anime, goodness, nerd

Spooky manga!

nothing like a creepy doll peeking through the window to keep you up at night

I showed Diminutive Roommate some manga the other night, specifically Mail of the horror genre, and let me tell you: she is freaked out.  It’s about a detective whose clients hire him to exorcise ghosts.  Spooky!  Diminutive Roommate is currently reading through the second issue in as many days.  She came into my room last night to sit on my bed with me while we both read our respective ghost stories because she didn’t want to read it alone.

One chapter involves a little girl who was stuck in an elevator.  As she climbed out, the elevator drops and chops off her legs.  At first, the ghost of just her legs is occasionally seen standing around in the elevator.  But the little girl dies a few years later, and a ghost of just her upper half can be seen dragging itself around the building in search of her legs.  Yikes.

Naturally, there was an article in the LA Times this morning about a woman who was in an elevator that got stuck between floors.  Apparently, she “climbed out of the elevator, but the car started moving again…The car dropped onto her, crushing her.”  She died.  I sent the article to Diminutive Roommate.  We may or may not be sleeping with the lights on tonight.

The Mail series is really excellent.  If you want to be spooked without too much gore, this is perfect.  There is, of course, death, and some murders, but the majority of the stories center around the mysterious circumstances surrounding the hauntings.  The author, Housui Yamazaki, is also the illustrator, so he gets to do exactly what he wants with each page.  The result is some of the scariest page-turns I’ve ever experienced.  Once, I was so spooked, I literally burst out laughing and had to put the book down for a minute while my heart hammered in my chest.  And it wasn’t gross or gory, it was just a well-done story arc that climaxed at a page turn and freaked me out.  Highly recommended.

heeeeere kitty kitty kitty

As long as we’re on the topic, I have to mention The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.  Housui Yamazaki illustrates this one, too, and it’s pretty great.  It has more gore than Mail, but there’s a surprising amount of humor in it.  I found myself laughing aloud at the dialog in every issue.  The premise is that a group of college graduates are having trouble finding work, so they group together to use their weird abilities (dowsing for bodies, speaking to the dead, etc.) to help the dead reach a place where their souls can rest, often resulting in shenanigans and various tom-foolery.  It’s a good, spooky time.

If you’re not into manga, I understand, really.  But these two are worth a shot.

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anime, goodness, humor

Old manga blog!

Turns out I’ve already posted the other blogs I wrote for the comics website on this, my very own blog as well.  All but this one about manga, which is hilarious and was totally topical in May of 2010 when I first wrote it.

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If you don’t read manga, I don’t blame you.  But here’s one reason why you might want to check it out (or do any other number of crazy things): a pretty lady.

ABORT ABORT ABORT

There’s been a small fuss raised over a mangaka (Japanese comic book artist) recently.  Mostly because she’s cute.  And because she’s a she (those of you calling “Screenshot or it didn’t happen!” can see evidence of said cuteness here).  Which is a big deal because when people think of manga, they picture something like Wing Bird (see horrifying cover art at right).  Then when you tell them it’s not all nudity and violence, they call you a liar and an otaku freak, and the horribly scarring pointing and laughing ensues.

Here’s an example of a conversation I’ve had with an average, non-manga reader (let’s just call him Some Jerk):

SJ– [nose crinkle] Man-guh?
Me– Yeah, it’s like comics, but they’re little books, and they’re black and white.  And they’re Japanese.
SJ– Oh, Japanese?  Like hentai?  Eew, tentacle penis monster!
Me– No no, that’s not what manga is!
SJ– Yeah it is, I saw that one Parasyte once, gross.
Me– Here, lemme show you something different… Um… here, Fruits Basket, that’s like the opposite of Parasyte.
SJ– [pause] WTF is wrong with their eyes?
Me– Nothing.  What do you mean?
SJ– They’re huge.  And where are their mouths?
Me– Um… I dunno, actually.
SJ– [blank stare]  Dude.  Yikes.

i like how the lady watching this man's face come apart barely reacts

Not all manga is good, I’ll admit that, and it’s not for everyone.  But if you read comics, your brain is already prepped for this stuff, and it’s unlike any American comic you’ve ever read.  The characters are expressive and often hilarious.  I’ve never been so shocked at what’s after the next page turn.  Once, I got so scared at what was on the next page that I burst out laughing, shut the book, and had to go watch the Food Channel for a while.

So I challenge our readers to do something stupid in the name of a pretty girl who authors some manga of her own.  Pick up a copy of Mail or The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.  They’re some of the more popular manga out there right now, and as comic readers, you’re ready.  It’s time to branch out, kids.  Be brave.  Be stupid.  Do it for the girl.

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