Manga. Some people view comics and graphic novels as lesser than the regular novel but I am not one of those people. I love manga, it is fun and interesting and I always enjoyed learning random Japanese words. Once, when I was in middle school my best friend and I went to the library and each checked out ten books (which was the max at our library). We had chosen the first ten books in two separate manga series and we had finished both in a matter of hours. That’s just how it is to have other bookish people around. You spend time together by reading together. At least in my experience you do.
Many popular manga series have to do with romance or comedy or being transported to another world. And while I enjoy all of that, I wanted to give a nod to action-packed manga. So below I have given a list of ten different series, along with a brief description, for your readerly consumption.
A List of Some of My Favorite Action Manga
Until Death Do Us Part
One blind samurai in the 21st century. One girl with the power to tell the future. One criminal organization with the power to make people into mindless slaves. This manga by Hiroshi Takashige is action-packed, funny and sad at times.
Hunter x Hunter
Who doesn’t love young children learning how to survive dangerous tests without any adult supervision? Sociopaths, giant mutated ants and a game that pulls you in, follow Gon and Killua, two eleven-year old boys as they seek power and search for Gon’s MIA father.
Alice in the Borderland
Anyone familiar with fantastical fiction has at least some experience with the concept of being unwillingly pulled into another world. What happens when in order to live in that world, you must play games where your life hangs in the balance? What if you are asked to kill your best friend? And refusing to play the game means death, too. What would you choose? Do you think you could win?
Online– The Comic
Remember a few years ago when everyone seemed to have a portable gaming device? From the Nintendo DS to the PSP, they were everywhere. Well, in this manga, a young woman gets sent such a device and is told to play a game. When you lose a battle against one of the game’s antagonists you lose some sort of bodily function in real life. It may be your sight or the use of your left arm. Even still, you have to play the game. And what happens when you get contacted by an organization whose entire purpose is to beat the game and save the lives of those who play it? This manga is really fun to read and there is much more to it than first meets the eye.
Let us say there are two best friends. Imagine them as high school students. Imagine one of them as being the offspring to a corrupt politician and the other having his only family hospitalized for life. Are you imagining it? How about what happens when they decide to steal from money given by the mafia to the government? Now, take everything you imagined and make it even more awesome.
Bongou Stray Dogs
As a bookish nerd, I love this one. Using real life authors from around the world and throughout time, Bungou gives authors powers relating to some of their most powerful works. There is a small organization based in Japan that uses some of these powers for the betterment of society but there is a much larger group that wishes for something a bit more sinister. This manga is funny and quite a good read.
When a young newlywed finds her husband dead on the train ride to their honeymoon, what will she do? What happens when she discovers an Indian prince searching for his opium-addicted brother and somehow she ends up in jail? A little girl, married and widowed within a month, two princes both lost and someone who seems to watching over them all. Once I grabbed this, I couldn’t put it down.
The world has ended. Okay, fine. But now you tell me that I have been chosen to repopulate it? Difficult to imagine but, at least I can wrap my head around it. Then you tell me my parents sold me to you just for this cause and that the world actually ended a thousand years ago? And that everything on the planet from insects to plants wants to devour me? This manga is about groups of people who don’t know each other exist as they seek to survive.
Assassin and accountant for the police department. Both are steady, well-paying jobs. A dendrobate is a posionous dart frog found mainly in Central and South America. But this dendrobate is in Japan and hr’s killing quite a lot of people. At least, that is what he does during the evening. During regular work hours you can find him filing receipts and managing the evidence storage.
Guin cannot remember anything but his name. He has no idea why the mask on his head won’t come of or how he ended up in this predicament but when he meets up with two children he decides to protect them. Turns out, they are the prince and princess of a kingdom, their father was just murdered and their home destroyed. They seek refuge and will rely on Guin to take them there, through castle dungeons and wastelands galore.
Have you read one of these amazing series? If not, take a trip to your local library or bookstore and give one of them a try. And if you are a fan of manga (or manhwa or manhua), what is your favorite?
Note: I do not own any of the images used here.