C’mon Manga, show us what you got!

Listen up iFanbase! We need good suggestions for books to read and talk about on our next Vault show of the weekly video show. We don’t know from manga, so we need your expertise. You’ve listened to the shows, and you know what we like, so recommend some great manga books for us.

A couple of guidelines: Tell us what is good about the book. Sell it. Don’t make lists of books because that doesn’t really help us decide anything. Also, you’re probably better off with material that is complete in one volume. Lone Wolf and Cub is great, but the first book is just the first chapter and the whole story is told over 28 volumes, and we’re simply not going to be able to do that. Think of contained stories if you can.

UPDATE! We will read good first volumes if that’s all that’s available, but no more than one volume of a series. Finally, it has to be something we can actually get in our hands fairly easily and quickly. No rare books only sold in Tokyo please. You can specify who should read what, or you can just recommend books in general, and we’ll each pick one for the upcoming shoot.

Have at it, and thanks for the help!


  1. Naoki Urasawa’s "Monster"

    It’s a fantastic Japanese thriller and it blew me away.  I don’t read all that much manga but this is hands down my favorite series I’ve read.  It’s a page turner and you guys could love it.  Great crime mystery stuff.

  2. @leland222 As much as like the series, it’s 18 volumes, and hasn’t finished coming out yet.

     It seems like that’s going to be a problem recommending popular and/or good managa since so many are in a long series. I guess a few volumes could be read instead of just 1, kind of like reading just the first volume of a vertigo series or something. Maybe continuing series that are done in one. 

  3. Honestly I cannot think of any manga that short. And that is the biggest reason that I haven’t gotten around to reading much manga. The series that I recommend is only nine volumes: Genshiken. It is about the otaku subculture presented by a Uni Club called The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture abreviated Gen Shi Ken. There are no superheros and the book is pretty meta. And on all accounts Bleach is an excellent superhero book kind of akin to Nova or Green Lantern about soul reapers fighting demons and ferrying souls to the afterlife, but the series is ongoing and currently at 33 volumes. Hope that helps but pretty sure it doesn’t. Thanks.

  4. I don’t read much manga, (I do read naruto every friday… I know, I know….) but I read the first volume of Buddha, by Osamu ‘the father of manga’ Tezuka.  From Wikipedia:  Tezuka’s last epic was a unique interpretation of the life of Buddha. The critically acclaimed series is often referred to as a gritty, even sexy, portrayal of the holy-man’s life. The story follows Buddha’s life – so far as it’s known – fairly closely, though many of the characters were created by Tezuka for dramatic effect, comic relief, or simply to help move the story along. The series was published in the United States between 2003 and 2005 by Vertical Publishing in an 8-volume set.

  5. I think Monster is a great pick because a lot of the things that turn people off from manga series (big eyes, crazy expressions, school girls) isn’t in this series as much.  I think it could help change people’s perceptions on manga and introduce them to more great books.

  6. Death Note is also a good pick as well.

  7. Only Manga I’ve read–that I remember anyway, but it was good.  Lone Wolf and Cub.

  8. One manga leaps to mind: Yotsuba&! may be a series, but reading just the first volume is absolutely fine. It’s not like there’s any real over-arching plot line to follow through, and it’s meant to be read oneshot by oneshot. Also, it’s the most ludicrously heartwarming, happy manga I’ve ever read, featuring a little girl with green hair essentially just wandering around and learning about day-to-day stuff in modern Japan (every chapter title runs something along the lines of: Yotsuba and Rain, or Yotsuba and Souvenirs, and the best one: Yotsuba and Revenge). Sounds rubbish, is fantastic.

  9. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Would you consider reading the first volume of something?  It’s next to impossible to find anything in a single, self-contained volume. 

  10. Hmmm.. Let me see. I’ve been out of the manga loop for a while now, but I have a few you might find interesting.

    Like ArchMerc said, Genshiken is a very solid, very funny "slice-of-life" book about college-age geeks in Japan. There are nine volumes, but the first one is sufficient to get an idea of the premise and comedy style. I’d love to hear your take one this, as you guys tend to enjoy this kind of story.

    For a straight-out awesome story which is relatively short and more or less self-contained, pick up the original Ghost in the Shell manga. It’s kind of hard to explain the plot, but the premise is a not too distant future where humans have cyborg bodies, and the cops who fight crime using said bodies. Actually, this sounds a bit like The Surrogates, but it goes in a very different direction. Really good book; a manga classic, you should definitely look into it.

    Finally, if you want something to directly compare to ongoing superhero comics, Hellsing is a really crazy, over-the-top anti-hero (vampire) with super powers story. Not much in the way of plot, but the action and drawing are excellent. Again, I would only really recommend this if you are trying to draw parallels to superheroes, but in that regard it does quite well.

    Finally, I think you should go into the difference between the separate writer and artist structure of American comics versus the single writer/artist structure of manga. It’s a very interesting distinction which is often overlooked.


  12. Yes, I’ll read the first volume of something.

  13. Oh, damn. Thanks, elise. Forgot about Yotsuba&. Seconding everything elise said, and then some. One of the most genuinely funny, genuinely touching things I’ve ever read, and each issue is self-contained. A little on the light-hearted side for you guys, maybe, but an excellent piece of work. Really fantastic.

  14. I’ve got it!  Project X Cup Noodle! 🙂

  15. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki (director of Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totorro, etc.)

    I’m not a huge manga expert, but Vol. 1 really sold me on the medium. I’ve never felt motion in a comic like I felt in this comic. You get sucked into this whole new world (maps!) really quick. With a lot of manga and anime I feel like I get hit with a whole lot of plot and expository dialogue right away and I have to make my own cliff notes to follow it all.  This does a great job of easing you into its world of crazy mutant insects and archeological flying machines. 

