I love Manga’s and have been reading them for a long time but let’s be honest, as a hobby it’s an expensive one. So I’ve decided to split the series between those I think are worth saving up for & those I’d personally wouldn’t recommend.
Title: Sailor Moon (also known as Pretty Soldier / Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon)
Author: Naoko Takeuchi
Publisher: Del Rey / Kodansha Comics
Series Rating: 4 Stars
Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!
I sort of feel like Sailor Moon is a mandatory series for anyone getting into manga – it’s massive. Naoko Takeuchi catapulted the ‘magical girl’ genre into the spotlight. Anime series, TV movies and countless merchandise. A word of warning; STAY AWAY FROM THE AMERICAN DUB of the original Anime).
Putting all that aside, Sailor Moon has a lot of things to offer. The reason it I didn’t give the series 5 Stars is because I have never loved the Chibiusa storyline, but who knows
– you might. 😀
What you have with Sailor Moon is a young girl (Usagi) who isn’t the standard image of a superhero tbh. She’s clumsy and whines but her heart is in the right place and when the cat Usagi rescued returns to freak Usagi out by talking and then gives her the ability to transform into Sailor Moon the journey begins.
This series might look a little fluffy and cute but there are some amazing storylines throughout those 12 books. It’s about friendship, love, family and sacrifices. Usagi is 14 when the series starts and while she’ll burst into tears over missing a meal she’ll stand tall in battle.
I’ll happily list this series when people ask me for recommendations concerning good female role models in literature. Each of the girls is unique and I worry that their characters are missed because of the bad translations (curse you American TV dub) and people taking one look at the outfits then promptly dismissing the whole series. Btw I love artwork so deal with it.
Also one of the central romances in the story is that of Haruka and Michiru and they’re both girls. Which is many kinds of awesome. ♥
Tip: Get the most recent English translations by Kodansha Comics, they’re really well done. I borrowed a few to compare to my worn out German copies and hopefully I can save up and get my own.
worthwhile investing in
Title: Vampire Princess Miyu (also known as Vampire Miyu)
Author: Narumi Kakinouchi & Toshihiro Hirano
Publisher: I.C. Entertainment (English) & Carlsen Manga (German)
Genre: Horror / Paranormal
Series Rating: 4 Stars
Miyu is an eternally youthful, 13-year-old vampire. Her peculiar appearance; golden eyes, pale skin, and hair tied with a ribbon in a strange fashion, are concealed during the day. Miyu is the Guardian, whose duty it is to return the Shinma – god-demons that prey on humans – to the dark. She has the power to call forth fire, which burns Shinma and sends them to the dark. Her only companion, friend, and protector is Larva, a Western Shinma who is bound to serve her. Together, they hunt stray Shinma across Japan. How Miyu became a vampire is unknown, so is how and why she became the Guardian. However, more mysterious is the gift she bestows on the people she feeds from…
Vampire Princess Miyu has a 5 volume sequel series, which I’m not including has part of this review. Also I’m basing my review on the German translations. This is important because
- A) those are the books I own and have re-read over and over
- B) I have a copy of volume 1 of the I.C. Entertainment version and it’s not good.
I really wanted to put this series in the ‘for keeps’ section but if you’re stuck on getting the official English translation then I feel it’s letting you down. Content aside the actual quality of the book is poor and I really hope another publisher picks this series up to do it justice.
The artwork is beautiful; Narumi Kakinouchi draws with wispy watercolour style that works with Miyu’s otherworldly existence. There is an overall storyline that runs through most of the books but we also have individual stories about the Shinma Miyu is hunting. It’s the standalone stories that I loved the most. They’re like little horror stories you tell in the dark.
not worth it…
but kinda, on this occasion, maybe yes
Title: Happy Café
Author: Kou Matsuzuki
Series Rating: 3 Stars
Romance and happiness blossoms at the Happy Café! Uru takes her mother’s remarriage as an opportunity to work part time at the Happy Café. There, she befriends Ichirou and Shindou, two of the most unsociable guys she’s ever met! To make matters worse, it turns out that Uru is not exactly meant for the waitressing world, as she’s a HUGE clutz. But as this hilarious shojo tale unfolds, true happiness – and even true love – lurk just around the corner.
Please note that TokyoPop only published the first 10 books, if you’re a stubborn reader like me there are online fan translation of the last 5 volumes of this series, so you can complete the story – if you should is another matter.
Happy Café’s charm is the everydayness of it. Uru wanders through each book with a beaming smile. She is full of good intentions and wants everybody to be happy. More and more characters get introduced, they all adore Uru and everybody loves the desserts.
On the one hand it’s ridiculous but for the first few volumes of Happy Café I completely bought into it because between the characters (who at that time were still possible to keep track off) and the stories. I enjoyed myself. Cheesiness be dammed.
The series takes a nosedive halfway through because nothing changes. Had the series ended after 8 books I probably would have given it a much higher rating but this manga gets dragged down further and further. With more characters and random hints of story being thrown in, these then reappear 2 books later and when it suddenly makes sense.
I do recommend Happy Café but only for the first few books. Enjoy the cuteness for a little while, and then leave knowing it remains – continuously.
If you have any Manga recommendation please let me know in the comments!