Wellington City Libraries

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Tag: Manga Page 1 of 2

From the Vaults I: Manga

The vast collections of the Wellington Central Library have finally found a home in the Te Pātaka Collection Distribution Centre in Johnsonville, and the extensive YA collection is now available to borrow. The process is simple — just locate the item in our online catalogue, click “Reserve Item,” enter your card number and PIN, and select which library you’d like it to be sent to.

But some things are a little more difficult now that you can’t go and browse the shelves yourself. Even if you know what you’re looking for, and even though our catalogue does a pretty good job of telling you what we have and where it is, sometimes stuff is just hard to find. So we thought we’d start a blog series — From The Vaults — highlighting some of the cool stuff you can reserve.

 'I could find all the books I need on the catalogue myself, if only there weren't so many cats in the way!'

Let’s start with manga. Manga (漫画 or マンガ or まんが) are pocket-sized comics normally originating from Japan. That’s not to say that manga can only come from Japan — many countries have their own independent industries now, from Korean manhwa (만화) and Chinese mànhuà (漫画) to manfra in France. They are usually printed in black-and-white, and read right-to-left, a feature which some say dates back to manga’s origins in 12th-century scrolls. Regardless of when it all started, manga are extremely popular today in Japan, and increasingly outside of Japan as well.

Wellington City Libraries has an extensive collection of manga series and stand-alone titles, from popular series like Naruto, Death Note, and Cardcaptor Sakura to alternative and underground works like Anomal and Iceland. As most of the books in this collection were held at Central, and are now in the closed stacks at Te Pātaka, we have produced a master list of all of the manga we hold — over 160 series and stand-alone titles, along with quick descriptions of the genres, themes, and target audiences of each manga. Sometimes, due to items being damaged or lost, you might notice that a series is incomplete. Never fear! Just get in touch with us using the Suggestion To Buy form, and we’ll move heaven and earth to locate that pesky missing volume and give you the satisfying and complete reading experience you deserve and need.

Go forth and explore! In the meantime, as it’s currently the Out On The Shelves campaign week, we thought we’d pick out some of our favourite manga featuring LGBTQ+ characters and themes.

Wandering son. Volume one / Shimura, Takako
{reps: trans*, lesbian}
Set in that period between the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence, this gorgeous manga from arguably Japan’s greatest master of LGBTQ+ stories, Takako Shimura, Wandering Son follows friends Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki as they navigate school, life, and their relationships along with their growing understanding of their own gender identities. This is one of the few manga series to feature trans* characters as protagonists — and trust us when we say it’s not to be missed.

My lesbian experience with loneliness / Nagata, Kabi
{reps: lesbian}
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is an honest and heartfelt look at one young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist’s burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers.

My brother’s husband. Volume 1 / Tagame, Gengoroh
{reps: gay}
Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki and father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

Pretty guardian Sailor Moon. 1 / Takeuchi, Naoko
{reps: lesbian}
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. Anyone familiar with the history of manga and anime will have at least passing familiarity with Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon — and the same-sex relationship between Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus is legendary among fans of the series.

Overdrive cover Bloom Into You, Volume 1, Nakatani Nio (ebook)
{reps: lesbian}
Yuu has always adored shoujo manga and yearns for the day when someone might give her a love confession that would send her heart aflutter. Yet when a junior high school classmate confesses his feelings to her–she feels nothing. Disappointed and confused, Yuu enters high school, where she sees the confident and beautiful student council member Nanami. When the next person to confess to Yuu is Nanami herself, has her romantic dream finally come true?

Ouran High School Host Club. Vol. 1 / Hatori, Bisco
{reps: genderfluid/genderqueer, queer}
Ouran High School Host Club is a great shōjo manga from the early 2000s that almost single-handedly deconstructs many of society’s most carefully-constructed preconceptions about gender roles, sexuality, and gender identity. Main character Haruhi is biologically female, but presents androgynously and has no hang-ups about adopting a very fluid approach to their gender. In the original Japanese, they refer to themselves almost exclusively using gender-neutral pronouns (a feature that is sadly lost in the English translation — see a nuanced discussion of gender in OHSHC here), and their parent, Ryoji, is openly queer and presents in drag most times we meet him. Read and enjoy, friends!

