Avast ye mateys! It bein’ International Talk Like a Pirate Day an’ all, ye may be lookin’ fer some booty to plunder. Get out yer pieces ‘o eight, get a bottle o’ rum, and prepare to fill yer treasure chest with these pirate manga!
Okay, enough of that…
One Piece – The flagship of pirate manga, One Piece is the story of one Monkey D. Luffy, who with his eclectic crew that he picks up one by one, is in search of the One Piece, a treasure that will make him the Pirate King. This title is an action/comedy and is really fun to read. The characters are great, and the people they meet and situations they get into are bizarre, yet cool. Luffy is an interesting character as leader. He has a dream, and he will let nothing get in his way, but he’s not serious in his determination. He’s very spontaneous and hard to predict, but he has a good heart, as does the rest of the crew, and will always do the right thing. It’s an underrated manga. Everyone should be reading this title if they even slightly consider themselves a pirate fan!
Space Pirate Captain Harlock – An old school goodie, this title isn’t available in english, though one movie has been released, and the tv series that was based on it can be found in the fan subbing community. It was created by Leji Matsumoto, who also helped create Space Battleship Yamato, and wrote that manga as well. In the far future, humanity has grown apathetic and weak. Captain Harlock, and his crew of outlaws have left the Earth, living on the starship Arcadia, and fight against the oppressive Earth government, while at the same time, fighting against the Malzone, an alien race that seeks to take over the earth. Harlock in this incarnation (there have been many), is as close to a true pirate as you can get. He is an individualist, sailing the sea of stars with his volunteer crew who all follow Harlock because they believe as he does. I have a few volumes of this title in Japanese. It would be great to see this one come out in English, but the old look and Matsumoto’s style probably wouldn’t sell well.
Destiny’s Hand – This is a OEL title from Seven Seas. Destiny’s Hand is the ship of Captain Blaine and his crew that can not be sunk. Among the crew is Olivia Soldana, a girl who can best any man. After Captain Blaine is mortally wounded, he gives command to Olivia and gives her the mission to find the Devil’s Eye before he dies. Very much in the tradition of Pirates of the Caribbean, this title has adventure, fighting, and some supernatural that will lead the Destiny’s Hand to its fate. Two volumes are currently out with a third planned for release in April 2009.
East Coast Rising – This is another OEL title, this time from Tokyopop. It give the look of traditional pirates a decidedly urban spin, with ships acting more like gangs, fighting for an old relic from the world before New Jersey and New York were flooded. Archer, left for dead by other pirates, is rescued by Cannonball Joe onboard the La Revancha, and gives him clues to find the fabled treasure that may hold gold, or the key to immortality…if it exists at all! Created by indy artist Becky Cloonan, this title has two volumes out so far, though I don’t recall hearing anything about the fate of the third.
Wanted – A title out from Viz, it’s by Matsuri Hino, and is a one shot. It is the 17th century in the Mediterranean. Armeria had a crush on Luce, the son of the governor of the island she lived on. He was kidnapped by pirates, and nothing was ever heard of him again. Eight years later, Armeria joins the crew of a pirate ship, disguised as a boy, to try to find her beloved Luce. This is more of a shojo wrapped in pirate’s clothing, and should be made to walk the plank! But Hino fans will no doubt flock to this one. I’ve already given this one a wide berth.
Arrr, well, there ye be. Be sure t’ read these like yer talkin’ like a pirate, just t’ make it all authentic! Don’t let another “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” go by without readin’ one o’ these titles!