Standout Panels – Death Note Manga Vol. 1

Most manga posts talk about the plot and characters. Panels, gutter, speech bubbles, sound effects, font, motion lines, and overall page layout are sometimes overlooked when in fact, the impact of these definitely make a contribution to the work.

Spoilers ahead.

1. Context

Light picked up the Death Note, which grants the user the ability to kill a person provided that they know the name and face of the person they wish to kill. He has just finished reading the rules of the Death Note.

Thoughts

The bottom panel is all black. This foreshadows that Light will use the Death Note. Although in an earlier panel he says that it’s stupid, there is a contradiction between what he is saying and what the panel shows us.

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2. Context

Light tested the Death Note in person. He wrote ‘traffic accident’ as cause of death, and a traffic accident happened right in front of him.

Thoughts

This death confirmed that the Death Note is real. The entire page is dedicated to this one panel. One, the death is shocking to Light and shocking to us as well. Two, we can bet that things will only get more interesting from here on in.

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3. Context

At a G8 Summit, officials representing countries from around the world are arguing over Kira. Kira is the name given to the killer of the criminals. As we know, Light is Kira and he has been mass-killing criminals in order to create a “better world.”

Thoughts

I am focusing on the last panel of this page, but the entire page works as a whole because the rest of the panels emphasize the importance of the text in the last panel. This page is cluttered! There’s a lot of people and bickering, represented by the spiky speech bubbles. Then there’s the last panel, and the background is white. The text silences everyone. From this, we know that L is a very important person.

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4. Context

The top half is a flashback, while the bottom half is present day. In the flashback, L talks about a direct confrontation with Kira. In the present day, the Japanese police are watching the public broadcast for the direct confrontation.

Thoughts

Instead of focusing on the panels this time, I am focusing on the gutter. The gutter is the space between the panels. Normally it is all white. However, because we have a flashback, the gutter is black. We can tell that it is a flashback because of the gutter. Then, the gutter gradually transitions from black to white. This signifies that we are brought back to the present.

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5. Context

A man by the name of Lind L. Tailor claims to be L on TV, and says that Kira is evil. This riles up Light, and he writes down the man’s name in the Death Note.

Thoughts

Light usually writes the names on the lines but here, he writes Lind L. Tailor’s in huge letters. The first letter of the name takes up the space of over five lines! Light’s writing is not straight and you can tell that he wrote this quickly. Just by looking at his writing, you know how Light was feeling. He was pissed!

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6. Context

So it turns out that Lind L. Tailor is not the real L. Now the real L is talking to Kira through the same public broadcast. L managed to dupe Light by proving that Kira exists, that Kira is able to kill without being present, and that Kira is located in the Kanto region of Japan.

Thoughts

Look at those motion lines! Motion lines are usually done when there’s an action, but we have a television screen in this panel. The scene is dramatic and it shows how amazing L is.

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I hope that by writing this post, everyone will appreciate all the decisions made in manga and ALL comics!

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Shounen Ai Recommendations

Shounen ai is the genre for boys love manga and webtoons. It’s different from yaoi because it’s suitable for people under 18 (meaning there’s no sex involved). These are my top 3 shounen ai series.

These are very sweet and cute series. There’s no rape involved at all. I say this because a lot of yaoi series have rape scenes, which is unfortunate. Not only that, but a lot of BL series have poor representation of LGBTQ+. I am referring to older series, so I’m hoping that with time there will be better representation and CONSENT! I’m not saying that those series should not exist because I’m not one to police what people should or shouldn’t read – it would be a good change for sure though.

1. Here U Are – Ongoing, by Chinese author DJun

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Synopsis

Most people think that LiHuan is scary-looking because he is very tall, which is why he does not have many friends. He’s also not very sociable. YuYang enters his life because his job is to welcome the new university students and the two get along quite well.

Thoughts

The art is phenomenal. Every panel is in colour and the way the author DRAWS. FACIAL. EXPRESSIONS. aaaaaaaaa

Every panel is carefully planned. I am a fairly quick reader so I usually zoom through comics but when I read this, I have to slow down to absorb all the details. The faint blush, the way LiHuan looks at YuYang!!

LiHuan treats YuYang extremely well. The pacing is quite slow, but it’s worth the wait.

2. Cherry Blossoms After Winter – Ongoing webtoon, by Korean author Bamwoo

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Synopsis 

Haebom’s parents passed away when he was very little, and he’s been living in his mother’s friend’s house. Taesung is his age and they live under the same roof. Haebom is shy and often gets picked on by others. Taesung, on the other hand, is very popular at school.

