Death Note News

Death Note is a franchise comprised of 6 movies, 1 anime series, 6 manga series
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I'm looking for an anime to watch, particularly one that is similar to Death Note but if you don't know any or you think there are better ones leave your suggestions bellow.

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Upon many growing email requests for a “Must see before you die Anime & Manga list” I thought I’d go a second round and give a more thorough look into title recommendations for both mediums

Alright so, from weeks of deliberation with my various fellow Otaku brethren on and off the podcast as well as through some extensive research from the likes of ANN, ANIMENFO, ANIDB & MYANIMELIST what I have cooked up here folks is an updated and rebooted list of MUST SEE ANIME & MANGA TITLES…for almost anybody open to the mediums…fanboys and newbies alike!

Now generally speaking these kinds of suggestive lists typically highlight some of the most agreed upon classics most fans would have already known about but let’s be honest here, no matter how impartial and objective you try to be with these things there is always bound to be someone else out there who will find fault or even claim bias on the chosen selection…and that is perfectly fine…..in fact it would be dumb not to be expected

These kinds of lists should be seen as more of a guideline / gap filler into the best or even possibly the overlooked gems that the medium’s have had to offer and as such it can be very helpful for quite a few folks

I’ve tried to generate this list based in terms of agreed quality first and foremost not just on accumulative popularity which is why some of the more obvious long running shows will not be on this list at all, however for this list I’ve tried to stick with titles that have more or less finished their story run – giving you the opportunity to make your own final open and shut case point about each title…..for the most part

This time around I’ve tried to keep it a little bit more varied in terms of genre and target demographic, ya know, so people can pick out something that may be of a particular taste to em

This list is NOT in any particular order

* THE ANIME LIST *

Neon Genesis Evangelion
Action, Dementia, Drama, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological

Gurren Lagann
Action, Comedy, Mecha, Sci-Fi

Cowboy Bebop
Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Space

Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 & Brotherhoood
Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Magic, Military

Death Note
Mystery, Supernatural, Police, Psychological, Thriller

Samurai Champloo
Adventure, Comedy, Samurai

Samurai X (Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal)
Action, Historical, Martial Arts, Samurai, Romance

BERSERK
Action, Adventure, Demons, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Supernatural, Military

Basilisk
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, Samurai, Romance, Supernatural

Trigun
Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Vision of Escaflowne
Adventure, Fantasy, Mecha, Romance

Zegapain
Action, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi

Code Geass
Action, Mecha, School, Sci-Fi, Super Power, Military

Eureka Seven
Adventure, Drama, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi

Welcome to the NHK
Comedy, Drama, Romance, Psychological

Haibane Renmei
Drama, Fantasy, Slice of Life

FLCL
Action, Comedy, Dementia, Mecha, Parody, Sci-Fi

Madoka Magica
Drama, Magic, Psychological, Thriller

Baccano
Action, Supernatural

Moribito
Adventure, Fantasy

Last Exile
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Paradise Kiss
Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Fashion

Blue Gender
Adventure, Drama, Horror, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi, Space, Military

Mushishi
Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy, Supernatural

* MANGA LIST *

AKIRA
Cyberpunk, Science fiction, Thriller

Battle Angel Alita
Cyberpunk, Science fiction, Action

Battle Royale
Dystopian, Thriller, Horror, Alternative history

20th Century Boys
Science fiction, Mystery

Rurouni Kenshin
Action, Historical, Martial Arts, Samurai, Romance

Nausicaa
Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction

GANTZ
Action, Science fiction, Horror, Thriller

Great Teacher Onizuka
Comedy-drama, School, Slice of Life

Eden: It's an Endless World
Action, Cyberpunk

Kare Kano
Comedy, Drama, Romance, School-Life

Holyland
Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Psychological

Legend of the Strongest Man Kurosawa
Action, Comedy, Drama, Psychological

The Breaker
Martial Arts, Drama, Romance

Mirai Nikki
Action, Psychological, Romance, Supernatural, Survival Horror, Suspense

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
Action, Adventure, Horror, Supernatural, Suspense

BAKUMAN
Slice-of-life, Comedy-Drama, Romance

Our Happy Hours
Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Psychological

Hotel
Action, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Psychological

MONSTER
Mystery, Drama, Psychological

Phoenix
Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi, Space, Supernatural, Psychological

Akumetsu
Action, Drama, Police, Psychological, Thriller

Hoshi no Koe
Drama, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi

PLUTO
Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Yokohama Shopping Log
Drama, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life

Blade of the Phantom Master
Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Supernatural

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This is both an interesting and disturbing question to ask, in trying to consider which of these two anime/manga characters is the greater evil. Murderous intent and nature isn’t something to be intrigued by, at least in real life human beings. Not many people would be interested in asking which of the two, Hitler and Bin Laden, is the greater evil. But when it comes to anime and manga there is a place for being intrigued by and even admiring the evil acts of fictional characters, because this is one of anime and manga’s most significant traits; its ability to make any subject, no matter how benign or dark, interesting and exciting.

