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AnimeCrashers: Horror

Welcome to the first installment of our new Anime and Manga column where each month we will be making recommendations on starting points in various manga and anime genres! This month’s genre is HORROR!

Promotional art from NETFLIX

DEVILMAN: Crybaby 

By Science SARU

In this remake of Go Nagai’s classic Devilman, you are hit with tons of style and themes. Director Yuasa Masaaki and his studio Science SARU take their flattened, high contrast, and high energy animation style to breathe new life into the story from 1972. In Modernizing the story, the classic anti-war themes change to cover things more for today’s world like sexuality, self-confidence, and more. From a Black Sabbath to a drug and sex-filled rave there are many changes that make this ten-episode Netflix Original anime, an amazing series worth watching for anyone.

Follow Akira as his old friend, Ryo, drags him into the world of demons and possession. Akira is one of the few to be possessed by a demon; becoming the first Devilman! Akira must lead the Devilmen in taking on the demon hordes, led by Lucifer, as they bring upon the apocalypse. Can the soft-hearted crybaby Akira stop the destruction of Earth and save his loved ones? Find out.

I genuinely loved this when I watched it during a winter break in college. The color palette of the series just pops at all times because of the flatter art style causing the high contrast bright colors to work so well. Also, there is a character who is always rapping and he ends up being a decent guy in the end. It lived up to the hype that I had been seeing from all my friends.

  • Jake McMahon
Cover to Volume 1 of Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul 

By Ishida Sui 

Imagine, you meet a cute girl and she asks you out on a date to talk about books over coffee. One thing leads to another and you become a flesh-eating, coffee-sipping ghoul! Well, that’s exactly what happened to Ken Kaneki. Now as a half-ghoul, he must navigate the worlds of humans and ghouls while managing his new diet.

For me, this series is best read rather than watched. The anime’s second season outpaced the manga and took on an alternate story to the source material. To add more confusion goes back to the original story for the third season. But the manga is a fantastic read and the art is so kinetic I could look at single panels all day. I admit while reading it on the Shonen Jump app I screenshot so many of my favorite panels.

  • Jake
Cover from Volume 1 of CHAINSAW MAN

Chainsaw Man

By Fujimoto Tatsuki

I read Chainsaw Man very recently and devoured all 11 volumes in less than 48 hours. I truly wasn’t interested in it for the longest time and then all of a sudden, I found myself paying $2 for the Shonen Jump app solely to read it. There’s so much to say about Chainsaw Man and how utterly fantastic it is. The thing that really stands out for me the most, even beyond the stunning art, is how it treats its female characters. This is the first Shonen Jump series I’ve read in a long while where the women dominate the story, even though its main protagonist is a man. While Denji certainly falls into the stereotypical trappings of being a Shonen Protagonist, there is still a lot of care taken to give his character more everything and make the reader feel like he’s unique in a very oversaturated genre. Makima, Power, Kobeni, etc. all have more spotlight than almost every male character, and even female characters we see for only a volume feel like someone we’ve been with for a while. Each one has substance, an arc, and though they leave just as quickly as they came, it doesn’t leave you feeling unsatisfied. Warning for body horror and gore, but if you’re a fan of things like Invincible, Slasher movies, Berserk, etc. where the violence isn’t just there for gratuity’s sake, and you want some really beautiful looks at trauma, humanity, and morality, all mixed in with goofy fun, I truly cannot recommend Chainsaw Man enough.

  • DW

Parasyte

By Iwaaki Hitoshi

Parasitic aliens fall to Earth and begin implanting themselves into the brains of people with few special cases. One of those special cases is Shinichi Izumi. Through his fear of bugs, panics at the parasite tunneling into his body, but stops it from getting past his arm. He is rewarded by a shapeshifting talking hand named Migi, who helps Shinichi fight off other parasite hosts in a bid for survival.

I’m not too far into the anime but it’s super easy to follow. I appreciate that it doesn’t have Migi give a long-winded explanation of his origins because he doesn’t know much himself. I thought it had some really cool ideas and even some funny bits in how Migi tries to understand things. It’s an interesting take on body horror without seeming to go overboard with it

  • Jake

Categories
Anime

Why One Piece Is Worth Diving Into

Of all the manga and anime in the world, one is closer to my heart than all the rest: One Piece. I’ll usually either read the manga, or watch the anime of a series, it’s seldom that I do both, but not with One Piece. Foolish, you may think, given the infamous length of One Piece, but it has so much to offer that I can’t help but inhale as much of it as I can. It also helps that I mostly watch English dubs of anime, so there is a decent divide between seeing and reading the same arc. But I am here to tell you that despite its prodigious length, One Piece has something in it for everyone, and is well worth diving into in either of its formats.

