meta: Manga


2017


Natsume Ono's 'not simple': Human Ruins
The creator of 'ACCA: 13' and 'House Of Five Leaves' also gave us this haunting story of a young man thrown onto life's scrap heap
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Victor Santos's 'Rashōmon': Edo Noir
A clever and inventive retelling of three classic Japanese samurai-era tales, channeled through detective-noir sensibilities
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'Peepo Choo': Turning Japanese
Felipe Smith's 2010 manga did more than show a Western creator could make use of the form; it provided a riotous critique of the very audience that might seek it out
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'The Ghost In The Shell': Motoko Kusanagi, The Early Years
If you're a first-time reader of Masamune Shirow's manga, progenitor of a whole name-brand cyberpunk franchise, the original will be as striking for its slapstick and satirical jabs as it is for its vision of a future still coming true today
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Patreon Ways To The Heart: Four Manga Adaptations Of Sōseki Natsume's 'Kokoro'
Four manga adaptations of Sōseki Natsume's classic novel range from mere Classics Illustrated versions to a radical modern-day reinvention that rediscovers the story's heart of darkness
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2016


Tsutomu Nihei's 'Blame!': Sisyphus In The Labyrinth
Tsutomu Nihei's debut manga is all industrial hellscapes, sudden violence, and science-fiction gloom -- and in those few things it's everything it needs to be
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'Queen Emeraldas': Our Lady Of The Sea Of Stars
Leiji Matsumoto's pulp action / space opera stories are really a kind of SF-tingled mythology; his 'Captain Harlock' successor, now out in English, is a fine example
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'Giganto Maxia': A Future Gone 'Berserk'
This one-shot side project from Kentarō ('Berserk') Miura promised an entirely different universe from that magnum opus. It's a shame we probably won't ever seen any more of it
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'Die Wergelder': A Taste Of Blood Money
After his samurai body-horror epic 'Blade of the Immortal', Hiroaki Samura now gives us a Nikkatsu-style, pulp-inflected action fable
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'Astro-Boy': The Kid With The 100,000 Horsepower Heart
Osamu Tezuka's beloved creation was more than just kid's stuff; it was machine-age mythology for young and old alike
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2015


'Planetes': (Inner) Space, The Final Frontier
Before there was 'Gravity', there was 'Planetes', as significant for its psychological insight as for its vision of garbage haulers in a spaceborne future
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Manga Tag: I'm It!
A manga self-survey: what's on my shelves, and which ones of them matter most to me
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'Prophecy': Watching Big Brother Right Back
On the face of it, a techno-thriller in the Michael Crichton vein; underneath that, a meditation on the way society is shamed into doing the right thing
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Return To The 'Black Lagoon'
After five years, volume 10 of 'Black Lagoon' -- but was all that made this series great only an artifact of its moment in time?
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Usamaru Furuya's 'No Longer Human': The Downward Spiral
Osamu Dazai's despairing novel galvanized postwar Japan; Usamaru Furuya's modernized manga adaptation does justice to all its hearts of darkness
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'Utsubora': The Book Thief
Somewhere between thriller, noir, mystery, erotica, and tragedy lies this absorbing, if convoluted, story of the thefts of both ideas and lives
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Short Takes: 'Witchcraft Works Vol. 2'
Second verse of this fantasy-comedy, a bit less interesting than the first, as coincidence and contrivance take precedence over invention and storytelling
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'Opus': Satoshi Kon's Unfinished Symphony
Never finished and lost to time, Satoshi Kon's mini-epic about a manga artist caught in the interpenetration of reality and his imagination works both on its own terms as an adventure -- and as an unintentional metaphor for its creator's own career
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2014


Short Takes: 'Witchcraft Works Vol. 1'
Magical hijinks in high school are the jumping-off point for this enjoyable story with no small amount of potential, but also unnecessarily confusing visuals
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Live, Die, Remake: Four Different Paths Through 'All You Need Is Kill' / 'Edge Of Tomorrow'
Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel 'All You Need Is Kill' has been revisited no less than three times in other media, each version its own meditation on war, death, rebirth, and timelessness
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