Awesome book. Period.
Even if you’re some weirdo who isn’t into comics or manga, this is still great. Much like nearly every other Taschen book I’ve seen, regardless of my interest to its subject matter, the final product often embarrasses other books within the same category. Also like many other Taschen titles, this book is written in more than one language, two of which are English and Japanese.
Though I wish the samples of work from each individual mangaka (manga writers and illustrators) were translated into English, I can understand and respect the editor’s choice to remain faithful to the original work and publish the manga and covers as they originally appeared.
The icing on this researched and well-thought out cake is the DVD included with it. In addition to interviews with a few mangaka, there’s a gallery of hundreds of manga covers and interviews with employees of various manga retailers as well as footage of the insides of the stores themselves. It seems like it’s a whole different vibe than a major book retailer in the U.S., probably because each manga bookstore is crammed floor to ceiling with comics. Sure I wish there was more on the DVD, and in the book too, but the overview that this book provides is the best attempt at an encyclopedic, reference style book on manga I’ve seen thus far.
Just to give you a few examples of why this is more than just a coffee table book, click on the thumbnails below. Also, keep in mind that the table of contents is only a portion of all the mangaka covered. The fingerprints of each mangaka’s own individual style when compared to other artists and considered in the grand scheme of art and manga as a whole is considerably interesting.
If there’s any book out there that can obliterate people’s misguided preconceptions of what manga is and can be, it’s this one.