Meringued Mangas: Choosing Mangas

Posted on May 09 2010

Hey, it’s time for a Meringued Mangas Review, once again! But this week, we’re going to mix it up and present to you a little something special involving the favorite mangaka’s from 918 The Fan’s forum members!

So, some of you may or may not know that the original intent for Meringued Manga was to introduce readers to new series that were extremely good but not widely talked about. Well, this week we’re going to try a different approach! I headed over to different forums, including 918 The Fan’s, asking and researching their thoughts on their favorite mangaka’s. Some of the replies were kind of surprising, but nevertheless intriguing. Here’s what they came up with:

“Hiromu Arakawa all the way for me. Any mangaka able to come up with a series as fantastic as Fullmetal Alchemist and make it look so great is well worth being a favorite.”

I would say Natsuki Takaya. Not just for her works with Fruits Basket, but also her new work, Twinkle Stars, which I own! In French!

Hiro Mashima, I just think his style is real good. Somehow it reminds me of One Piece…..

I’m going to be extremely generic, and say Tite Kubo. Bleach was the FIRST Manga I ever read, and I owe the fact that I’m even here to the amazing first arcs in Bleach.

YuYu Hakusho – I love the artwork despite how poorly it may seem, fights are great too.

Hiro Mashima because he’s funny and his art style is a little over-exaggerated. Reminds me of One Piece. I loved Rave Master

Taste really does vary from person to person. But the one thing every mangaka mentioned had in common was their ability to produce mangas with quality! I mean, it’s no doubt that in some aspects, their drawings must be on par with a quota; but the thing that really drives people to read from these inspiring artists is their determination to satisfy their customers and readers with their captivating stories.

I think that’s what we as readers feel when we read a chapter every week, or every month. Take Natsuki Takaya for instance, at first glance, a reader like me, who’s so widely into Action, Seinen (mature male), and Supernatural would stay away from her works. But after reading Fruits Basket, I can appreciate the work that she spent developing her story and characters, even though it’s of a Shojou genre. She approached the climax of a love triangle in a away not many people would, because it’s very hard to pull off a satisfactory ending with that concept.

One of the ways you can tell a good mangaka from afar is by their ability to produce unique stories, and by their ability avoid cliché plot devices. Now this is not an easy task, as almost every manga will have at least one cliché plot device. Mangaka’s like Naoki Urasawa (20th century boys), Hiroya Oku (Gantz), and Mohiro Kitoh (Bokurano), are good examples of magnakas who make a great deal of effort to keep their stories unique. I’d like to note that ” ” avoid this as well, which is impressive because it’s hard to give your character life-like emotions without your mind straying towards the stereotype.

Urasawa Naoki author of Monster, Pluto, and 20thCB

Urasawa Naoki author of Monster, Pluto, and 20thCB

We may think that it’s easy to avoid; that listing the things that are common in stories we can detour our minds away from them. But did you realize it’s not to easy to create a new story from scratch, without the assist of clichés? This is where we can see the obvious line that separates mangakas with talent from the latter. Another excellent example of this is Hiromu Arakawa.

From what we’ve learned already, we can safely say that asking someone their favorite mangka is the equivalent of asking someone what’s their favorite manga. They both go hand and hand; which brings me to another point. I find that a lot of individuals had Kubo Tite (Bleach), Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), or Kishimoto Masashi (Naruto) in their lists. This is not that all surprising considering their popularity in Japan. What is interesting was that there were very FEW people that liked them as a mangaka. Let me explain what I mean by that.

Earlier I said that; “The thing that really drives people to read from these inspiring artists are their determination to satisfy their customers and readers with their captivating stories”, so ask yourself; How many people do you know that read the big three and think highly of them as mangka’s, or just manga’s that are okay and pass the time? I mean, I doubt that they respect them any less; they’re in the top 3, of course, and obviously required some level of respect for their work.

Simply put, it’s hard to feel the drive that you feel from other artists work. And it may be because of their popularity. The more widely a manga is known, the less people appreciate it’s work (Mangas like Fullmetal Alchemist being an exception).

Hiromu Arakawa

Hiromu Arakawa's self-depiction the famous author or Full Metal Alchemist

Kubo Tite is loved more-so for his illustrations rather than his story and is also ridiculed about having major plot-holes because of horrible pacing. I like this mangka, he’s not my favorite, but it’s a pity because if you look closely enough, Bleach’s story (I feel) is ingeniously put together; but maybe I’m just being biased.

Naruto is loved for its backgrounds…and for Sasuke. As a mangaka I feel Kishimoto focuses too much on that one aspect of the story! There are other characters that we’d love to see, and while Sasuke and the others are very important to the group, it could prove fatal to a manga’s success if you fail to provide development for your side characters. Now if we go to One Piece, I think this might be the closest we have to reaching the quota I mentioned before. Hardly anyone complains about it, and if it is, it’s usually commented on the randomness One piece brings to its readers. Like our surveyors mentioned very early in the review, he has a similar character style, and story telling to Hiro Mashima who is also famous for his outrageous plots.

But it could just be Oda’s fanbase over-hyping.

So when I say that the determination of a mangaka can be felt, those are the aspects I analyze to reach that conclusion. Though, it’s 50/50 when it comes to the big three, as they only have a week to prepare something for us to read. So most mistakes are excused, not like D. Gray Man and Claymore, who have months for their chapters and sometimes produce average storytelling. Remember, sometimes when looking for a manga to read, it could be a better to approach the situation by:

  1. Finding out the author of mangas you’ve read.
  2. If they published anything new/old.
  3. If there are other mangakas that have similar tendencies and writing styles to mangakas you already love.

While this method might not be 100% satisfactory, it should help you choose a manga that you’ll love overall. I hope you’ve learned something from this; I sure have! Every time I write a review I learn something new about a manga I’ve read, and a different way to look at it. So I hope that I’ve brought something new to your table as well. Thanks for sticking with me again this week! Enjoy the rest of your features here at 918 The Fan, I’ll be seeing you again, soon.

Don’t forget to head over to our forums and hit me up here if you have any suggestions, critiques, comments, or just want to say hello!

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  • EagleEyes May 10, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    Fanatic participation!

    I like your style.

  • mollybibbles May 10, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Nice job! I’m digging this new approach! I see this being very successful!

  • Llian May 11, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Thanks guys!

  • Anime! July 4, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Nueva película de Full Metal Alchemist…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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