Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Manga Madness: The Top 20 Manga Series for Teens

So, I've been working on a grant proposal for a Manga Madness event for the Fall Semester. This event would have our students vote on their favorite manga series each month. The series that win each round of voting would get an additional volume added to our collection and ultimately, the winner of the manga showdown will get extra volumes collected during the Spring Semester. Think of it like March Madness, but with manga series fighting it out for the top spot.


As I worked on this grant, I had to figure out which manga series should take part in the event. After a month or so of sleuthing, I came up with a list of candidates.


The main source of information on the best manga was MyAnimeList. It's a great website for keeping up with all things anime and manga-related (and also allows you to keep track of the anime and manga you watch/read). Using MyAnimeList's Top Manga as a starting point, I then looked up the Amazon reviews of the top one hundred or so manga to see if there was a difference of opinion on each manga's appeal. For the most part, everyone agreed that certain series were the best.

Now, half of those series on my initial list were for mature audiences, but I wanted to create a list that people in the Kid Lit arena could use (librarians, writers, etc.). So I cut out the more mature series and put together a list of the Top 20 Manga for Teens. Most of these aren't the most recent manga series, but they are ones most everyone agree are the golden stars of the manga scene.

Gold Star

So, without further ado about nothing, here's the list:

Top 20 Manga for Teens

Each entry has the following:
Title (Percentage of 5-Star Amazon reviews; MyAnimeList Score [out of 10]; and Genres)
Shounen is written for teenage boys.
Shojo is written for teenage girls.

Fullmetal Alchemist (79%; 9.13 Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Shounen, Military)
Slam Dunk (90%; 8.97 Genres: Comedy, Drama, School, Shounen, Sports)
Yotsuba&! (88%; 8.90 Genres: Comedy, Shounen, Slice of Life)
One Piece (84%; 9.00 Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen, Super Power)
Death Note (85%; 8.81 Genres: Mystery, Drama, Shounen, Supernatural, Psychological)
Rurouni Kenshin (91%; 8.72 Genres: Action, Drama, Historical, Samurai, Shounen)
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (100%; 8.67 Genres: Action, Drama, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Space, Military)
Ouran High School Host Club (91%; 8.63 Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo, Harem, Gender Bender)
Your Lie in April (88%; 8.76 Genres: Drama, Music, Romance, School, Shounen)
Horimiya (87%; 8.64 Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen, Slice of Life)
Skip Beat (82%; 8.72 Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shoujo)
Neon Genesis Evangelion (91%; 8.55 Genres: Action, Mystery, Drama, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Psychological)
Dengeki Daisy (88%; 8.56 Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shoujo)
Lovely Complex (88%; 8.55 Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo)
Bakuman (87%; 8.52 Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shounen)
Kamisama Kiss (86%; 8.58 Genres: Comedy, Demons, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural)
Black Butler (85%; 8.58 Genres: Action, Demons, Mystery, Fantasy, Historical, Shounen, Supernatural)
Magi (84%; 8.56 Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Shounen)
Noragami (80%; 8.61 Genres: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Shounen, Supernatural)
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (78%; 8.68 Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Leaping into the Unknown: Trying out New Genres

I like to try new things when I'm writing. Sure, I enjoy writing a nice simple picture book text now and then, but I also like to stretch my muscles and try new genres.


My first loves as a children's book writer are comedy, action, adventure, and fantasy. These are the types of stories I love to read. They are my comfort zone. However, sometimes the best stories we come up with are the ones that don't come so easily. They are the ones that make us stretch our imaginations even more and let our thoughts run wild.


Right now, I'm working on my first historical/Christian fiction middle-grade novel. It is not in my wheelhouse. It's no where close to the type of story I usually read. However, the idea for this story is so interesting to me it cries out for me to write it. And so, I've put aside my anxieties of the unknown and plunged into this new genre full speed ahead. 


Since starting this project, I've researched the time period and events around my main character's life and have hammered out a dozen plus chapters. My initial fears that I might be a terrible historical/Christian fiction writer have been replaced by a bit more confidence in myself as critique partners and my agent have encouraged me to continue the story after looking at the first chapters.

Now, if they had told me these first chapters weren't working, I might have scrapped the whole idea, but it seems the story is connecting with readers and so I have the boost I need to move forward into the unknown world that is historical/Christian fiction.

So, next time you get hit with an idea that is outside your comfort zone, don't be afraid to at least give it a shot. You might be surprised by the stories you can tell when you don't restrict your genre, but rather let your imagination and abilities carry you off to unexpected places to meet characters you never thought you'd write about.

Beam Me Up

For right now, that unexpected place I'm visiting on my computer screen is Ancient Capernaum in the time of Jesus and the characters I'm meeting in this formerly-quiet fishing village have given me a lot to think and write about.

Just remember, the old say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

So go venture already!

Red Baron