Classic Manga: Astroboy

Opening this new section, Classic Manga, we will tell you the story of one of the most famous manga: Astroboy. With him, the manga became a worldwide success in sales of copies and merchandising.
If you haven’t seen this classic wonder, you should …

Astro Boy, known in Japan by its original name Mighty Atom (Japanese: 鉄腕アトム), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka. It was serialized in Kobunsha’s Shōnen from 1952 to 1968. The story follows Astro Boy, an android young boy with human emotions who is created by Umataro Tenma after the death of his son Tobio. Eventually, Astro is sold to a robot circus run by Hamegg, but is saved from his servitude by Professor Ochanomizu. Astro becomes a surrogate son to Ochanomizu who creates a robotic family for Astro and helps him to live a normal life like an average human boy, while accompanying him on adventures.

Astro Boy has been adapted into three anime series produced respectively by the first incarnation of Mushi Production and its direct successor Tezuka Productions, with a fourth in development. The manga was originally produced for TV as Astro Boy, the first popular animated Japanese television series that embodied the aesthetic that later became familiar worldwide as anime. After enjoying success abroad, Astro Boy was remade in the 1980s as New Mighty Atom, known as Astroboy in other countries, and again in 2003. The success of the manga and anime series led it to becoming a major media franchise consisting of films including a major motion picture, a number of soundtracks and a library of Video Games. The series was also among the first to embrace mass merchandise including action figures, collectible figurines, food products, clothing, stamps and trading cards. By 2004, the franchise had generated $3 billion in merchandise sales.

Astro Boy is one of the most successful manga and anime franchises in the world and has become Tezuka’s most famous creation. The combined 23 tankōbon volumes have sold over 100 million copies worldwide, making it the tenth-best-selling manga series of all time. The 1963 anime series became a hit on television in Japan and the United States. Astro Boy has been praised for its importance in developing the anime and manga industry. It has been featured on numerous greatest anime of all time lists and has partially inspired other authors in the creation of influential manga.

What is the Astroboy´s history ?

Astro Boy is a science fiction series set in a futuristic world where robots co-exist with humans. Its focus is on the adventures of the titular “Astro Boy” (sometimes called simply “Astro”): a powerful android created by the head of the Ministry of Science, Doctor Tenma who created Astro to replace his son Tobio, who died in a self-driving car accident.

Dr. Tenma built and adopted Astro in Tobio’s memory and treated Astro as lovingly as if he was the real Tobio. However, Dr. Tenma soon realized that the little android could not fill the void of his lost son, especially given that Astro could not grow older or express human aesthetics (in one set of panels in the manga, Astro is shown preferring the mechanical shapes of cubes over the organic shapes of flowers). In the original 1960 edition, Tenma rejected Astro and sold him to a cruel circus owner, Hamegg (the Great Cacciatore in the ’60 English dub). In the 1980 edition, Hamegg kidnapped Astro while Tenma was trying to find him. In the 2009 film, Tenma rejected Astro part-time because he could not stop thinking about his original son, but later during the film, Tenma realized that Astro made credit to replace Tobio; as a result, Tenma decided that he would readopt Astro. None these events about Astro being rejected (completely or temporarily) or kidnapped in both the 1960 & 1980 cartoons as well as in the 2009 film happened in the 2003 cartoon as Astro’s birth was given by Professor Ochanomizu (Dr. Elefun in the 1960 & 1980 cartoons as well as in the 2009 film; Dr. O’Shay in the 2003 cartoon).

After some time, Professor Ochanomizu, the new head of the Ministry of Science (co-head of the Ministry of Science in the 2009 film), notices Astro Boy performing in the circus and convinces Hamegg to turn Astro over to him. (In a retcon the story becomes far more violent and complicated). He then takes Astro in as his own and treats him gently and warmly, becoming his legal guardian. He soon realizes that Astro has superior powers and skills, as well as the ability to experience human emotions.