Maybe its because we know that what we are watching is not real (and even if it was, it would be happening in Japan, far far away) or because anime character are designed to execute each and every act, no matter how gruesome with a great sense of flare and showmanship. The point is their is a place for appreciating just how well an fictional characters carries out his fictional actions, even if those actions are down right evil and loathsome.

With evil in anime and manga, very few acts that can trump murder, the act of taking the life of another, sometimes in the most gruesome manner and on large scales. And when it comes to anime ad manga and murder, few other characters can dare to hold a candle to Johan from Monster and Light Yagami from Death note.

It isn’t merely the fact that these two characters kill; many characters in the medium have done that and on several times greater scales that these two could dream of. It is how they kill, why they kill, basically who the characters are that determines the level of intensity involved in their murderous acts.

Sure we can be certain that Madara from Naruto has killed several hundred characters during his long life in the world, and who knows how many worlds Frieza from DBZ has laid to waste, yet their is something about watching Light, sitting in his room, writing in a little note book by candle light and laying to waste the lives of several dozens that is exhilarating. Something about such a scene transcends anything we see Lelouch do during his rampage against Britannia. I can’t explain it.

Point is, no other anime characters (that i can think of right now) personify the very essence of death wrapped in a cool handsome package the way these two. And it got me thinking, when paired up against each other, which of these would stand out as the greater evil, not only to the other but the world at large? Which of these two characters would usurp the other’s claim to the title of supposedly misunderstood evil; which would you rather move across continents to avoid living next door to?

When i considered this question, i approached it from three perspectives; their characters, comparison with the other, especially in a hostile environment and threat level to the greater world.

So, here is my argument.

Light Yagami- I have always had mixed feelings about light. I am not even sure if he is the protagonist or the antagonist. What i do know is that of the two, he stands out as the more evil. Light Yagami is basically the perfect person, handsome, intelligent, kind, charismatic, a perfect student and citizen, basically everything every one with a brain would want to be. Yet when he

fortuitously comes into contact with the death note, a tool of the shiningami, with which one can kill by simply writing the name of the person on its pages as well as specifying in great detail when and how they will died, his true colors emerge.

Deciding to play god, Light starts by ending the lives of all those that have chosen to stand their ground against justice, which in this case includes vast majority of prisoners, in the hundreds of thousands if i am not mistaken, eventually earning the attention of a team of FBI agents intent on catching and stopping his murderous antics. Soon murdering criminals is no longer enough, and Light begins a campaign of purging all those that seek to find and destroy him, the most important of which is L, a genius socially inept detective intent in revealing the identity of the serial killer.

L is no ordinary foe for Light, not only because he can match Light brain cell for brain cell but because no one knows what L’s real name is, which means, even with the most powerful weapon in the world, light can’t kill him. Thus begins their game of cat and mouse, with L trying to peel back Light’s true face while Light attempts to break through L’s barriers to reveal his true name, taking care to lay to waste any number of law enforcement agents stupid enough to set their sights on him.

Here is one of the most egregious differences between these two characters. If you have watched or read Monster, then you might be surprised by me saying that Light is actually the most evil of the two. In fact if there was such a thing as an evil meter, Light would rank miles ahead of Johan. And i say that despite of what Johan does in Monster because i wouldn’t call Johan evil.

All those terms many use to describe Light, young, misunderstood, corrupted by power, i would apply to Johan. Light is a very basic Psychopath. I would disagree with anyone that tries to suggest that the death note is primarily responsible for what Light becomes. The way i have always seen it is that the death note is just one of several things that could have set Light off. Even if that shiningami hadn’t suddenly tossed that book through the portal and Light had never found it, i believe that something else later on in life would have made him snap. Somewhere down the line i believe something would have happened,

maybe that obnoxious neighbor would have run Light’s cat down, at which point he would have gone on to feed both him and his family their own eye balls. Or maybe a manager at work would have been especially rude to him and Light would have lashed out, beginning his reign as a psychotic killer.

The fact is, if the death note hadn’t come into his life, Light would have still killed, only that he would have been reduced to a mere serial killer of no particularly extraordinary existence. After all many a serial killer have been known to possess abnormally high IQs. And death note clearly showed just how much of a genius Light was, his ability to think several steps ahead, manipulate events and people to his advantage with the express purpose of determining one or two tiny facts with which he could go on to destroy a person’s life.