     Also, to the ‘complete in one volume’ point- That, as I understand it, is pretty rare for manga. If you exclude series, I don’t think you’ll be getting a great sense of the medium (or genre, or whatever it is). Don’t be turned off by length. I got a great, satisfying story out of ‘Invincible’ vol 1.  There are 7 volumes of Nausicaa. How many are there of ‘Ultimate Spiderman’? 17? 18? That doesn’t mean volume 1 isn’t a good story by itself.

  16. It’s going to be hard to find manga that is released in the U.S. that is less than 8or 9 volumes, however I got a few to recommend that I read or that I know that are good.  I will not restate what was said before, but Genshiken, Bleach and Monster are all win.

    Deathnote- Do not let it’s popularity with the general masses full you, this series is great.  It is about a high school boy who finds the deathnote of a Shinagami or death god.  With this deathnote, a person can write someone’s name in it and that person will die.  This boy, Light Yagami, uses this book to try to clean up the world my murdering undesireables.  The only person in his way is a super genius detective only know by the name L.  If you like the idea of reading a book about the battle of wits between two people, read this.  All twelve volumes are out now.

     Nana-  This is shojo which is for young girls,however I do like it.  This goes out to Ron so listen up.  It is like Beverly Hills 90210 with punk music as it’s soundtrack.  It can be sappy and some of the characters are annoying, however Nana O. is one of my favorite manga characters ever.  This is about two girls named Nana who become friends.  There are 9 volumes out.O

    M.P.D. Psycho- This is about a person with mulitiple personality disorder who solves crimes with cospiracy theories about various serial killers in the book and how they are connected.  It makes the violence in Kick-Ass seem tame.  There are 4 volumes out.

    Ode to Kirihito- This book is by the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka.   It is about a doctor who is know for curing illnesse that finds a rare illiness in the mountains of Japan that turns people into dog-like creatures and then it kills them.  This is one volume, but it is over 800 pages.  Almost everything by Tezuka is good so I would also suggest Metropolis and Phoenix.

    Lady Snowblood-  This manga is by Kazuo Koike who also wrote Lone Wolf and Cub.  If you liked Lone Wolf and Cub you will like this.  It is about a woman on a quest for revenge over the deaths of her family.  There should be 2 volumes out.

    Gon- This is about a small dinosaur named Gon.  He has adventures through prehistoric time and they are quite funny.  The interesting thing about this book is that there are no words.  The entire story is told visual.  There are 4 volumes out.

    Welcome to the N.H.K.-  This monga is 8 volumes long and 7 are out.  It is about a Hikamori or shut-in who spends all of his money and time playing hentai games, reading manga, and being a loser.  This hikamori meets a girl who wants to pull him out of his funk, but he is having a hard time doing that.  It is really funny but pretty dark in it’s portrait of a otaku on the edge.

    I have more like Naruto, Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Dominion Tank Police, and others but I’m spent.

  17. i’d recommend Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s anthologies put out by drawn and quarterly. the series is edited by adrian tomine (optic nerve) and is up to its 3rd volume http://www.newsarama.com/comics/080610-Tomine-Goodbye.html


    they are publishing his work a year’s worth at a time, and its interesting to see what was being published in the early 70s.  


    the stories are dark, but represent a side of manga i’ve rarely seen. the story and art are subtle and understated, which is very appealing to me. i actually don’t read a lot of manga but these stories really hit me in the gut. in a good way, heh. 


    another great series is GON, from CMX. amazing series of reprints about a baby dinosaur. fantastic kinetic art with no dialogue at all. love reading this. imagine garfield as a belligerent miniature dinosaur. 

  18. I know that two of these suggestions are on going series but the first volumes are great examples of what the grander stories turn out to be.  I would think that you could make a positive or negative judgment based on the first chapters, which have complete arcs. 

    Lady Snowblood vol. 1.  One might think this is simply a variation on a theme from the author of Lone Wolf and Cub, but I didn’t see it that way.  Set near the turn of the century a female assassin tracks down her mother’s rapists.  But that’s not what’s interesting.  What is interesting is the social commentary in each episode.  Topics range from hegemonic European culture attacks to illegal sex trade.  The setting is also interesting because the rules have changed.  Modernization has forced the Ronin to learn new tricks.  An assassin can kill people on the street in the country but not in the city (making the definition of the law much like the American west) this creates interesting problems and creative solutions.  What could be a simple hack and slash murder becomes a game of wits.  And the visual storytelling is phenomenal.  There is a silent training sequence in the first volume that knocked my socks off.  

    Yoshiro Tatsumi’s "Abandon the Old in Tokyo" ("The Push Man" is also very good).  These are collections of short stories that reminded me of James M. Cain stories (Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice).  Modern day stories (written and drawn in the 70’s) featuring everyday people, seemingly picked out of the crowd, put in horrible, twisted situations in the foul back alleys (sometimes venturing into the sewer) of Tokyo.  Society and fate conspire against human decency, if such a thing even exists.  Strange and fantastic.  Adrian Tomine is working on these beautiful anthologies put out by Drawn and Quarterly.  Great stuff if you can stomach it.

    Finally, for fun, "Death Note."  I heard a story about this book and it’s popularity on fresh air a while back.  It’s pitch is simple.  A high school kid finds a note book that will kill anyone if you simply write their name in it.  I thought "well how much can you beat that dead horse?"  It turns out that you can beat it very much.  This book is audacious in it’s lack of morality.  What keeps this story alive is the cat and mouse, spy vs spy chase.  Very clever and tons of fun.

    This will sound redundant but I feel I need to hit this point home.  I know that some of these suggestions are parts of larger stories, but the first volumes of both Death Note and Lady Snowblood are very episodic and should stand alone enough for your judgment.  Plus it would be interesting to hear if it was enough to get you to continue reading. 

  19. I’ve only read Akira and Ghost in the Shell.  Heh.

  20. Can’t believe no one’s mentioned Akira. I mean that’s what I consider the manga Watchmen. I think one of you might have said they’ve read it, or at least seen the movie, but you all should take a look. Unfortunately it’s pretty big (usually true about manga series), so I don’t know if you’d want to read the whole thing. But still, all in all an amazing story.