Astro then is shown fighting crime, evil, and injustice using his seven powers: 100K horsepower strength, jet flight, high intensity lights in his eyes, adjustable hearing, instant language translation, a retractable machine gun in his hips, and a high IQ capable of determining if a person is good or evil. Most of his enemies are robot-hating humans, robots gone berserk, or alien invaders. Almost every story includes a battle involving Astro and other robots.

Reception

The Astroboy manga has sold approximately 100 million copies.

Astro Boy became Tezuka’s most famous work. Frederik L. Schodt, author of the English-language version of Astro Boy, said it had “extraordinary longevity and appeal across cultures.”

Jeff Yang of the San Francisco Chronicle, in discussing Schodt’s The Astro Boy Essays, said “while kids came for Astro’s atomic action – just about every installment included Astro harrowing a fellow robot who’d fallen from digital grace with his fission-powered fists – they stayed for the textured, surprisingly complex stories.”

Astro ranked 43rd on Empire magazine’s list of The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters.

The 1960s anime was named the 86th best animated series by IGN, calling it the first popular anime television series.

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Chica Manga Koi ni mo Naranai

LGBTI and Manga

FROM SEXUALIZATION TO STANDARDIZATION

Manga has always been a field where everything is possible. Although Japanese society can be so restrictive with some subjects (such as LGBTI), the graphic arts have always been a world of possibilities and for all tastes. One such issue is homosexuality, especially yaoi or BL (relations between men) and yuri (relations between women). Although in Japanese society there is still a long way to go. A good example of them is The Poem of Wind and Trees ( Kaze to Ki No Uta ) by Keiko Takemiya.

Chica Manga The Poem of Wind and Trees

However, this type of themes from its origins and also today, have a strong sexualizing component. They show idealized relationships where they tend to objectify their main characters. Therefore, it is a popular genre, mainly for its attractiveness or sensuality. So some of the first works represented this line of yaoi where violence and sexuality were very present. As it is the case of works like Zetsuai 1989 and Bronze, both by Minami Ozaki.

In these works the characters were beautiful and always involved in situations of entanglement and very passionate loves. Although not all of them belonged to this aspect, they were intermingled with other themes such as Fake by Sanami Matoh or authentic dramatic stories such as Kizuna by Kazuma Kodaka. Possibly this aspect of the yaoi was the most interesting to go beyond the mere sexual relationship (and the topics of the genre) and represented more objectively the reality of the LGBTI + collective. And so they were arriving little by little until 2012, popularly known as the year of the bursting of the manga bubble in Europe.

With the arrival of the 2012 crisis, one of the main genres affected was the yaoi, as it is a type of works aimed at a minority audience. However, manga readers were changing and wanted new works that went beyond mere entertainment. Works with which to empathize, and be represented.

REALITY MIRROR

Chica Manga Junjou Romantica

After the bursting of the bubble, the manga market was in somewhat unstable ground. This did not prevent the appearance of new publishers who bet on a style of different works. Works with a realistic style, framed within the slice of life, but with which they sought to capture the attention of readers through naturalness. Within this vein, in 2014 Editions Tomodomo was fixed in the yaoi sort from a first moment with works like Seven Days of Rihito Takarai and Venio Tachibana or In the same class by Asumiko Nakamura. Later, we see the appearance of a more traditional side of the genre with titles like Junjou Romantica by Shungiku Nakamura and Young Boyfriend’s Love Management Habit by Hashigo Sakurabi. All of them were very well received by the public.

However, it is worth noting that, although it is true that the most topical yaoi (sexualized, entangled …) was the most successful, the public also saw with good eyes the more realistic yaoi.