None the less, despite his genius, this is where Light and Johan part ways. Despite his genius, Light was only ever extraordinary because of the death note. In other words it is unlikely that Light was the smartest person on the planet. I am certain there were several other individuals in possession of intelligence on par with Light’s own. But Light stood out only because of the death note. Without it, he would have never done any of the things he did, or achieve as much as he did on the scale that he did. Oh sure, he was smart and he would have ran rings around the FBI for a while, but in the end his most offensive capability was the death note, and without it, he would have been reduced to a somewhat impressive serial killer later on in life, who would have met his end in ordinary circumstances, probably by the hand of some random police officer putting a bullet into his head..

2.Johan- this is why i rate Johan so much higher than Light. I am not even sure if i could call Johan a genius. Oh sure he was smart, intelligent, but Light was a genius on the level of which i am not sure Johan compares. Yet Johan stands above Light for one reason, he is a master manipulator the likes of which i do not think even Light would understand. Johan is the primary antagonist of the Monster anime and manga. As a child he and his sister enter Doctor Tenma’s life as victims of a gruesome murder than claimed the lives of their foster parents. Johan had taken a bullet to the head while his sister had survived with nothing more than mental scarring.

It is Tenma’s decision to ignore his orders and choose to use his genius surgical skills to save the life of the child Johan over the chairman of the board of the hospital that begins the entire monster escapade. Johan, as it is quickly determined is no ordinary boy. He was bred to be something more, something that, once it is discovered who he is, begins to attract several figures, important in the history of Europe as well as its future in an attempt to drink from the well that is his potential. Tenma on the other hand is horrified by what he learns he has unleashed into the world, not only after learning from Johan’s sister that it was she who shot him in the forehead (on his request i might add), but that there was a reason the twins had gone through so many foster parents in so many years; none of them survived the first few months of their adopted children’s new lives.

The fact that Johan can manipulate so many people so easily sets him apart from Light. Johan himself is an enigma, to me at least in that through out the entire story we never actually realize what it is he wants and why he plays so many games with Tenma, besides the fact that the Japanese doctor saved him when he had chosen to die. There are times in the manga where it seems like all his actions are random. At the end of it all, certain truths are revealed that lead me to believe that Johan is crazy, psychotic even, but i wouldn’t really call him evil. Without giving too many spoilers away for anyone that hasn’t encountered Monster, Johan is revealed as a young man on a quest, he is searching for something that has eluded him ever since he was ripped away from his home along with his sister.

But what Johan lacks in sanity-and it is worthy pointing out that i really do think that Johan is crazy, where as Light is a perfectly sane psychopath- he makes up for in mental agility. To understand just how bad Johan is , you have to simply realize that he is indeed the monster of the story. And while that term is figurative, for there are no supernatural elements in the manga, one has to wonder, why would all those people choose to call such a handsome, kind soft spoken young man a monster.

People, scholars, soldiers, lay men, basically a very diverse crowd of people have been known to meet Johan, sometimes for mere minutes at a time and while many have proclaimed their wonder and amazement at his words and spirit, they also almost always referred to a darkness, always talking about how they felt like they had just encountered and stared into an abyss. Now if this doesn’t tell you of just how dark this character is, nothing will. The fact that bright minds would refer to this ‘revolutionary’ as a monster, even while praising him, expressing a fear like nothing they have ever felt, the kind that touched them right down to their soul, this is a powerful display of just why Johan is clearly a more dangerous adversary than Light.

No one ever referred to Light as darkness and if they inferred it, it was because he could murder them with a note book. Johan did nothing more than speak.

Through out the story, Johan kills, a lot of people in fact, some times creating one massacre after another. Yet if you were to put both light and Johan in front of a judge, Light would rot in jail for all eternity while Johan would escape with a slap on the wrist. And that is because Johan himself has not actually killed that many people. Besides his murderous escapades as a kid, by his word alone Johan will seal the fates of thousands but without having actually done the killing, or even actually giving the order.

This is the manifestation of Johan’s masterful manipulation skills. He will sit down and have a conversation with a kindly nun one sunny afternoon. And in two weeks time, that same nun will be lurking in the shadows slitting throats. Johan seems to have a way of reaching into the darkest places of the human soul and revealing what lies within. Many a man in the story held Johan as a leader, a great revolutionary in the making. Heck there were many among them who were ready to announce him and were indeed making preparations to reveal him as Hitler's replacement, and through out the story these same people were reeking havoc and mayhem against all those that stood in their and Johan’s way, which in this case included Dr. Tenma and all those who stood by him.

