3 manga every lolita should try

 

As a big fan of Japanese culture, I also partake in other aspects of Japanese culture besides lolita fashion. One of these aspects is the manga, of which I am a big fan. Being in Singapore, I have easy access to very affordable manga in both English and Mandarin, although my preference is for Mandarin translations.

Recently however, I discovered an iPhone app which allows me to read scans on the go, and I’ve been discovering good manga which I would not have picked up otherwise. If you are also holding an iPhone, I recommend the excellent manga reader Manga Bear, which syncs with manga scanlation sites such as OneManga and MangaFox. At time of publication, I have access to 918 different manga via Manga Bear.

Here are three different manga which I highly recommend all lolitas to try. My recommendations are based on a variety of reasons, including storyline, art style and character design. All of them should be available in English scans.

 

 

  1. Dokuhime 毒姫
    Mitsukazu Mihara
  2. I’m sure most lolitas will know who Mitsukazu Mihara is! She drew many of the early covers of Gothic&Lolita Bible and many of her other illustrations are very G&L influenced.

    Dokuhime or Poison Princess is about a group of beautiful girls trained to be assassins. From young, they are taken away from their families and their resistance to poison is increased through various (cruel) methods. When they come of age, they are recommended as princess consorts to princes, whom they assassinate.

    Why you should read it: Mihara’s signature art style really comes through in this manga, with the G&L styling of the princesses. The concept is rather compelling… assasin princesses! Trained in poison! A word of warning though: the storyline is really depressing…

     

  3. Glass Mask ガラスの仮面
    Miuchi Suzue
  4. Miuchi’s art style is reminiscient of the art on the more recent GLBs, but after some research, I’ve discovered that they’re not the same artist. The big, sparkling eyes and perfect curls of the heroines and the feminine style of the heroes can take some getting used to, but the storyline can really suck you in!

    I first picked up this manga up because of the cover, but after some research, I was amazed that I hadn’t heard of this manga before now. Glass Mask is actually the second best-selling manga in the world, the first being Hana Yori Dango (Boys over Flowers). This series started in 1975, and continued till about 2006 when Miuchi-sensei took a break from the story. In 2008, she continued the story again and has announced that she intends to end the story soon.

    It’s quite the manga with history! 44 volumes, still going strong and I’m reading it avidly still!

    In short, Glass Mask is about theatre and acting. Kitajima Maya is a young student devoted to stage acting. Her rival is the beautiful Himekawa Ayumi, who is comes from a family of directors and actors and is also very skilled in acting. The two are competing to play the lead role in “The Crimson Goddess”, a legendary role which no one has played for the longest time. The performance rights to “The Crimson Goddess” are owned solely by Tsukikage Chigusa, Maya’s mentor, who tries her best to encourage Maya to be the best she can be. Throw in two men who discover themselves in love with Maya, and you’ve got a great mix of romance and drama!

    Why you should read it: To be honest, I’m surprised that I’m so hooked to this manga. The artwork is not everyone’s cup of tea (You can tell who the unimportant males and the heros are very easily by the way they’re drawn!) and the plotline can get quite trying sometimes. To top it off, it seems that Maya is a dreaded Mary-Sue. (I prefer Ayumi to Maya!) But Miuchi-sensei takes famous plays like Romeo and Juliet and The Miracle Worker and incorporates them beautifully into her story. I’m quite sad that I can’t read it in its original language. I would have loved to read the lines and how they’re interpreted in Japanese. If you’re interested in theatre and the arts, this manga can be quite an eye-opener. The romance subplot provides an interesting break to the theatre-heavy main plot, and it’s easy to sympathise with the men. The manga is now up to 44 volumes and still going strong, so if you’re looking for a compelling saga, this could be it!

     

  5. Count Cain 伯爵カインシリーズ
    and its sequel Godchild ゴッド チャイルド
    Yuki Kaori
  6. Yuki Kaori is famous for her beautiful artwork and elaborate plotlines. You may have heard of another of her famous works, Angel Sanctuary, but I prefer Count Cain and Godchild.

    Set in Victorian times, Cain Hargreaves is a 17-year-old boy who has a cool logical mind. Count Cain spans 5 volumes, and deals with murder mysteries that Cain solves with the help of his butler/manservert: Riff.

