Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Books for the anime lover

This post is based on the book talk I did for the teens during All-Day Anime a couple of weeks ago!

We have a big selection of manga graphic novels in the teen section, which are the basis for a large amount of popular anime series, but some people may not know that there are also anime shows based on books! Here are a few good ones that can all be found in the teen section.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
This book is the basis of the anime Moribito that ran on Cartoon Network. It's a story about a woman bodyguard named Balsa who has sworn to save lives to atone for lives she has taken in the past. She is an independent woman who does not like to get involved in the affairs of others, but she finds herself saving the life of a young prince while she is passing through a foreign city and ends up becoming his bodyguard. The prince is in trouble because he holds within his spirit an egg that will hatch into a water spirit that will revive the land from the drought it is suffering through. She must protect him from an evil creature that seeks to eat the egg (which would kill the prince as well) as well as the prince's own father.

The book is not set in Japan, but in an imaginary world that shares many traits with feudal Japan and China. Some of the settings might seem familiar to those of you who are fans of Inu-Yasha. There's a lot of action, as there are so many people out to get the prince. If you liked the anime, you should definitely check out the novel for the whole story! Also, it's the first book of a series, and the second one will be coming out in May and continues the adventures of Balsa.

Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe
This book has not only been adapted into an anime movie, but you can also find the manga version over in the graphic novels section. But the original is the best! Wataru is a ten year old who is currently facing some problems at home. His parents' relationship is on rocky grounds, and finally they decide to get a divorce. His mother does not take this well and grows depressed to the point where she tries to commit suicide. Wataru wants to find a way to change events and alter his fate, and he finds it when he unexpectedly stumbles upon a parallel world called Vision.

In Vision, Wataru is a hero, known as a Traveler and respected by the inhabitants of the world, which includes beast people and dragons. His objective is to collect the five gemstones, and he is given a sword and armor in order to succeed. Once he has the gemstones, he can ascend the Tower of Destiny and ask the goddess of fate to change his fate. But he is not the only one who wants to change his fate, and he must face his rival Mitsuru, who has magic powers and will stop at aboslutely nothing to reach the Tower of Destiny first.

Anyone who likes fantasy RPGs should love this book, as the entire world of Vision is supposed to be an RPG made real for Wataru. He even undergoes a test to see if he will be a magic user or a sword user!

The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono
This book is similar to Brave Story in that the main character, a teenage girl named Youko, finds herself drawn into a different world. In her case, though, it is because she belonged to that world in the first place, having been blown into our world accidentally before she was born. She is carried into the other world by Keiki, a mysterious man who turns out to be a kirin who is searching for the next ruler of the kingdom of Kei (one of the titular Twelve Kingdoms). Unfortunately, when she lands in the world of the Twelve Kingdoms she is lost in the wilderness. Her bright red hair betrays her as an outsider, and she meets hostility from both humans and demons. However, Keiki gave her a sword that gives her fighting skills, and she develops a strong determination to survive until she is reunited with Keiki.

This book is the basis for the Twelve Kingdoms anime that was really popular a few years ago. It is an excellent book, full of action. Youko faces a lot of adversity on her way to becoming the Empress of Kei, not knowing who she can trust and who will betray her as well as being set upon on all sides by demons. She gets into a lot of trouble, but she also gains some close allies and friends, including an anthropomorphic rat named Rakshun. The world of the Twelve Kingdoms shares a lot of similarities with ancient China, though, like the world of Moribito, it is entirely fantasy. This book is also the first in a series, and if you enjoy it I recommend checking out the second, Sea of Wind as well as the third, The Vast Spread of the Seas, which just came out this month.

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