My Start With One Piece

I started reading One Piece as a manga when I was 10-years-old. The hook was a golden age of piracy swept over the world, with folks pouring onto the seas in search of a treasure beyond their wildest dreams, and also some of them have superpowers. For my young brain, that was the coolest goddamn thing I had ever heard of. The main character, Monkey D. Luffy, is made of rubber, which reminded me of Mr. Fantastic at the time. But now, as a learned adult, I can say with supreme and utter confidence that Mr. Fantastic is a little bitch compared to Luffy. Luffy would beat the absolute hell out of Reed Richards, and that is a fact.

One Piece volume 1(Shonen Jump)
One Piece volume 1(Shonen Jump)

Monkey D. Luffy

But what’s endearing about Luffy? Well, he’s an idiot. Very much so. But there is nothing he does that’s half-assed or without sincerity. He goes balls to the wall on everything, completely devoid of fear, and knows beyond the shadow of the doubt he’s not going to die until he achieves his dream of being King of the pirates. He is literally too stubborn to die. Also, it’s actually pretty hard to kill rubber and only gets harder as the series goes on. I’m starting to believe he might survive the whole thing. At least, if it ever comes to an end, which seems unlikely at the moment. 

One Piece(Shonen Jump)
One Piece(Shonen Jump)

Luffy only really cares about two things. Well actually three things, because it would be disingenuous not to include food as one of his greatest priorities. But his friends and his freedom are the two things he holds most dear. He will never fail his friends in any situation, and he will never surrender his freedom to anyone. Being a pirate isn’t about breaking the law to Luffy, it’s about being able to travel, live life without structure or order, Does he break the law? Yeah, quite a bit, but only because it gets in the way of him doing nothing less than exactly whatever he feels like doing at any given moment. He’s not pillaging and raiding villages and ships, he’s looking for treasure and fighting anybody that gets in his way of enjoying life. He’s reckless and needs to be reined in by his friends, but he’s not dangerous. Not to innocent people at least.

Sailing Along

Much of the beginning of One Piece is dedicated to Luffy assembling his crew and acquiring a ship, as we get to see his journey from the beginning when he has nothing but a devil fruit that grants him his rubber abilities, an inability to swim, and a dinghy. The curse of the devil fruit is the same for everyone who partakes of it. In exchange for a wild variety of powers and transformations, you lose your ability to swim, and sink like a stone in the sea, robbed of your power. As if the oceans are trying to keep a level playing field, avoiding being overtaken by scumbags and thieves. Because yes, there are many very shitty pirates as well. It’s naturally mostly bad people that are attracted to the idea of ultimate wealth, so there are many who get in the way of Luffy and his crew.

The Straw Hats

Luffy’s crew is composed entirely of dreamers, like him. I am resisting the urge to just quote the 4Kids One Piece rap theme song, as it introduces everyone so succinctly and eloquently, but I digress. Zoro becomes Luffy’s first mate, a bounty hunter who specializes in catching pirates. Luffy’s charisma and natural pull are on display from the start, overcoming this man’s prejudice against pirates by being himself and dedicated to helping. Nami is the navigator that gets recruited next, who, go figure, also specializes in aggression against pirates, only she is a thief. Usopp is the marksman of the crew, and also a local asshole in his village, but Luffy’s passion for his dream inspires yet another to follow him. Finally, he gets Sanji, the cook of the crew as well as a phenomenal douchebag from time to time when it comes to women. He is what would happen if Pepé Le Pew was given life as a human, but was at least a skilled fighter. There is also Chopper, their reindeer doctor who is probably the most useful member of the whole crew. Luffy’s resistance to tyranny and fighting spirit ultimately win Chopper over.

One Piece(Shonen Jump)
One Piece(Shonen Jump)

This is supposed to be largely spoiler-free so that’s all I have to say about the crew themselves. They each bring something important to the dynamic of the crew, and each contributes something significant to the continued function of the ship. They’re united by a shared passion for their own individual dreams and are of course fierce pursuers of freedom so they can keep going down the path they’ve started. They range from basically just a normal human, to almost as strong as Luffy without the need for a devil fruit. Their individual utility and usefulness are successfully utilized time and time again across the series, and your favorite character will change constantly, as the spotlight itself shifts as well. 

Best Bits

As for the more badass part of the series, the villains that Luffy and his crew have to face, range across the board from a mildly obnoxious clown that’s hard to kill, to hard-hitting giant men made of materials that are downright deadly, even to rubber. The danger is always there and is constantly escalating throughout the series. There are foes with such incredibly strange power sets, it yields fights of immense grandeur constantly. The action in One Piece is second-to-none. 

One Piece(Shonen Jump)
One Piece(Shonen Jump)

At its core though, One Piece really is all about the journey. There is so much heart in each story arc, you will weep, you will cheer, you will laugh. One Piece delves into a wide array of emotions and posits many questions about things like imperialism and class warfare, to name a few. The adventures of Luffy and his crew have been ongoing for over two decades now, with no indication of coming to an end any time soon. What better time to dive into this vibrant, gorgeous world, filled with some of the most colorful and fascinating characters in all of fiction. Above all else, One Piece is memorable.