Thus we can find At the Corner of the Night Skies by Nojiko Hayakawa and I Hear the Sunspot by Yuki Fumino, faithful to that realistic aspect of the genre. But above all it should be noted that they are works that explore the complexity of the homosexual relationship beyond the sexual act, especially in the case of Fumino. It is this type of works that, in the end, represent and visibilize the collective objectively and with which the reader most connects. Other publishers that would join this wave with Shoko Hidaka’s Blue Morning, within its Kigen line dedicated to LGTBI + titles, and Sakura Gari from Yuu Watase. After this awakening of the genre, yaoi works of diverse themes arrived and always moving between both tendencies. To mention some of the most successful we find Koi ni mo Naranai, Twittering Birds Never Fly , Requiem of the Rose King, among others.

Chica Manga Koi ni mo Naranai

Although there are some works that dare to go further and perhaps are the most interesting in terms of representation of the LGBTI+ group. Mangas that dare to visualize the complex reality such as Shadows on Shimanami or the most recent Smells like Green Spirit. Both reflect the problems faced by people of different genders and sexual orientations. However, they always leave a door open to hope and that best represent the ideal that is claimed today: Stories that encourage the reader to accept oneself, regardless of gender, orientation and sexual identity.

2019: THE YEAR OF THE REVOLUTION

Currently, the yaoi is well established in our market with practically a new volume every month. However, it seems that 2019 will be a special year for the LGBT + collective in terms of manga representation. New licenses for this market: Girlfriends or Fandogamia, autobiographical manga of a trans author.

Another one of the most talked about licenses is My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame. A work that addresses the homosexual reality from an unusual perspective, within the family environment and intermingling two different cultures: the American and the Japanese.

In short, LGBTI + is increasingly having a greater representation in manga. Something that is not a whim or trend, but a reflection of the society we live. Because manga not only entertains and excites us, but it can also reflect part of ourselves in its vignettes. In it lives the greatness of manga and, above all, of our manga market in constant evolution. Therefore, today more than ever one must be proud of our manga market.

If you still want to have more LGBTI and Manga titles to decide, here is a compilation.

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Chica Manga Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon Manga vs Anime


Sailor Moon is probably one of the most celebrated manga and anime of all times. It has been the inspiration of many other magical girl-themed manga and anime series like Pretty Cure, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and even Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! among many others. It has also inspired some cartoons from the west such as LoliRock.

For the record, Sailor Moon manga originally spawned 18 tankōbon published by Kodansha in the 90s. In 2003, it was re-released as 12 shinsōban volumes. On the other hand, the Sailor Moon anime has around 200 episodes while Sailor Moon Crystal has 39. With all of these anime episodes, you might be asking, “How the hell did all of these anime episodes fit the 18 tankōbon volumes released?!” or “Are there differences in the Sailor Moon manga and its anime version?”

Sailor Moon Manga vs Anime

Pacing

So, one of the major differences that the manga version has compared to the anime is the pacing. This is primarily because the manga was published much slower compared to the anime version. The manga is released an act a month while the anime releases episodes weekly, hence, there are more fillers in the anime. That being said, it came quite interesting that both the manga and the anime are still closely similar to each other.

Illustration Details

There are also notable differences in the Sailor Moon manga and anime illustrations. Its manga version is much detailed when compared to the anime version. The manga is drawn with finer lines making the illustrations look more delicate. This also made the characters look prettier. It even improved as the mangaka’s drawing style peaked. The various monsters that appeared in the manga were also given more detail. Thus, making them look scarier.

Storyline

The storyline of the manga is also notably more mature and deep compared to its anime counterpart.

On violence…

There were also much more violence and suicides that appeared in the mange; very little made it through the anime version.

Content

On LGBT content…

Since the manga was mature in nature, a lot of topics on feminism and LGBT were tackled. While the anime version, especially the English dubbed version, was censored on so many different levels, the manga went on in greater detail. For instance, in the manga version Sailors Neptune and Uranus were presented as girlfriends. However, in the English run, they have become cousins instead to easily explain their closeness and dabble on the idea of same-gender relationships.

