It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed manga, hasn’t it? However, I have been reading a bunch of them and even finished a few. I’m dividing my thoughts and recommendations on these manga into two parts. Here’s the first five of them with five more to follow.
1) Denpa Kyoushi (“Electric Wave Teacher” in English) by Takeshi Azuma
This manga is a fun comedy. Essentially, our hero, Junichiro Kagami, starts as a NEET with an anime blog, which has just become the top anime blog on the internet. (I sympathize with this kind of character a lot.) Despite some initial resistance, his sister, Suzune, forces him to undertake a job as a part-time teacher–despite the negative effect it will have on his anime blog’s ratings. Thus we follow his adventures as a high school teacher, his interior struggle with that part of him which wishes to resume a NEET lifestyle, and other forces which try to induce him to use his scientific knowledge for other organizations.
Basically, this manga is Great Teacher Onizuka with an anime otaku instead of a former gangster as the main character. Like Onizuka, he runs into troubled teenagers and helps them to believe in themselves–whether it be a girl who’s embarrassed of her anime girl voice or a punk who believes himself to be unlovable. The humor is not quite outrageous as GTO, though he does pull things like teaching his students through video games or forcing a straight-laced girl to work at a maid cafe. The characters are all pretty likable, and Kagami himself stands as a unique protagonist: the unashamed otaku teacher. I highly recommend this series to people seeking a good comedy and some inspiring stories.
2) Code-Ex by Ichiro Sakaki, illustrated by Yumiko Harao
This manga is related to the Code-E manga and Mission-E anime. Both derive from the pen of Ichiro Sakaki. I love his Scrapped Princess, Strait Jacket, and–the latest of his works to be animated–Coffin Princess Chaika. Despite my love for these last three shows, I stopped watching Code-E after a few episodes because the plot moves at a slow pace. Reading this short manga has inspired me to return to watch Code-E as soon as I find the time for it.
The plot of Code-Ex revolves around the plight of a young man sent to live with a martial arts practitioner named Saihashi. She is already training Ebihara, the protagonist of Code-E, to control her power of emitting electromagnetic waves. Her powers become unleashed whenever Ebihara loses her cool, which makes this training necessary. But the boy, Katsuki, has a different problem: his nerve signals at random moments shut down, leaving him paralyzed for a time. Unfortunately for Katsuki, an unscrupulous scientist realizes that his problem is related to the Type-E phenomenon whereby women, like Ebihara, are able to emit strong electronic signals. He wants to use an unwilling Katsuki in a perilous experiment to create a male Type-E.
The manga offers the likable characters we usually find in Ichiro Sakaki’s works. It’s a exciting and brief manga of only twelve chapters with which to while away a rainy day.
3) Dogs: Bullets and Carnage by Mira Shirow
The anime version far outshines the manga. A friend advised me to watch Dogs: Stray Dogs Howl in the Dark, and I found that to be fun four episode OVA. However, the anime made the right choice in limiting it to four episodes: though the stories are fun and exciting, they lack depth. In the manga, the only character who still retained my interest after fifteen chapters was the swordswoman, which wasn’t enough to keep me reading.
The action is set in a city rife with criminal activity. Our heroes are all connected to the underworld somehow, except the swordswoman. Instead, she’s looking for the killer who murdered her parents after having been raised by an assassin. Each story examines a character’s history and how their history has impacted what they’re doing now. Trust me: watch the anime, don’t read the manga unless you’re a dyed-in-the-wool fan of yakuza manga.
4) Mushibugyo and Jouju Senjin!! Mushibugyo
A random commentator recommended this one to me, explaining that it was a fun samurai manga with minimal fanservice. The fanservice was not what I call minimal, but the manga is great fun! I placed both titles above, because Mushibugyo seems to be the pilot manga for Jouju Senjin!! Mushibugyo. They both start in the same way with a few differences as regards to the details, but that is all. One sees Mushibugyo‘s eight chapters again in the ongoing Jouju Senjin!!
The manga is set in Edo era Japan, but enormous bugs called–without much imagination–Mushi terrorize the populace of the capital city. The five members of Mushibugyo are in charge of exterminating the bugs. The last member to be recruited is Jinbee, who rapidly rises in the estimation of the other members of the group through his zeal. Jinbee’s naivete stands out, but his overzealous simplemindedness make him a fun character. All the characters appear rather unique and likable, and the action’s great. Give this historical fantasy a shot.