Manga for the Beginner: Everything You Need to Start Drawing Right Away!  

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Title: Manga for the Beginner: Everything You Need to Start Drawing Right Away!
Author: Christopher Hart
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill (August 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0823030830
ISBN-13: 978-0823030835
Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches

Are you addicted to manga? Do you love the beauty of the drawing art? Are you also a collector of any manga book art? Do you feel impressed by the manga characters, the fashion (clothing and costumes), also the drawing of the actions?

Now, all those things are drawn by the mangaka (manga author). How about trying to draw them by yourself? Or, even trying to create your own characters, and even starting your own manga?

That might be a very big project for most of us. However, trying to draw for a hobby, or starting to draw as investment for your future career, that's nothing to lose if we try to learn this as a new thing. Nobody knows their future for sure. If you are so addicted to manga, why not with learning to draw something for yourself, for fun? Who knows if you will be a mangaka in the future? :)

Now I'm presenting you "Manga for the Beginner: Everything You Need to Start Drawing Right Away!" by Christopher Hart.

This book teaches everything we need to begin with drawing manga, or at least a manga character. What makes this book different from other how-to-draw-manga books aimed at newbies out there, is the author tries to stick with something "truly authentic" (according to himself, in the Introduction chapter), while the other books out there showed mostly Americanized manga.

The book contains drawing step-by-step tutorials:
  • boy and girl with the head parts, the eyes, the hair.
  • main techniques of drawing body: with points of view, poses, age and height comparison, hands.
  • the clothing, outfits, costumes.
  • dynamic action poses.
  • various popular characters: from chibi girls, teens, handsome characters, fighters, and even vampires.
  • wait! There are also cute animals you can learn to draw! ;)
  • anthros (animals that are drawn to mimic people).
  • shounen characters (so this is not only for shoujo fans).
  • don't forget about the basic drawing techniques, because these are the main things you need in drawing the whole manga especially the backgrounds and environments: lines, tones and special effects, lighting and glowing, perspectives, and sequential panels. We will always find all these things in every manga, no matter how we often forget the details and only focus on the characters beauty faces. :)

The drawing examples will catch your eyes as soon as you see them, such drawing styles will attract you to keep following the tutorials. The directions themselves are easy to follow with good tips for drawing. So, for anyone who wants to draw manga or even just simple manga characters, this is really the right book to start off at.

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manga: Faster Than A Kiss (キスよりも早く, Kisu Yori mo Hayaku)  

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Title: Faster than a Kiss
Original Japanese Title: キスよりも早く (Kisu Yori mo Hayaku)
Alternative Titles: Kiss Yori mo Hayaku, Kisu Yori mo Hayaku, Tsuki to Himawari
Author: Meca Tanaka (田中メカ, TANAKA Meca)

Type: Manga
Publishers: Hakusensha
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shoujo

If you want a manga about romance in school life, giving you a great laugh (especially between student vs teacher), and still making you have a sigh (on the progress of the main characters relationship development), well, give this a try.
This is between KAJI Fumino and OJIRO Kazuma.

KAJI Fumino is a 16-year-old girl who is often described as an delinquent in Kumaneko High School. But she is not, it is just because she always interrupts bullies and other bad students in violent ways. She has a good sense of justice after all, the matter is ... she has a strong personality but sometimes loses her temper.

She has a little brother (Teppei) whom she protects so much. Their parents died in a car accident, so she had to become responsible for her little brother. As a result, she has become more mature and practical than others her age.

So everything starts with Fumino and her brother hop from one relative to another. Finally, getting tired with all those moving, Fumino decides to quit school, to support her brother on her own. Nobody has been seeking for her, except OJIRO Kazuma, her 24-year-old English teacher who suddenly appears in front of her, even agrees to her demanding of marrying and supporting both her and her brother, to her shock.

Is this teacher serious or just playing around?
How is their marriage life? And how is the development of this teacher-student relationship?

If you want to get a good laugh, and legitimate teacher-student relationship (they are married after all), and you don't mind any romance between teacher-student as the plot is not immoral compared to some other teacher-student relationship manga out there. For example, even though they are married, Fumino and Kazuma sleep separately. He occasionally sleeps in Fumino's room, but only next to Teppei. Just examine the way Kazuma treated Fumino and her brother, give this manga a try.