  21. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I recommend anything by Miyazaki as John42 suggested.  I just ordered the first volume of Castle in the Sky.  I believe they’re the pre-production process for his films.  So he fully dedicates himself to making a great comic and then translates that to film.  At least I think that’s how it works.

  22. Oh that last part showed up all big and made me sound like an ass.  Sorry about that.  Not yelling.  Just a luddite.


  23. I don’t like manga. Let’s get that straight, right off the bat. The characters are usually dull and flat. The plots, very often, make little sense, and are usually a mired in nonsensical abstract spirituality, which I simply cannot relate to. That said, there’s only one manga that’s ever captured and held my attention, and that is DEATHNOTE. I apologize for making a suggestion, which is not a self-contained volume, but you would really be cheating yourself if you didn’t give this book a shot.

    The plot is focused on a young intellectual prodigy named Yagami Light who, while walking home from school one day, discovers a notebook lying on the ground which contains a list of strange rules, the first reading: 

     "The human whose name is written in this note shall die."

    Initially finding the rules in the note to be preposterous, Yagami, tests the book and discovers that it is in fact, the genuine article. He sets out to use the notebook to rid the world of evil, one criminal at a time. I was really intrigued by the clever premise to start with and I assumed that the subject matter would consist of an exploration into the ethical repercussions of using the notebook. I would’ve been happy to chew on those sorts of questions, however, the direction the book takes is FAR more captivating, and more intellectually engaging than I ever thought a manga could be. The plot really kicks into high-gear when Japanese law enforcement realizes that the deaths of all these criminals cannot be a coincidence. When they bring in another young intellectual prodigy, named L, to deduce the identity of the killer, a cat and mouse game ensues between the two geniuses, which is nothing short of epic.

     I think Connor would particularly enjoy this book, considering his predilection for detective stories. What we have here is a clash of the brainy titans; the Eastern equivalent of James Moriarty Vs. Batman (if Batman had an insatiable sweet-tooth). I don’t see how he couldn’t love it.

    You can thank me later, Connor.

  24. Chalk up another vote for Death Note. It’s an intellectual cat and mouse game, so there’s not constant action.  It’s not self contained per se, but I think (if memory serves me correct) the first volume ends without cliffhangers or anything that would prevent you from stopping with that book.

  25. I sincerely reccomend death note, for essentially all of the reasons everyone else has already stated

  26. They have just started releaseing Rurouni Kenshin in a large collector series.  It only costs $12 for the first three volumes. You can find it at amazon by searching Vizbig Edition Rurouni Kenshin

    Kenshin was a great period piece set in the Mejii era of Japan.  It contains action, romance, and a lot of history.  It was extremly popular a view years ago.  

    I’ll also throw my vote in for Death Note and Bleach.



  27. I’ve only read Akira but it KICKS ASS (just like the movie).

  28. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:


     I second the endorsement for Rurouni Kenshin.  

  29. What’s Michael? is a great series of short about a cat. A japanese Garfield.

     Dr. Slump – funny comic about a proffesor and his created robot girl who is curious about the world.

     Give either one a try.

  30. I just remembered – Neon Genesis Evangelion. Good stuff.

  31. I haven’t read much manga, but I’ll second ARead’s suggestion of Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha series. One of my wife’s English teacher colleagues suggested it to me, and I’m about half way through the series. It’s one of those great opportunities to both learn something and be wildly entertained at the same time.

  32. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    NGE kicks 794 kinds of ass.  That’s some Grant Morrison level mindfuckery right there. 

  33. While Naoki Urasawa’s Monster has been recommended a few times above, they haven’t given you the pitch, so here it is: it’s The Fugitive writ large, and more malevolent. A wrongly accused doctor on the run and out to clear his name, with the twist that he also wants to stop the evil he helped spawn. This is really great, page-turning storytelling – and as was mentioned above, it has none of the manga art stereotypes. I think you guys would love it – I can almost guarantee you couldn’t stop at just one volume. 

    Here’s one that hasn’t been mentioned – The Drifting Classroom. This is Lord of the Flies as a ’70s Grindhouse sci-fi horror mash-up. I haven’t read a volume yet where I haven’t said, "that’s just fucked up." If you love XXXombies, or Aaron’s current run on Ghost Rider, I would definitely recommend checking this out.


  34. Death Note is definitely a great choice. The first volume is very representative of the tone of the series, so you guys would probably have a good idea what everything is about from reading it.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion is a good series, but not as awesome as everyone makes it sound… And the first volume has very little to do with the real story of it, so I think it wouldn’t be a good choice.

    I’m surprised no one recommended Fullmetal Alchemist up until now. It is a great story that grabs you from the beginning.

    And to represent the more far-out manga, I’d say Hikaru no Go. It is a brilliant series about people playing go (a board game, like chess or checkers.). I find that one of the most interesting things about manga is how the writers in Japan can create hugely succesful stories from themes like bakeries, tennis and… go. I didn’t even knew this game existed, but reading this manga made me interested and curious about it.


    Well… Those are my thoughts. 🙂 

  35. Everybody’s already picked most things I would mention. I went on a bit of a manga jag over the past couple of years, and I’ve found a few things that I’ve enjoyed to different extents. The Drifting Classroom is one, though I admit, I’ve drifted away from that after a couple volumes. DEATHNOTE has held my interest with a really clever concept that’s well-executed. I’m also rather fond of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. The sensibility took a bit of getting used to, but there’s some good stuff there. It’s like Buddhist Ghostbusters. I also recently read Spiral and enjoyed it quite a bit. I tried to read MPD Psycho, but couldn’t get into it. i also have a bit of a fondness for the Mother Sarah books that Dark Horse put out years ago. And Akira, of course.

  36. Battle Royale? Anyone? Am I alone in this? Great action art and a ‘didn’t see that coming’ pace. I started with the giant super editions and tore through the first collection (about 4 or 5 regular volumes) in two days. Just fun, violent, over-the-top stuff with a very intriguing (sp?) premise. It’s like Lord of the Flies meets Kill Bill.

