Some people still don’t get what manga is all about. When the New York Times published their Graphic Novel Gift Guide, they didn’t include a single manga title. This makes absolutely no sense, because there are some fantastic manga series out there that have strong plots and fantastic art. Does it matter that they are translated and most read from right to left? I don’t think so, so I am joining my manga twitter pals to get the word out – there are plenty of manga titles out there that have a broad appeal, and would make wonderful gifts for the holidays. Come on! Resist the urge to buy your dad another tie, and your aunt certainly doesn’t need a toaster!
Because I enjoy so many series – hey, I’m a Manga Maniac, after all! – I am going to break this up into at least a couple of posts to highlight some of my favorite titles. I am focusing mainly on newer titles, too, so availability shouldn’t be an issue. There are so many great books out there, and even I don’t have time to read them all! I am looking forward to reading everybody else’s lists, too, so I can see what great titles I am missing out on. You can find the Great Manga Gift Guide repository at Ozaku simply by clicking here.
Let’s get things rolling with my favorite genre, FANTASY:
The Palette of 12 Secret Colors – Nari Kusakawa – Oh! Nari Kusakawa ROCKS! Any of her series would make a perfect present, but this one is my favorite. Cello tries to master the art of taking colors from her bird, Yoyo, and finds that it’s harder than she thought. Funny and romantic, this is a treasure.
Kekkaishi – Yellow Tanabe – Yoshimori has to protect the school grounds from demons, and he gets no respect while he’s doing it. All he really wants to do is create castle cakes! Charming, loaded with great characters, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Moon Child – Reiko Shimizu – Weird and wonderful are the only words to describe this series about mer-people and their struggle to stop the world from being destroyed. Beautiful art and a very unique plot.
Claymore – Norihiro Yagi – This is what I like to call “Berserk lite,” a grim tale where female warriors battle with demons that want to eat everyone. Edge of your seat action and great art, too.
Alive: The Final Evolution – Tadashi Kawashima & Adachitoka – This is the series for fans of American super hero comic books. It feels a little bit like X-Men and is brimming with action, adventure, and excitement.
Yurara – Chika Shiomi – Romantic suspense about a girl who can see spirits. Clean art and an involving romantic triangle.
Kiichi and the Magic Books - Taka Amano – A young boy seeks the truth about himself, making new friends along the way. This series doesn’t start as much, but it builds to a powerful climax. Touching and full of convincing emotions.
Red River – Chie Shinohara – This is on the epic side because it’s almost 30 volumes, but it consistently entertains. Who can resist a time travel romance with loads of hunky guys?
Chibi Vampire – Yuna Kagesaki – Fun comedy about a reverse vampire who spews blood instead of taking it. Sweet, funny, and unforgettable.