In the month of April, I decided to try to read 30 volumes of manga in 30 days. I own a lot of manga and really wanted to make a dent in my collection. I decided to read the entirety of Tokyo Ghoul, the entirety of Death Note, and the first four issues of my favorite series, Blue Exorcist. I didn’t include these in my monthly favorites or my recent reads because I wanted to talk about them in their own post. This is that post. I know manga and comics don’t always do well in the book community, but I hope those of you that are interested will enjoy hearing my thoughts.
The first series I read through was Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida. This series follows Ken Kaneki who is living a pretty normal life; he loves books and hanging out with his best friend. But when an accident happens that leaves him half-ghoul and half-human, he must figure out how to survive in both worlds.
This series is one that I’ve been mildly interested in both in anime and manga form but just never picked up. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it but the more I saw people talk about it, the more certain I became that it would be something I love. I treated myself to the manga boxed set earlier this year and when I planned a “30 days of manga” challenge for myself, I knew this had to be part of it. This series is phenomenal! It opens the door for discussions about good vs. evil and morality. I expected a horror series full of twists and turns and gore; I got that, but I also got so much more. I think what really added to my enjoyment the most was something that I didn’t think I would like – we get to follow both the ghouls and the humans whose job is to hunt the ghouls and that is what really leads to some further understanding of good vs. evil.
The characters really added to my enjoyment of this series, as well. Sui Ishida creates a few characters that really had me wanting to know everything I possibly can about them. The first character I was really drawn to was Uta. He’s a mask maker for ghouls and his character design alone was enough to hook me. Talk about FASHION. We don’t get a ton about him but I loved the things I was able to learn. I am also really interested in Juuzou Suzuya, the ghoul investigator. His backstory is brutal and heartbreaking and I really felt bad for him.
Overall, this series was so much more than I thought it would be and I am so glad I read each issue back-to-back so I could really immerse myself in the story. I hope to watch the anime at some point though I’ve heard mixed things.
The next series I picked up was Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba. I know a lot of people have an idea of what this series is about but I’ll still give a general synopsis. When Light finds a notebook that was dropped by a death god, he learns that any name written on the pages will die. He vows to use it to rid the world of evil but once the police and a detective, L, start trying to figure out what’s going on, Light has to become even more clever so that he can evade capture.
I received the all-in-one edition of Death Note for Christmas so I knew I wanted to include it in my 30-day manga challenge. The first four or five volumes were a reread for me but a particular plot twist made me stop reading the first time. I pushed through this time and while that specific twist didn’t bother me as much this time around, I still didn’t LOVE the series. In this story, you get to see both Light and the people who are trying to capture him and their thought processes unfold right before your eyes. In Tokyo Ghoul, that sort of dynamic really worked for me but here, I felt that I spent pages and pages reading characters figuring out things that the reader already knows. Sometimes it was interesting to see how they got there but other times, it was very tedious. I also think there was a lot of info-dumping going on. This makes me realize that while my taste in anime is not usually action-heavy, I do want more action in my manga.
My experience wasn’t all bad, though. Again, as with Tokyo Ghoul, the conversations about right and wrong, good vs. evil, were really interesting because Light really is a morally gray character. By using the Death Note to kill criminals, crime rates fall and people feel safer but who is he to get to decide who dies and who doesn’t? It’s a fascinating situation to watch unfold in a fictional world. I also think the Shinigami (death gods) are so funny and they really made the whole story especially in the second half. Sidoh is absolutely a gem and is by far the best thing in the second half of this story. I do think that towards the end the stakes felt really high and the tension was wonderfully built and I appreciated that after some of the more tedious chapters. I could say so much more about this series, particularly the way women were quite literally used in the story but this I’ve already talked a lot so I’ll save it.
After completing these series, I spent the last four days of the month rereading the first four volumes of Blue Exorcist. This anime is definitely one of my favorites and I’ve read a huge chunk of the manga but I took a break ages ago. My goal is to start at the beginning and get caught up. This series is about Rin who thinks he’s a normal kid until one day, demons attack him. He then finds out that he’s the son of Satan. Oh, and he was raised by an exorcist. He then goes on to an exorcist school with the hopes of learning how to defeat Satan.
I’m only going to talk about the first four issues here because I am planning to keep reading a chapter per day until I’m caught up so I don’t have a ton to say other than that this is definitely still a favorite. I like manga that combines action elements with complicated friendship dynamics and comedy. This certainly does that. Rin has to hide his powers from others and that adds to the tension of the story. The fight scenes are really exciting. The other students at the academy are just as interesting as Rin and I love getting to know more about them. This is the first anime (besides Sailor Moon and Pokemon) that I really got into and I immediately picked up the manga. It has a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to get caught up on the story.
Also, this isn’t manga but I started reading Lore Olympus this month. People have been telling me to pick it up but I don’t remember anyone telling me that it was a romance! When I discovered that tidbit, I immediately started reading it and now I can’t stop. IT’S SO CUTE AND FUN! I’m sure I’m the only one who hadn’t picked it up but if you haven’t, please do.
Do you like manga, graphic novels, or comics? Do you have any recommendations? Please let me know!!