I read a lot of manga. In fact I consider myself somewhat of an expert on them. Not that I'm the best or most knowledgeable out there, but I can say a lot about several series. I'm not an official critic, but I will try to stay true to myself. If you want to request something, I'll have a look. There are some things I can't make myself read to save my life, so forgive me if I tell you I won't do it. Do recall I have time constraints too. School is important to me.
For a start I'm going to go over the manga series for the characters I play in the Traverse_Town RP of Scribbld.net:
Eyeshield 21- This is a sports manga about American Football. The story follows a boy by the name of Kobayakawa Sena. He has 'golden legs' which allow him to run a 40 yrd dash in 4.2 seconds (this is NFL speeds). Unfortunately Sena is a timid child who just kind of lets himself get pushed around by the flow of life to avoid pain. Due to some interesting circumstances with bullies, Sena finds himself in the football club's clubhouse and meeting Kurita Ryokan. Kurita is sweet-loving, giant teddy bear of a guy that is also a lineman. Sena decided to join the team intially as a secretary, but later becomes a team player as a runningback. Sena meets several interesting people, Hiruma Youichi (the devil incarnate, comander from hell) the quarterback that chooses to defy the fact he wasn't physically built for football, Monta the wide reciever who was abandoned by baseball but never gave up on the path of catching, and several others. Sena's team grows, loses, ties, wins, and each character matures in a realistic fasion, despite the batshit insane humor that's going on.
The characters in Eyesheild 21 are what really make it different than other sports animes. Not all of the characters are good players and some of them have really crappy reasons to be doing what they are doing. In the end several lessons are learned and everyone experiences their limits. But at the same time, they are all drawn in to their love of the sport and respect of each other as teammates. Also despite having a massive cast, Eyeshield has a good balance with the characters. Romance is kind of on the side and unspoken, not to mention they make Americans out to be overly powerful, arrogant assholes, but I see that as a satire. The US is often seen like that by outside countries. They stay very true to the football rules. The artwork is remarkably pretty and varried.
Bartender- This is a slice-of-life manga about the healing power of a bartending. Sasakura Ryuu is a world-class bartender, he's not the best in story, but he's one of the best. He makes drinks that fit the drinker like a glove, from ingridents to the drink's history itself, Sasakura matches every aspect with care. He sees detials about his costumers that others do not expect. In the manga, there is an ongoing push from Miwa and her grandfather to get Sasakura hired as the bartender for the hotel they are seeking to open up.
Sasakura is a character. He's a nice guy that can't help but to help others. He's very true to his job and very down to earth. The stories of how he helps people are heart-warming and sweet. Everyone walks out of his care with a smile. This series is only available online, and I hope that it will someday be released officially in the US. It doesn't have a lot of action or romance, but it is as humorous as it is tender and serious.
Legend of Zelda- These follow the plot of the games for the most part. They are like summaries of the games with little side stories and alterting of the plot to make it flow. The only advantage of reading these over the games is that you get to see Link's personality first hand. Link has a similiar personality across all of the stories. The artwork of these is based off of the offical game artwork. They are aimed at kids, so some of the games seriousness has been edited down. If you play the games you'd probably enjoy these because they cover some things that weren't covered in the games.
Chibi Vampire- Chibi Vampire is also called 'Karin' after the main character. Maaka Karin is the middle child of a vampire family. She's odd in the sense she can still walk about in sunlight, that she can't use any vampire magic, that she doesn't have nightvision, and she gives blood to her victims! Karin is easily embarrassed and she tries hard to make those around her happy. Karin does, like other vampires, have a blood preference and that is 'unhappiness'. So she gets desires to bite unhappy people and her blood increases faster if she is around unhappy people. By biting someone, they become unburdened and happy. Karin is well loved by her family and they try their best to take care of her, despite her living in the world of the sun when they live in the world of darkness.
Chibi Vampire is a very cute series. It has a good deal of romance, sillyness, and blood. Karin is a sweet girl and her boyfriend is an equally sweet boy (even if he is the victim of circumstance). The artwork is very typical for Shoujo, but as I said before, there is blood and there is action. This is not at all like Twilight where the vampires are sparkly and two-dimensional. All of the characters in Karin are three dimensional for the most part and there isn't a massive amount of angsting in the series.
Asklepios- This is a very short series about medicine and doctors. It follows Buzz Medil, the head of the Medil family and heir to the title 'Asklepios'. He is being hunted as heretic since he cuts people open to operate on them and cure them of diseases. Buzz has to overcome people's ignorance about their illnesses, the church that's always trying to kill him, and his own fear of dying and failure. Buzz is a nervous nelly, but he's excellent at what he does. Aided by the extremely strong Rosary, Buzz journies across the land to save as many people as he can.
The artwork of the surgeries is very realistic, so if you're squimish about human inards, don't read this series. One of the issues with Asklepios was that it is very short and was written with the design of being longer. There are a lot of unsolved things that were brought up in the story and the conclusion is fitting, but not a satisfying as you would hope it to be. The characters are loveable and their problems are realistic for the time frame.
That's it for now. See you next week,