    I may just have to check out some of these other titles – Drifting Classroom and DEATHNOTE sound like they’d be right up my alley. 

  37. Gunsmith Cats, by Kenichi Sonada

    It’s is the only comic book I’ve ever read that deipicts care chases and gunfights with any real sence of urgency, speed, and thrill.

    Sonada can draw real cars and guns like nobody’s business.

  38. Death Note – Yes there are twelve volumes, however the first volume should get you at least interested in the series.  As most everybody above has mentioned, this book is about a kid that finds a notebook that allows him to kill people by writing their name in it.  Yet the rules surrounding the death note, the use of multiple death notes, and the morality involved in the killing is very intriguing.  Also the writer is able to paint himself into a corner and find a way to get himself out of it and without being hammy or stupid, and each arc adds a different layer upon the series that continues to captivate the reader.  So give it a try, please, and if you don’t like it blame the Ifanbase because over half of the posters here are recommending it.

  39. Also:

    Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope – MANGA

    We all know this story. But watching it through the filter of Manga storytelling techniques is a real education on the difference between western and eastern sequential art. The Japanese really understand how to infuse kinetic energy into a still image.


  40. @Dan-  Damn it!!  I forgot to mention Battle Royale even though I own the entire series.

    I would also like to suggest Masion Ikkoku.  It’s a romantic comedy about a widow who manages a apartment building with excetric tennats.  It can be funny while still being heartwarming.  I just want to get out some of the different types of manga series that are out there to sample.

  41. Lone Wolf & Cub:  Lone Wolf and Cub chronicles the story of Ogami IttD, the Shogun’s executioner who uses the Dotanuki battle sword. He was disgraced by false accusations from the Yagyu clan and has been forced to take the path of the assassin. Along with his three-year-old son, Daigoro, they seek revenge on the YagyB clan and are known as "Lone Wolf and Cub".

    Old Boy:  Ten years ago, they took him. He doesn’t know who. For ten years he has been confined in a private prison. He doesn’t know why. For ten years his only contact with the outside world has been a television set and the voices of his jailers. In time, he lost himself. He changed . . . transformed himself into something else . . . something hard . . . something lethal. Suddenly one day, his incarceration ends, again without explanation. He is sedated, stuffed inside a trunk, and dumped in a park. When he awakes, he is free to reclaim what’s left of his life . . . and what’s left is revenge.

    Monster:  (see above posts)


     The Tiki 

  42. There is an American author, Mark Crilley, who created Miki Falls. Miki Falls is a teenage manga series spreading across four books,  Miki Falls Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. It’s got a little of everything from mystery to romance and adventure. You can visit Mark’s youtube site (http://www.youtube.com/user/markcrilley?ob=1 ) where you can preview his work as well as pick up tips on drawing manga. He’s a great author and one of the best illustrators I’ve seen. I love his art style. I hope you enjoy it. 

  43. King of Hell

    It’s a comedic manga, and it’s a bit cheap on the production value

    It’s digest size and there is a soft cover TP which is basically the same size but it includes the first three figest books.

    It’s a fun and funny manga.


    made by tokyopop. It has a story arc but reading just one digest book is enough. It’s funny and light hearted, about a great warrior that is currently a child (something turned him to a child) and he is sent to missions like fighting monsters.

  44. 1) Battle Royale Ultimate Edition Vol. 1 – My personal fav Manga of all time, Violent, Inappropriate, Sexy, Disturbing, Awesomness !!!

    2) Death Notes Vol. 1 – Chess but with Grim Reapers !!!

    3) Berserk Vol. 1 – Midevi times with demons, Knights, Swordfights, and Blood !!!

  45. O yeah now that people mentioned it, Neon Genesis Evangelion does kick ass. alot of it.

  46. I 2nd the recommendation for Ode to Kirihito – don’t let the size fool you, it’s a quick read and just so unlike most comics.

  47. I gotta second Berserk.  Great stuff there.

  48. I’d recommend the first volume of Blade of the Immortal. It’s a nice more or less self complained story that gives you a good feeling of what the series is all about, even though the series takes a lot of twists and turns. The basic plot for BotI is that there’s a samurai who is unkillable and must repay his murder of a bunch of cops by killing a thousand evil men. But like I said that’s just the start of the story.

    I’d also recommend Junji Ito’s Uzumaki, which is a creepy as hell horror story about an issolated Japanese town that starts going crazy. It’s nice and short at three volumes, and is one of the only actual nightmare inducing comic stories I’ve ever read.

    And as has been said, Akira is a worthwhile masterpiece, and Battle Royale is pretty fascinating and has a great translation by Keith Giffen and the new edition should give you an idea of how the story goes.

  49. My recommendation is Air Gear This is a story about roller blades with the mini electric engines and different teams dual it out to be one time and take over the world. i think Ron would really get a kick out of it.

  50. I enjoy Comic Party. it is not that many volumes. My all time favorite is FLCL. check that out.

  51. I also forgot Read or Die is a Great Book as well. Its about a British Secret Agent that controls paper known as a Paper Master that works for the Library of England fighting against an evil book company known as Dokusensha

  52. * edit to my post earlier * – the third book in Miki Falls is titled Autumn, not Fall. 

  53. Gotta go with DeathNote as well. It’s pretty friggin awesome. I don’t really have much more to add then what everyone else has said.

  54. I recomend death note and genshiken for all the same reasons that have been mentioned.


  55. Fullmetal Alchemist is pretty good, but its a pretty long series.
    Deathnote is pretty good as well
    But more than the rest i would recomend Read or Die.

  56. The Dirty Pair. Any trade youcan find. Sim Hell is nice, as is Fatal But Not Serious.

    Yeah, yeah, it’s been Americanized, but Adam Warren is God.