Now here is the thing, if that doesn’t sound impressive, that a young man of 18 or so had high ranking authoritative figures ready to follow him to the very end and spill blood in the gallons for his sake, then consider the fact that at least two thirds of these people had never met Johan or even spoken to him. The story displays countless men and women, many of great intelligence, ready to commit violent acts on behalf of someone they had never met.

Now maybe some of these characters, old soldiers from the second world war with forgotten dreams, can be forgiven for their rashness. But there were others, ordinary men and women who killed and maimed in Johan’s name, for the sake of protecting him, a man, again, they had never met. This was Johan spreading his influence through a domino effect, not personally touching each and every soul he wished to use for his own good, but touching just that right one individual in a 100 and watching him infect a town. In other words, Light’s weapon is a powerful note book with the power to kill any whose name is written in it. Johan’s weapon is his word, and the ideology he spreads.

The funny thing is there was a time it seemed like Johan didn’t even know half of the people he was having do things for him. He would walk into a town, recruit and make a disciple in a day or so, a young man or woman that, after a day or two with Johan, was ready to lay their life down for him. Then he would do what he needed to do and leave, letting the consequences of his actions continue to echo on through out the society in the vicinity.

It’s even funnier to realize that Tenma spends most of the story trying to find and locate Johan; and those that are intent on killing Tenma on Johan’s behalf are also looking for Johan. It would be funny if it wasn’t so disturbing.

MY POINT- So here is the bottom line; of the two, Light is clearly evil while Johan is merely crazy, lost in the reveries of his past and after all these years unable to decipher the truth from the lie in his mind. Johan stands above Light in raw intelligence. He is the kind of enemy that light would fear, someone who both exists and doesn’t exist, which is another funny thing about Monster; a number of people see and speak to Johan, yet for the most part, no one can prove that he even exists.

Johan is the enemy that can reach out and kill Light without light even knowing of Johan’s existence. A good example of the difference between these two is that FBI agent that Light kills. He executes a brilliant performance to get the agent to reveal his true identity so as to finally end his existence using the death note. Now, while that was impressive, you could say that the difference between Johan and Light is that light had to involve his being into the play, if i am to call it that, to get a result. Even when dealing with L, he had to put himself right in the heart of the situation. This is the opposite of how Johan works, only making an appearance when he has to but mostly working from the shadows. Well, that is a wrong term to use. Johan works in the light, right were anyone and everyone should be able to see him, they simply can’t.

If it was Johan charged with getting the agent’s identity, rather than plan a ruse that finally gets the agent to drop his badge, Johan would get the man to tell him his name on purpose and rather than kill him, have him spy on L on his behalf.

As far as the world goes, Light seems like the more tolerable evil. I can see him troubling a town or two, maybe irritating a small country somewhere with his death note before someone eventually puts a bullet in his head, or nukes the country if the death note proves to be that potent a weapon. It is Johan that would prove to be the most destructive force if a character like his was ever to come to life; Johan is a threat that the world would have to contend with.

His weapon is one of the most potent of all, words and ideologies, two elements that can spread like wild fire to every corner of the world. Just consider the Monster story. People were ready to place Johan at the head of their nation; that is a worth while consideration when you realize that not at any one point in time did Johan ever ask or crave for power. Yet if he had wanted it, he could have had it and if he wished to, he would have given it to anyone.

That is the sort of man a world should fear, the sort of person someone like Hitler was made of, the kind of man that can change the fates of nations and continents with little to no effort. If Johan in Monster had actually strived for something, because for the most part he was apathetic to anything that wasn’t related to his past; but if he actually had an objective, had strived to accomplish something, gain power, burn Europe to the ground and so on, Monster would have been a completely different story.

Both men are handsome, kindly, soft spoken, gentle even, yet hide a cruel streak, psychopathic tendencies, murderous intent and an abnormal intellect. Johan would however be the greater evil.