Alternatively, in the classic anime, there were certain characters, which were previewed to be gay. Take for example, Fish Eye. In the classic anime, Fish Eye is described a gay kind of cross dresser who carelessly fell head over heels in love with Mamoru. However, in the manga, Fish Eye is only deemed as slightly effeminate. He also does not cross dress in the manga nor does he display any homosexual curiosity. In the manga, he even attempted to seduce Sailor Mercury or Ami.

On character maturity…

Though Usagi may be really cool as Sailor Moon, her usual self in the anime may have come out to be a little annoying at times. She also seemed whiny and frustrating in several occasions. However, the manga version of Usagi, can be considered to be much more mature than the anime one. In the initial parts of the manga, Usagi was a lazy and cry baby girl similar to how she was portrayed in the anime, but as the story progresses and matures, so does Usagi. Unlike in the anime version, Usagi seemed to have dragged on her annoying qualities for so long it made our heroine bothersome in the long haul.

These are just scratching the tip of the iceberg in terms of the differences between the anime and manga versions of Sailor Moon, so if you have time to spare, you could get different kicks in watching the anime and/or reading the manga.

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Chica Manga Heroines 1

Manga heroines that defy the rules

1. Asirpa, from Golden Kamuy.

An ethnic manga with a brave main character.

Golden Kamuy is the story of Saichi Sugimoto, a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, a survivor of Hill 203 who has become a miner in Hokaido to pay an expensive eye operation for the widow of his comrade killed in the war, Toraji . There he listens to the story of a treasure gathered by the members of the Ainu ethnic group to defend themselves from the Japanese colonization of the island, collected by a criminal group. After being saved by an Ainu girl, named Asirpa, he decides to start the treasure hunt with her, whose map is divided into 24 parts, each one tattooed on the torso of 24 criminals who escaped from a prison, but in the road realizes that other sides know the history of the treasure, among them the members of the seventh division of the Japanese Imperial Army and a group of gangsters led by Hijikata Toshizō, a survivor of the Shinsengumi, who rebelled against the Meiji Restoration.

2. Nausicaä from Nausicaä of the Wind Valley

Chica Manga Nausicaa of the Wind Valley

An environmental warrior.

It´s a Japanese animation film created by Hayao Miyazaki in 1984, and inspired by the homonymous graphic novel created by Miyazaki himself in 1982. It was created a year before the founding of Studio Ghibli and made by the studio Topcraft. However, it is considered Miyazaki’s first film within Studio Ghibli because much of the production team, as well as the involvement of Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki, continues after the creation of the studio. It is also considered from the Ghibli catalog.

The film tells the story of Nausicaä, princess of the Valley of the Wind, who will be faced with the army of the kingdom of Tormekia, captained by Lady Kushana, who tries to take control of a “God of War” as a weapon to eradicate the Forest Contaminated already the giant insects that live in it, like the Ohms. Nausicaä will try by all means to prevent this massacre.

Nausicaä is the princess of the Valley of the Wind and the only daughter of King Jihl, a great pilot and warrior, she is also compassionate and caring for all her life. Princess Nausicaä tries to find a sense of the contaminated forest and refuses to see insects as enemies, among them the gigantic trilobite creatures called Ohm.

Nausicaä as a defender of the nature, has a strong connection with the insects of the contaminated forest, especially with the Ohms. She will have to defend the pacifist character of his kingdom against the kingdoms of Tormekia and Pejite.

3. Candice White from Candy Candy

Chica Manga Candy Candy


A strong and independent character.

This is the story of Candy, who in 1898, is abandoned as a baby in the snow with a doll that has the name of Candy, hence the name given to her: Candice White, called by all Candy; the same night, they find another baby Annie. Both grow near Lake Michigan, in Indiana, in a home for orphaned children run by Miss Pony and Sister Mary. Having been found on a snowy night, Sister Maria decides to give Candy the surname White.
Candy is raised along with the other children of the orphanage, as a very hardworking, cheerful and generous girl. Candy is optimistic, friendly, persevering, loyal to herself and her friends, she is also very strong emotionally, sometimes she can become very “Independent” something that many people resent for considering it annoying or because it was not good in the era in which the series is set. Candy believes in herself, a reason why her friends admire and adore her and is willing to do anything for them.