Cardcaptor Sakura. Book 1 / CLAMP (Mangaka group)
{reps: lesbian, bisexual, gay, pansexual, genderqueer}
When Sakura Kinomoto finds a strange book in her father’s library, the only thing left inside is Kero-chan, the book’s cute little guardian beast, who informs Sakura that since the Clow cards escaped while he was asleep, it’s now her job to capture them. Cardcaptor Sakura is revolutionary among mainstream manga for its easy and natural portrayal of a wide range of LGBTQ+ characters, including Sakura herself (pan), her best friend Tomoyo (lesbian), and a steady, loving gay couple (Toya and Yukito). Plus there’s plenty of epic fantasy elements and a great story to boot.

We Need These eManga in Our Lives (and so do you)

We understand it’s been a dark time for many manga fans. The books you were able to borrow before our libraries closed are long finished, their covers growing thick with the dust of disappointment. Your days are growing heavy with the weight of unresolved cliffhangers. Thankfully, our eLibrary is absolutely stuffed full of manga series to keep you going until you can get your hands on printed material once again. Below are some of our faves, but be sure to check out the Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga section on OverDrive/Libby for more gold.

Overdrive cover Assassination Classroom, Volume 1, Yusei Matsui (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
One of the most popular manga series currently publishing outside Japan, in Assassination Classroom we join Nagisa, Sugino, Karma, Okuda, and the other would-be assassins of Class 3E as they navigate life, death, and education under their moon-killing, pseudo-octopoid, super-organism teacher, Koro-sensei. Sound weird? Well, strap in. This is shōnen sci-fi manga at its best we’re talking about here — pretty much anything goes.

Overdrive cover Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus, Volume 1, CLAMP (ebook)
Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 available on OverDrive.
I love Cardcaptor Sakura unreservedly, and once you read it, you will too — and not just for its super awesome anime adaptation that aired in the late ’90s. This series has everything you’re looking for in a shōjo ‘magical girl’ manga — namely, an awesomely strong and compellingly-rendered magical girl to lead the cast, vicious beasts to fight, mythological dreamscapes to explore, complex characters that grow into their roles, and of course it can all be pulled together into a largely unknown trading card game from the year 2001 that I wish I owned. Some day, some day.

Overdrive cover Haikyu!!, Volume 1, Haruichi Furudate (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Okay, I admit it. I was skeptical about Haikyu!! at first. I mean, I’m not really one for the whole sportsball thing, so a manga about one boy’s drive to become the greatest volleyball player in Japan didn’t really sound like my cup of tea. With that out of the way, if you read one thing from this list, read this. The characters are expertly-drawn, both in terms of line and in terms of personality. The whole gamut of human experience is explored and poignantly rendered: hubris, ambition, disappointment, determination, loss, commitment, betrayal, hurt, unity — but ultimately it is this series’ big-heartedness that will win you over. Do yourself a favour and read it now.

Overdrive cover One-Punch Man, Volume 1, ONE (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
I still remember the first time my friend showed me the One-Punch Man webcomic. Even then, in the summer of 2010, it seemed legendary, destined for greater things. And so it was — the manga remake is full of the charm, the absurdity, the inexplicable baldness, and the manic, supercharged energy of the original webcomic, but distilled, whisked, blended, and baked into the extended manga form. It’s a superhero story like no other, and we couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Overdrive cover Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1, Sui Ishida (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul may just be one of the greatest tales in contemporary fantasy. The premise is simple — in the shadow of our regular human world there dwell mysterious, powerful, and cannibalistic demi-humans known as ghouls, kept at bay by the powerful but shadowy government-controlled CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), who will go to any length to exterminate ghouls from the face of the planet. The morals of each party? Grey. The storytelling? Immersive, dark, and intense. The characters? Deeply human and beautifully flawed, with motivations that gradually unwind as we get to know them. The result? A series you must read. Not for the faint of heart.