Thoughts

I read this before I watched My Hero Academia, but I have to say this. Haebom is so similar to Izuku and Taesung is so similar to Todoroki. If you ship Izuku with Todoroki, then you will like this series! 

I like this series because Taesung never bullies Haebom. In fact, he treats him very well and protects him too.

3. Hidamari ga Kikoeru – Ongoing manga, by FUMINO Yuki

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Synopsis 

Taichi is a college student looking for work, and he meets Kouhei, a student with a severe hearing disability. Despite rumours, Taichi believes that Kouhei is a good person for sharing his lunch, and befriends him. Taichi becomes a note taker for Kouhei, in exchange for bento lunch.

Thoughts

This is one of the more realistic manga I’ve read, which is rare to come across. They become very good friends and their relationship is so pure. There are some sad moments, which adds onto the realistic element of living with a disability.

If you are interested in more shonen ai series, here are more cute ones:

  • Dress Him Up (Korean webtoon)
  • Fools (Korean webtoon)
  • Meeting Him (Korean webtoon)

 

Why I Love Izaya

Izaya Orihara is my favourite anime character. When I tell this to people who have watched Durarara!! they usually ask me why I love him. One friend told me he would punch Izaya if he met him in person. Even my brother does not like Izaya.

Let’s start with who he is. Izaya is an underground information broker. He’s one of the main antagonists in the series and he basically caused most of the drama and violence, which is why a lot of people don’t like him.

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I do think that Izaya is attractive, but there’s so much more to it than that. Good looks may be enough for me to make him my favourite character in DRRR but not enough for him to be my favourite character of all time!

Let’s start with looks first. I do have a “type” in anime boys LOL and they are boys with dark hair. Lelouch from Code Geass, Ikuto from Shugo Chara, Lucifer from Devil is a Part-Timer, Levi from Attack on Titan, and Yato from Noragami are other examples of this. I used to like boys with long white hair and boys with red hair but now it’s black or purple hair. I like Izaya’s clothes and the rings he wears. I like how he carries a knife around, especially with all the gang violence going on in Ikebukuro. I mean, he is responsible for almost all the drama LOL. I love his voice (Japanese) too.

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People tell me that Izaya is crazy and I can see why they say that. He did stomp on a girl’s cellphone just for fun. I also have a history of liking characters who do questionable things, especially since most of my favourite characters are villains. Tomura from My Hero Academia, Hidan from Naruto Shippuden, and Suzuya from Tokyo Ghoul are also my favourite characters. I like villains because they make the story interesting. What would a story be without an antagonist?

I have to make this clear though: Just because I like a FICTIONAL character, does not mean I agree or support everything they do. It just means that I like them. I’m not going to justify Izaya’s actions in this post.

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Another thing that makes me love an anime character is intelligence. Conan from Detective Conan, Light and L from Death Note, Shikamaru from Naruto, and Lelouch are intelligent characters that make the show interesting. Although it is often overlooked, Izaya is very intelligent. He is successful at what he does and is the manipulative mastermind behind many of the misunderstandings that happened in DRRR.

What really made me like him were his quotes and his philosophy on life. Every time I truly fall for a character or celebrity, it’s because they made a real impact on my life. 

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Prior to watching DRRR, I was quick to judge other peoples’ faults without checking myself. How can I expect those close to me to be perfect human beings if I have faults myself? It was a reality check and I do think it changed my outlook on life. I accepted the parts I didn’t like about certain people and I felt happier.

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His quote on evolving is one of my favourite quotes. I love how unexpected events make Izaya laugh. Spoiler alert: Izaya has been robbed, stabbed and kidnapped but he just rolls with it.

When something doesn’t go the way I planned it to, I just need to remind myself to “evolve” and then I can change my entire outlook of the situation. Then I am back to normal. Lately I’ve been forgetting to remind myself of this quote but when I do think about it, I change my mindset and I feel so much better!

One of the reasons why I love the game, Catherine (I wrote about it in a previous blog post) is because I had to continuously adapt to the circumstances in order to survive. It’s a similar concept.

I don’t believe in God. Because he doesn’t have a fixed form. The past certainly does exist, even in a world where the future doesn’t have a fixed form. Even if it’s being colored by misunderstandings and delusions, a person’s past can’t be anything but the truth as long as he believes in it. If that’s what you base your actions or your way of life on, isn’t that like being god?” – Izaya Orihara

Interpret this quote as you will, but it helped me. I am an atheist, but it’s the last part of the quote that’s more important to me. Prior to watching and reading DRRR manga and light novels, I let something that I did affect me for a couple of years. The quote helped me realize that I didn’t want the past to control me like that anymore and afterwards I became much happier.

