and a tad bittersweet, as one of the series which I have been following for years has finally come to an end.

Fullmetal Alchemist follows the story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, and their quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone. Ed, in an Alchemy reaction gone horribly wrong, is missing an arm and leg. Al’s entire body vanished, and his soul now resides in a suit of armour. They believe the stone to be the only way to restore their bodies. The closer they get to the Philosopher’s Stone, the more they’re drawn into a dark conspiracy which threatens their homeland, and the more they question the price they must eventually pay.

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 27

Fullmetal Alchemist gives us a deep, moving fantasy tale in a setting akin to industrial Europe. Alchemy takes the place of magic, with the best Alchemists often holding positions of power. It has a well thought out story, full of twists and turns. A large cast of characters; some inspiring, some quirky, some sinister, many memorable. Despite many deeply serious moments it also manages to regularly add a healthy dose of humour throughout.

If you haven’t read Fullmetal Alchemist yet, there’s no time like now. With all 27 volumes now available you won’t have that annoying wait of months between volumes like I did.

How I envy you.

Find the full Fullmetal Alchemist series online here.