This is just the barest sliver of excellent manga you can find on OverDrive and Libby. If we don’t have what you’re after, you can always use the handy-dandy ‘Recommend to Library’ tool to suggest we purchase what you’re after. At the moment you can only recommend one title every 30 days, to make sure our librarians aren’t overwhelmed, so choose wisely!

Mahou shoujo Part 2

Since mahou shoujo is a whole subgenre of anime and manga I thought I had better tell you about our super collection of manga and anime that we have in our libraries! Did you even know we had them in the collection? I’ve chosen a few “magical girl” themed anime and manga for you all to check out that you may or may not be familiar with already.

(In case you didn’t know, manga are comics you read and anime are cartoons you watch.)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPretty Guardian Sailor Moon (manga)

If you grew up in the 90s like me, you’d probably be pretty familiar with Sailor Moon. Usagi Tsukino (Serena) is a regular girl, until she discovers she is sailor senshi Sailor Moon. Together with the other sailor scouts, handsome Tuxedo Mask and two mystical beings that appear to be sentient stuffed cats, Sailor Moon must stop the evil Queen Beryl from taking over the world.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCardcaptor Sakura (manga)

This is one of my absolute favourites! Ten year old Sakura accidentally releases a magical set of cards called the Clow Cards, and is enlisted by the guardian of the cards to capture them again. Each card has a special ability and some cards require some serious puzzle-solving to capture. It is written and illustrated by popular manga group Clamp, and it has absolutely beautiful illustrations throughout.

My-Z-HiMe (anime)

This story takes place in the distant future on the planet Earl, colonized by immigrants from Earth centuries ago. Certain girls and women aspire to be Meister Otomes – bodyguards, attendants and warriors that serve the royalty of various kingdoms. Arika Yumemiya has come to Windbloom Kingdom in search of her mother, a former Otome. Arika enrols at Garderobe Academy to train to be an Otome herself, but she must beware those who desire to use the old technologies of the Otome for destructive powers.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlice 19th (manga)

Alice Seno is a 15-year-old girl, constantly living in the shadow of her seemingly perfect older sister Mayura. One day Alice rescues a white rabbit from the road, but it is no ordinary rabbit. It reveals its true form and informs Alice she is destined to be a Lotis Master – someone who uses the power of words and communication to enter the Inner Heart of others. Alice soon discovers this is a powerful ability which must be used carefully when she accidentally makes her older sister disappear. Using the power of the Lotis Runes, Alice must get Mayura back.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFull Moon o Sagashite (manga)

Twelve-year-old Mitsuki Koyama loves singing and dreams of becoming a pop star. Unfortunately, a malignant tumor in her throat prevents her from pursuing her passion. However, her life turns around when two surprisingly fun-loving harbingers of death appear to grant Mitsuki a temporary reprieve from her illness and give her singing career a magical push start. (library catalogue)

Manga Spotlight

Some manga series you might enjoy, if you haven’t already discovered them!

Sakura Hime, by Arina Tanemura. Sakura is a princess, engaged to Prince Oura since birth. Since she’s not keen on marrying the prince, Sakura runs away, accidentally looking at the full moon in the process (the one thing she must never do).

Kitchen princess, by Natsumi Ando. Najika is a talented cook, who follows the trail of a mystery boy who touched her heart as a child to the exclusive Seika Academy. Everyone at the Seika Academy is special in some way, except Najika according to the girls there. However, two brothers, Sora and Daichi, know her cooking is magical. (Also, who’s the mystery boy?)

