An Introduction to Reading Manga

So, what makes a good Manga? If you are ready to take the plunge, it’s important for you to know which Manga are the best ones for a beginner because more often than not, we tend to judge a book by its cover. Like sex, the first time needs to be a good experience for you. I, for one was not really accustomed to the right-left direction of reading or actually “reading” the action scene without an adrenaline-rushing soundtrack in the background. The following maketh a good manga :

Story-
Arguably the make or break of a series. That craving of waiting for the next volume of the series will come only if you are hooked on the plot. The time between the two should be well spent scouring over forums and discussing the plots and characters.

Art-
Arguably the make or break of a Manga. The Art is what ‘speaks’ to the reader. Sundry series have been way more successful as Animes than Manga only due to the art not matching to the demanding standards of a Manga.

Action-
Applicable only for battle based Manga viz. Rurouni Kenshin, Bleach, Hellsing etcetra but in no ways an ignorable aspect. Your ADHD will kick in if the characters have intricate and heavenly powers but in a fight, the drawing resembles a sheet drawn by an Engineering Graphics student in his First year. Also, in some cases, the Mangaka seem to forget about adding variety in the face/facial expressions thus making the fight as clear as giving Roronoa Zoro directions to reach the White House.

Following are briefly covered Mangas which a beginner read to take the ‘Leap of faith’ begin with. Do note that I have not covered any of the mainstream ongoing mangas like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece etc. because it’s my opinion that one should not directly deep dive into these Manga of epic proportions (some of them having 400+ volumes) since as a first timer, I would want to be able to finish the series quickly, being able to experience the entire plot and have a holistic feel of a Manga before going on to the bigger plots.

Deathnote

Yes , in all probability, you would have heard of this, probably seen the Anime too. In case you have, do give the Manga a pass since the re-readability of this Manga is quite low since it’s fully a plot-driven story. That being said, the Deathnote manga is clear, crisp, having very less action(which is always a better thing in Manga since action scenes are hard to pull off well )and a plot rivaling the best. With Lawliet and Light being the primary characters here, they have well –defined character formation(both literally and figuratively) making it an easy read. Did I mention the Deathnote plot is maybe not THE best but certainly very gripping to say the least.

Berserk

This. Period. I am yet to come across a better written Manga than Berserk. Arguably the best character-focused story ever written. The back-stories of the characters, political setup, violence, love, hate and wonderful art are combined to form a masterpiece. The protagonist’s past and future life are covered separately and intricately combined in the latter part of the manga. Although I am not a very big fan of rankings, the fact that this manga is constantly rated among the top five mangas on almost every site gives a ballpark on how good it is.

Code Geass

I might get flak for this but I say that CodeGeass has a plot which not only rivals DeathNote but also beats it in many ways. I, for obvious reasons, will not go into the nitty-gritties of the plot comparison since being a Manga Spoiler is akin to burning a hospital full of panda babies. In the past, the protagonist, Lelouch a.k.a Zero had been considered the most influential Manga character ever. A short and must read for every Manga reader.

Basilisk

Gore, NSFW, Betrayal, Deaths and what not. Even though I would rate its Anime higher than its Manga mainly because of its brilliant soundtrack and action scenes, the Manga is a very good read anyday. You will be emotionally attached to almost all the characters in spite of not knowing their history. There is no protagonist/antagonist in this series. Every one is right in their own way/beliefs making this a humdinger of its kind.