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Our Favorite Animes, Mangas, and Manhwas

July 17, 2014

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Martina’s Corner

Oh HO HO HO so many things to talk about in this blog post!

Oh ho ho!

Let’s start with some terms for those of you that are new to this realm!

Manhwa 만화 is the Korean name for print comics/cartoons but the term is now expanded to embrace webtoons (comics on the internet) as well.

Manga 漫画 is simply the Japanese name for print comics and because I grew up mostly reading manga I can’t seem to shake the term even when I’m talking about Korean comics. BAH! I’m sorry! Now why don’t we just use the word comics to describe both Korean and Japanese comics you ask?

Manhwa and manga are indeed comics but if you say “I like reading comics” most people will assume you’re talking about American style comic books such as X-Men, Spiderman, Superman, Archie Comics, and so on. If you say you “I like reading graphic novels” then you’re in a new realm of comics as well. The style of drawing, the length of the comic, the colours being used, the plots, even the direction you read it in can all differ depending on what country’s version of a comic you are reading. So the different terms are necessary to help people easily discuss and differentiate.

When it comes to the word “anime” it is originally used to describe animated TV shows and movies produced in Japan but I think most anime fans have expanded that to mean animated TV shows/movies drawn using an Asian style of animation. The specific attributes and animation techniques that go with anime style animation is very different than most American/European styles of animation, hence, many people call Korean (or other Asian countries) cartoon shows, anime. Technically Korea calls it something different but I don’t know anyone that uses it. I think it’s safe to say that anime now describes a style of TV show or movie animation, more than just one country’s animation. For example, the TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender is actually created by an American TV network and it is described as an anime by most people. Even though it was made in America, it uses an Asian style of animation making it described as an anime, not as simply a TV cartoon series.

Now onto my favourites! I’m sure I forgot something important because I’ve been reading/watching for so long. I’m scared to think what I forgot! Also, I’m combing both manga/manhwa/anime in this list because sometimes they overlap into two categories. I’m dividing them according to my own personal genres because sometimes you want to read action stories, sometimes you want to read about high school drama, and sometimes you want a combo of everything! Hahaha!

Action/Adventure

Cowboy Bepop
Attack on Titan
Bleach
.hack//SIGN
Hellsing / The Legend of Vampire Hunter
Black Butler / Kuroshitsuji
Blue Exorcist / Ao no Futsumashi (thank you to the Aussie fans who gave this manga in me when we were in Australia)
One Piece
Fairy Tail
Death Note
Princess Resurrection

Romantic Action (hahaha get it?)

Sailor Moon / Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon / Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon
Vampire Knight
Gokusen
Perfect Girl Evolution/My Fair Lady

School Life Meets Romance

Hana Kimi / Hanazakari no Kimitachi e / For You in Full Blossom
Boys Over Flowers / Hana Yori Dango
Kaichou wa Maid-sama! / President Is A Maid!
Noblesse
Mei’s Butler/Mei-chan no Shitsuji
Switch Girl
Yankee-kun to Megane-chan
Ouran Host Club

Just Plain Old Romance

The Bride of the Water God / Habaek-eui Shinbu (manhwa)
Black Bird
Absolute Boyfriend / Zettai Kareshi
Goong
Crazy Girl Shin Bia

Just Awesome Studio Ghibli

Princess Mononoke
My Neighbour Totoro
Spirited Away
Castle in the Sky
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Howl’s Moving Castle

Simon’s Corner

For starters, I really wish I could have participated in this video. Unfortunately, I had a terrible headache. It was raining pretty hard that day, and I – at times – get bad headaches during rainstorms. Phooey! I would have loved to have talked about this as well.

But Martina, as you can tell, is more than capable of talking about animes and mangas. She’s definitely more into them than I am. All of the animes and mangas that I got into are because of her. The two that I watched outside of Martina’s influence – Samurai Champloo and Attack on Titan – were suggested to us by friends, but we weren’t really that into either.

Samurai Champloo isn’t terrible. It’s just…umm, a bit disjointed for us, which we should accept since we’re talking about anime, after all. But the soundtrack is just awesome. I think it’s by Nujabes, and we got so into the soundtrack that we started listening to his other stuff, and it’s bloody phenomenal. Summer Gypsy is a glorious song.

But, err, yeah! The anime itself! It’s cool. We’ve only gotten maybe, say, 5 episodes into it. Not fully sold on it.

Attack on Titan is annoying us to no end. At first it started off as a brilliant concept, a great metaphor for how society is oppressed and getting crushed by senseless beings of gluttony, that don’t need to eat to survive, but just eat for shits and giggles. It’s very much got a 99% vs 1% kind of vibe to it, and mirrors how the 1% are eating into everything else not for need, but because they’re assholes.

That, right there, is a great concept, and exceptionally relevant for our time. Pair that with the awesome animation of the fight sequences, and the whole steampunky system of their grappling hook system, and it’s got a pretty amazing aesthetic as well. Lovely! Well, for the first few episodes at least. By the end of it, it totally loses its focus. The plot stops making sense. The characters, especially Erin, become dumber by the day. I appreciate Erin’s passion and dedication to the cause, but for Christ’s sake I don’t want to hear him have a monologue about it for 10 minutes of every 22 minute episode already. Shut up Erin and just do your damn job!

The Last Airbender & Korra are two animes that I don’t remember how we got into, but they’re lovely. Just so lovely. I was highly skeptical about them when we first started, because it’s not, umm, from Asia, right? I like cartoons, but they have a different feel than animes.

Anyhow, my concerns were quickly quelled. Avatar was lovely. The characters were all charming and not in the least bit annoying like Attack on Titan. Everyone had distinct personalities. The uncle was charming to the point of tears. The villains were awesome as well. The animation in the fight scenes was top notch. Just…wow. Great, great stuff.

And then Korra came afterwards, which takes place in the same universe as Avatar but a few generations later. I didn’t love the characters as much, but it was still highly satisfying. Especially in the second season, when they do the origins story, the animation at that part was very distinct from the rest of the show, kind of like the game Okami if you ever played it, and was jaw dropping.

Both series are very inspiring and have great philosophical messages to them as well. They’re easily some of our favorite animes ever. Check them out if you haven’t yet. Hotdamn they’re good. AND THE BIG FLYING SPUDGIES IN AVATAR AHHHH!!!! SPUUDDDGGYYY!!!

So that’s all we’re going to talk about for now, but we’d love to hear what you think! What did we miss out on? I know there are thousands upon thousands of things to talk about. We’re definitely going to watch Sailor Moon, TOGETHER! Oh! I forgot to mention that as well. I watched Sailor Moon as a kid, before I met Martina. I AIN’T ASHAMED! So I’m excited for both of us to watch it together. Let us know what you think, if you’ve seen it or not, and if it’s worth watching. I don’t want to be disappointed!

Also, if you like our TL;DRs, make sure you click on this pretty button below so that you don’t miss out on any more of them. Every click brings you one step closer to Sailor Moon Mondays! Ha…no. Well, I wonder. Sailor Moon Mondays? That sounds like a bit of fun, actually :D

OH OH OH! Also, if you live in or near Sweden, we’ll be attending and also cosplaying at NärCon 2014 which is being held at Linköping University on the 24-27th of July! Come on out to to mingle with other like minded people! Oh and Soozee has been working hard designing a special tote bag which is only available at this event!

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