As the winner, Dawn will be receiving the first volume of Hideyuki Kurata and Ran Ayanaga's manga R.O.D: Read or Dream. I had previously read the related series, R.O.D: Read or Die, and was rather surprised when Read or Dream ended up being entirely different in tone. And so for this giveaway, I asked entrants to tell me about manga that surprised them or that wasn't quite what they were expecting. Normally, I would simply suggest reading the giveaway comments, but since there were only five submissions this month, I've decided to simply share them here:
X by CLAMP (submitted by Dawn H):
I think one of the first manga series to really surprise me was x/1999. Back in the 90s, my first exposure to CLAMP was their series Magic Knight Rayearth, which was rather Sailor Moon-ish (though it did have giant robots & a twist ending). So when I saw that Animerica was running a comic in it by the same artists, I assumed (stupidly) that it would be similar to Rayearth (since I hadn't seen or read Tokyo Babylon yet...this was pre-"everyone had the internet" days, so I didn't know about it yet). Well...you can probably imagine my surprise when I first read it, heh. NOTHING like Rayearth, unless you count the art style. But I ended up liking it, anyway.I recently started reading X myself. Even though I had been warned, I was still surprised by how graphically violent the series is.
Emma by Kaoru Mori (submitted by teaNrice):
When I first saw my Library's copy of the first volume of Emma: A Victorian Romance I had a quick look at the blurb on the back and put it back down unimpressed by what I thought sounded like an immensely cliche plot. It wasn't until years later that I would realize my mistake. Emma is surprising because it shows that even a seemingly cliche plot like a romance between the upper and lower classes can still shine when the execution is so superb.Emma is another series that I've only started reading recently. The manga is tragically out of print in English, but my library fortunately has the entire series, too. And yes, it is very good.
Kokou no Hito written by Yoshiro Nabeda and Jiro Nitta, illustrated by Shinichi Sakamoto (submitted by Vito):
Kokou no Hito, it's licensed in Italy under the name Climber and in France as Ascension, great stuff. The beginning is very misleading, young introverted protagonist transfers to a new school, classmates bullies by way of which he also introduces him to climbing and it all leads to a competition, by now it's sort of leading you to believe it's going to be a shounen sports competition manga, complete with a mystery progeny showing up. That quickly changes, the rest of the story explores the character, his growth, follows his various mountain expeditions etc. I do recommend reading it and the art is really really good.I didn't previously know about Kokou no Hito, but now I really want to read it! It sounds like a series I would really enjoy.
Death Note written by Tsugumi Ohba, illustrated by Takeshi Obata (submitted by KenshinGirl)
I completely overlooked Death Note when they ran a preview for it in Shonen Jump because the art didn't appeal to me. I decided to go back and read it a while later when I had no other manga to read, and I was instantly hooked. After that, I couldn't wait for the next volume and ended up recommending it to everyone I knew. My older brother had no interest in manga, but once I got him to read it, he couldn't put it down either.You know, I really need to finish the last couple of reviews for Death Note. Coincidentally, this is a series I managed to get my brother, who isn't a big manga reader, interested in, too.
A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori (submitted by Literate.Ninja)
I'd say the most recent surprise I got from a manga was reading A Bride's Story. I got it from my library after hearing about it online, and I honestly wasn't sure what to expect, since I am somewhat familiar with the culture and time period the book is set in. However, when it turned out to be a warm, touching story of a family coming together to embrace a new member, I was completely charmed, and have since recommended it to all my friends and co-workers.Another Kaoru Mori manga! A Bride's Story was actually the first work by Mori that I read. I was absolutely astonished by the gorgeously detailed artwork.
Thank you all for sharing your manga surprises with me!