Cardcaptor Sakura, by CLAMP. This was awarded the Seiun Award for best manga in 2001, and was also made into a TV series. The series begins with Sakura releasing the magical Clow Cards, a set of cards with their own personalitythat can assume different forms when activated. Oops. Sakura is told she must now find all the missing cards, battle their magical forms and re-seal them.

Kobato, also by CLAMP. Kobato, mysteriously, has a quest to heal broken hearts by trapping feelings in a bottle, in order to make her way to a mystery place. It sounds daunting, but she does have the help of a grumpy dog called Ioyogi-san, so that’s okay then. CLAMP’s website is here (great for practising your Japanese).

Here’s a list of other manga series we’ve got in the library.

New Manga

Hey, recently we left a box out in Central for people to recommend to us some new manga titles. They are very popular! We received LOTS of suggestions and if you were one of the people who filled in one of the forms (thanks heaps!) you will be pleased to learn that we have purchased some of the suggested titles. These are some of the new titles that you can already reserve (the links go only to the first volume, so to reserve the others do a title search);

Fairy Tale (vols 1-5) – Teenage wizards! Dragons! One of the best shōnen manga in Japan – as decided by Japan!
Pandora Hearts (vols 1-5) – Published by Square Enix, the studio behind the Final Fantasy series in all its forms. Publishers Weekly say, ‘A sharp eye can find many literary references in this exciting fantasy manga. Oz, the main character, is turning 15 and is all set to be part of a ceremony, only to be dragged into a hellish place called the Abyss, for reasons he doesn’t know. Previously, he was a rambunctious rich boy who didn’t treat his servants well, but the Abyss is supposed to only take the worst of the worst. In this dark and disturbing world he meets a girl named Alice, whom he may or may not be able to trust, but who might be the only way out.’
Blue Exorcist (vol 1-3) – ‘Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself.’ – Catalogue summary.

So that’s a few we’re getting! In addition to more volumes of Bakugan, Dragon Ball Z, and Black Butler. Quite a few people wanted us to get that last one, but we already have the first four volumes! Unfortunately it is often out. But we’re getting more for you.

New Graphic Novels

Hulk no moreHulk. Volume 3, Hulk no more  by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuiness. Hulk and his buddies, Silver Surfer, Dorma and the other guy have all lost their girlfriends to evil, on their wedding days too! To get them back they must fight Red Hulk, a guy called Tigershark (who has Adamantium teeth!) and two other nogoodniks. Spiderman turns up to crack some wise as well.

study in scarletA Study In Scarlet adapted by Ian Edington from the original text by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes gets an action-packed graphic novel adaptation. Follow our tweed-clad hero as he investigates a murder, meets Watson for the first time, sleuths up a storm and smokes a curved pipe.

witch and wizardWitch and Wizard battle for Shadowland by James Patterson. Have you always wondered what happened inbetween the first and second “Witch and Wizard” novels by James Patterson? Now you can find out in graphic novel form. Reviews said things like “basically non-stop action” and “action-packed” so, you know, expect action. Also magic, the protagonists are a witch and wizard after all.

Simpsons comic extravaganza by Matt Groening. Lots of Simpson-y adventures collected in one handy volume. On a related note; what is your favourite Simpsons episode? A friend and I discussed this the other day and it was very difficult to decide. It is a worthy debate that could probably spawn a top ten list…

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds. Books get adapted into graphic novels all the time, epic poems, not so much. Homer’s The Odyssey is one such instance and it’s rather good too, not only does it practically count as studying for Classics, but it’s entertaining at the same time. Your correspondent awaits a similar version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with baited breath.

Also new this week are Ouran High School Host Club volumes one, two and three. It’s a self-described screwball romantic comedy in which our heroine, Haruhi, must work at a club dressed as a boy in order to repay a sizable debt. Smooth sailing does not follow.

Stuff (for the teen age)

Stuff for the Teen Age is the New York Public Library’s list of the best stuff for teens from that year. You should take a look! We have some – if not most  – of it. True, the list includes Xbox games, Justin Bieber, and a whole load of manga*, but we have the books and many CDs covered.

