Here you will find honest, intelligent manga reviews for shojo fans of all ages.

Aug 6, 2009

Unforgettable Manga Beginnings

In one of my more reflective moments I began thinking back to which manga series I've read that had the best "hook". This would be an image or content within the first chapter that roped me into the story and made me HAVE to read it. For me, it usually starts with an image, since I'm more of a visual person.

One of the most striking images in recent memory comes out of Setona Mizushiro's After School Nightmare. As I flip through the first few colored pages, the bright red blood on a pale tile floor catches my eye. Scanning down, the next panel shows main character Ichijo (male) standing gangly and nude in the shower from the waist up. Finally my eyes come to rest on the last panel of his feet, blood running into the drain. Now some of you are probably thinking "ewww...", but the idea of a boy menstruating in the shower was a shocking enough image to make me start wondering where in the world the author was taking this character. I had to know more. After reading the whole series it was a fantastic journey, and I'm so glad I read it. I may not have ever bought the first novel if it hadn't been for Mizushiro's dramatic and shocking imagery.

But it's not always just an image. Sometimes it's the characters and the actions that occur that demand my attention. Now, normally I'm not really big on fan service. I can do without it. Yet for some reason Mizuki Kawashita's introductory scene of Strawberry 100% stands out as quite memorable. Maybe because it was a unique character introduction, or perhaps just the absurdity of the situation itself. But after main character Junpei is flashed by a pretty girl in strawberry panties on the roof of the school at sunset, my interest in the characters was piqued. Who is this clumsy girl? What happens to the guy who wants to get the panty shot in the sunset on video? (Future porno director?) Kawashita's tale doesn't disappoint, and of course there are many more funny fan service scenes that provide comic relief through out this series, but it is the characters that drive the story. That vivid presentation of the protagonists (with the white strawberry panties) still sticks in my mind.
There are many more that I could describe. Fruits Basket, anyone? How about High School Debut? After coming up with some memorable ones for myself, I wondered what images or content in stories sucked in other readers. So tell me, what jumps out in your mind as a story that has an unforgettable "hook" ?


Anonymous said...

It's rare for anything in a first volume to hook me, let alone the first few pages. In fact, most of my favorites in manga and fiction in general are things which I initially had a less than great impression. On the other hand, I know this, so I am willing to try something a few times or for a few volumes before I give up.

There are exceptions, and one happened recently. I only had to see a few pages in the online preview of Evyione to figure out that I must have it. It's on order right now.

- Sara K.

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