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Izaya’s favourite quote is the following:

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” – Oscar Wilde

I agree with Wilde’s quote, and it’s similar to my blog’s name, Wretched and Divine. I have been asked why my blog is named ‘Wretched and Divine’ so I will address that now! It’s named after an album by Black Veil Brides. Andy Biersack, singer of BVB, sums it up.

I think on any given day somebody could help out a homeless person and cuss out somebody that cut them off in traffic and I think that everybody has that inside them, it’s just how you live that balance – so I think everybody is ‘Wretched and Divine.’ – Andy Biersack

Back to Izaya – Izaya and I think about a lot of the same things. Not only that, but his quotes got me to think and see life a little bit differently.

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Izaya does things for fun. My favourite singer, Hua Chenyu is similar because he doesn’t care what others think and is individualistc. Hua Chenyu once talked about changing your mindset when you cannot make up your own rules in a structured environment. It’s the reality of the real world, while DRRR is fiction. One of the reasons why I love One Piece is because the main characters are pirates, and can do what they want. I feel like these people are the most authentic. Anyways, this might be confusing, lol.

A bit random, but Izaya and I both dislike sweets and like sushi and bitter foods. (I like bitter melon a lot.) He also has a cute side to him!

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Relatable Anime Characters

I don’t know if these anime characters and quotes will be relatable to you because everyone is different, but they are to me.

1. Usagi from Sailor Moon

Usagi says exactly what I’m thinking. Sailor Moon has so many awesome quotes. I did enjoy the anime a ton when I was in elementary school so yes, I recommend it.

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I don’t know about you, but I used to have this thought before I even knew this was a Sailor Moon quote.

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Same…

2. Umaru from Himouto! Umaru-chan

Umaru is the perfect model student at school but when she’s at home, she acts pretty differently. I would not say that I’m a model student because I don’t act that much different in public but her home life is similar to mine.

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Pop, snacks, manga, games, comfy clothes and blanket make up my paradise too. ^^

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When people message me when I’m watching a good episode, I don’t reply LOL.

3. Any fushoji in anime…

Anime: Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii

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4. Lucifer from The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Lucifer is a NEET who likes playing games and browsing the internet. He’s also very lazy. Except for the NEET part, I feel him on a spiritual level. Side note: He’s so good-looking!

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5. Snorlax from Pokemon

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Snorlax is my favourite Pokemon and he stays true to himself. He likes to sleep and eat. 😀

Honourable mentions:

  • Shikamaru from Naruto (because he’s lazy)
  • Luffy from One Piece (because he loves to eat)
  • Alice from Heaven’s Memo Pad (She doesn’t like leaving the house, and loves stuffed animals and Dr. Pepper!)
  • Roronoa Zoro from One Piece (He’s directionally challenged)
  • Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist (He’s short and young-looking)

Anime Impressions: Ace Attorney

Ace Attorney is an amazing Nintendo DS game series. I’m currently finishing the first two games and have the third game of the trilogy at home. Last night, I found out that an anime exists and I watched some episodes.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ace Attorney, usually a murder happens and a suspect is apprehended by the police. The main character is Phoenix Wright, a defense attorney, who has to convince the court that the suspect is innocent. He investigates the crime scene, interviews people and picks up clues. In the courtroom, he has to find contradictions in statements by different witnesses. Sometimes the real culprit is revealed at the start of the case, so the focus is on figuring out the motives behind the murder and how they did it.

Prior to watching it, I saw that its rating on My Anime List was not very good. It seemed like it wasn’t a very good anime so I didn’t have high expectations going into it. I watched some episodes in English sub and one episode in English dub. I usually only watch anime with English subtitles but the English voice actors did a good job! The 2016 anime covers the first two games in the trilogy and apparently another season is coming out this October 2018, which will cover the cases in the third game.

When I looked at the graphics, the first thing I noticed were Phoenix’s eyebrows.

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They look over the top, right? Then I realized something. Oh wait, Phoenix’s eyebrows ARE like that in the game too! Even though he looks ridiculous here, that’s just how he looks and I like that the characters’ appearances stayed true to the game. Another thing that might create distance with watchers are the exaggerated facial expressions the characters make.

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If you’ve played the games, you’ll know that this sort of face is nothing new. The game can get ridiculously funny a lot of the times. My point is: The anime is showcasing the kinds of things we see in the games. It’s mirroring the game well. I love that the game’s music is played during the trials.