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So, a very good question; what makes a good anime/manga? i actually didn’t bother thinking too much about this question before i decided to write this because i thought it was kind of obvious. But that was before i actually sat down to write and realized that that wasn’t the case. I intended to break the answer down into three main points namely:
1. The story- so this i thought would be the easiest to break down.Then i thought about it some more and realized that if i am dealing the story and asking what makes a good anime and manga, then the answer would be a good story, end of point. What else could be said about that? After all every one has their own unique tastes and interests and the reasons they might find one story interesting will vary from the reasons why another might find the same story interesting. My sister is a good example of this. When we talk about movies, i will ask a question along the lines of ‘Did you watch this or that?” and she will sometimes answer in the affirmative. But the explanations she gives as to why she either liked or hated it will perturb me, usually having nothing to do with the main points of the story but how this character looked and that other character dressed and how the mannerisms of that other fellow irritated her. Now clearly she is applying her own personal biases in forming an opinion of the movie. I on the other hand will be more interested in talking about the core points of the story. So with anime we all tend look at different elements to find entertainment, so i was a bit perturbed as i tried to narrow down what about a story makes a given anime or manga good, other than the fact that the story is good. so i guess the question is what makes a good story.
2. Art- this i concluded in the same manner as above. If you ask someone why they like one manga’s art they will answer that it is good art. Now some might break this down into finer details, but at the end of the day, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. I can’t tell you what good art is, you can’t tell me what i think good art is. It is my opinion, what i like, simple as that. An example, when i get bored, i find some good forums to read, and recently i was reading some comments regarding Mario, Kishimoto’s one shot and i was surprised to find a hostile comment aimed at the manga, not because the comment claimed not to like Mario but the reason why. Apparently he claimed that Mario must have been taking too much of Kishimoto’s time and was the reason why his recent art work in Naruto was “so shitty”.He then went on to say that he used to enjoy the sketchy look of the art in the first part of Naruto but that in the second part, the art had began to look a little to fine and clean and he hated that and that definitely Mario was to blame, because Kishimoto couldn’t focus.
Now i was perturbed; the reason i loved Veritas (manga) so much was because of how clean it was, because i loved that everything was so clear and easily noticeable. And i have come across some Naruto manga, mainly chapters behind the events occurring in the anime and i like the clean look. So i didn’t agree with this fellow. But that goes to show how tastes can vary in anime and manga and how people like different things. So their is no way to specify any qualities that make a manga good with regards to the art.
3. I had a point about the characters, but then it all revolved around how the otaku could best relate to them and how much of their story resonated with the reader and again, depended on what they liked and their individual biases. Same thing for the action.
So basically i was a bit unsure as to how to narrow down what made an anime and manga good and hence, what made it bad, which annoyed me. I considered dropping the topic. Instead i took a break, watched the Justified finale to relax, and then watched two episodes of Psycho pass. The purpose was to figure out why i liked the show and what endeared it to me yet something like “A rabbit has seven lives’ which i had tried to watch and failed not so long ago was, as far as i am concerned, pretty bad. After looking at Psycho pass as seriously as i could for an hour or so, i came up with a few ideas and narrowed down what i thought were the factors that were responsible for and where present in each and every manga (or anime) that any (most at least) otaku would refer to as good no matter there tastes.
So i will begin again:
1. The story. trying to break the idea of a story apart and figuring out what unique trait made a manga story good didn’t yield any result. You like what you like. There are certain genres people
will die to watch while they will be anathema to others because of one reason or another. So if you are talking about a story in a manga that is referred to as good, then you will have to refer to the characters. Good characters make a good story and a good story in turn will result in a good set of characters. I believe we will enjoy a story if we basically like the characters. Maybe we are able to relate to them on a personal level. Or maybe we simply feel for them and find ourselves unable to do anything else but cheer them on on their path and that brings us back every week. We want to see more of these characters and they make the story good. Of course it all comes down to how the author handles them. Many authors struggle to juggle a large cast of characters and drop the ball when trying to utilize all of them. The best story will have a number of characters each of which plays an important role in the plot. They don’t have to play an important part in the primary objective, they don’t even have to contribute one bit to the main character's progress. However the author needs to present them in a way that makes them matter no matter what is happening.
Here is how i would explain it. Every show has a main character. The primary protagonist should be the main character, yet he or she shouldn’t be the
only central focus. IN other words a manga seizes to be good when the story is unable to sustain itself without the presence of the main character. This is one of the factors that i believe debased bleach a while back, because it felt like Kubo assumed that ichigo had to be involved in every situation for it to matter. Whether or not he was right, it didn’t help the show. I will point out Naruto on the other hand, where Naruto Uzumaki will not appear for several chapters and yet the story is able to sustain itself. Think of those days when fans would say that Naruto wasn’t the main character of his own show yet they kept on watching it and reading Naruto.
I would summarize it as this. Each series should or rather will have a hero, a villain and an objective. Or in the case of none battle related shows, a protagonist and antagonist. Both parties need to have a good dynamic with each other and their relationship should be interesting enough to keep the story interesting. Both should have specific objectives driving them. A bad show will fail to clearly pronounce the purposes of both sides and why they fight so hard to get what they want. Some series like to keep you guessing and live the conclusion of what either side wanted to you to guess. i don’t like it. What i like less though and what is less popular than an unclear motive is a flimsy one. many otaku are still complaining over SAO’s first part and how whatshisname’s claim to have forgotten why he did what he did. I didn’t really care but it is a good example of how a story fails to provide a clear reason behind a villain or hero doing what he is doing. It matters, otherwise there is no reason to cheer or hate them.
