Monday, March 23, 2015

Jana has no clue when it comes to YA Manga. Help!!

As you know, I'm currently in grad school to get my master's degree in library and information science. This semester I'm taking a YA Lit class. If you're interested in seeing the list of required reads for this class, click here!

Anyway, I'm hoping you can help me with my reading choices for week 10: graphically speaking. Here's that week's reading list:

Required: The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Choose 2: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang (2 books count as 1)
The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman (2 books count as 1)
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2 books count as 1)
Drama by Raina Telgmeier
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
Blankets by Craig Thompson.

Plus: Read a single YA manga title of your choice.

Feel free to comment on any of the books from the list I have to choose two from. I would LOVE your opinions.

My biggest issues here, though, is the single YA manga of my choice. I'm at a complete loss. I've never read manga, never seen it... I barely know what it is! So, can you help me? Tell me what to read!


  1. From your choose 2 list I've only read Maus by Art Spiegelman and would definitely recommend it. It's based on the true story of the author's father, who survived World War II and the concentration camps.

    As for YA Manga, there's so much. Think Japanese anime, in book form! Like YA, there's plenty of different genres. Some titles that come to mind are Alice in the Country of Hearts, which is an Alice in Wonderland retelling; Fruits Basket; Ouran High School Host Club; Black Butler; or Vampire Knight. It's been a couple of years since I read some manga, so there's probably heaps that are more popular now.

    Good luck! I hope you find something and enjoy your class.

  2. I REALLY love Fruits Basket - just be warned, you'll probably want to go through and finish the whole series, and you'll need tissues.
    Others that I read while in Highschool were +Anima, Deathnote, and Bleach. If you're after something that is a little less "traditional", try MegaTokyo - there's currently 6 books out, but the whole lot is available on the artist's website because it started as a webcomic.
    Check out the website if you want to see what certain series are about first - they have heaps of different titles on there.
    I quite enjoyed InuYasha and FullMetal Alchemist too, but I'm not sure if they're categorised as YA.
    One Piece is also great, but rather weird.

  3. I second Fruits Basket as a really good choice and that Ouran High School Host Club is a ton of fun. I think hands down the best manga (especially for people new to the genre) is Cat Street. The only problem is that your library definitely won't have it (it was never published in the US), but does. It's a contemporary YA and has a BEAUTIFUL storyline (and beautiful art). It deals with kids who all end up at this unconventional school because of various issues they've encountered, and they all bond and grow and it has probably my favourite romantic story line as well (and it's nice that the focus isn't on romance, although it's definitely there.) It's also significantly shorter than most other mangas which might be nice for your class haha

  4. That sounds like a fun class - I'm taking a course on Materials for Young Adults this summer towards my librarian degree and I can't wait for it! Out of your list, I've only read Anya's Ghost and This One Summer but I highly recommend both of them. When I was actually a young adult, I enjoyed the manga series starting with The Demon Ororon. I'm not sure if it's a YA manga or just manga but I really enjoyed those books!

  5. The Arrival is so beautiful and heart breaking! I loved it so sooo much!

    I think Anya Ghost will fit in really nicely with the themes of The Arrival. The complete story of Persepolis too.

    Have you watched the movie Boyhood? Blankets feels like the graphic novel of Boyhood. Not that the storylines are the same, just the feel of it. Maus is good but I felt like it was an unfinished story? idk might be just me.

    Also what does YA manga mean? because there isn't really a 'YA' genre in manga....the closest I can think of is shoujo (manga targeted for girls) and shonen (manga targeted for boys).

    however, would seconds by Byran Lee O'Malley count as 'YA manga'?

    1. Usually, there is an age suggestion in the back of the volume or some libraries will even organize them into JF, YA, and/or Adult sections. It's not a genre, not like shoujo or shonen (those these would probably fall into the YA manga category). Basically, it's just like regular novels at the YA reading/content level.

  6. I agree with Christine -- While much of the manga is housed in the Young Adult section of my public library, I don't feel like it really carries a YA designation. Many of my middle school students (I teach 8th grade reading) read Naruto, if that helps at all. I'm a big fan of the first few volumes of DeathNote, which I saw someone else suggest above. Good luck and happy reading!