They also have a blog you should add to your RSS feed (along with this blog).

* We’re getting in a lot more manga and anime soonish though

Online DC comics

What is Zuda Comics? That’s a great question. The short answer is that it’s an all-new line of Web Comics. The longer answer is that Zuda Comics are whatever you make of them.

Zuda Comics is the webcomics division of DC. You can design your own comic for entry into their monthly competition, vote for your favourite entry, or simply enjoy the ones already online.

While we’re on the subject, you can find the DC comics website here, and don’t forget to check out our collection of them in your library branch.

New YA magazines

Not so long ago we asked which magazines should get added to the Young Adult (YA) magazine collection. Not too many people responded, but that’s okay! We’re not too disappointed! As a consequence we have added Entertainment Weekly to the YA collection – it means you can issue it for free on a YA card. (If you reserve it through the catalogue be sure to reserve the YA copy.)

We are also adding Shonen Jump. It’s not yet in the system but there is a website. Good news for manga fans, is it not. Okay, cool.

Top 10 : Japan (トップ 10 : 日本)

Tomorrow (the 11th of July, from 1pm at the Town Hall) is the Japanese Festival (as mentioned here) and, with that in mind, here’s our Top Ten Japanese-related material (mostly) in the YA area. In no particular order.

1. Final Fantasy VII : Advent Children (ファイナルファンタジーVII アドベントチルドレン) – This is based on the highly-regarded console game, and although it might be a little incomprehensible if you’re not familiar with Final Fantasy it’s still a spectacular CGI film. (Website.)

2. Kino No Tabi (or Kino’s Journey : The Beautiful World, キノの旅), by Keiichi Shigusawa – This is the first in a series of novels about Kino, who travels through many unique lands with her talking motorcycle. That might sound a little twee, but the story looks at some pretty profound themes. We’ve only the first book, for now (sadly).

3. Anything by Studio Ghibli Inc. (株式会社スタジオジブリ) – The films produced by Studio Ghibli are some of the best out there. Most people have seen Spirited Away (the first anime to win an Academy Award), but Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle are definitely worth the 50c rental fee. And Ponyo (trailer) is at this year’s Wellington Film Festival (on the 17th and 19th of July).

4. Tekkon Kinkreet (鉄コン筋クリート) – Another anime that I highly recommend; it’s stylistic and lush to look at (the backgrounds are works of art). The story – about two orphans who take on the yakuza – is multi-layered and moving. (Trailer.)

5. Usagi Yojimbo : Volumes 1– (兎用心棒), by Stan Sakai – This epic comic series is about Usagi, a samurai who happens to be a rabbit (everyone is some sort of animal). He’s modelled on the real-life samurai/swordsman/writer/philosopher, Miyamoto Musashi, whose life truly was epic. The 23rd volume is due out later this month.

6. Number9Dream, by David Mitchell – Grimm recommended this book, about 19-year-old Japanese student, Eiji, who has come to Tokyo to search for his father. There’s an excerpt to read here. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2001.

7. Naruto : Volumes 1- (ナルト) – Naruto Uzumaki is a young ninja-in-training. He also has the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox within him, which means that if he can control it he can be a pretty powerful ninja. There are at least 45 in the series (held at the library, anyway) so there’s a lot to keep you going. Failing that, there is …

8. all the other manga we have. Which is loads.

9. Aranzi Aronzo’s books, Cute Stuff and The Cute Book. Aranzi Aronzo is a Japanese company that specialise in ‘cute, strange, cool, silly, a little bit horrible, stupid and comfortable’ design, and these two books show you how to make some very, very cute (kawaii, or Japanese cute) felt toys. Cute! They have a website.

10. Sushi for Dummies, by Judi Strata – Knowing how to make sushi (寿司) is one of those skills that everyone should know, as it’s a) delicious and b) healthy as anything, and c) pretty easy to make. This book isn’t in the YA area but we must include it in this list anyway.

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