Pop Culture Gadabout
Saturday, January 29, 2005
      ( 1/29/2005 09:21:00 AM ) Bill S.  

MANGA MEME – Shawn Fumo initiated it and Johanna Draper-Carlson is tallying it – as bloggers have been encouraged to list their five favorite manga series currently being published. Those of you who've been following my manga explorations to date probably won't be too startled by my list. But for now my personal Top Five would comprise:
  1. Battle Royale: Exploitive and illogical, sure? But, damn, do I wanna know who makes it out alive in this ultra-violent action/horror test-of-humanity! Only got a few more volumes to go, so I ain't stopping now.

  2. Hino Horror: I prefer his longer, more dread-filled works (The Red Snake, Living Corpse) to his anthology books – and, fourteen works in, a certain amount of repetition can't help emerging – but the only one I can see on this side of the ocean who consistently matches him in squirm-inducing psychotic horror comics is Charles Burns, who is nowhere near as prolific as Hino.

  3. Iron Wok Jan!: Sure, this series is just one of a seemingly infinite series of books involving a young man’s drive to become the unchallenged Master of His Domain, but Shinji Saijyo manages to wrest a maximum amount goofy energy and fun from this established convention, the manga equivalent of finding a smartly witty floppy of superhero comics amid a pile of competent and lifeless genre books, perhaps?

  4. Kindaichi Case Files: I'm a little peeved by Tokyopop's recent trend toward cutting their long graphic novels into two volumes (see also, the next entry). Case Files entries like The Headless Samurai, at 270-plus apiece, provided super value for the bucks. But I'm also hooked on Yozaburo Kanari's elaborate old-fashioned mystery puzzles (John Dickson Carr, the master of the locked room mysery, would be proud) which still remain entertaining.

  5. Planetes: A surprisingly poetic hard science-fiction series, with moments that linger long past the time you put the book back on the shelf. This 'un surprised me, and I'm glad to've been so surprised: at times, it reminds me of the s-f tales from the earliest Love And Rockets.
Some books that might've made this list if I'd read further into each series: Case Closed, From Eroica with Love, Mahoromatic and Sgt. Frog. . .
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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