EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED

Shining a light on a few alternative manga suggestions

Story by Cesar Cadenas  Staff Writer

In high school, I used to be really into manga and anime. Now, I don’t have the time to indulge in my hobby as much as I used to. However, I still make it a habit to read manga as often as I can. Manga has some of the most unique stories, some of the more popular ones being One Piece and Attack on Titan. Manga series like those already have enough praise and, don’t get me wrong, they’re great stories, but I want  to shine the spotlight on other stories manga fans should check out. 

20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys is  almost 20 years old, but I consider it a classic of the early 2000s. The author and artist, Naoki Urasawa, has done other great stories like Pluto and Monster. 20th Century Boys is about Kenji Endo, a convenience store manager, and his friends who discover a cult leader known simply as “Friend” who is out to destroy the world. Apparently, “Friend” has a connection to Endo and company, and they’re the only ones who can stop the cult leader. It’s a great story about nostalgia, rock ‘n’ roll music, and becoming middle aged.

 

Pluto

Pluto is written and drawn by Urasawa. It’s a re-telling of legendary manga series, Astro Boy. Many other manga writers state that Astro Boy was one of their biggest influences, and possibly the most influential manga series of all time. Pluto gives Astro Boy a dark spin. It focuses on the android Gesichtwho tries to solve various murders around the world. Several important robots have been ripped apart with the killer leaving clues. Now Gesicht must solve the murders before he gets targeted. 

Boku wa Mari no Naka/I’m in Mari

One of my personal favorites, I’m in Mari, is a weird story that is written and drawn by Shuuzou Oshimi. Isao Komori wakes up one day having discovered that he is not in his own body anymore. He realizes that he has switched bodies with Mari Yoshizaki, a beautiful young girl. Now as Mari, Komori must figure out why their bodies have switched as well as deal with being a young woman and the unique challenges that come with it. It’s a strange mystery story of life as a young girl in today’s society.

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