The Western New Year has come and gone with January, but with the coming of February means it’s time for the Eastern, or Lunar New Year. It also means a new zodiac animal rolls over, and this year is the Year of the Monkey. Here are some manga that feature monkeys or monkey-like characters.
Chinese New Year moves back up to middle February after starting at the beginning of the month last year. And with a new year comes a new zodiac animal. This year, it is the sheep/ram or goat, depending on where you look. The majority of posts I’ve seen about it seem to use sheep, so I’m going with that.
Fruits Basket – Since this series is about the Chinese Zodiac, it always has an animal to contribute. Hiro Sohma is a 12-year-old boy who rarely smiles except when he is being sarcastic or mischievous. He is the youngest of the cursed family members. He has a crush on Kisa Sohma and can be over protective of her. He is initially jealous of Tohru’s friendship with Kisa, but eventually comes to like her. He is also about the only Zodiac member to have a normal, loving parent in his mother, who loves hugging him in his sheep form. It is out of print but was previously published by Tokyopop.
Spice and Wolf – In as series where on of the characters is a giant, ancient wolf, it should come as no surprise that there is sheep as well. When Holo and Lawrence have to travel from Lamtra to Ruvinheigen, they hire the Shepherdess Nora to help as guide and to use her sheep to smuggle in gold to get themselves out of a large debt. Nora was a really interesting character with her well-trained sheep dog Enek. Together they keep the sheep safe and together. It is published by Yen Press.
Merry-chan to Hitsuji – This series is the only unlicensed title on the list. It is about a little girl, Merry who lives with her uncle after her parents passed away. But her uncle is actually a sheep! But she isn’t alone as her other friends also have animals for relatives such as a panda papa, a fish father and a lion father! The series is a comedy 4koma, and would probably fit in well with sienen titles Azumaga Daio and Yotsuba&!.
Pet Shop of Horrors – Count D’s pet shop features all kinds of exotic animals, and Tetsu, or T-chan as he’s often called is one. He is a totetsu, a carnivorous animal that is a distant relative to the goat. He is often testy and likes to annoy Detective Chris, often trying to bite him whenever he comes to the shop. He is very cute in his animal form, looking like a long-haired goat, and in his human form he is a good-looking guy with large, curved ram horns. Either way, he’s a pleasure to look at and usually funny to watch. It is also out of print but was previously published by Tokyopop.
Karneval – This series was licensed by Yen Press last year, with the first volume scheduled to come out next month. It is about two boys, Nai and Gareki who are coerced into joining Circus, the country’s most powerful defense organization. Working for this organization are the Hitsuji, creatures that look like sheep and serve on Circus’ Second Ship defense system. They are very obedient and follow any rule or instruction given them, but are also very strict about what happens on the ship with respect to safety and unauthorized personnel getting on board.
One Piece – The sheep in this series isn’t so much a sheep as he likes to look like them. Merry is the loyal servant and butler to Kaya, the very rich, sick girl in Syrup Village where Usopp also lives. He has curly white hair like a sheep, with small horns sticking out it. He thinks only of Kaya’s well-being, to the point that he tried to stand up to Kuro, the captain of the Black Cat Pirates who wanted to steal Kaya’s wealth. He is also a capable ship designer and designed the Going Merry, the Straw Hat Pirates first and most beloved ship. It is published by Viz Media.
That what I could scrounge up of sheep in manga. Do you know of any titles I may have missed? Leave a comment on this post and let me know!
This week I talk about features the Weekly Wish List, the Vizmanga.com update, New York Times Bestseller List, and new licenses from Crunchyroll, Seven Seas Entertainment, and Vertical, inc. Then I look at some manga titles in celebration of the Chinese New Year animal, the Horse.
The Chinese New Year has arrived, which means two things; a slow down of shipments at work as factories shut down for 3 weeks, and a new post about manga featuring this year’s zodiac animal! We move from the majestic dragon down to the more common snake, but as you will see, there are no such things as common snakes in manga!
Fruits Basket – Let’s get the obvious out-of-the-way with Fruits Basket, which features all the zodiac animals. Ayame Sohma is the snake of the zodiac in the Sohma family. He is the older brother of Yuki, one of the main characters of the series. He is very handsome with silver hair and striking eyes. He is flamboyant, self-confident and self-centered, and annoys Yuki and Kyo to no end. He is very demanding that Yuki return his love as his brother, but Ayame’s treatment of Yuki when he was growing up has made that a difficult request for Yuki to comply with.
Naruto – This long running series is about a screw-up boy ninja, Naruto Uzumaki, who wants to prove himself and become the leader of his villain, the Hokage. Orochimaru is the first major antagonist in the series. He is a powerful ninja, and with his other team mates, Jiraiya and Tsunade, was known as the Three Legendary Ninja. His totem animal is a snake, and is able to summon and command them in battle. His thirst for power and immortality gets him exiled from Konohagakure, leading him to eventually start his own village and continue his experiments. He tries to take over Sasuke’s body to continue his own life.
One Piece – This even longer running series is about Luffy D. Monkey who is determined to become the Pirate King and gathers a crew of like-minded misfits to going him on his adventures. In the Skypiea arc, there is a giant python named Nola. He came to the island with Noland and the Shandorians. He is over 400 years old and is very hot-tempered and hostile. After hearing the bell from his childhood, he becomes the gentle snake he once was. He even becomes part of an attraction, Nola-bungee. In the Sabaody arc, we meet one of the Warlords of the Sea, a group of powerful pirates who work for the world government. Boa Hancock, is the leader of the all-female Kuja Pirates from the island Amazon Lily. She has a pet snake named Salome, who is always with her, and helps her in battles.
Saint Seiya – This old school series is from the 80s, and while it enjoys great popularity almost everywhere else in the world, it never caught on here, which is a great shame. It is about 5 Bronze Saints, who are the protectors of the Greek Goddess Athena who was reborn as a Japanese girl Saori. In the series, there are actually three tiers of saints. The heroes are the lowest at bronze, but there are two others, silver and gold. The silver saints served as trainers to the bronze. One of those trainers was Shaina who wore the Ophiuchus, or Serpent Bearer’s, cloth. Her power is based on a snake’s as she moves quickly and strikes without warning. Shaina starts out appearing like a villain with a grudge against Pegasus Seiya, but the truth is revealed that she is actually in love with him.
That’s all I’ve got for this edition of the Year of the Snake. Did I miss any other titles with snakes getting a featured role? I’m sure I did. Let me know what they are in the comments!
Another year has come and gone, and the Chinese New Year is upon us again. This zodiac sign for this year is the Dragon. A creature that plays an important part in Asia history and culture, the dragon also gets lots of page time in manga. Here is just a sampling of the manga available in English that features dragons.
So, cute and cuddly rabbits don’t do it for you? How about cute and (not so) cuddly girls dressed as bunnies? Yes, not only does manga like the furry bunnies, it also like the playboy versions. Here are some bunny girls from both manga and anime, who aren’t quite so playful, but will be a handful.
The western new year has come and gone, but over in the Asian world, their new year starts this week. With the Chinese New Year come a new animal in the zodiac. This year is the cute and cuddly rabbit. I have already written a post featuring rabbits for Easter, so for this one, I have expanded the scope from just real rabbits to anyone rabbit-esque.
This week begins the Chinese New Year. This traditional Chinese holiday is based on a lunar calendar and is associated with an animal in the Chinese Zodiac. This year’s animal is the Tiger. So, I went looking for manga with tigers in them. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a lot. I extended it to any of the big cats, and that make the list grow some, but it’s really surprising how few manga have tigers in them.