  57. I forgot to say that the first volume of Gantz comes out this week and that might be fun for you to read.  It’s about a boy who is dies and is given a second chance to live if he participate in a game of life and death with others who were saved from their deaths.  Did I mention that it involves aliens and a man inside a sphere.  This manga is ultra violent and reminds me of a mix of a David Lynch film and the Running Man movie.

  58. Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service – A continuing series of done in ones with usually several stories per volume. Buddhist college students like a Scooby Doo gang solve mysteries that deal with things like talking to unhappy corpses and helping them with whatever they need to possibly make money.

    GYO – Is a two volume series by Junji Ito who is a Japanese horror master. Zombie fish on stilts attack Japan. It gets really creepy and disturbing.

    Uzmaki – A three volume series by Junji Ito as well that has people in a town going insane because they haunted by the sight of spirals in everything they see.

    Tekkon Kinkreet: Black & White All In One Edition – Is a done in one by Taiyo Matsumoto. It deals with a pair of orphan kids on the streets and running up against the criminal element in Treasure Town and horrible violence and stuff goes down.

    Of course I second any recommendation for Monster and Drifting Classroom, if your just going to read one volume of something, but Monster’s probably better for a general audience kind of thing.

  59. My Dead Girlfriend by the artist from the OC.

  60. Akira is one of the few mangas Ive read entirely so I dont have alot to compare to but I likes it alot. Each time I got a volume (pretty thick ones at that, but only 6 of them) I was not able to put it down.

  61. If I may,

    I think the first volume of Gantz comes out this week.

    It’s certainly worth checking out if you like Monster Killing Science Fiction Mystery books. 

  62. Appleseed, especially books 3 and 4. i read apleseed once a year since it came out. the art is beyond amazing, the story is layered and interesting. Shirow Masamune is a master of storytelling, realistic tech and hot women. He also worked in the military in japan so he knows his stuff. he designed a gun for this comic so detailed that the japanese bought the plans to make it real.

    Applesed follow Deunan Knute and her cyborg friend Briareos through a complex political maze in a future utopia. They join ESWAT to live and use their military skills in a city that tells them they are not needed. Cyborgs and humans try to coexist, but for how long? 

  63. The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Please. It’s just good stuff.

  64. Project X – The Challengers – Seven Eleven – The Miraculous Success of Japan’s 7-Eleven Stores


    this is in the same vein as the cup noodle manga, which ron loves so much. i liked it too and this is just as interesting. 




    just though i’d add something i liked that wasn’t a series in parts. 


    another book i liked is "town of evening calm, country of cherry blossams". again a bit melancholy. it’s the story of life in postwar hiroshima told through a young girl who lost most of her family in the bombings. it’s two stories actually. beautiful art and the story is an important one. 

  65. I Luv Halloween, Gyakushu & King City

    I really enjoy the sensabilities of manga, but not so much the art. The Three titles listed are done by Anglos and published by TokyoPop.

    I Luv Halloween is by Kieth Giffen and Ben Roman. Twisted, bloody and lots of running jokes. All three volumes are out and all are great. The second is a bit hard to get here in Australia, but it might be better elsewhere. The first is probably the best in illustration and story, but the aliens in the 3rd are lots of fun. You can pretty much start anywhere. Some of the first book has been animated and shown on youtube. Very nice.

    Gyakushu is by Dan Hipp, the guy who did The Amazing Joy Buzzards. The topic is vengence, and blood, lots of blood. Two of the three are out. With Samurai sensabilities, the first hits hard and sets the pace. For manga readers the art is very Anglo and for Anglos it is manga.

    King City is by Brandon Graham. Hard to describe, but it has that worldbuilding quality that good manga has. The art has an indie-feel. The first of three are out now.

    I usually find myself liking all the stuff Josh puts forward (Neal Stephenson’s Quicksliver, etc), so maybe he’ll enjoy the things that I find interesting. Enjoy.

  66. Read bobobobo-bobobo, I know the spelling is wrong it cause its long and annoying but it is the only book that looks remotley close to that title.


    ITs fun cause it makes fun of other mangas and is written very well, unlike this post. 

  67. I would say Akira and Blade of the immortal. Both are super reads.

  68. I agree with comments about MPD Psycho…however you have to really pay close attention and concentrate becasue the names can get a little confusing..what with Multiple personalities and all

    For the younger set, Gothic Sports is kinda neat: teenagers playing soccer in gothic uniforms, rebelling against the establishment…it sounds trite but it’s quite good.

    ALthough not strictly manga per se: Empowered has that manga-vibe and is quite funny.

    Also sitting on my shelf unread are two volumes of Return to Labyrinth, the Manga. I really enjoyed that movie way back when and the manga looks good. I’ll report on it someyear when i get to it…stack century.

  69. i just finished reading the complete 1960’s speed racer manga, which was recently released as a two volume set. it has a terrific campy sense to it, just like the anime, the art is amazing, and it was great to see the genesis of these characters that have become a really important part of pop culture. i would really recommend it if any of you guys were into speed racer at some point in your lives.

    in a more modern turn, i would recommend "honey and clover," which is being serialized in shojo beat, and has been collected in two volumes so far. it centers around a group of kids attending art school. each chapter captures the mood and the spirit of the season in which it occurs, relationships are dealt with delicately and fully. there are laugh out loud moments, there are heart-wrenching moments, there’s an overall sense of warmth in this series that continually amazes me. plus, the volumes have beautiful color covers, i’ve been following it monthly and i may go back and get the volumes just for the covers.

    oh and "one piece" is hilarious! i’m two volumes in, and i have never found a manga so immediately engaging and funny.


    that’s all,




  70. I love Yotsuba&! whichs first volume is amazing. Its about this little girl who moves into a town and she is competely naive to everything. The best part is when she learns about a/c. I just started reading manga like in the past month and this is the first series to really jump out at me as amazing.

  71. I twitted my responses to the ifanboy tweet about this topic and to see the amount of resposes here on the site since it’s posting is amazing.  I know it’s been said a lot already but cutting it down to one vol. is kinda hard, i think that’s the case with anime and mange, a lot of them move slowly but with great character moments.  for example one story arch can take up 10-12 volumes.