    The sequel Godchild, drawn several years after the end of Count Cain and spanning 8 volumes, continues the story of Cain and Riff, but deals more with the convulted background of Cain and his father, Alexis. I’m not going to spoil you, so if you’re interested, you’ll have to read it!

    Why you should read it: Very simply, the beautiful, gorgeous art. In particular, I feel that Godchild is the peak of Kaori Yuki’s artistic prowess, the dark, gothic style of her setting is haunting and eerie. Reading this at night gives me the heebie jeebies! Her storytelling can be offputting to some, as her plots can be very complicated and explained in very wordily, but her framing and character creation more than make up for it. Be warned: The series (Count Cain in particular) can be very graphic and bloody. Do watch out if you’re squeamish!

    What manga are you reading now? Share it with us in the comments!

     

Wed, February 24 2010 »

9 comments on to “3 manga every lolita should try”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for recommending Dokuhime- I’ve started reading it, and it’s absolutely lovely!

    Just a further warning for those considering reading the Cain Saga: The art in the first 5 volumes is significantly less elegant and beautiful than that of the next 8 volumes. The plot is also much more convoluted than the second part of the story. Reading the first 5 volumes is helpful, but one doesn’t need to read them to understand the latter half of the series.

    That came out as sounding really negative! As an apology, I’ll recommend two other works by Kaori Yuki: Fairy Cube, a short series about a boy who can see fairies and eventually gets into a whole mess of trouble, and Ludwig Kakumei, a ridiculously fun re-telling of famous fairytales through the eyes of a narcissistic prince.

  2. Alanna says:

    Hi Rebecca! Good to see that someone picked up a series based on my recommendations!

    Not to worry about your comments on the Cain saga. I actually do largely agree with them, except I feel that the storyline for Godchild is equally if not moreso convoluted! 🙁

    I’ve also read Fairy Cube and Ludwig Kakumei (can you tell I’m a Kaori Yuki fan?) and I really love Ludwig Kakumei in particular. It’s a really fun read with excellent art and a cute storyline. Thanks for your recommendations as well!

  3. Hana Sakura says:

    Thanks, the first and 3rd manga sound very nice.
    I know another title (haven’t read it) and it’s kinda something that fits into lolita. About a young girl and a slightly older boy who have to marry each other. (forgot the name)

  4. Alanna says:

    Hello Hana! I wonder what series you’re referring to! Do pick up the manga if you’re interested, I think you won’t regret it!

  5. Anya says:

    You have renewed my love for this old manga that is Glass Mask. I was watching the old anime when I was young and got completely sucked into the story, not only for the two talented actresses and the way they acted but also for the heartbreaking and so romantic love story betwen Maya and Masumi. When I read your articles I realized there has been a manga before the anime and read the 170 chapters of the manga’s scanlations ! I just can’t wait for this story to go on and luckily have a happy ending for Maya and Masumi…oh crap I’m so addicted T_T

    I also read the Count Cain series which I liked very much, now I find all others Kaori Yuki’s manga kind of plain compared to this story

  6. Alanna says:

    Anya, I know exactly what you mean about being addicted to Glass Mask! I was really addicted to it too, and stayed up really late just to read as much as I could… 😀

    Glad you also tried Count Cain! I really think that Godchild is the pinnacle of Kaori Yuki’s career, everything else before and after is not that impressive. However, if you are not averse to a little shounen-ai, I really enjoyed Boys Next Door too. It’s a one-off manga by Kaori Yuki which I found quite fascinating.

  7. Shu says:

    Late reply, almost one year.

    I read Glass Mask too!! XD Besides the performance aspects of the plays in the manga, I also like it that Ayumi isn’t some one-dimensional token rival who exist to torture the main chara but has a background, personality and talent of her own. And she doesn’t even torture Maya in the least, even though she realises Maya’s raw talent exceed hers but wants to strive to be better and win by her own efforts.

  8. Ami says:

    Wow I’m totally in love with Godchild as well, still missing volume 1 and 7-8 though.
    And Alanna, I wanted to say that I love your blog, and that this summer I’m going to Singapore, and I was wondering is there any place to get lolita clothes there?

    • Alanna says:

      Hello Ami! Glad to see you here! There used to be a brick and mortar store here called Black Alice, but they’ve since closed their main physical store down and mostly sell online and via a small store along this street called Haji Lane now. You could probably check blackalice.com to confirm this!

      Glad you like the blog, thanks very much! 🙂

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