There are minor changes in the anime, but the court scenes were faithful to the game’s events. The plot and cases were mostly the same, which I liked. Episode 13 strayed from the game’s plot because they added new content about Phoenix’s childhood with Miles and Larry but I don’t have any complaints. It was a really sweet episode and I loved it a lot! The game did not give as much focus on Phoenix’s relationship with Miles when they were little.

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One case from each game were missing in the anime. They were the last case in the first game and first case in the second game. I’m not sure why they were left out, but it’s not a huge deal. You don’t need to be familiar with the games in order to enjoy the anime!!

My one complaint is that the cases don’t seem too hard in the anime. Trust me, the game can get pretty challenging. Phoenix in the game spends a lot of time travelling back and fourth to different places for his investigation in order to find clues to help his case. It is time-consuming and finding contradictions can get a little difficult. However, if Phoenix spent a lot of time on everything, then the anime would feel really long and boring. It’s not as fun if you’re not the one doing the work.

My final verdict: I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I enjoyed this anime. I don’t agree with the poor ratings and this post is my defense. Of course, the game is far more superior. The anime does not even come close, but it is still enjoyable! The extra childhood scenes in episode 13 influenced this decision.

Seasonal Anime Impressions: Fall 2017/Winter 2018/Spring 2018

It is late, but I didn’t have time to write this post when I had school. I don’t actually watch that many seasonal shows because 1) I had school, 2) I watch a lot of older shows and 3) I am extremely selective about the shows I watch. I watch shows I know I will be interested in. I do my research first by reading your blog posts. 😉

I have seen a lot more seasonal shows, but I’m only going to write about shows I have seen more than a couple episodes of. I don’t think I can talk about shows in this post if I only watched one episode.

Fall 2017

Net-juu no Susume – Completed (highly recommend)

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I binged this one! Everything about it was good. It was very cute.  Although, I wish there were more romantic scenes. I get that it was realistic but please… progress faster.

Ah, there was controversy regarding the director of the anime. His anti-Semitism views are awful but one person’s views should not reflect a TEAM. I will continue to like the show because Dir. Kazuyoshi Yaginuma does not make up the whole show. Net-juu no Susume is more than him.

Blend S – Dropped

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I talked about this in my Anime I’ve Dropped post. I knew five minutes in the show that I wouldn’t like it but I watched it at my school’s anime club.

Winter 2018

Citrus – Dropped

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I’ve read the manga and dropped it before it got an anime adaptation. I watched the anime because I was curious but I knew I wasn’t going to continue it.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni – Completed (recommend)

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It started off great but it drifted into a completely different plot. I still liked the new theme on friendships but it was misleading! If you’re going to make the show about friendships instead of romance, start it off at that way. I felt deceived. I still enjoyed the show a lot because the theme on friendships was great. The visuals were breathtaking and the music was amazing. I really love the ending song.

I still feel deceived though. -.-

Miira no Kaikata (recommend)

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It’s so cute! I normally don’t watch shows like this because I like shows with more serious topics. I didn’t learn anything from this show but it was worth watching because it was so cute.

Spring 2018

My Hero Academia 3rd Season – Currently Watching (recommend)

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I keep seeing My Hero Academia EVERYWHERE. It’s all over my Twitter and Instagram accounts and you know that feeling when you see something again and again? You start feeling annoyed by it and I think all the excitement over it has made me drop it to ‘recommend’ instead of ‘highly recommend.’ Nonetheless, I will finish it to the end.

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii – Currently Watching (highly recommend)

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It’s about a fujoshi dating a gamer. They’re both otaku and it’s about their daily life. They are friends with another otaku couple and the girl is a cosplayer. It’s nice to see otaku having fun LOL.

I would say that 90% of my IRL friends do not watch anime. Everyone knows I like anime but everyone is super supportive and accepting of me which is why it’s not an issue. It’s cute when people talk to me about anime even though they are not a big fan of it. They know I like it and it’s the effort that counts. Talking about non-anime things is perfectly fine with me. It’s flipped for online friends. 90% of my online friends are anime bloggers. So why am I talking about this? Well, Wotakoi shows a life that I do not have. It’s nice to see. 🙂

P.S. The opening song is growing on me. I LOVE it, hahaha.

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Fall 2017, I fell in love with Sakurai from Net-juu no Susume. In the winter season I fell in love with Tazuki from Miira no Kaikata. Now I’m majorly in love with Hirotaka from Wotaku ni Koi wa MuzukashiiI swear I watch anime for the plot.

My Favourite Anime

Many people ask me what anime I like. I’m not a big fan of shojo anime anymore.

