I might’ve not mentioned it much on my blog (or at all for that matter), but I love manga! It’s definitely a very different medium from normal novels, so if you’ve never tried reading manga before, I’m here to help (or try at least)! First of all, let’s start with why I read manga. I started reading it when I was much younger, I would sneak into my brother’s room and borrow his Naruto copies one by one so I wouldn’t get caught. He did eventually catch me, but that led to my brother and I spending ages in the graphic novel/manga section in Barnes and Noble together. (Awww, sibling bonding!)
I still read lots of manga today, although a little less then before and I tend to reread the same series over and over instead of trying new ones! It’s a great alternative if your in a reading slump and words are just sliding across the page, now you can look at fantastic drawings!
I sway towards the cheesy, shojo/middle grade-esque manga the mostly because those are my favorites. There are lots of other types of volumes out there and you do have to try a few to find the type you like. For a start, Michelle at The Writing Hufflepuff just posted about why you should read Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle (this post is totally inspired by hers, thanks Michelle!)
Kitchen Princess by Natsumi Ando
Najika is a great cook and likes to make meals for the people she loves. But something is missing from her life. When she was a child, she met a boy who touched her heart–and now Najika is determined to find him. The only clue she has is a silver spoon that leads her to the prestigious Seika Academy.
Attending Seika will be a challenge. Every kid at the school has a special talent, and the girls in Najika’s class think she doesn’t deserve to be there. But Sora and Daichi, two popular brothers who barely speak to each other, recognize Najika’s cooking for what it is–magical. Is either boy Najika’s mysterious prince?
This manga will forever be my favorite. It’s so adorable and cute, yet it’s got a great plot that keeps you interested throughout the whole story. There’s 10 volumes total for this series and each one is so good. The romance is so swoon worthy and just makes me smile like an idiot every time I read it.
The unique thing about this series is that it centers around cooking and baking. Each volume makes me hungry, but the awesome thing is that in each volume, the recipes for the foods featured in the story are in the back! Now, you can cook along with Najika! I’ve tried a few of them and they’re delicious.
Mamotte! Lollipop by Michiyo Kikuta
Junior high schooler Nina is ready to fall in love. She’s looking for a boy who’s cute and sweet–and strong enough to support her when the chips are down. But what happens when Nina’s dream comes true . . . twice? One day, two cute boys literally fall from the sky: they’re both wizards and they’ve come to the Human World to take the Magic Exam. The boys’ success on this test depends on protecting Nina from evil, so now Nina has a pair of cute magical boys chasing her everywhere she goes! One of these wizards just might be the boy of her dreams . . . but which one?
Mamotte! Lollipop is one of the more ridiculous and girly mangas that I read, but I adore it. You have to have a very open mind when going into this series because the first volume is not the best, but they get better each volume! There’s a total of 7 volumes and they go by way too fast.
Obviously the romance plays a pretty big role in this series but the protagonist is in Junior High, so it’s light and fluffy romance. There is a love triangle which is a pretty big part of the plot, but it’s not a very annoying one. The cool thing about this series is that all of the wizards names are based off of the Japanese numbers. The two main boys are Zero and Ichi (I can’t do the accent on my computer, sorry) then there’s Sun (San, 3) and For-chan (Forte although Shi is more common, 4), Go (there’s an accent, but Go is 5) and Rokka (Roku, 6). There are more companions but these four are the main.
Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP
From CLAMP comes the thrilling adventures of Sakura, a fourth-grader who accidentally finds an enchanted book called The Clow. The book once contained a set of magical Clow Cards, but they all escaped while the guardian of the book fell asleep. Now, Sakura is thrust into a mystical journey to capture all the cards before they wreak chaos and destruction!
If you like a nice mix of adventure, friendship, and an overall fun story, I highly recommend this one! There are 12 volumes total, although I own the omnibus editions so I have 4 big books. The illustrations in these are gorgeous. Sakura’s best friend makes her all of these complex costumes which are so cool to wonder at and they would be a great cosplay! The cards are also often depicted as humans, or human like creatures and the way the artist draws them to show off the characteristics of each card is stunning.
I love how this series has a very unique idea/plot. Before I had read them, I never had read/seen anything like this and I still haven’t today. There’s also several movies and an anime for this series, and both are great! They do differ from the original manga (especially the anime itself, from what I’ve seen) but they are still nice companions.
Shugo Chara! by Peach-Pit
Everybody at Seiyo Elementary thinks that stylish and super cool Amu has it all: But nobody knows the real Amu, a shy girl who wishes she had the courage to truly be herself. Changing Amu’s life is going to take more than wishes and dreams–it’s going to take a little magic! One morning, Amu finds a surprise in her bed: three strange little eggs. Each egg contains a Guardian Character, an angel-like being who can give her the power to be someone new. With the help of her Guardian Characters, Amu is about to discover that her true self is even more amazing than she ever dreamed.
I first read this series when I was younger and I found myself relating to Amu a lot. This series has a wonderful message discovering yourself and being true to yourself. There’s a total of 11 volumes, and like others, it’s a little rocky at starts but it quickly picks up after that!
While the story can be a little predictable, it has fun twists and hilarious characters to compensate for a slightly lackluster story line. Overall, I adore this series and I still recommend it if you’re just starting to get into the manga universe.
There you have it! Some of my favorite mangas and why I think you should try the medium out, even if it is a little scary at first. Let me know in the comments if you read any manga and what your favorites are, I’d love to know! Especially because I need some new ones to read…