     I do think that you guys should check out Death Note as stated above.

     I didn’t see anyone mention Bleach and although it’s all the rage at your local Hot Topic, it IS actually a great series…..one volume? I don’t know if that will do it Justice.

    RON – it’s an American comic in Mange style and more like an homage to everything in Japanese culture, but you should really really read Ninja High School you can pick up the Pocket Ninja High School Vol. 1 for like 9.99. Just know that they are trying to read a younger demogratphic so where there should be nipples…there used to be….besides that YOU should read this because I know you really like 90210, The OC, and other shows with teen angst.  NHS has love triangles, cute aliens, ninjas, big robots, etc. 


    wait a minute people 


    HAS NO ONE MENTIONED RANMA 1/2 !?!?!?!?!?!?


    okay, if you guys want to do a really well rounded show with allthe Death Note, Lone Wolf, Naruto, Monster, Gunsmith Cats, etc. something like Ranma 1/2 needs to be coverd.  and AGAIN, I think that RON would like it the most. It’s one of the most beloved series in history over in Japan. 


    or what about Cowboy Bebop?!?!? if you like when it was on Adult Swin, the mange is the same exact feel.  This is one of the manga’s that people who don’t usually read manga read. SPACE + Bounty Hunters. Perhaps for Conor


    that’s all (for now)


  72. if someone at iFanboy wants to borrow my Ninja High School Textbook vol. 1 which collects like the first like 20 some odd issues let me know since that one is out of print, if not the pocket manga are out there.

  73. Can the iFanboys make me interested in Manga? Probably not, but I may see if any of my libraries have Death Note next time I am there.

  74. If someone were looking for a one volume story I would reccomend vol 1 of the Hino Horror series titled "The Red Snake."  It’s a uniquely drawn super creepy horror story.  It’s one of my all time favorite horror stories period, written drawn or otherwise.

  75. My two Suggestions:

    Sandland–A SINGLE volume (1 off) by Akira Toriyama–futuristic tale about an young kid and a tank

    FIRST 2 volumes of Dragonball (NOT Dragonball Z) The very first Dragonball story-complete in two volumes-you need not read a single volume after this. It introduces crazy characters and a great world.

    Dororo by Tezuka and Phoenix Vol. 1 by Tezuka-CLASSICs from the guy who started it all. Phoenix vol 1. is stand alone.

  76. Before this goes one second longer, can I just say, "F-ing WOW!"

    Thanks so much for all the ideas.  I think we’ve got our books picked out for the show, but this thread can be an incredible resource for people looking to learn more, and I imagine we’ll be referring it to people for a good long while to come.  So, by all means, please keep on with the suggestions.  

    I’m so proud…*sniff*

  77. Moebius and Jiro Taniguchi’s Icaro. Cyberpunk Frankenstein love story.

  78. one word Hellsing.


    Great series, great action, very blood, very awsome.

  79. Ghost in the Shell is the only manga I have read.  It was AWESOME!  This was also made into Japanese animation that came out around ’95.  This was how I was first introduced to this story.  It is also partly the inspiration for the Matrix movies, at least some of the concepts and ideas were pulled from this story. 

    I loved the animation so much and when I stumbled across the manga it blew me away.  It is much better than the movie as it has more details and is uncensored.  The characters also have more depth.  The writter also does the art.  It is a work of genius in my opinion.  It is old school and it is great.

    This story has also been expanded into a television series (animation) on Cartoon Network called Ghost in the Shell:  Stand Alone Complex.

     It is great SciFi, future, cyborg/robot stuff. I love it.  Enjoy!


  80. How about Vagabond by Takehiko Innoue…amazing series

  81. Battle Royale.

    Lone Wolf & Cub.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion.


  82. Really My favorite Series right now are published by Dark Horse:

     Berserk: The First Volume is outstanding extremely well done art and the story is a medevil tale somewhat inspired by the Evil Dead Films. Gutts, the protaginist is looking to revenge on the The Four Hands of Fate ( I think), and their leader. It’s a great Manga, and also a Fantastic Anime!

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=MUhL416sgu0 (decent trailer, the art looks great check it out, unfortunately theres some heavy metal in it)


    Blade of the Immortal: Another one of My favorite Manga books, this is a eisner award winning series , I think for Best Foreign title or something. It’s a typical Samurai type deal, with a very unique and sketchy art style, that makes the action sequences seem extremely fast paced and epic. This is actually being made into a anime this summer in Japan.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=nGbLhNF8PKU (Here’s the promo trailer for the anime)

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=dGPATbhAY2g (a great tribute trailer to the manga, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the art style will really blow you away)

  83. Sandland

    Its all in one volume it was created by Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragonball and Dragonball Z. This book isn’t like Dragonball Z no over the top action. More like his work on Dr. Slump. Distributed through the shonen jump line. Sorry I can’t remember much about it but its been a few years since it finished in Shonen Jump.

    Here’s the description through Amazon

    "In the far future, war has ravaged the entire Earth, leaving only a barren wasteland called Sand Land where the supply of water is controlled by a greedy king. In search of a long-lost lake, Sheriff Rao and his companions face dragons, bandits, and the deadliest foe of all – the King’s Army itself. In Akira Toriyama’s newest adventure, Sheriff Rao asks the King of the Demons for his help in finding a way to end the drought. What he gets is the King’s son, Beelzebub, his attendant, Thief, and a weird journey through the great desert. After committing "grand theft tank," Rao and the "Demonic Duo" ride their iron chariot toward an inevitable confrontation with evil. Sand Land is sure to quench its readers’ thirst for action and laughs." 


    I agree with AlexG- Dragonball is a good read as well.


  84. AMAZING recommendations guys! I was thinking about picking up Akira, and now that I see they have a computer enhanced color version, I’m definitely going to try and see if I can get my hands on it.