Death Note (2006 – 2007) – 37 episodes

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This was my favourite anime for many, many years. Now it’s my second favourite anime. It’s about a high school genius called Light Yagami who picks up a notebook from the ground. The notebook is called ‘Death Note’ and if you write a person’s name in it, they will die. You can also write down the time and cause of death. Light decides to become the “god of the world” and purge all criminals. The public knows Light as ‘Kira.’

It’s super interesting because it’s like a game of cat and mouse between Light and the greatest detective, L. L wants to catch Kira and you get to see two opposing sides of justice. I used to ask people who they support more and the answers were pretty mixed. Is Light a bad guy?

I love all the tricks and the soundtrack is the best I’ve heard in anime. It is popular all around the world. Some elementary schools have banned Death Note and there have been copycat crimes. There was an American Netflix adaptation. I watched it and they made heavy changes to the characters. It is definitely not on the same level of greatness as Death Note, the manga or anime, so I definitely encourage you to watch the anime or read the manga. You will see how Light changes after possessing the Death Note.

Inuyashiki (2017) – 11 episodes

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One night at a park, an explosion takes place and two people are killed. The extraterrestrial beings that caused the explosion repair their bodies but turn the two people into robots. The two people are Inuyashiki, a 50 year old man who looks like a grandpa, and a teenager named Hiro. With their robot bodies, they are able to do a lot of things that humans cannot do, such as cure diseases, heal people, kill people, control technology, and fly into space. Inuyashiki uses his powers to do good and heal people. Hiro, on the other hand, uses his powers to mass murder people.

It’s very interesting to see how people react differently to new powers. I was interested from the start, but I wasn’t hooked until I watched episode 6. That’s when things really picked up. The ending made sense to me because I’m not sure how they would end it otherwise. It was kind of expected. The last episode showed President Trump and their depiction of him.

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 Attack on Titan (2013 – present) – 37 episodes & ongoing

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Titans are huge creatures that eat people. Because of this, all the humans are forced to live within these walls and the anime follows a guy named Eren who becomes a member of the Survey Corps. The Survey Corps go outside of the walls and investigate and learn more about Titans. Later on, we learn that Eren is able to transform into a Titan and the humans decide to keep Eren alive because he can help them.

A lot of people die in every episode and it might be scary for young viewers. My favourite female anime character is in this anime and her name is Mikasa. She’s one of the best at killing Titans and is not afraid to kill traitors. One thing that makes the anime interesting is that there are a lot of traitors. The first episode is really good.

Tokyo Ghoul (2015) – 12 episodes

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There is also Tokyo Ghoul √A and the ongoing season, Tokyo Ghoul:re. I haven’t caught up on the anime yet so I can’t talk about them.

Tokyo Ghoul was kind of slow for me. It wasn’t until the very last episode when I decided the whole thing was worth it. I talk about this in a lot more depth in my response post. It is spoiler-heavy so you might not want to read that yet.

Mainstream, I know. Well, things are popular for a reason. I actually read and watch just about everything. I’m not a big fan of slice of life though. Obviously these are not all the shows I like. I might do a part 2 if people are interested. Of course, I can’t not talk about One Piece.

One Piece (1999 – present) – 828 episodes & ongoing

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Death Note was bumped to second place because of One Piece. To be honest, I didn’t like One Piece in elementary school. I loved Naruto, Yu Yu Hakusho and Shaman King in the Shonen Jump magazines but I didn’t like One Piece because of the art style. It was also hard to follow. I became invested in One Piece when I was in second year university. I do believe that you need a certain kind of maturity to get into it. I loved the anime in the beginning but now I think I prefer the manga. Anime episodes get dragged on for a very long time. I’ve spent the past few days watching a backstory and the fighting has not started yet… I do both so I am far more ahead in the manga.

One Piece is about a young pirate named Monkey D. Luffy who has a dream of being the Pirate King. He forms a crew and each member has a backstory and Luffy helps them fight the people/thing they are struggling with. Brook didn’t officially join the Straw Hat Pirates until episode 381. Everyone in the crew has their own goals and ambitions. Their friendship is very strong and it’s one of the things that drew me in. The crew travels to different islands and they are usually faced with a conflict. Although pirates are typically seen as menacing, the Straw Hats are mostly good people and they have saved entire villages. The fact that they are pirates is very important to me because I like seeing how they live their lives. They all have Wanted posters and are seen as criminals by the Navy.

It is a commitment and the thing I hear the most is the fear of starting it because it is so long. That’s understandable, but you are definitely missing out. You can always read the manga instead. It’s never too late to start One Piece. Look at me, I started a couple of years ago.