Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Ten Manga and Books If You're In The Mood For Martial Arts or Combat Sports

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where, each week, a Top Ten list is posted based on a particular topic.

Hi there! You must be asking where was my last Top Ten Tuesday post. I know. Well, I wasn't really in the mood for the last topic to be honest. I mean, I am in charge with what I post and yeah, it just didn't interest me like I thought it would. I would only be posting Top Ten Tuesdays if I enjoy the topic for that week. And this week, the topic is Top Ten Books If You're In The Mood For X. And I chose martial arts and combat sports. There aren't many books on martial arts, at least these days. 

Unfortunately, I have only read so little books on this theme, except manga (Japanese graphic novels) which I think I have more however, I have plenty in my TBR that I am very interested in at least. So these won't exactly be a "top ten" more like a rundown.

1. Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki

Set against the backdrop of the Meiji Restoration, it tells the saga of Himura Kenshin, once an assassin of ferocious power, now a humble rurouni, a wandering swordsman fighting to protect the honor of those in need.

A hundred and fifty years ago in Kyoto, amid the flames of revolution, there arose a warrior, an assassin of such ferocious power he was given the title Hitokiri: Manslayer. With his bloodstained blade, Hitokiri Battosai helped close the turbulent Bakumatsu period and end the reign of the shoguns, slashing open the way toward the progressive Meiji Era. Then he vanished, and with the flow of years became legend.

In the 11th year of Meiji, in the middle of Tokyo, the tale begins. Himura Kenshin, a humble rurouni, or wandering swordsman, comes to the aid of Kamiya Kaoru, a young woman struggling to defend her father's school of swordsmanship against attacks by the infamous Hitokiri Battosai. But neither Kenshin nor Battosai are quite what they seem...

This manga is beautiful and very engaging. The dark past of Battosai, who we now encounter as Kenshin, is enchanting and you wish nothing more to see him have a quiet life, but of course that's kind of impossible in his part because of people who wish him dead. The characters are also funny yet carry a depth to them that would drag you till the end. The manga is as good as the anime of course, duh.

2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

I love this book so much! And I love Kinslayer and I wish I can read Endsinger already. More than martial arts though, it's a fantasy novel first, however, it has an amazing swordsman in the form of Yukiko. This novel is awesome and everyone should just go and read it already!

3. Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

Naruto is a ninja-in-training with a need for attention, a knack for mischief and, sealed within him, a strange, formidable power. His antics amuse his instructor Kakashi and irritate his teammates, intense Sasuke and witty Sakura, but Naruto is serious about becoming the greatest ninja in the village of Konohagakure! Believe it!


In another world, ninja are the ultimate power - and in the village of Konohagakure live the stealthiest ninja in the world. But twelve years ago Konohagakure was attacked by a fearsome threat - a nine-tailed fox demon which claimed the life of the Hokage, the village champion. Today, peace has returned, and a troublemaking orphan named Uzumaki Naruto is struggling to graduate from the Ninja Academy. His goal: to become the next Hokage. But unknown to Naruto and his classmates, within him is a terrifying force...

The story of the underdog who wants to be accepted in his society and tries to earn the respect of his peers and work his way on top. Naruto is the character you wish you can be when you grow up because of his will and determination. Martial arts of course is not a question in this graphic novel of course. What I love in this manga is how sad it is actually. It has made me cry a number of times because of its characters.

4. Bruised by Sarah Skilton

Imogen has always believed that her black belt in Tae Kwon Do made her stronger than everyone else--more responsible, more capable. But when she witnesses a holdup in a diner, she freezes. The gunman is shot and killed by the police. And it's all her fault.

Now she's got to rebuild her life without the talent that made her special and the beliefs that made her strong. If only she could prove herself in a fight--a real fight--she might be able to let go of the guilt and shock. She's drawn to Ricky, another witness to the holdup, both romantically and because she believes he might be able to give her the fight she’s been waiting for.

But when it comes down to it, a fight won’t answer Imogen's big questions: What does it really mean to be stronger than other people? Is there such a thing as a fair fight? And can someone who's beaten and bruised fall in love?

