From my Notebook >

Manga I Have Enjoyed

Manga: Japanese comics.

My sister emailed me to mention Yotsuba, a manga she is enjoying with her daughter. I will definitely check it out (thanks Caryn).

I’m not a manga addict or anything, but I love comics and I’ve enjoyed reading manga from time to time. Here are some that I was able to recall.

Note: I read (or tried to read) some of these in Japanese but I’m sure most of them are available in English too.

20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

“It tells the story of Kenji Endō and his friends, who notice a cult-leader named “friend” is out to destroy the world, and it has something to do with their childhood memories.” — Wikipedia

I love Urasawa’s illustration style & characterization, and I really enjoyed the story. It’s always interesting to encounter cults in comics. Definitely not for small children, btw.

Oishinbo by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki

The amusing adventures of a quirky newspaper food columnist. This manga began in 1983. Worth a read if you enjoy a particular combination of light humor, comics, and food writing.

Zipang by Kaiji Kawaguchi

A modern Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force missile destroyer (navy ship) is time-warped back to WWII. Very amusing series with interesting historical factoids in abundance.

The Silent Service by Kaiji Kawaguchi

A renegade takes control of the latest nuclear missile submarine jointly developed by Japan and the U.S.A. and declares it an independent state. Great tension and intrigue.

Seizon Life by Kaiji Kawaguchi

“Takeda is diagnosed with cancer and feels that he has nothing to live for. His wife also had had cancer, had died of it in fact, and his only daughter has been missing for fourteen years.

One day, when he is about to attempt suicide, the phone rings. It’s the police, and they inform him that the dead body of his long lost daughter has been found, that it appears to have been a homicide. Takeda is crushed but resolves then and there to spend the remaining days of his life hunting down his daughter’s killer.” — Seizon Life at MangaFox

Good story, fascinating to read.

Confession by Kaiji Kawaguchi

Two men are stranded in the stormy, snowy mountains. After being injured, and thinking they are both about to die, one of the men has a confession for the other: He committed a murder. His fear turns out to be baseless—both men are saved, and now they must deal with the weight of what has been revealed.

And a lot of these become movies, too

In 2008 I watched a film almost two times through before realizing it was based on a manga. That film is Touch (Tatchi, 2005) and I really recommend it if you are a complete sap. On an airplane. Flying to New Zealand. (I haven’t watched it since, so maybe those circumstances influenced my feelings.) Here’s the trailer:

Ja, ne!