Reminiscing about Persona, the japano-bug bit me hard again and I promptly started looking for something new to read. I’ve become more picky though, and stuff that I’d have devoured in the past just won’t go anymore with me. I’m afraid I’ve become an overly critical reader.
Started reading Bakuman
I started from a familiar point, my favorite anime series “Death Note”. I’d been aware of “Bakuman”, the next collaboration between writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata. Bakuman clearly is a very different type of story from Death Note. I’m more into slice of life stuff now, and Bakuman is a really good manga taken on its own. I’m still reading it so all I can give for now are impressions. Bakuman is the story of two teenage boys who decided to go all-in on their ambition to become mangaka, and to get serialized with an anime specifically. The secondary aspect of the story is a romance between one of the main characters and a high school crush. My only real gripe with the story so far is the undercookedness of that romance. I guess it’s best to just ignore my annoyances and go with the flow. The manga is on the lengthy side with 176 chapters @ ~20 pages, and I’m just at chapter 23 so far. The really great thing so far though is the insight into the business of making manga in Japan, and the trials and hardships that accompany that. I really like stories about creative people and the process of producing works of art, be it films, manga or whatever. The good outweigh the bad, and as with Death Note, the art is really up my alley.
Looking around for further things to read, I got frustrated by what I found. I’m very picky especially about art style. I can’t stand overly cutesy drawings, I don’t like chibi much and it feels like storylines have become trapped in tropes so much that even manga about making fun of those tropes have become tropes themselves. I found it really hard to find anything to immediately get into.
I searched forums specifically for manga with great art, since that is the first thing I pay attention to, and soon enough I found a manga called “Memories of Emanon”. I highly recommend it. As you can see from the image I included, it’s beautiful. I’m not going to act like I wasn’t smitten by the character here either. Emanon is a 17 year old girl who inherited the memories of each and every one of her mothers. That means she basically remembers everything her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and so forth experienced. It’s kind of like Thane from Mass Effect 2.
It’s a burden but also fascinating concept to think about. It’s a short manga, and not much plot happens. It’s more about just evoking ideas in the reader and in that regard I would label it a sci-fi story. The manga is based on a sci-fi short story anyway. I’m also really impressed with the visual style and especially the color pages are a highlight. I’m going to keep going back to this in the future for sure.
There is a “sequel” story released after the initial story. That one’s pretty weird, with a lot of nudity (nothing sexual though). It just serves to shed more light on the unusual life Emanon’s leading. The whole story is quite vague and hard to pin down definitively. I still recommend that one though, the art in that one, especially the colored pages are even better than the first chapter’s. I don’t know if this is an ongoing series, I really hope it is.