You can never go wrong with manga these days, since so many provide us with every form of entertainment whether you’re into action or drama. As many of us know, the shounen genre has really exploded over the past couple decades and much of its momentum has continued well into our present moment. One of the mangaka that has taken much of the sub culture by storm is Mashima Hiro, who’s best known for his remarkable work Fairy Tail. The series has climbed the manga rankings numerous times, and has also received several awards for its excellence. While Fairy Tail has become a household name over the years, Mashima Hiro has had other successes with his other one-off mangas but more notably Rave, which is the manga that really paved the way for him in the manga community.
6. Nishikaze to Taiyou
- Genres: Comedy, Shounen
- Volumes: 1 (One-Shot)
- Published: April 2010
Nishikaze to Taiyou is just one of Mashima Hiro’s one off manga that helped gain some traction in the vast world of the mangaka community. In Japanese, the title means The West Wind and The Sun (西風と太陽) with nishi meaning west, kaze meaning wind, and taiyou meaning sun. Much of the story revolves around the adventurous treasure hunter named Zephyr and his companion Sol, as they scour the world in search for a statue of a goddess that sits atop a mountain. When they finally come face to face with the statue they were overjoyed, but what they didn’t expect was the statue to come alive.
One shot manga are quite common in Japan and typically is a great way to make a name for yourself as an upcoming mangaka. One shots are usually found in convenience stores which carry tankoubon in one big volume, and consist of various other manga that others have created. While much of the attention had been focused primarily on Fairy Tail at the time, Mashima’s work still received positive reception from fans and was mainly used as a way to put his attention toward something fresh and to stay motivated with ideas. It also gave us a glimpse of his artwork and how he manages to retain the same formula going into many of his works, such as the art direction and story plot.
5. Hoshigami no Satsuki [Starbiter Satsuki]
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Shounen
- Volumes: 1 (One-Shot)
- Published: September 2014
Hoshigami no Satsuki is another one shot manga by Mashima Hiro that stars Satsuki Mujika, a talented female swordsmith who’s desperately in search for 100 demon swords that were stolen from her master. With the help of her friend Jirou, the two set out on a journey to seek out the stolen items and return them to their rightful owner, while overcoming various challenges that stand in their way. Satsuki’s unique swordplay and magic allow her to manipulate the length of her wakizashi, and increase its power the more she uses it. Throughout her arduous journey she meets up with other friends who assist her, along with Jirou, to ensure that whoever is behind all of the thievery will be stopped.
Those who are quite familiar with Mashima’s work knows that his art style tends to follow along the same path as Fairy Tail. Satsuki shares a resemblance to Erza from the series, but with the wacky personality that Wendy brings to the table. While Mashima is known for his use of magic throughout his many works, especially Fairy Tail, surprisingly he stuck with a more traditional approach and focused mainly on the use of swords, with subtle hints of magic thrown in. The humor and action definitely sell the story a lot more, with the occasional perverse scenes to grab your attention but with a more relaxed approach. Nonetheless, the story of a childish yet determined woman along with Jirou to provide more fluff, is sure to keep you engaged and curious to know more.
4. Monster Soul
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen
- Volumes: 2
- Published: Dec 15, 2005 to Aug 11, 2007
The world of Elfenland is filled with mystery and adventure, and is inhabited by both humans and monsters. The Black Airs are a group of monsters who are widely considered to be the strongest out of all the monster forces, and they now must band together to face off against the humans in an all out war for survival. Aki is the leader of the pack and not your ordinary human, as he hides his true features under his big hood. When he becomes overwhelmed by rage, he transforms into an S class Werewolf and will destroy anything in his way. His tormented past has led him this far, and with the help of Mamii, Touran, and others, they intend to leave a mark wherever they go.
Each of the members has their own unique ability, as we described Aki’s earlier. Mamii is the big sister of the group and her soul power is that of a mummy, using her bandages to attack her opponents while addressing her wounds when hurt. When all hell breaks loose everyone must rely on their monster soul ability to ensure that destruction doesn’t overtake their world, and that stability can be maintained. This action packed shounen is full of crazy moments, and you’re constantly reeled back into it just to see if the Black Airs can defend their turf. The humans had won the battle before sending many monster forces into hiding, but it was only the Black Airs who continued to strive and master their craft to take care of anymore threats that would take more lives. If you find yourself wanting to take a small break away from the Fairy Tail world, check out Monster Soul for an exciting twist!