4. Gally from Battle Angel Alita

A cyborg warrior.

The story is about Gally (Alita in the western version), an amnesiac cyborg that is found by Doctor Daisuke Ido among the scrap thrown from Salem, the utopian floating city (renamed in the West as Tiphares).

Ido rebuilds Gally and adopts her as his daughter, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that Gally hides combat abilities as large as they are mysterious. Given this and as a way to discover your own past, she will be tested against situations that stimulate and bring out these skills, so she can get answers about her origin. With this objective, she will face different enemies fulfilling roles such as warrior hunter, Motorball runner, security agent and many others that will put her life at risk. Later, her story will take her to face even greater challenges and dangerous creatures off the planet.

Throughout the manga, you can observe the evolution of Gally in a human being, accompanied by the improvement of her Chi (which allows her to synchronize her movements with those of her opponent to take advantage).

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Bleach and the Kubo returns

Bleach and the Kubo returns.

If you are a reader of the Bleach manga, you know the story of Ichigo Kurosaki and his ability to interact with the spirits. You also know of the great success that it has achieved since its launch, back in the summer of 2001.

I imagine too, that you will know that Bleach is written and drawn by Tite Kubo, who in 2016 ended the saga.

Since that year, Kubo has allmost no intervened  in the manga universe, and it was not until this year that he released the one-shot Burn The Witch.

But the most interesting part of this long-awaited return has been his motives: Kubo was lonely.

As explained by the mangakain a interview, with the end of Bleach he lost a lot of his friends, because the ‘shinigamis’ were his companions. After realizing the loneliness that invaded him, he pushed himself to publish a new story.

For his comeback, Kubo strayed away from his work with Soul Reapers for a different sort of fantasy. The artist published his one-shot Burn The Witch earlier this year, giving fans a look at his take on all things dragon and magic. However, towards the end, fans were teased with some Bleach tie-ins as the one-shot made reference to a western Soul Society and more.

So, if audiences are lucky, Kubo might revive his iconic shonen series for a sequel down the line.

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Top Reasons Why You Should Read Berserk

If you have been lurking in the anime and manga world for a while, you may have already caught wind of a manga must-read entitled Berserk. Berserk is easily deemed as a classic manga despite the fact that it is still an on-going series until now. For the uninitiated, Berserk was created by Kentaro Miura in 1989. It currently has 39 volumes published in Japan and 38 English volumes published by Dark Horse. In almost 3 decades of Berserk’s existence and 39 volumes released, it would make one wonder, “What makes Berserk a classic?” and “Why should you give it a read?” Well, read on to find out~!

1 Genre and Theme: Seinen. Mature. Dark Fantasy. Medieval Era. Supernatural.

If you would be reading Berserk at about 20 years old or younger, you may find all the carnage and rape too disturbing. However, if you are past your 20’s, Berserk might just interest you for so many good reasons.

In terms of genre and theme, Berserk is classified as a dark fantasy, medieval era, supernatural, seinen manga. It is intended and made for mature readers due to its heavy gore and sexual depictions. If you want to get an idea of what Berserk is all about, just literally look at its title – “Berserk”. The story is full-blown war and punching with no regards to mercy whatsoever. In Berserk, every punch is one that is never held back. The world of Berserk is chiefly ruthless, callous, and brutal. The graphic depiction of dead body trails, torture, murder, and dismemberment is one that cannot be unseen easily. The sexual depictions of rape, incest, nudity, pedophilia, interspecies intercourse, and bestiality were also illustrated in great detail.

