Manga Library – it conjures up a certain image, doesn’t it? Shelves packed to the ceiling, book spines saturated with color, titles arranged alphabetically, and volumes lined up in numerical order. Then there’s that book smell, too. I’m getting transported to that place just thinking about it.
Well what you might not know is that for the last couple of conventions, Wizard World has rolled out a traveling version of the manga library. Yes, that’s right, dear reader! There’s a place with a few tables, some chairs, and a couple of book shelves filled with manga on the show floor at Wizard World shows now. Believe me, it is a nice thing to have a spot to relax after you’ve wandered around through the vendors, celebrities, and activities.
All the manga in the Wizard World manga library are volume ones. This is to provide a starting point for the uninitiated, because the best place to start is at the beginning. There are several dozen titles from which you can make your selection.
Now, how do I know this? Because I’ve been lucky enough to watch over this newly formed section in both St. Louis and Cleveland. So while I answer questions about the manga library, I’ve been able to take some time to read to my heart’s content. Let me tell you a little about what I’ve read.
From the manga library: My Love Story!!
After reading the blurb and checking out the artwork on the cover, I have to say that I was surprised. I expected more of a Cyrano de Bergerac type of story. I figured that Takeo would end up wooing his lady through his friend Makoto. When that wasn’t the case, I guessed that maybe his lady would fall for him by seeing his enthusiastic nature compared to Makoto’s way of not caring. But the surprise was nice. Takeo is a guy to be admired for the way he pursues love.
From the manga library: The Water Dragon’s Bride
I was a little worried that this work would end up mirroring The Ancient Magus Bride (which is uber-popular right now and my current obsession). Yet again I was stunned to find my expectations in the wrong. There is a familiarity in this story with a sacrifice made to appease the gods. After that, the story takes a turn. The child bride’s ignorance lets her play defiant against the water dragon god. And an innocent bond between children gives another character the devotion to defy his peoples’ traditions.
From the manga library: Twin Star Exorcists
Of all the selections I read over the weekend, this is the one I’d say has the best drawn action sequences. The technical jargon the characters use is a bit cumbersome, but the art style balances that out. You can almost read the artwork first then go back for the dialogue. It is pleasant to read a story where the main character has power and talent. Often our heroes lack one of those elements. In this case, Rokuro has plenty, but his drive has been killed by a tragedy.
From the manga library: Unmagical Girl
Too often, we see our heroes and heroines plucked from the real work and deposited into another. This story flips that 180 degrees and has a fictional character join the real world. Pretty Angel NirBrave is summoned out of the script of her show to join her (eventual) “plain Jane” roommate. It is up to NirBrave to learn how to live in a world with bills and groceries and rent to pay but no evil-doers to blast into oblivion. This story does a lot to poke at the ridiculousness of being an otaku/weeb.
From the manga library: A Polar Bear in Love
This selection is definitely the sweetest thing I read during the convention. The drawings and storyline are relatively simplistic. Yet the storytelling has a power that belies all expectations. It is about overcoming first impressions (or even instincts). We can try our best to show that we aren’t like what others may see us as but fail. Even in that failure, we don’t have to lose heart. Keep on trying to show the world the image you want it to see.
From the manga library: The Royal Tutor
If I had to pick only one, The Royal Tutor would definitely be my pick to recommend from this bunch. The artwork is simply stunning. I was blown away by how similar each prince was drawn (as they are brothers) but how each had a unique element added so they were definitely distinctive. The dialogue is a joy to read. I could hear the nobility in the characters’ choice of words. The storytelling is equal parts understandable and unexpected. The way Heine is challenged to connect to each prince in an interesting way and then his anticipations are thrown for a loop. This manga has it all. It has me looking forward to a volume 2!
I hope you enjoyed these little takeaways from the manga library. I know it wasn’t exactly about anime, but manga is a huge source of material for things that get put into production. You may find yourself reading something that’ll be an anime one day!
Hope to find you in the manga library at a Wizard World show sometime soon!
Featured Image: Steven Hubbard