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How to Make Your Obsession Their Obsession, Part 1

My dog was all looking at me like this when I got up this morning…heh, poor little guy, had no idea I was busy getting read to leave for North Western Illinois where Maruk-kun is giving his speech. Anyhoo, here we go:

How to Make Obsessions, PT. 1: Chicks

Since I’m a chick, sorry guys…I’m going to start with “chick” manga. So, here we go!

Shirahime-Syo (Tales of the Snow Goddess)

By CLAMP. This is one of my personal favorites–I never get tired of it. I let someone borrow it once, and alas! I have not seen it since. Just goes to show the power of this manga, though, because they shortly thereafter got into Full Metal Alchemist and Death Note. By the way, this person may or may not be related to me *cough cough* You know who you are! I neeeeeed this one back!


This manga is a “framed” work which consists of three stories, framed by the introduction tale, which concludes at the end of the book (hence the term framed.) These tales all tell of the heavy sorrows of loss and despair, all happening during a winter snow. For each tale, the humans believe the gentle flakes are the tears of the Snow Goddess. Although the stories are sad, they are beautifully relayed, and will bring tears to almost anybody’s eyes.

What’s good about it? Why would this appeal to anyone?

First, one good thing about it, is its length. Many people approaching manga for the first time can be daunted by the large number of volumes found in just one series: especially if they are 200 page volumes (they go quickly, but if you haven’t read them before, you may think twice.) One nice thing about Shirahime-Syo comes from it being a stand-alone manga. The volume contains itself. Often, if it’s just one little manga, a reader might think “okay…I can give this a shot. It’s not too long, and it’s not a 44 volume series.”

Second, the graphics are astounding. The manga begins in full color with beautiful painted images. The rest of the manga is done solely in ink, or a combination of ink and paints printed in black and white (the background looks suspiciously like water colors or washed out acrylic at times.) I love the detail and care that was put into making this manga a classy piece of art.

Third, the stories themselves. They are easy to grasp and understand. They’re sad, but they help you feel like it’s okay to cry. If you love to watch sad love stories, then you’ll like how this manga pulls at your heart strings! You’ll be drawn into the stories for just a short while, but you find that was enough to build a connection with the characters and feel sympathy for them.

This is really a wonderful manga, and I’d suggest it to anyone!

The Legend of Chun Hyang

By CLAMP. I read this one a long time ago and had to go back and reread it for the post! That’s part of what’s taking me so long. I think this is a good one for girls that like “kick-butt” attitude from their heroines. I’ll explain what I mean shortly.


In Korea, there’s a legend about a woman named Chun Hyang: she’s generally a symbol of chastity. The story goes, that in spite of being a “commoner” she married the nobleman Mong Ryong, and when they got separated, she refused to marry anyone else: causing her to eventually be thrown in jail. CLAMP takes this folktale and puts their own spin to it. Here, Chun Hyang becomes a martial arts master who defends the good from a band of rulers oppressing the common man.

What’s good about it? Why would this appeal to anyone?

For anyone who likes the Chicks in Chain-Mail series of fantasy short stories, you’ll love this one. Chun Hyang is all about kicking ass in this manga. She’s tough, yet sensitive, and has a huge sense of justice. Plus, she’s willing to put herself in harms way to defend the meek and try to set things right in her hometown. Her bravery is appreciated by those unable to help themselves. She’s an excellent role model and her strong character helps boost the moral of women in today’s culture: in a time when women had no rights, she kept to her ideals and defended her beliefs. Plus, she always gets her way, which is fun to read about.

Along the way, she meets a man named Mong Ryong, who has come to investigate complaints about the local rulers. This additional character adds an element of romance the novel, so if you’re a fool for unlikely love, this is a good manga to read. I like how well they play off each other, and how even though his character is cool, he is there to act a support for our heroine. He also adds a bit of comedic relief through some of his actions and his unprecedented hunger.

This was both fun, and sad at times. It’s a good combination of both, and you’ll like the graphics as well!

Inu Yasha

By Rumiko Takahashi. I really want to finish this series so bad! It’s one of the first long series I got into! I love it I love it I love it! The anime is how I was first introduced to it; it was played on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. I like both, but I have to say, I enjoy the manga more! *I must get the rest of the series!


Kagome is a typical school girl from Japan. She tries to study hard, but like all her friends, she wishes to find love, as well. One day, while working at her grandfather’s shrine (she lives there, too, with her mom, grandfather, and brother, Sota) she’s pulled down their old well and gets transported back into Feudal Japan. She finds the half human, half demon Inu Yasha bound to a tree by a spiritual arrow, and soon discovers she’s the reincarnation of his former would-be lover and Shikon defender, the Priestess Kikyo. Through an accident, the powerful Shikon Jewel–containing both bad demons and a powerful priestess–gets pulled from Kagome’s body and shattered across the world. Resisting to help at first, Inu Yasha’s power is partially bound (by an enchanted necklace placed on him to control him.) Wishing to find the Jewel for himself, he eventually agrees to aid Kagome and the two set of an adventure which steadily grows darker and darker, until their main adversary, Naraku (a powerful, evil demon from Inu Yasha’s past) is revealed.

What’s good about it? Why would this appeal to anyone?

Inu Yasha has this amazingly complex love triangle that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. I’m not gonna lie, it’s one of the main things that drew me to the series, besides all the awesome action it has! Takahashi, like CLAMP, has a good skill of blending romance with story and action. This “fairy tale” is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat with different plot twists and numerous secrets uncovered along the way. Plus, the tangled web connecting all the characters eventually lead to their scariest, most intelligent, diabolical enemy yet: Naraku. You love to hate this guy, he’s just rotten to the core–literally. I don’t want to give out too many spoilers, but really, this guy was never any good, and the labyrinthine plots he sets to toy with the protagonists just boggle your mind.

The characters are complex, and have interesting backgrounds. One of my favorites is Sango, the demon hunter. I’m also a fan of Sesshomaru, Inu Yasha’s full blooded demon brother.

It’s a pretty long series, but it’s certainly worth the read! This manga helped me convert one of my good friends from High School…well, she didn’t take my word for it, but later a friend of hers in college turned her onto it (Nyah! 😛 Should have listened, shouldn’t you!?) This girl I didn’t think would ever come around, but she did!

All right! Next time, look forward to more persuasion!

How to Make Obsessions, PT. 2: Dudes

Coming soon! I can’t wait! Talk to you all later!

Ashleen Woods
~The Blue Dragon~

Posted in All You Need to know about Manga, Blog: Cerulean Sessions.

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