  7. I would personally choose BOXERS and SAINTS, which I have, and need to read, because I hear it's amazing! For my second, I'd choose THIS ONE SUMMER because 1) I think it's Macmillan, and 2) I love the embroidery art Jillian Tamaki did for the Penguin Threads Classics covers:

    For manga, mm, I definitely second what people are saying about Fruits Basket (Kyou!!! Love him!) but it's long. 20+ volumes.

    I also really like Arina Tanemura. My favorites by her are Full Moon wo Sagashite (Searching for the Full Moon) and Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne (Phantom Thief Jeanne). Both are 7 volumes long, I think.

    KKJ is great if you love or are interested in THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows, which I actually mentioned today in my review of the book! ( to see why) But basically, Kaitou Jeanne and Kaitou Sinbad are both thieves using the rooftops and saving the world from demons!

    Full Moon would be very popular if it was re-published right now because of the current trend in teen contemporary. It's about a girl with throat cancer who dreams of being a singer. Close to death, she can see her Shinigami, her deathgod, and finds out that she has one year left. He grants her the wish of becoming a singer and so there is a magical girl element as she becomes successful as the singer Full Moon. The manga has more character depth, but the anime has MUSIC. I have a lot of the songs on my iPod, actually. They're lovely! It takes until the late teens for the anime to get really good, and by the 20s, you can't stop watching! It's 52 episodes, I think?

  8. Persepolis is amazing. I can't say anything more, other than the fact that everyone should read this book. A very dramatic drawing style combined with an emotionally gripping story - what more could you ask for?!
    I haven't read This One Summer, but it is on my TBR list. I loved Skim, one of their earlier novels. They "get" awkward adolescence like nothing else I have read.

  9. For Young adult manga I would recommend Death Note or Bakuman. Death Note because you have some interesting ethical dilemmas to discuss and Bakuman as it's quite inspiring.

  10. I read all of them. I am big into graphic novels. I would suggest all of them but if I only have to choose two I'd pick: a’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol and Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang. Blankets is really good too!

    - Beckie

  11. From the top, definitely read Anya's Ghost, YA graphic novel. I am not familiar with the others...

    As for a YA manga, there are just so many to chose from. I honestly could give you a loooong list! I've read a few of the others mentioned. My favorites would have to be Black Butler, Pandora Hearts (beautiful artwork, fantasy ish, a bit dark at times), D. Gray-man (battle manga), & Yotsuba&! or Chi's Sweet Home (suuuper cute). It really just depends what genre you like, Sometimes you have to read more than one volume to really get into it, though...

    Jen @ EbonyInkReviews

  12. Sorry, I can be of no help in the Manga department. :/

  13. I love Fruits Basket. I've also been reading an amazing manga recently called Library Wars - about a futuristic society when a library task force is formed to fight back against censorship. I'm sensing some brownie points for that one.

  14. Deathnote, Black Butler, and Attack on Titan fly off my shelves! I am not a huge manga reader, but i really enjoyed the Alice in the Country of Clover series by QuinRose. Good luck!

  15. I would go for Maus or Blankets, though Maus is pretty depressing, given the subject matter. (So is Persepolis, I gather, though I haven't read that yet.) I'm not sure about YA manga; I've never really seen any manga classified that way...

  16. I stand by my earlier recommendation of Library Wars. If you can read a manga format by a non-Japanese author I also really enjoyed Dramacon.

  17. I recommend Boxers and Saints and The Complete Persepolis. As for the manga, I'd definitely pick DeathNote.

  18. Blankets by Craig Thompson is one of the best GN I've read and can definitely recommend it whole heartedly. It's best to go in it without knowing, it gives you a nonbiased point of view.

  19. I LOVED The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi so much. I hope you pick that one. I think you'll really like it!

  20. A Wrinkle in Time made my list too. I thought about putting Nancy Drew or The Boxcar Children on my list, because I was a big fan of both, but since it says books I want to revisit, and I don't feel a particular urge to re-read either of those right now, I went with others. Great list! Happy Tuesday!