    I’ll give Ghost in the Shell a 2nd shot, but I gotta tell ya I loved the movies and anime series WAY more than the manga, the Dark Horse uncensored pages for the first volume are really just fan service porn, that is used for a pretty lame joke later on. The uncensored pages ruined it for me meh…LOVE the films though!

     I gotta check out Monster as well I saw it mentionedin the Comics Foundry Magazine. I guess Masi Oka (from heroes) says its a must read for him.

  85.  AKIRA is awesome. the movie is a 5min montage of the book. it’s six volumes long but the story move so well you don’t notice the size. it destroyed the movie because how great it is.

     i also agree about OSAMA TEZUKA. i can’t get enough of him.  ODE TO KIRIHITO it’s about a doctor who who contracts a virus that turns you into a man dog and he tries to cure him self. they’re other messed up thing that happen but i don’t want to tell you.

     also apollo’s song is another OSAMA TEZUKA book about a kid who kills everything he sees that is in love and he gets caught by the police and has to do therapy  to try to cure him . the rest of the book is about his sessions. this was my first book of his that i read and i can’t get enough best of all both one shot goodness.

  86. Wow! I totally am going to use this as a resource! Thanks everyone!


    The only thing I’ve read was a book called SPIRAL. I’m not sure if someone has recommended that yet… and I need to get off to work. Tanks again. 

  87. I’ll echo everything leland22 said about Naoki Urasawa’s Monster.  It’s really just an amazing series regardless of format and something I think both Conor and Josh would like a lot. 

  88. I love Urasawa’s Work but it’s a shame that he didn’t allowed VIZ to publish "20th Century Boys", because I think Ron and Josh would be all over it. (Don’t read the Wikipedia summary it spoils the ending!)

    It’s hard for me to recommend stuff for you, because I dont know if it’s already published or not (I’m writing from Europe). But I would (even if the anime is better) recommend "FLCL" it’s only 2 volumes but experimental…

    My other Recommendation is "Paradise Kiss" it’s somewhat an relationship book mixed with Fashion.(Only 4 Volumes)

  89. Oh and forgot the artistic Masterpiece "King of Bandit Jing". It is about an Thief and his speaking bird that steal stuff. You (almost) can pick every Volume up without reading the other because most stories are finished in the same volume where they started. The Stories aren’t to be honest a new "Watchmen" but there readable. The art is sticking out the most it’s compellingly clean and cartoony with wonderful backgrounds.

  90. I’m a fan of the Steam Detective series by Kia Asamiya. It’s the story of Narutaki, son of Steam City’s greatest detective. He is a boy genius and after his parents are killed, he takes the mantle as Steam City’s protector. He is assisted by his butler, nurse Ling Ling and her giant robot. It crosses so many genres (superhero, mystery, steampunk) and is a lot of fun. I think it’s looked as more of a juvenile book, but so is Harry Potter and adults read that. There are 7 trades, but definitely pick up the first one and check it out.

  91. Everybody loves Maus right?  Well, there is a manga parallel (minus the whole animals as people thing) that I really enjoyed called Barefoot Gen which is the author’s autobiographical account of the bombing of Hiroshima.  Great stuff.  I think it may be almost ten volumes, but each one reads as its own story, so there’s no need to read beyond vol. 1 for the show, however I’m sure you’ll be interested in the further story after you finish the first volume.  It was mentioned in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and should be pretty easy to find; I got it from my public library, and my town is a square mile.

    Also, there’s Dance Til Tomorrow, which I think Josh and Ron will like a lot for the relationship drama.  Nothing fantasy related, just the story of a college student who inherits millions of dollars, but must finish school and have a career to collect on the inheritance.  Sexy women, scumbag friends, and his grandfathers ghost all play a factor.  Again, it’s a long series (7 volumes) but the first one is sufficient reading for the show I think.

    Seriously guys, these are two series that I don’t think get enough attention. 

  92. Aside from the suggestions that I agree with (Deathnote, Monster, Gunsmith Cats, Yotsuba&!, Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku), here’s a few series that you would really enjoy. They are not silly at all, are quite serious, bad-ass and incredible. I think asking for manga that is self-contained in one volume shows off that you don’t know from manga. I’ll avoid epics like Naruto, Bleach, Rurouni Kenshin and One Piece though.

    Crying Freeman (5 volumes): This has recently been collected in 5 beautifully uncensored volumes by Dark Horse. This tells the tale of a man’s descent into the yakuza underworld and the horrific violence that he has to visit upon others in order to protect the woman he loves. Lots of nudity, karate, swords, guns, blood and tattoos. Why is it that silent tears fall from his eyes whenever he takes a life? You’ll have to read to find out!

    Mai, the Psychic Girl (3 volumes): This is the story of a young girl who learns that she has fantastical psychic powers. A shadowy conpiratory group of course comes after her, seeking to control her powers for their own nefarious ends. She soon finds out that she isn’t the only one with psychic powers. This was one of the earliest English translated/published manga in the U.S. At one point, this was optioned for a Tim Burton film.

    Can you tell that I’m a big Ryoichi Ikegami fan?

    Planetes (5 volumes): This is hard sci-fi, set in the future, during the early days of the dawning of hyperspace travel. One young man drives himself very hard to get to space. For a time he has to settle with working on a junk collection ship but interstellar exploration is never far from his thoughts. This one has great art, with terrific character development and a truly believable main character you really root for.

    Eagle (5 volumes): This is a political thriller about the very near future. A Japanese-American runs for president and has a real chance at making it. This series is filled with intrigue, backstabbing, skeletons in closets, etc. If you liked The West Wing or any kind of political thriller, you’ll love Eagle.

  93. Anyone suggested "Beck the Mongolian Chop Squad"? 

    If not I will do it now. It’s the manga I currently read and I think it’s pretty easy and accessible  for anyone who doesn’t live in Japan. Even when it has typical moments and mindset of japanese lifestyle (which is good when you’re goal is it to read a original manga). 

    The Story revolves around a kid named Tanaka Yukio (14 yo)who lives a pretty boring and usual life. Until he meets the owner of the weird dog he saves. After that his lifes changes rapidly .