2. Art. It didn’t take me long to figure out what about art made one manga good and another manga bad. i was just being lazy before. All i had to do was stop and take a look at all the manga that i had ever come across, considered to be good and what i was reading at the present. I have mentioned before that many mangaka (if they think it) have got it wrong if they assume that the secret to a
good manga is great art, because that isn’t entirely true and at the very least it will get you decent and mostly average ratings. Sure i love coming across brilliantly drawn series because they are so much easier to read and i enjoy simply sitting back and admiring some of the panels. But here is the thing. A manga series, any manga series, exists to tell a certain story,not amaze you with how good its looks. And if you are searching for a good manga to read, chances are you will hone in on something that you believe to be different and unique. The art within this chosen manga is expected to represent the story as best as it can; not merely display the story but bring out its spirit.
So the art, just like the story, needs to be unique. And that i believe is the secret to a good and successful manga. When i am reading a manga, i am hoping to get a unique experience out of reading it. it is my hope that i leave satisfied and contented and only a unique art
style can do that. And it isn’t simply a matter of mere skill either but inventiveness. I have given the example of The Breaker:New waves before and spoke of how you can place it against so many series in which the main character is carrying out a relatively mundane (usually action related) task and New waves will always stand out, not because of what it has done but how it has done it.
I mentioned this in my criticism of the beautifully drawn Feng Shen ji. SO many manga are drawn rather plainly, as if the mangaka think that so long as everything is placed on the page as it should be and the point is made as clearly as possible, that is the end. But what successful mangaka do isn’t merely to draw an action, they try to find a way to draw an action in such a way that it has an impact, and it is unique.
Consider this. If i took a random page of a manga displaying two characters talking that you have never seen before; if i placed it in front of you chances are you would know immediately that it was bleach you were reading. or at least Tite Kubo’s work. Because bleach is uniquely drawn and Kubo takes time to make as much of what he draws ‘move’ in as unique a fashion as possible; the point is if you read bleach you will remember it. It stays with you. Kubo once said in an interview that he set out to make bleach a unique experience even more fun that watching an anime. Minus the anime part, he mostly did it. He got the point. So much manga that i read i will not remember after i put it down; or rather if i came upon work by the same artist, i wouldn’t recognize it because the manga has chosen to be generic. Good manga does not equal to good art. Good manga equals to unique art. It is that simple and the more mangaka that learn that fact, the better for us readers.
3. The action. This only applies to battle related manga. And i do not think it is as simple as a battle being good. I mean that might apply to anime; all you need are good graphics, effects,
music and all that. But in manga it is a little harder to produce a good battle. I believe, like the art, it all comes down to inventiveness and uniqueness. I dislike reading battle scenes that are very banal and uninspired. This was another criticism i had for Feng Shen JI. Sure you can design awesome characters with great powers and weapons, but then having them smash into each other like cavemen really irks me. There has to be more to a battle than
one guy hitting another then the other guy hits back and so on. Maybe its a matter of the art used to display them. But i do not think so. You can have two characters with sticks fighting each other and the right author can produce something inspiring. Then you can have two characters in giant ghost robots throwing the elements at each other and, in the wrong hands, it can come off as the crappiest battle you have ever seen. It isn’t about scale or ability but how they are used and displayed. So maybe a portion of it comes back down to the art. Either way, a good battle will make a manga chapter that much more exciting.
4. The plot. so every good plot needs a good hook, something that keeps you coming back week after week. It all comes down to the purpose behind the plot; what does the series revolve around? Who is doing what and why and what do they have to accomplish for something life changing to happen? It doesn’t have to be something epic or fantastical like being a pirate king or Hokage.
It can be anything so long as it is clearly defined and it is a purpose or goal that we can all get behind and support, giving us a good reason to support the manga. The purpose or goal in a series sort of brings the manga into reality. it is almost like your favorite characters exist somewhere in the world and each week you run to the manga chapter like it is a newspaper reporting events in this none existent town where you hope to find out what has happened to your favorite characters
and how much of a change has occurred in their lives.
This then all ties back into good characters because they make it possible for a great plot to evolve. And that is another thing that makes the plot of a good manga great, it should evolve. It doesn’t always have to, the manga can still be just as good. But it is fun to follow stories in which we start with one goal in mind and over time things get blurry, characters lose their way and in the end a new focus emerges that changes the entire shape of the series. if the change is handled well, we as readers will usually receive it well as it allows the story to move forward into a new chapter.
If it is handled badly, then it will change the story into something we as fans no longer recognize, wrecking the manga.
Okay, i can’t think of anything else so that must be it. if you are reading something that you believe is indeed a good manga or watching a good anime, then it will have good relatable, likable characters that are worth your support, a unique art style that allows you to experience something new when reading the manga, unique, inventive and engaging action and an intriguing plot that grips you hard and never lets go.
If all these are present in any manga that you are reading, then you are indeed reading a good manga. if not, then you are deceiving yourself into thinking it is a good manga. Or maybe it is average, bu not great. If you are looking for a good manga, then i suggest starting off by keeping these in mind during your search. Or i might be wrong (doubt it.)
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I've been reading some manga for a few years and so far there have been a few I like but are over. I like: Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Hellsing, InuYasha, Rurouni Kenshin, Death Note, Dragonball (Z), Rave or Rave Master, whatever its called, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, & Full Metal Alchemist. All are some interesting series to read. Some of these are ending, some are over and some are still ongoing so I was wondering if they're other good series out there to read.