  21. In the choose 2 category, I would say that Maus and Persepolis are both essential for graphic novel readers.

  22. I just started getting into manga too! I mean, I read Ranma 1/2 when I was younger, but haven't read anything since then and felt totally overwhelmed. I read this post the other day, and it helped a ton for good suggestions, though it looks like people who commented on your blog are pretty opinionated too:

    I recently read the first volume of A Bride's Story and didn't like it, though the setting (Central Asia during the height of the Silk Road) is super interesting. It creeped me out that the bride and her groom have more of a mother-son relationship than a husband-wife one. I couldn't get past that!

    Now I'm reading Akira and it's alright. Maybe when I get to the end I will like it much better, but I'm not completely sold on recommending it, and I'm halfway through the whole series.

  23. This is a week late but I figure that I could suggest some anyways. Also this is a really really long comment (two parts) so I apologize in advance!
    I have a lot of friends that are really into manga and anime but none of it's mainstream and from what I heard, none of them would recommend what they read to a first-time manga reader simply because they don't want to culture shock the reader. So I would say that it'd be a good idea to go with some of the suggestions that others have given because a lot of them are gateway animes/mangas (popular show or manga that draws in most new people to the genre).

    Depending on what you like to read, you could either go for a shounen or shoujo manga. Shounen is targeted towards males and generally has more action and dark elements. Shoujo is targeted towards females and has more romance and friendship. Honestly, I don't think you'd have a problem with the rating because most popular mangas fall into the YA category. Below I just gave more input on some of the mangas that people listed because I totally understand the confusion with manga and the potential for culture shocks. I also have more shounen listed because I personally prefer shounen a lot more. I find shoujo romance really unrealistic most of the time, but when done right, it's really really good.

    I apologize in advance for horrible summaries because if I actually explained it in a lot of detail, this comment would be way longer than it already is. Oh and an asterick denotes a gateway manga.

    Shounen Mangas
    - Deathnote*: This one is good. One of my friends got someone to watch the anime. That person ended up watching the whole series in a week. The manga will be slightly different, but it's just as addictive. Pretty much, a person gets his hands on a book that will kill anybody who's name is written into it.
    - Fullmetal Alchemist* is also great and it's probably the one I recommend the most. It's about these two brothers that tried to resurrect their dead mother, alchemy, the seven sins. Ugh okay I suck at describing it but there's a great storyline, characters, and action. Highly interesting and engrossing although the beginning might be a bit slow. I think there's about 28 volumes in total. (I RECOMMEND THIS ONE THIS MOST BECAUSE IT'S JUST REALLY GOOD)
    - Durarara!: A contemporary disguised as an urban fantasy. This one is interesting if a little confusing. It's really hard to describe so if you end up getting interested in this one, I'd recommend googling it for a better summary because lord knows I'd fail.
    - Fate/Zero*: Historical fiction action manga in which a few notable historical figures each are called on to represent a family in a Holy Grail War. They each battle to get a wish from the Holy Grail. Really sad but the art is fantastic.

  24. Shoujo Manga
    - Ouran Highschool Host Club*: Gateway manga that I saw a lot of people list. It's hilarious and highly highly entertaining. It also includes a cross-dressing protagonist, a host club, and a reverse harem (one female character surrounded by males). It sounds really weird but the characters are funny and the romance takes freaking 100+ chapters to develop. Highly frustrating but very rewarding once you get to the end.
    - Fruits Baskets*: This one made me cry at the end. This one is about the 12 zodiac animals (plus the cat). The family had a curse laid on them in which each person can get turned into an animal from the zodiac if they are hugged by the opposite sex. The story is equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming. This one is definitely a favorite of a lot of people. I will say that the female protagonist is a little dumb, but she's such a upbeat, nice character.
    - Puella Magi Madoka Magica: One of my favorite manga/animes ever. Made me cry and takes the magical girl trope and turns it upside down. I don't know if you've heard of Sailor Moon, but this would be that plus lots of darkness. The characterization is superb, the art is great, the stories are well done. Highly recommended but I've heard from my friends that newer readers have found it really really weird. I don't think it's weird but a precaution just in case.

    I hope you pick a good manga for your project and enjoy reading it! Good luck!
    Kelly @ Dancing Through the Pages


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