But, hang on, all of these violence and sexual overtones are not just here for the sake of attraction or horror. Each piece intricately adds to Berserk’s deep and enthralling story making it look more realistic and immersive. If you have been reading history centered on the medieval times or have watched television series like Game of Thrones and Vikings, you will know that this period is not all perfect and happy. In these TV series, violence can easily boil from a slight mistake, but do not get me wrong, the violence and sexual depictions in these series are easily a walk in the park when compared to the dark violent theme of Berserk, where characters live and fend on their own or die helpless.

2 Berserk can easily trigger your critical thinking skills or initiate a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

Berserk is also one of the classic manga titles that can trigger a different array of emotions. It can also trigger your critical thinking skills. The story of Berserk talks about the different sacrifices that people will undertake just to get to their ambitions. It has heaps of vengeful instances as well as passionate hatred and rage. Aside from all of this, other thoughts and emotions can also come crushing in bringing so much confliction to the reader. You will find yourself asking is this considered wrong or is this still right? You will find yourself weighing what matters most and what is more important should you be living the life in the shoes of the characters? You would even be thinking of how you will react when placed in similar situations. What are you willing to do for you dreams and ambitions? These triggered questions and thoughts can easily bring any reader to care about Berserk’s characters and the lives they live in.

3 Intricately made characters given proper development.

The characters in Berserk are, hands down, well made. The time and effort in building all these characters can be seen on the elaborate development that the creator pushed in the entire story. Each of these characters are made in such a way that the reader will be able to understand and invest emotions in. The main character in Berserk is Guts. He is popularly known as the Branded Swordsman or the Black Swordsman. He is a mercenary who earned a lot of titles and nicknames as the story progresses. If you want to get to know Guts more, all you need to understand is what unadulterated raw rage is. This is the perfect description of Guts. That said, Guts has not all been like this. His character was brought about by an extremely hard-hitting past that he underwent. He is one character in Berserk who is consistently pushed to beyond his humanly limitations, hence all the rage and “badass-ness” in him.

Despite all this “badass-ness” in Guts, he is still one of the very few characters considered humane as he can literally go through any pain and ordeal just to protect whatever he treasures the most. This resolve can easily get to any reader and trigger their sympathy towards Guts. If this complex character building still does not intrigue you, I do not what will. You really have to start reading Berserk to experience this for yourself.

4 Exquisite artwork!

Berserk follows a good story and character development. Moreover, it comes illustrated with exquisite artwork that is highly detailed yet still very easy on the eyes. Reading Berserk and looking at its graphic is in itself a very pleasant experience. The mangaka also saw to it that the panels are balanced in every page. Speaking of panels, there are several panels, which are drawn without words yet speaks to our minds clearly.

Berserk was on hiatus until Dec 22th as per announcement made in June of 2017, but that said, Berserk is still a classic manga must-read and must-add in your manga library. It has a deep story, awesome characters, excellent art, and cool manga spines! Easily a keeper for any manga collector.

 

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Fullmetal Alchemist: The Story Of Two Brothers

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Story Of Two Brothers is by far one of the most popular manga that won the 49th Shogakukan Manga Award for the shounen demographic in 2004. With over 64 million copies in print around the world along with having received two very successful anime adaptions, this is a manga series that redefined what a shounen manga series can be.

Fullmetal Alchemist was one of the few manga series of it’s time that focused more on a narrative than being the typical lighthearted action-comedy manga that shounen was known for. There isn’t just one thing that makes it such an incredible read but culmination of amazing storytelling, character development and action with a touch of romance.

A Story That’s Complex & Captivating

Even after all these years finding a manga with a story like Fullmetal Alchemist is just not possible. The story right off the bat starts on a rather grim tone with both the protagonists losing all or parts of their body’s and seamlessly transitions into a more lighthearted tone before going full dark again.

Each chapter you read will keep you on the edge of your seats always anticipating what will come next only to be left speechless of how the plot paces itself. What truly sets the story apart is that even during the darkest moments of the series there’s always a bit of hope to push the protagonist on.

