Saru Demo Kakeru Manga Kyôshisu, “Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga Classroom”
Jaw-droppingly cynical, hilarious parody/analysis of manga, in the form of a veteran writer teaching an amateur artist how it’s done. The super-dense, intentionally ugly art may be an impenetrable turnoff for some readers, but those able to persevere will discover invaluable insight: the evolution of panty shots, the differences between male and female manga, even actual practical information such as how to draw straight lines. From magazines and genres to the grim realities of the business, it’s a brilliant deconstruction of manga circa 1990. Unfortunately, many chapters were cut from the first volume, and the second volume was never translated, let alone the additional material published in a 2006 21 Seiki Aizôban (“21st Century Collector’s Edition”).
Kôkyôshihen Eureka Seven, “Symphonic Psalm Eureka Seven”
Manga adaptation of the anime series. When an LFO (a sort of giant robot on a flying surfboard) crashes into his grandfather’s garage, fourteen-year-old Renton is immediately smitten with its pilot, the enigmatic Eureka. After proving his worth to her, he joins the Gekkostate, a plucky band of revolutionaries who pilot LFOs in defiance of the corrupt government. The plot involves epic sky battles and Renton’s lovesick blunders over Eureka, as well as nonspecific religious undertones with much discussion of “belief.” The manga simplifies the anime plot, in the process removing some of the explanation of the science fiction world the characters inhabit. A second manga adaptation, based on the spin-off video game Eureka Seven TR1: New Wave, was also produced in Japan.