I was curious about: Fairy Tail, Berserk, Trigun, Shaman King and Ultimo? They sound good but are they worth reading? If anyone can put there opinions down I would appreciate it.

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I'll be honest, there's a lot of things that I wanted to watch throughout this week that I haven't, just out of work issues, so instead of looking at a few specific anime, I'm just going to give some sporadic thoughts on the stuff that I have been watching over the last week.

Honey and Clover and MajiKoi?

So looking through Netflix, the series Honey and Clover caught my eye again. I keep meaning to watch it, but for some reason I usually fall into a show that's not to be named, (at least until later), but this weekend I decided with a day off from work to load up Honey and Clover. I was struck at how similar the situations that the show has reflects what's being done so poorly in MajiKoi. There's a downward mechanic between Rika, Takumi, and Ayumi which matches up with the same mechanic that's in MajiKoi's Momoyo, Yamato, and Miyako. The difference is that Honey and Clover uses this as a side story, and there's a real relationship developing in the foreground, while in MajiKoi this mechanic is in the foreground, and is charged with enough nudity and innuendo to choke an elephant. It's just interesting to see how the same dynamic is handled so differently between the two shows, but not as interesting as the fact that while I figured I was going to drop the show, I had the misfortune of watching the sixth episode. The only positive I'll take out of a half hour of phallic imagery and fellatio jokes is the fact that it reminded me that I really should play "Shadows of the Damned" at some point, if for no other reason than because I hear the phallic jokes in the game are from all reports actually funny.

Chie vs Ai, FIGHT!

A lot of words were spent about Persona 4's fifth episode, which included two social links, and a catfight between Chie Satonaka and Ai Ebihara. I made my thoughts on Ai known when I was looking ahead to the series and made my dislike for the nouveax riche Ebihara known. Yes, the catfight and people's lack of reaction to it might have seemed out of place, but I couldn't help but have my own internal "Yay!/Boo!" dialogue going through my head as they hauled off on each other. If you really want to take anything away from the fifth episode of Persona 4, take this away. Kou has great taste in women, and most people on Whiskey Media would agree, Chie over all. Now granted, I'm a fan of redheads, so Rise's more my speed, but damned if Chie's not great.

Some great shows just remain great

I posted a few weeks ago about how much I was enjoying Fate/Zero, and that it was challenging Last Exile for that last slot in the Super Six. After watching the sixth episode, it's made it's way on the list, bouncing Last Exile out of the list. This isn't to say that Last Exile has become worse, it's still really good, it's just that as the action ratchets up in Fate/Zero, it's place on the list wasn't going to be denied. It's actually moved not only on the list, but up the list as well, becoming one of my favorite shows of the season. Assassin's remaining in the shadows, as a good assassin should, Caster's made himself known (and has mistaken Saber for Jeanne D'Arc instead of King Arthur), and it'll be interesting if we see a bit more background on Berserker soon, as he's been shown but not really examined, and the side story of his master is one of the more interesting motivations anyone has in this Holy Grail War. The list as it stands is as such right now:

  1. Chihayafuru
  2. Mawaru Penguindrum
  3. Mirai Nikki
  4. Fate/Zero (*)
  5. Persona 4: The Animation
  6. Bakuman Season 2

(* Fate/Zero joins the list for the first time, Last Exile ~Fam, the Silver Wing~ finds itself off the list.)