An Amazing Blend of Action, Comedy & Drama

The action scenes in Fullmetal Alchemist might not be the best but they aren’t definitely bad by any account. Considering the manga is only 116 it doesn’t leave a lot of room for extended fight scenes but the ones we do get are choreographed extremely well and the art is top notch as well which just makes it even more enjoyable to read.

When it comes to comedy and drama, the series tends to lean towards the dramatic sides but manages to add in enough moments of over the top comedy to not let the drama go stale without overstaying its turn.

Character Development Done Right

Even though there is a greater focus on the story but this is still an action-packed manga. Unlike most manga where you have to trade character development for more flashy action panels on the page, Fullmetal Alchemist manages to find the perfect balance and manages to flesh out each character to an amazing detail.

Every character in Fullmetal Alchemist is downright amazing. From their designs to their personality and even their backstory, this manga gets each character just right without even trying to justify their actions which makes them feel all the more realistic. The protagonists, Ed and Al, in particular, go through so much growth over the span of 100 chapters that by the end of it you feel that you have an emotional connection with them.

Should You Read It?

Fullmetal Alchemist is by far not a perfect manga and it has its fair share of problems which include the length of the series among many others. But, overall, Fullmetal Alchemist manages to be incredibly entertaining and thought-provoking while staying true to the tradition of Shounen manga. If you’re someone that enjoys a mind-blowing story with equally amazing characters then reading Fullmetal Alchemist is highly recommended.

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Fruits Basket, my favourite Shojo

Fruits basket is a manga created by Natsuki Takaya and published in the magazine Hana to Yume. This manga was published for the first time in 1998 and ended in 2006. The series has 23 volumes. Fruits basket became so popular that they made an Anime series of 26 episodes in 2001 and in 2015 they released a sequel: Fruits basket another. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best known manga in Japan and in the rest of the world. The Fruits Basket franchise became a great success due its charisma and attractive plot.

Fruits Basket is part of the Shōjo Manga. But what is a Shōjo manga? Shōjo literally means “Young Woman”. This type of Manga can speak both of historical and fanciful facts. However one of the most important elements of the Shōjo is that the stories focuses on the love relationships of the characters and their feelings. Shōjo is usually full of drama and love triangles. This type of stories is directed for a young female generation.

In this case, Fruits Basket is based on the story of a poor orphan girl. After the death of his mother, Tohru Honda moves with his grandfather, however it is not so pleasant. The girl decides to leave her home and live in the forest. One day, in the woods, she stumbles upon a very particular house. In it lives his classmate Yuki Sohma and his relatives Shigure and Kyo Sohma. What she does not know is that the Sohma family hides a secret. Each of the members has been cursed and, when in contact with a person of the opposite sex, becomes animals of the Chinese zodiac. Tohru Honda promises to help the Sohma family in exchange for being allowed to stay in the house. Upon learning of the peculiar situation of the family, Tohru is surprised but does not change at all the relationship she has with her friends.

Tohru is a girl who has been through very bad times. She is a sensitive girl who can not resist keeping her feelings. Tohru finds refuge in his new home and his new mission. However, this calm does not last long as she is trapped in a love triangle.

Throughout the series, she is confronted to choose between Yuki and Kyo Sohma. Both have mixed feelings towards our protagonist.

Yuki and Kyo are two completely opposite characters. That they are always fighting. Both have many disagreements, however there is one aspect in which they always coincide: protect Tohru. Yuki and Kyo feel the duty and the need to keep her close to them. However, each one has a different idea of ​​how they should provide protection. Yuki is more open with her feelings and feels that he protects her by being honest with her. Kyo, on the contrary, is more mysterious and avoids talking about what he can feel.

Given this dilemma, Tohru has to choose who is the most suitable person for her.

Definitely Fruit Baskets is a manga that you should not be missed!

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Rosario to Vampire: a supernatural school comedy.

Rosario to Vampire is probably the manga that put Monster Girls in the mainstream but the manga was a lot more than just cute girls doing cute things. It had actual depth, stakes and action that the anime adaptation decided to completely gloss over.  Rosario to Vampire is a perfect example of the source material being better than the anime. Rather than following the manga, the anime decided to make the show a generic harem series but the manga had so much more going for it.