Some things are truly interesting about Kazuma himself. Never underestimate his appearance as "plain, glasses-wearing English teacher". There is truly something really cool about him that will reveal as you keep reading through chapters of the story. Kazuma isn't open about his past. However, as the story keeps flowing, it is revealed that Kazuma was once in a gang, so Kazuma used to be a delinquent when he was younger. According to his old "gang" friends, he was called as Jigoku no Mā-kun (地獄のまーくん) or Mā-kun from Hell, because he beat up 100 motorcycle gang members without getting even a single scratch. He still has such formidable fighting abilities. So it seems that there are some reasons on why he became a delinquent, was forsaken by his family, left home, and somehow he finally turned away from his dark path and becomes a teacher to pave a new phase of life. At the end, he is a gentleman with flaws which is actually hard to find (some can say he is every woman's dream), even in the world of Shojo manga nowadays.

Just a warning: once a reader has picked up this manga, the reader will be unable to resist reading until the end. Girls and women can't go wrong with this romance comedy. This is really worth to read.

Volume 1 contains an extra story titled "Tsuki to Himawari".

The manga is still ongoing, and the series has 6 volumes in total until November 2009.

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manga: Glass Mask (ガラスの仮面, Garasu no Kamen)  

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Title: Glass Mask
Original Japanese Title: ガラスの仮面 (Garasu no Kamen)
Alternative Titles: Glass Mask, Mask of Glass, Garasu no Kamen, Glass no Kamen, 千面女郎, 玻璃面具, La Máscara de Hielo, Il Grande Sogno di Maya, 유리가면, Topeng Kaca
Author: Suzue Miuchi (美内すずえ, MIUCHI Suzue)

Type: Manga
Publishers: Hakusensha
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice of Life

Glass Mask (ガラスの仮面, Garasu no Kamen) is a very old shoujo manga series (later anime version has also been created) that is still ongoing even in Japan, which is truly worth to read. It has been serialized in Hana to Yume from January 1976, and collected in 43 tankoubon volumes as of January 26, 2009, and the manga still continues, leading the curiosity of the readers.

Basically this manga is a saga about the main character (KITAJIMA Maya) journey of life and her devotion to performing arts as a professional stage artist, competing her rival (HIMEKAWA Ayumi) in pursuing the acting proficiency degree to play the lead role of the legendary stage play "Kurenai Tennyo" or "The Crimson Goddess". Compared to Ayumi who is talented, from high class background, beautiful, well educated, Maya is absolutely underestimated by most people in the entertainment world. However, Maya's acting talent is outstanding, she can become a totally different person on the stage, that's why even Ayumi considers her as a threat and a strong rival. The most proving event is when both of them finally become candidates for the next Crimson Goddess role, selected by the former Crimson Goddess' artist herself, TSUKIKAGE Chigusa.

The legendary "Kurenai Tennyo" itself has never been played for many years after the legendary artist TSUKIKAGE Chigusa got an accident on the stage that ruined her beautiful face. TSUKIKAGE Chigusa disappeared from public's attention, seeking for a successor to play the Goddess' role behind the scene, after so many years, she discovered KITAJIMA Maya's talents in acting, adopted Maya into her own acting school.

However, there have been many people aiming to get the role and the right to hold the legendary stage performance, including Daito company, that have always done everything to get what they want, including playing dirty politic to destroy whoever that hinders their way. The plot grows more interesting as Daito's young president himself (HAYAMI Masumi) later fell in love with Maya secretly after watching her stage performance, finding out how she has needed support, he later becomes her daddy-long-legs, supporting her behind the scene. This grows into an ironic love story, as Maya hates him especially after she found out that Masumi was the one who indirectly caused her mother's death. Ironically interesting for readers too, as Daito company themselves have been seeking to promote Ayumi as the next Crimson Goddess.

So how the complicated plots of the story will grow? Who will become the next Crimson Goddess then? For the most people, Ayumi is outstanding, she will overcome Maya easily, especially with her charm, her skills and experience in acting, and her beauty that is widely acknowledged. Maya has incredible surprising acting talents, however she is just a so-so common girl for most people, from her appearance.

Who will later win the audience's hearts? Who will become the next Crimson Goddess?
Who will later get the right to hold the performance?

And ... how about the secret daddy-long-legs, HAYAMI Masumi? Most readers are looking forward to see how the relationship between Masumi and Maya will become too.

So, from the saga, romance, plots, everything within this Glass Mask (ガラスの仮面, Garasu no Kamen) manga is worth to read and to follow. No wonder, since the year 1976 until this year (2009), from grandmother generation until current teenagers, this manga still has a special place in the readers' hearts. Every fan of this manga has been eager to know how the story will end, plus if their wish for the certain main characters will be fulfilled.

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