You won't have to sleep with the lights on after reading Cowa!, Akira Toriyama's charming series about the trouble-making half vampire/half were-koala Paifu!
Together with his timid ghost friend José, and his nemesis Arpon, Paifu sets off on an adventure to find the medicine needed to save his village from the deadly monster-flu. And, when they enlist the aid of the hermit (a grumpy human named Maruyama) to help them, they get more than they bargained for
Cowa! (pronounced KOE-WAH, as in 'Koa'la!) was the first major work by Akira Toriyama since his completion of Dragon Ball in 1995.
It features the same bold art-style, and likeable characters that made his long-running series Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball so popular -- and such a joy to read. I highly recommend it!
Find it in the Juvenile Graphix collection!
Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro is one of the most famous and influential series in Japanese manga history. Why is it so important? Because, through works like Kitaro, Shigeru Mizuki is responsible for popularizing Japanese folklore, and to some extent, creating it as well.
Kitaro is a compilation of short episodic stories written between 1967 and 1969. It features the hero Kitaro, who along with his father (an anthropomorphized eyeball) is the last member of the ghost tribe. He challenges legendary monsters (or yokai) and does good deeds to fight for peace between monsters and humans.
As fun as the stories are (and they are really fun!), the most interesting bit of this manga to me is the visual "monster" glossary at the end of the book which explains all of the mysterious and bizarre Japanese monsters Mizuki draws. Fascinating!
Find it in the YA Graphix collection!
Junji Ito's Uzumaki is a beautifully drawn manga featuring a twisted and disturbing story. Ito, a master of classic Japanese horror is someone you definitely don't want to miss!
Uzumaki is a story of a town spiralling out of control. The haunting and hypnotic shape of the uzumaki (spiral) swirls madness in everything from staircases to snail shells in the cursed coast town of Kurozu-cho.
Uzumaki begins episodically with seemingly disconnected stories but by the end it pulls these stories together into a mystifying ending. I'm definitely a fan of this work, and so excited about the release of the omnibus edition later this month.
Uzumaki is currently on order for the Adult Graphix collection -- place your hold to read it first!