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Mangahelpers Featured Manga: 2/23 - 3/9

+ posted by vintagemistakes in Shout-Outs on Feb 23, 2011 17:09

Hello everyone!! Welcome to the next great installment of Mangahelpers Featured Manga News Post. :) As you are probably already aware, every two weeks we will be featuring a few series that we think you will enjoy and/or could use some love discussion wise. Along with this news post, these series will be stuck on their respective demographic boards. So be sure to check them out if you haven't and go discuss them if you have!

Oumagadoki Doubutsuen (逢魔ヶ刻動物園)


Aoi Hana is a clumsy high school student who's famous for screwing things up, but she's had enough of it and wants to change. How could there be any better way to this than finding herself a part-time job at the local zoo of Oumagadoki city? - After all, Hana loves nothing more than animals. When she arrives at Oumagadoki Zoo and gets to meet its director she's knocked right off her socks. The director turns out to be a cruel and egotistical man named Shiina who was turned into a rabbit by a curse! In order to change said witch spell he has to dedicate his life to animals and create the world's most amazing place for them to stay - that's the Oumagadoki Zoo! But reality looks quite different. The Oumagadoki Zoo is a filthy hole that's going south. How is this place supposed to ever become number one in the world?!

That's easy: Take Hana's loves for animals, Shiina's mystical "powers" he achieved from his curse, and a bunch of shape-shifting and talking animals and you've got what it takes! [Mr. Prince]

Saladesu's Recommendation:
Original, unique and far from hackneyed, Oumagadoki Doubutsuen is your atypical Jump manga. Of course, as our protagonist Hana herself is quick to discover, the Oumagadoki Zoo itself is not your typical zoo. Certainly not when the director is a rabbit! Not to mention that when the clock strikes the witching hour of 4:44, the signboard changes and so do all the animals...

As one would expect, the characters in the manga are mostly animals, but with Shiina's (the rabbit director) powers they become semi-human, capable of speech and much more. You've just got to throw Horikoshi a bone for the way he lets his creativity run rampant across the pages as he humanizes the animals and gives them unique personalities and abilities, all of which are actually grounded in science and nature. It takes all of 8 chapters to actually get into the meat of the story, but when it does, you'll be in for a whale of a time!

Every dog has its day, and even if it is still floundering near the bottom of the Jump TOCs, I can say with assurance that Oumagadoki Doubutsuen is truly a breath of fresh air in a mostly stale demographic. Separate the sheep from the goats - you certainly won't be barking up the wrong tree with this one!

------ Manga information --------

Demographic: Shounen
Status in Japan: 2 volumes (ongoing)
Serialized in: Weekly Shounen Jump (Shueisha)
Manga Details Page: Here
Discussion thread: Here

All Images Copyright © 2009 - 2011 Kouhei Horikoshi


En Passant (アンパッサン)


From the creator of Stray Keys, Yuzunoki Taro brings us En Passant. Kujou Shin, is a 15 year old boy who has inherited the power of 'X-Ray' and is the successor to the worlds most powerful and secretive organization, Verde. As 'King' of this organization and wielder of X-Ray, he would have the power to choose whatever future he wants. The only problem is, Kujou is the most negative, uncaring, pessimistic person ever! So much so that his classmates call him "Negative Shin" as he has no attachments and ponders taking his life quite frequently. Unfortunately for him though, there are other forces in the world that wont allow this and Shin is forced into a fight for his future.

vintagemistakes's Recommendation:
At its core, En Passant is a very typical Shounen series. It is filled with all of the stereotypical cliches, but at the same time, takes a very different approach to them.

Unlike with most protagonists, this one is actually the antithesis of the up beat, go getter. He really doesn't want to be one at all and it's interesting to see this opposite approach to story telling - which is also breathe of fresh air in my opinion.

The story is filled with your standard fights, humorous antics, strange and unique characters, and has a rather intriguing back story. The potential is definitely there for this to be a great series as long as the author can maintain what makes this series interesting - the unorthodox and creative approach to your typical Shounen series.

------ Manga information --------

Demographic: Shounen
Status in Japan: 2 volumes (ongoing)
Serialized in: GanGan ONLINE (Square Enix)
Manga Details Page: Here
Discussion thread: Here

All Images Copyright © 2009 - 2011 Taro Yuzunoki


Mushishi (蟲師)


They exist in the most unexpected places -- be it within your eyes and ears, under the floor and roof of your house, or the trees and flowers in your garden. They are everywhere and yet nowhere at the same time. Are they alive or not? Perhaps it is more apt to say they are beings who transcend the concept of life and death itself...Or could it be that they are what scientists today describe as the 'primordial ooze' - the origins wherein all life arose billions of years ago?

They are mushi. Some wreak havoc in the lives of humans; while others bring them deliverance from suffering. Mushi are neither good, nor evil; for just like any other creature, they are merely striving to survive in this harsh, competitive world. Ginko - a lone wanderer with an intriguingly reclusive personality, offers help and guidance to those plagued by mushi. This is the tale of his travels and exploits in a wondrous world populated by these mysterious entities.

k-dom's Recommendation:
Tired of shonen constant battle between immature young kids, why not trying Mushishi ? Ginko, is a Mushishi, a specialist of mushi, fantastical creatures at the origin of every life form. Contrary to most of humans, Ginko has the ability to see them; he even attract them. And since too many mushi in one place can attire disasters, he constantly travels from place to place, helping humans in their interaction with these mysterious beings.

No big action here, but small supernatural stories in an old rural Japan. The story goes slowly, but it goes well with the one chapter one story pace. It's not a manga where one will read 200 chapters in a weekend, but one from time to time and it's always a pleasure to see Ginko back. Moreover the art is great with a very realistic look.