Bakuman was nearing an exit from the list as well until the arc with Mashiro's health came into play. It's a good time to reintroduce Azuki Miho back to the group, and to show that silly promises don't mean as much as each other's health and suffering. Mashiro's hell bent on drawing, but the preview for the next episode makes it clear that a certain someone's about to step in and put an end to this in order to give Mashiro time to have his surgery and recover from the issues which are causing his failing health. Last Exile would have stayed around if not for that twist in Bakuman's story, which cemented how dear those characters have become over thirty episodes.

There are shows which are not to be named.

This is more an observation from a time where I owned a comic book and hobby store, there were four shows I found that if you were starting to watch them or read the manga, I would always advise people new to the series to hold their tongue and never mention they were watching or reading these things until they were fully caught up. The four shows of death should be obvious, but in case they're not, they are Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, and Death Note. A true story about Naruto, is that my son when he was little started watching Naruto when going to bed. We always kept a few episodes on the DVR when Cartoon Network started showing them, because it got to the point where an episode of "Ruto" almost became the signal to the little one that it was time to be quiet, and by the end of the episode, sleep was usually not far behind.

I did most of the Naruto watching with my son, but my wife began watching too, and one day in the shop she made the fatal mistake of mentioning that she was watching it. Someone enthusiastically asked what episode she was on and she said 53, at which time he started going into what happend in episode 53... OF NARUTO SHIPPUDEN. Yes, roles had changed, friends were now enemies, enemies were now friends, and the dynamics built over 220 episodes were completely ruined for her. She's never watched another episode of Naruto since that day. If you're new to anime, and watching any of these series, do not tell your anime loving friends, for the love of god that you are. Watch some short form stuff, but until you're current, keep these shows a dirty dark secret. And for most of the people reading, remember that like with video games, flexing your deep rich knowledge of the thing you love doesn't make it so that new people regard you as an expert, but more of a braggadocio know it all that's to be avoided. Recommend, but never spoil, these great things and let the person new to anime bring you what wonderful things you find, and then discuss those things with them, and maybe make some recommendations based on what they like. A friend who comes to me and liked Usagi Drop will get a Wandering Son reference if they wish there was a bit more meat on the bone. Someone who likes K-On! will get an Azumanga Daioh recommendation from me if they loved how cute that show is.

But if they liked Hetalia, I still don't know what I'd tell them. :) That show's just a beast unto itself. (Use the comments, what would you recommend to a new anime watcher who's only exposure to anime is Hetalia and wants to watch something else?)

The Queue is Closed!

Hopefully next week I'll return to having a little more structure to the blog, but this week's been so sporadic with my anime watching, that it was little things that caught my attention instead of sweeping opinions on any series in general.

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Do you find death note overrated? i don"t i love love love death note //-^ but a while back i was talking this chick and she said death note was OK at best //.v is it just because their generation is too slow to keep up or is death note really not all that great? (BLASPHEMY!!) What's your opinion if you bother to answer //-^

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For those of you that have the priviledge of not knowing what Deus Ex Machina means, its literal translation from Latin is "God of the Machine" or in plain old English "Are you ****ing kidding me?" The whole purpose of Deus Ex Machina is when the mangaka of a series throws their hands up in the air and comes up with something so out of left field in order to wrap up a story or a conflict in the show that a person's groan can be heard in space. Now it can be debated why a mangaka does this in the first place whether they made a too convoluted plot that the characters can't get out of or they accidentally made the villian in a story arc too over powered. The end result will be the hero or heroine pulling a miracle out of their ass.   

Now you may be asking yourself "Wales, you've kicked a lot of whole sale ass for a lot less. Why bother discussing Deus Ex Machina? It's been a common plot device in literature, films, and any form of entertainment for centuries. Why now?" The answer is a simple one. I recently became a fan of Fairy Tail from the insistance of my friend here obscurefan. However, after reading some of it, he pointed out moments of Deus Ex Machina and I couldn't help but to acknowledge that Hiro Mashima did not know what he was doing while writing it. Or maybe he did and he fell in to one of the two categories I mentioned in the previous paragraph. After our conversation, I did some reflection and recalled many different anime and manga instances where victory was pulled out of thin air.   

I honestly don't want to waste your time and mine with the hundreds of examples where the heroes can pull off a flawless victory despite not having any magic/energy/chakra/whatever fuels the protagonists. Instead, I would prefer to list ideas that can be seen where Deus Ex Machina takes place even then it would take too much effort and cause my headache to split into the San Andreas Fault Line. I know it's kind of lazy to do this right now but I would rather you all, the anime community, be aware of series that fall victim to this lazy form of writing. Its sad since most Shonen manga fall culprit to the machine.
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