    It’s the best Music Manga out there and gives you and interesting view of the music scene in japan. 

    If my (probably bad) english annoyed the crap out of you. You might consider read the Wikipedia Sypnosis of the story, it’s a pretty good overview (and it doesn’t spoil anything): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BECK:_Mongolian_Chop_Squad 


  94. Cromartie High? Mindless stuff. Which is good.

    Oh yeah. Ghost in the Shell 1 and 1.5 are fun. 2 is a little out there.

  95. Hah! And you all thought manga and comics didn’t share fans! Surprised? I am! But I’m a noob in both camps so… what do i know right!?  On board since House of M! Yikes! Fav is BKV and Bendis, and Morrison for his zen wackiness! Yes, been dipping my toes in some manga dvd’s and I sure do think Death Note is super cool. I’ll be trying out more stuff, fer sure! Have I mentioned how great it is to have a super cool 12 yr old daughter to show me cool new bands?! Its awesome, she is also a Marvel girl!

  96. LOL.

    You guys should call the show "The iFanboy Super Terrific Manga Blowout Show"

    You should then show the cover of Project X: Cup O Noodle, and then roll end credits. 

  97. Here are some suggestions:

    Death Note: A high school student picks up a notebook called The Death Note. Whoever’s name is written in that book would die within 40 seconds. You can even specify how that person would die in what you write and it would actually happen. The boy then gets this obscured sense of justice wherein he kills off criminals in the name of justice, and once he finishes them all off, he would remake the world in his own image. Good stuff.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion: Big Giant Robot action that requires thinking and has more focus on character development.

    GTO: A gangster decides to be a high school teacher so he can one day marry a young and sexy high school girl and live happily ever after. He is then assigned to the worst-disciplined class in the school, which is full of geniuses and talented, but deeply troubled students who give him hell at almost every turn. Outrageous and funny stuff.


  98. What I like best:

    1. Akira (Much better than the anime)

    2. Blade of the Immortal

    3. Trigun

    4. Berserk

     I would probably recommend Blade of the Immortal first for you guys. I think it’s probably right up your alleys.

  99. I’ll admit, it’s vaguely unnerving that there are more responses in this thread than questions were posed to Stan Lee…

    Maybe there’s something to this manga thing!

  100. More posts than to Stan The Man? I refuse to believe it!

  101. Josh, anyway we can get a link on the homepage to this thread before it gets buried?

  102. @iDan – A link to what?

  103. @Conor- if responses come to a hault, I thought his page may disappear off the homepage.  I guess you can say a lazy way for us to quickly reference this thread. If not, no big deal. Thanks

  104. *edit* hault = halt. sorry. 

  105. Wait a sec. Ifanboy doesn’t have a "manga guy?" That’s odd. Figured one of you would be an Otaku.

    Here’s a recommendation from my brothers: One Piece (already mentioned). Apparently, the writer uses more foreshadowing than all the Harry Potter novels combined. So, if you like minor details that become major plot elements a hundred issues later, pick up this series.

  106. Bleach, Gantz, Naruto, Death Note, Monster, Hunter X Hunter, and Berserk

  107. Naruto is not for iFanboy. In fact it’s probably the exact reason why they’ve ignored manga for so long.

  108. I just read the directions… and realized I completely ignored them.


    1. Akira

    About a teen biker gang whose weakest member is exposed to something that makes him have telekenetic powers. Think, South Park Trapper Keep episode.

    2. Blade of the Immortal

    About an immortal swordsman name Manji, who agrees to protect a girl while she searches for her parents’ killers. Think, Yojimbo (with more violence) crossed with Midnight Run (with less cursing).

    3. Trigun

    About a man who is wanted for $$60,000,000,000 ($$ is double dollars by the way) due to his destructive abilities (destroying towns, killing hundreds of people). Turns out, he’s not that bad a guy!

    4. Berserk

    About a swordsman who carries an enoumous sword. He eventually encounters a band of mercenaries led by the very ambitious Griffith (who he works with for a large chunk of the story), demons and everything in between.

  109. Dammit. I am so late to this topic. I didn’t notice it until I saw the screencap on the bbq episode.

    even though i’m way too late.  here’s mine:

    1. I”s – I don;t think a lot of people heard of this one. It’s basically the story of a guy has a crush on this girl. When he finally get a chance to hang out with his crush, his childhood friend has return to japan and thigs got complicated. it has 15 volumes, but the first one or two should be good enough to pull you in. This book made me remind of my high school days that could have been, =p

    2. Kodaichi case files – A 17 yr old high schooler caught in murder cases. Each volume is a seperate case file. Unlike Detective Conan, no magic stuff. no kids. It’s all about solving the case. Read the first 2 volumes should be enougheven though they have like 30 caess now.

    3. one piece – it’s really long and it’s ongoing. this on emight require you to read at least 4 volumes. but this is mostly action packed, so there are not as many texts, but i was sold because there are just so many hilarious gag in the books, even though sometimes it can get serious. this is one manga that is better in print than in anime.

    4. rurouni kenshin – nice period piece, and it’s intersting becuase the artist has a huge influence from american comics, so some of the characters are  more americanized.

    the problem with some of the good mangas is the slow burn. they always taken like a few volumes in order to get the joy out of the story. they usually start with actions first before the plot start to sink in.

    i really didnt like neon genesis. the anime is the reason made me stop watching anime in general. interesting plot but it was slow. there a many periods of dead air in there. another problem with manga artist in general is the fact that they dont know how to give a good ending to their stories. it’s always a lot of disappointment.

    hope the guys from ifanboy able to catch this comment even though its been 2 weeks late.  

  110. Tekkon Kinkreet All In One Edition is the only manga book i really liked so far. I think the movie is better though. Tekkon Kinkreet is not like normal manga books because its not drawn with the original manga style.

    I have read a lot of manga, but i think Tekkon Kinkreet is the only manga book that really catched me.