The 26 first chapters have been made into an anime, which was one of my favorite discoveries in 2010.

------ Manga information --------

Demographic: Seinen
Status in Japan: 10 volumes (completed)
Serialized in: Afternoon (Kodansha)
Manga Details Page: Here
Discussion thread: Here

All Images Copyright © 1999 - 2010 Yuki Urushibara


Otoyome-gatari (乙嫁語り)

By MORI Kaoru

Set along the Silk Road that connected Asia with the Mediterranean world, including North Africa and Europe in the 19th century. The story of Amira, a woman skilled in archery and horsemanship, sent to marry Karluk, a boy from another village who is 8 years younger than her. But all is not well, as her village decides to take her back...

benelori's Recommendation:
The fascinating world of the Silk Road presents us the rich, every day life of Amira and Karluk. Even though Karluk is 8 years younger than Amira, the two married after an arrangement between the two tribes they hail from.

Along tags a Western scholar who keeps record of every cultural event and activity, and later events in the manga show the difference between Asian culture and European one.

While the plot is just at its starting point, the art is amazing and it offers good support in presenting the culture of the tribes that live along the Silk Road, with some little action, family conflicts and love that is inherited by the historical/slice of life genre.

--------- Manga information ----------

Demographic: Seinen
Status in Japan: 2 volumes (ongoing)
Serialized in: Fellows! (Enterbrain)
Manga Detail Page: Here
Discussion thread: Here

All Images Copyright © 2008 - 2010 Kaoru Mori


Piano no Mori (ピアノの森)


A tranquil tale about two boys from very different upbringings. On one hand you have Kai, born as the son of a prostitute, who's been playing the abandoned piano in the forest near his home ever since he was young. And on the other you have Syuhei, practically breast-fed by the piano as the son of a family of prestigious pianists. Yet it is their common bond with the piano that eventually intertwines their paths in life.

baboysai's Recommendation:
Music for me, is a dazzling world, yet at the same time mysterious. It is studied that the creation of music is the most complicated task a human brain could perform. If that is so, what are musical geniuses? How do they see the world? Piano no Mori, I believe, is aptly titled "The Perfect World of Kai". Kai is the musical prodigy that is the main protagonist in the story.

I love this manga not because I'm a music geek. Some seem to be intimidated to read this manga because it's about music. This is not a shounen sports manga, to be sure, so knowing music as much may not be necessary. What makes the manga so brilliant is that the reader gets to feel what Kai feels. And what makes it very endearing is because Kai is but a child who is so innocent and curious.

This is a slice-of-life manga, perhaps, but there is no subtlety in the story-telling. There is no holding back on dialogues. The story is laid out in simple, honest words uttered by the characters, yet in its simplicity is an explosion of colors. Do give this manga a try.

--------- Manga information ----------

Demographic: Seinen
Status in Japan: 19 volumes (ongoing)
Serialized in: Morning (Kodansha)
Manga Detail Page: Here
Discussion thread: Here

All Images Copyright © 1998 - 2011 Mokoto Isshiki


The One (獨領風騷)

By LEE Nicky

Cane Lele was born into the fashion industry. Her mother, Ye Feii, was Taiwan's top model, and her father was also a model, until a tragic airplane crash left Lele without parents. Therefore it is no surprise that Lele hates the industry, thinking it superficial and unnecessary.

Raised by her paternal grandmother, Lele reaches seventeen before she is sucked in by her mothers sister, Ye Feihung, a fashion model agent (and former model), convinces the reluctant Lele to model. Lele had been adverse to the whole idea, until she sees a photo shoot of popular American model Angus Lanson, and she begins to see modeling as an art form.

When Aunt Feihung's magazine editor invites Angus Lanson to a meeting of all the top fashion ambassadors, Lele is invited to meet him and is very curious. She does not know that Angus' twin elder brother, Eros Lanson, is secretly accompanying his brother. This obviously leads to confusion and is the start of a charming story of Lele's goals: fashion in NYC, becoming a top model, and love?

baboysai's Recommendation:
In general, it's a peek of the fashion world and how hard it is to live in it. It's quite outrageous, but you get to appreciate it and understand it for what it is- a vicious world that takes nerves and a heart of steel to conquer.

The heroine is your typical adolescent girl who thinks only for herself most of the time but as the story progresses you get to see the slow transformation in her personality. As she experiences many firsts in the fashion industry at such a young age, her maturity is summoned much earlier than what should be expected of girls her age.

This manhua is stereotypically shoujo. So if you don't mind the classic plot devices or art that doesn't stand out too much, this read is a no-brainer and can entertain without the expense of effort.

--------- Manga information ----------

Demographic: Shoujo
Status in Japan: 10 volumes (ongoing)
Serialized in: Star★Girls (Tong Li)
Manga Detail Page: Here
Discussion thread: Here

All Images Copyright © 2006 - 2011 by Nicky Lee


Have a suggestion for series to be featured in our future release? Please let us know through these threads:

* Shounen & Sonyeon series suggestion
* Seinen & Seongin series suggestion
* Shoujo/Josei/BL & Sunjeong series suggestion


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#1. by deffkryz ()
Posted on Feb 23, 2011
FI-NA-LLY! Oumagadoki Doubutsuen as featured manga!!! XD

I hope that either OD will rise in the Jump ToC or that it will take PTY's place as all-time bottom but not cancelled until the author is finished. It's definitely worth reading if you like stories like One Piece and Toriko!
#2. by Googlez_kun (MH's Best Artist)
Posted on Feb 23, 2011
Oumaga!This manga is so underrated!I'm glad it's featured here.

I need to finally read Mushishi.

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