OFPL Staff Recommends – Shawnna M.

This blog allows OFPL staff members to share suggestions for reading, viewing, or listening. Our cataloger Shawnna shares some of her favorite titles. Although she spends her time adding new books to our collection, many of you will remember her from her years in Circulation. Shawnna’s fondness for manga is one reason our collection upstairs has been updated.

Shawnna Reports from the Cataloging Corner

For me, when it comes to graphic novels, a compelling story is not as important as likable characters and beautiful art. With graphic novels, I can be a little shallow. I will tolerate a mediocre story if the art is good enough, but I won’t bother with a good story if the art is not to my liking. And my preference for art leans towards “manga” styles rather than “superhero” types.  

I am happy to see the adult graphic novels pulled out from the fiction section where people may not have seen them. I hope this new arrangement helps people to discover them and find something new!

With that out of the way, here are a few manga series that I am currently enjoying.  

Komi Can’t Communicate by Tomohito Oda 

This story features a collection of characters with “communication disorders” who interact in various humorous ways. The titular character, Komi, exhibits some form of selective mutism. Her silence combined with her beauty and demeanor lead people to make assumptions (usually incorrect) about her.  

This is a light-hearted series with lots of good laughs and nice art. I love the way the characters’ facial expressions say so much. As someone who is shy and inhibited, I can relate to Komi at times (although I’m not nearly as extreme!). I would love to see this one adapted into an anime.  

Blue Flag by Kaito 

This is a slice-of-life romance/drama. It’s kind of standard manga fare with a high school setting and first love drama — but this one features a love quadrangle! Usually, you know how these stories are going to end right from the start. With this one, I’m not quite as sure, but the characters are likable enough that I’m excited to see how everything will unfold. 

 

 

Wotakoi, Love is Hard for Otaku by Fujita 

This series is packed with references to pop culture, video games, and anime/manga. The characters are all otaku trying to navigate love and life while keeping their geeky tendencies in check. I like that the characters are (young) adults. Even though it pretty much follows the same formula as most manga which feature high school kids, it’s still nice to see some of the drama revolve around the woes of working. 

There has been a long delay for Volume 4 but hopefully it can be released soon (you can get on the hold list)! 

If you want to see more of this series while you wait, you can request books through other libraries. You can request items through our website.

The Fox & the Little Tanuki by Mi Tagawa 

This is one of those art over story types I mentioned. There’s only one volume available at the moment and the story is not particularly compelling – but the art! The characters are mostly all animals and they are so cute and fun. If you like animals and maybe Japanese folklore, give this one a go. 

But don’t forget to check out our other graphic novel sections. Young adult graphic novels and manga are also upstairs — under the window to the left as you come off the stairs.

The children’s graphic novels are sandwiched between the nonfiction and “J” books.

If you ever have trouble finding something, be sure to ask a friendly staff member who can point you in the right direction or request items that are not available here.

Inspired by Shawnna’s Suggestions:

Tokyo Geek’s Guide: Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols & More – The Ultimate Guide to Japan’s Otaku CultureTokyo is ground zero for Japan’s famous “geek” or otaku culture—a phenomenon that has now swept across the globe.

This is the most comprehensive Japan travel guide ever produced which features Tokyo’s geeky underworld. It provides a comprehensive run-down of each major Tokyo district where geeks congregate, shop, play and hang out—from hi-tech Akihabara and trendy Harajuku to newer and lesser-known haunts like chic Shimo-Kita and working-class Ikebukuro.

Dozens of iconic shops, restaurants, cafes and clubs in each area are described in loving detail with precise directions to get to each location. Maps, URLs, opening hours and over 400 fascinating color photographs bring you around Tokyo on an unforgettable trip to the centers of Japanese manga, anime and geek culture. Interviews with local otaku experts and people on the street let you see the world from their perspective and provide insights into Tokyo and Japanese culture, which will only continue to spread around the globe.

Japanese pop culture, in its myriad forms, is more widespread today than ever before—with J-Pop artists playing through speakers everywhere, Japanese manga filling every bookstore; anime cartoons on TV; and toys and video games, like Pokemon Go, played by tens of millions of people.

This is the go-to resource for those planning a trip, or simply dreaming of visiting one day!

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