3. Monster Hunter Orage
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen
- Volumes: 4
- Published: April 2008 - May 2, 2009
It seems that Capcom really took a liking to Mashima’s work and provided him with the permission to write a series around the very popular franchise. Monster Hunters as their name implies, make it their life purpose to seek out and hunt the very strongest of monsters, and to take whatever remnants they find along the way with them. The story focuses on Shiki, who was taken in as an apprentice under the tutelage of Gurelli as a child. However soon after Gurelli’s death, he returns to his master’s hometown of Akamaaya to join a guild and encounters a young girl named Irie, who by surprise to Shiki is actually Gurelli’s daughter. From that moment onwards the two set out together to track down the legendary Miogaruna, which was Gurelli’s dream and now they will live it out for him.
If you love Monster Hunter then you’ll most likely enjoy this series because it takes every piece from the game itself, even down to the weapons used, and really immerses you in all of the action. There’s sheer enjoyment in every page because every new encounter is filled with a variety of challenges, much like the game itself. Think of this manga like a read only version of the actual game, but then throw in some Fairy Tail elements such as character design and action, and you have yourself a wonderful treat. The story really isn’t much of the selling point since you’re really invested mostly for the outstanding battles with huge monsters, but you still move forward because you want to know whether Shiki and Irie will actually be able to live out Gurelli’s ambition.
2. Rave: The Groove Adventure
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 35
- Published: July 1999 - July 2005
This is the series that started it all for Mashima, and catapulted him from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the shounen food chain. The story looks at the Continent of Song, as it’s currently facing a severe crisis that’s left everyone in panic. The secret society known as Demon Card, are abusing their powers to bring destruction upon the townspeople and leave no survivors behind. The only power capable of putting a stop to the Demon Card and their sinister Dark Bring, are the rave stones which when wielded, can bring about enormous power. However the stones were scattered across the globe five decades ago, so now the rave master bears the responsibility to collect all of the stones and restore peace once and for all.
Haru Glory is the main protagonist in the manga, as we follow him on his journey as a young rave master to track down all of the stones before it’s too late. As you read deeper into the story you start to see just where Fairy Tail got its inspiration from. As with much of Mashima’s finest works, the story looks at a young hero who must now come face to face with reality, and stand up to various obstacles that they must tackle with strategy and intellect. There’s a certain spice to Rave however that truly gives it its own vibe, and that comes in Haru’s overall journey itself. The enemies he encounters are far beyond his level of comprehension, but because of the amazing friends he meets along the way his adventures become more and more gratifying not only for him, but also for the reader. Haru is honest in his ways and lets nothing belittle his ambitions to set things straight for the sake of humanity, and to bring people together to fight for peace. It’s most definitely worth reading simply because it’s sort of like a precursor to the Fairy Tail series, and gives you a glimpse of just how Mashima mashed together various ideas and inspirations from other famous mangaka, and created something incredible of his own. Think of Fairy Tail as a continuation from Rave: The Groove Adventure because it truly feels that way after reading through the entire series.
1. Fairy Tail
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Ecchi, Fantasy, Shounen
- Volumes: 58
- Published: August 2006 - Present
Number one really needs no introduction because quite frankly, we introduced it numerous times in almost every paragraph. It just goes to show you how spectacular this series is, and how far Mashima has come as a story and art mangaka. Lucy and Natsu find themselves in hot water when an evil guild plots to destroy every other guild out there, including the one they’re currently in. So the two along with other members of the guild, band together to ensure that Fairy Tail stays afloat and any evil threat that stands in their way will be taken care of.
We can assume that many of you Honey’s fans are very well aware of Fairy Tail and its story, so we’ll save you the deep explanation and go right to the meat of it all. This series has won countless awards such as the 33rd Kodansha Manga Award, and the Japan Expo award both for the shounen category. It has spawned countless adaptations including its very popular television series, an ongoing sequel, and two very well received animated films. We could go on for days about just how great Fairy Tail is in terms of awards, but what really makes it shine is in its story. While the world itself is most surely far from reality as we know it now, there’s still this sense of believability that perhaps someday this Fairy Tail world could come true. Every character is so likable because we can all relate to their struggles in every way, which really makes the world seem so vivid and responsive. All we really need are some magic powers, some flying mascots, and a large group of friends and we could create our very own Fairy Tail thanks to Mashima’s brilliance.
Despite not having a large collection of hits under his belt, Mashima has managed to silence the critics and bring truth to the phrase, quality over quantity. His works have lasted for more than a decade which is extremely good when you consider just how many manga are out there. We highly recommend that you dive a little deeper and get to know Mashima more by reading some of his other works such as the emotionally driven Pray for Japan, and his Rave spin offs, so that you can really understand just why Mashima creates the way he does. Let us know what you think of Mashima Hiro’s work down below, and as always be sure to share our articles to keep everyone buzzing!
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