We know it’s hard to resist that latest shiny volume of My Hero Academia, but with the rise of digital rescues, a growing trend of anime adaptations of older properties, and a renewed interest in classic manga, there’s a slew of titles from the 1980s and ’90s becoming newly available after spending a stint out of print (or just being ignored for a few decades).
Instead of being swept off your feet by the hot new thing, let yourself be wooed by one of these older manga, well worth rediscovering.
Banana Fish, by Akimi Yoshida
Originally published in Japan from 1986 to 1994, this gritty shojo crime drama has experienced a deserving resurgence due to the 2018 anime adaptation. Following Ash Lynx, a young New York gang leader, and Eiji Okumura, an assistant photographer from Japan, Banana Fish dives headlong into a thriller plot chockablock with Vietnam War stories, government conspiracies, organized crime bosses, and Risky Business-era Ray Bans. After falling out of print in English for quite awhile, Banana Fish is back with a new reprint from Viz to coincide with the anime, so get these volumes while they’re hot. Under mounds of ’80s pulp grit and Miami Vice fashion, Banana Fish is an incredibly compelling, emotionally complex story well worth a twenty-first century read.
Parasyte, by Hitoshi Iwaaki
Another ’80s/’90s series brought back to prominence by a belated anime adaptation, Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte is a science fiction horror manga perfect for fans of Tokyo Ghoul. Unbeknownst to high school student Shinichi, extraterrestrial creatures called parasites have quietly begun to invade the earth, commandeering human bodies and consuming their hosts. When a parasite makes a botched attempt to nab Shinichi’s brain and instead gets stuck as his right hand, the two form a bizarre symbiotic relationship. After changing hands a few times over the years, Parasyte is now safely with Kodansha Comics, and available in both print and digital. Mixing the anxieties of young adulthood with body horror and alien invasions, Parasyte has a certain timeless quality that makes it as compelling in 2018 as it was in 1988.
Slam Dunk, by Takehito Inoue
If you ask someone to name a basketball manga these days, the go-to is probably Kuroko’s Basketball. But long before the Generation of Miracles burst onto the scene with their Technicolor hair, there was another hit Weekly Shonen Jump basketball manga: Slam Dunk. Sakuragi, a delinquent high schooler with a fabulously ’90s pompadour, is uninterested in sports—until he falls for a girl who who’s a basketball fan. Notoriously unlucky in love, Sakuragi thinks joining the school team might finally be the his chance at succeeding with a girl—as long as, you know, he can learn to play. The Japanese publisher has recently announced an all-new edition with fresh covers by Inoue, and one might hope that Viz will follow suit and bring this classic sports manga back into the limelight—or at least spring for a digital release. For now, you can still purchase all 31 paperback volumes online and experience the thrilling highs and lows of one of the bestselling sports manga of all time.
Black Jack, by Osamu Tezuka
Originally published in the 1970s, this series of episodic adventures follows the titular character, a medical genius who sells surgical miracles on the black market for exorbitant fees to those in the know. Despite his shady reputation, Black Jack’s plotlines usually end with him redressing injustice or corruption, good deeds for which he rarely gets credit. Often described as “the father of manga,” Tezuka is the quintessential classic creator, and his synthesis of bizarre medical mysteries and humanistic morality tales in Black Jack makes it one of his more accessible for a modern audience. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest to pick up: Vertical’s recent omnibus editions are available in both print and digital.
Magic Knight Rayearth, by CLAMP
It seems like these days Cardcaptor Sakura gets all the love, but CLAMP’s other magical girl series is worth rediscovery while you can get it. Combining magical girls with magical mecha (are you sold yet?), Magic Knight Rayearth is a parallel-world, JRPG-style fantasy in the tradition of other ’90s classics like Escaflowne or Fushigi Yuugi. Three eighth grade girls are whisked away from their mundane existence in Tokyo to save the world of Cephiro using magic (and magic robots), but unfortunately for them, all is not as straightforward as it seems. After disappearing from print for a few years, this manga was picked up by Dark Horse for CLAMP’s 20th anniversary—but even this omnibus version seems to be in somewhat scarce supply, so make sure to pick up this twisty magical girl story up while you can.
Monster, by Naoki Urasawa
Naoki Urasawa is a multiple award-winning creator for good reason; if you haven’t checked out his stuff, what are you waiting for? One part medical drama and three parts crime thriller, Monster follows doctor Kenzo Tenma, a brilliant brain surgeon working in Soviet-era Germany. When he chooses to operate on a boy with a life-threatening injury instead of treating a high-ranking politician, Tenma thinks he’s made the right decision, despite the cost to his career. But when a series of unexplainable murders begin to crop up around Tenma, he realizes his choice to save a life may have had consequences he could never have imagined. Monster was repackage by Viz several years ago into a nine-volume Perfect Edition, so there’s never been a better time to rediscover this classic.
Please Save My Earth, by Saki Hiwatari
It’s always a good time for retro shojo manga, right? Especially retro shojo sci-fi manga. Please Save My Earth, originally published in Japan between 1986 and 1994, is one of the best-selling shojo manga of all time, and is said to have influenced such shojo greats as Naoko Takeuchi (Sailor Moon). Alice Sakaguchi is a shy girl who is coping with moving to a new city and high school, an adjustment made no easier by having to watch over the bratty neighbor kid. But when her stint as babysitter ends in a tragic accident, it’s the first of a series of events that will bring seven students together who share strange dreams of past lives on the Moon. The entire run of this series, replete with all the tears and gasps of high shojo drama, is available digitally from Viz.
Maison Ikkoku, by Rumiko Takahashi
With Rumiko Takahashi’s recent induction into the Eisner Hall of Fame—and Viz’s announcement of their re-license of Urusei Yatsura—one might hope that Maison Ikkoku, a series she wrote concurrently with Urusei, might be rescued as part of the great 2018 Takahashi resurgence. Probably the original boarding house romcom, Maison Ikkoku revolves around Yusaku Godai, a credulous college student, and Kyoko Otonashi, the beautiful, widowed manager of the boarding house, who Godai naturally falls head over heels for, much to the amusement of the other mischievous tenants. Paperbacks of this bittersweet, character-driven comedy can still be found kicking around the internet, so snatch them up and rediscover a classic from one of the gods of manga.
What’s your favorite old school manga series?
The post 8 Classic Manga Worth (Re)Discovering appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.