Manga is the magical world where art, story, and imagination meet. A land of dragons, machines, magic, heroes, villains, and anything else you can dream of. Much like cartoons, manga has been associated with children here in America but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, there are manga were written with children as the intended audience, just look at Yu-gi-oh!. But, that is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, as there is manga for everyone. There are manga for car people (Initial D), manga for sports fans (Eyeshield 21), manga for people who like board games (Hikaru no Go), and so much more. This is an art form that has everyone in mind, and anyone willing to give it a look will find a place where they belong, the manga world aims to be all-inclusive.
The following list is the top five female manga creators, or mangaka, who have had some influence on my taste in manga series over the course of my life. The list is in order of how much I enjoyed the work of each of these artists, descriptions of the manga that I have read by each of these mangaka, and other major series that they have produced.
Most known for Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi was many people’s first introduction into the world of anime. While I was not a fan of Sailor Moon personally, it did show the broad range of audiences that anime and manga are able to capture. This series will always hold a place in manga/anime history as a significant introductory series.
Probably best known for her series Fushigi Yuugi, I know her for Alice 19th. This is an interesting series about a girl, Alice, who is destined to become a Lotus Master. Lotus Masters are people who use the power of words to manifest impressive abilities, most notably the ability to enter the hearts of others. This series really caught me up, partially because of the “Alice in Wonderland references, but mostly because the idea of words having power (not just in a metaphorical sense) really grabbed me as an avid reader and left me wanting to read more.
Fruits Basket is a remarkably well-known series. This is a fun story about a family that embodies the Zodiac and transform when hugged by someone of the opposite gender. Natsuki Takaya also has another well-known series, Tsubasa: Those With Wings that I have not read, but have heard of many times. Fruits Basket did a great job of hinting at things, foreshadowing, and drawing in an audience to make you want more.
Vampire Knight is the only series of Matsuri Hino’s that I am familiar with, but it was a great one. Following the adventures of a school that harbors vampire students in an attempt to train them to be more than just bloodthirsty monsters, the main characters include a vampire and two regular humans who know the school’s secret and have to protect it from the regular students. While this series focused a little too much on the love triangle between the three main characters for my taste, it was a fun read. I don’t really have a special reason for why I enjoyed this series so much, but it was very well written and had an awesome story.
One of the most well-known mangaka, regardless of gender, Hiromu Arakawa made her name with the series “Fullmetal Alchemist.” This is probably one of the most widely loved series out there with one manga, two anime, two animated movies, a live action movie, and multiple light novels. This series was one of the first anime that I truly fell in love with and it really brought me into the otaku life. More recently, she has released two other series’ that I have not seen or read but that are both on my list, “Silver Spoon” and “The Heroic Legend of Arslan.”
Who are your favorite mangaka and what series have they created? Let us know!
Featured image credit: Kodansha