I have not read this novel yet but I love that this is a contemporary novel focusing on a reality of martial arts, that it might also not be the same when applied in real life. Also, again, it's very rare for me to encounter books that include martial arts. But I was very intrigued by this, that's why I'm excited.

5. Shogun by James Clavell

Presents an epic saga of one Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, and his integration into the struggles and strife of feudal Japan. Starting with his shipwreck on this most alien of shores, this novel charts Blackthorne's rise from the status of reviled foreigner up to the heights of trusted advisor and eventually, Samurai.

It's like actually a dream come true of mine to learn a martial art even though I'm not exactly Japanese or Chinese or anyone who actually practices a martial art. Let's just say I want to be a samurai for real. And this novel intrigued me so much and I'm excited to read it!

6. Hunter X Hunter by Yoshihiro Togashi

Hunters are a special breed, dedicated to tracking down treasures, magical beasts, and even other men. But such pursuits require a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Those who do pass gain access to restricted areas, amazing stores of information, and the right to call themselves Hunters.

Gon might be a country boy, but he has high aspirations. Despite his Aunt Mito's protests, Gon decides to follow in his father's footsteps and become a legendary Hunter. The Hunter hopefuls begin their journey by storm-tossed ship, where Gon meets Leorio and Kurapika, the only other applicants who aren't devastated by bouts of seasickness.

Having survived the terrors of the high seas, Gon and his companions now have to prove their worth in a variety of tests in order to find the elusive Exam Hall. And once they get there, will they ever leave alive...?

This story. This a great story to get lost to! Hunter x Hunter is a manga that is super engaging and has the right amount of violence and action. There's an array of characters but it's not impossible to have a favorite, especially with characters like Kurapika, Killua and Hisoka. Gon, the main man in this story, stands out from the rest and shows strength while also learning through the process, growing stronger and and also determined as the story goes on. He's caring and will never leave his friends behind when needed. Again, the story is very character driven but the action and technique is perfect. An investing read but quite worth it.

7. Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

I'm a little worried I'll be too scared to read this coz it has NA themes. And to be honest, I kinda like a bit of NA from time to time and I've been meaning to read this so yeah. It has kickboxing though, which is pretty awesome.

8. Tenjo Tenge by Oh! Great

Soichiro Nagi and Bob Makihara have always been the meanest street brawlers around. When they enter Todo High they plan on carving out a reputation as the strongest fighters in their new school--easier said than done in a place that's dedicated to training its students in the art of combat After realizing they're the new fish swimming in a tank full of sharks, Soichiro and Bob enter the Juken fight club as rookie members. However, the Executive Council--the archrival of the Juken Club--soon launches a surprise attack. Soichiro and Bob have a chance to show their stuff, as long as they don't get curb-kicked in the process.

Like many manga focused on martial arts, Soichiro Nagi is in need of a good beating up. Teach him skills. He has potential and can really do some intense kicking and mad punching, but he needs refinement. I love this manga because it's the right kind of violence, profane and sexy. I dunno why I can take mature themes in manga but can't with books that you have to imagine the character. HAHAHA! I'm sorry. But go read this manga coz it's awesome! Or you can go check out the manga.

9. Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi

Ranma Saotome never thought a martial arts training mission to China would turn out like this! An accidental dunk in a cursed spring changes boy Ranma into a young girl, every time he is splashed with cold water. Hot water reverses the effect - but only until next time!

I watched the anime first though and I fell in love with it but after finishing it, I wanted to know what happened since there was more and it didn't fail. The fight scenes are incredible and it's funny as heck.

10. Avatar: The Last Airbender by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko

In the perilous environment of the South Pole, a tribal village struggles to eke out its survival. When young Katara and her warrior brother Sokka rescue a young boy named Aang, they have no inkling that this mysterious stranger can save them -- and the entire world.

I watched the cartoon of this early on in my life and completely fell in love with it! I LOOOOOVED TOPH SOOOO MUCH! I ACTUALLY NEED MORE AVATAR IN LIFE. OH YEAH. This is one of the best shows and seeing that there's a graphic novel makes it a lot better.

So there! That's my top ten! I hope I had more book reads, really. but I'm glad with my manga selection. I hope there'll be more books that tap into martial arts. Well, see you all next week for the next Top Ten Tuesday coz I like next week's topic! YAY!

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