010: Dipping into Japanese Manga

It’s our 10th episode already! Thanks for listening, and if you are new this episode, make sure to check out our first 9 episodes.

This week we dip our toes into the ginormous world of Japanese graphic novels/comics, aka manga. The genres are more varied, complex, and somewhat intimidating to the new reader. It’s not just all cutesy little girls or sappy romances. Japanese manga straddles the divide between accepted social behavior and taboo fantasies, all lived out in multi-volume series. There is something out there for everyone.

Here is just a sampling of our favorites. Let us know if you have recommendations!

xxxholicMy first recommendation is a XXXHolic. Don’t let the name scare you off! It’s a wonderful, charming blend of high school antics with Japanese mythology and the idea of intertwined fate. Check out the omnibus editions online or watch the anime, dubbed or subtitled.


whatsmichealWhat’s Michael? is an adorable and hilarious takes on cats and humans alike. Cat lovers will instantly recognize all the ways cats emotionally manipulate humans into feeding and pampering them. Imagine cats in business suits, ribbon dancing, tackling social acceptance, and just sleeping a lot. Great for all ages, this one is one you will read over and over again.

cryingfreeman Available for free (well, at least the first volume) on Amazon Kindle, it’s our last pick, Crying Freeman. Alan loves the art in this 1980’s cheesy (in a good way) assassin’s journey through redemption. There is more graphic violence and sex in this one, so probably best for more adult readers, but you can hear the romantic saxophone solo in the background as you read this one. Apparently they also made a Canadian movie adaptation in 1995, but never released it in the US. But guess who plays the main character? Mark Alan Dacascos, or the Chairman on the American version of Iron Chef. Yup, that’s right. Oh, and he is one the new Hawaii 5-0 too!

So let us know what you think! Or if there are must-reads on your list, share them with us, and we will get back to you. Go read some manga!

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