At heart, Rosario to Vampire is a supernatural school comedy that does take a turn to becoming an action comedy manga down the line but the sense of the school never seems to go away which is definitely a strong pint of the series. The story follows Tsukune Aono that ends up enrolling into a school for monsters because he didn’t manage to get grades good enough for any other school – maybe there’s a life lesson there somewhere. All monsters attend school in human form but if an actual human is found on the school grounds they will be executed immediately leaving our protagonist in a tight spot.

As Tsukune tries to keep his head down and get out his situation alive, he ends up running in with the most attractive girl on campus, Moka Akashiya that is a vampire with a split personality and falls headfirst in love. In order to deepen his relationship with Moka, Tsukune decides to give his new life at a monster school a shot without knowing about Moka’s bloodthirsty nature.

Throughout the saga, we get to meet fun characters which include the multiple other heroines of the series Kurono Kurumu, Shirayuki Mizore and Sendou Yukari each with their own unique personalities and motive to monopolize Tsukune. Each heroine is either a Western Apparition or a Japanese Youkai with traits of their lore etched into their characters which adds a bit of depth. Considering Rosario to Vampire is a series targeted towards the male demographic, there’s an abundance of fan service which coupled with the manga’s art really makes for an enjoyable read.

Overall, Rosario to Vampire is a great manga series with great art along with characters that grow throughout the series and is definitely worth a read for anyone who enjoyed the anime or just wants to read a fun comedy romance manga with a healthy dose of action.

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Fairy Tail: the relationship between Grey and Juvia

I can say this without a doubt that the relationship between Gray and Juvia holds a special place in the hearts of many including my own. From the moment they met each other, they impacted each other’s life in a big way. After their encounter both the relationships and characters have gone through major changes.

Both the characters have suffered quite a bit over their lives. Juvia was orphaned for unknown reasons and then bullied on by the other kids at her orphanage due to her rain, which led her to becoming a more depressing character. On the other hand, Gray had lost his family and master to Deliora; haunted by the thought of not being able to protect his family and master caused him to become distant and cold. After their first meeting Gray made the rain that was the cause of Juvia’s loneliness go away and keeps it at bay, while Juvia has slowly but surely softened Gray’s heart.

In the beginning of the series, Juvia was shown to have “stalker like tendencies” like keeping an eye on him in the darkness of the night and making anyone female that approached Gray with even friendliness her rival in love. It was speculated that Juvia’s love for gray stemmed from her lonely childhood, but during the Tenroujima arc all such suspicions were decimated when her love for Gray was shown to be pure and strong enough to even leave her opponent aghast. Whereas, gray has continued his trend of casually ignoring or comically responding to all of Juvia’s approaches. Even in the more recent chapters Gray still gets annoyed and can be oddly cold to her. But Juvias love has only grown stronger for gray over the years, but thankfully the “stalker like tendencies” haven’t. But unfortunately, they have gained some personality tendencies of each other, like Juvia striping in battle and Gray making not so adorable faces at cute things.

The fact that the mangaka has the two fight alongside each other, side by side, holding hands and going as far as to perform Unison Raid’s is the very testament of the trust they place in one another. The moment they perform a Unison Raid is quite a big deal, as Its magic that brings together two hearts! This is a major feat not out done by any other unconfirmed pair in the series. This was referred as a “synchronized attack of love” by Mashima the mangaka himself. Another example would be the “Gray & Juvia Special Chapter” which did not have any relevance to the manga, but has Gray shown  to positively respond to Juvia’s affection, even though it was a day of mourning for him.

In conclusion Gray took Juvia’s rain away, and now Juvia is slowly but definitely melting the walls of ice around his heart. Through their differences, they help each other move forward together and that’s why Gruvia is one of the best pairings out there.

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