Echira Oda is the creator of the number one bestselling manga in history

By: Mohamed Ahmed

Echiro Oda is the creator of the number one best selling manga in history. He is in the top 15 best selling authors of all time. That means Oda has only had his work outsold by fewer people than the number of your toes and fingers. He is also the best selling Japanese writer of all time.

What legendary series could make one man so prolific in history you might ask? The name of the series that has generated billions of dollars in revenue, has had over ten movies based on it, and managed to dominate the manga sales chart for over a entire decade is the franchise: ‘One Piece’. 

Echira Oda was born in the 1970s, January 5th, 1975, to be exact, in Kumamoto, Japan. Ever since he was only four years old he resolved to become a manga artist in order to avoid getting a real job. Little did he know that he was going to have a permanent impact on this world and that his name would forever be remembered. 

He was influenced by Akira Toriyama. The TV show, ‘Vicky the Viking’, sparked his interest in pirates, while Akira Toriyama the creator of the ‘Dragon Ball’ franchise, sparked his interest in anime.

He was only 17 when he submitted his work ‘WANTED’ and received an award. That’s how he was able to get a job at the weekly ‘Shonen Jump’, a manga magazine, as an assistant to an assistant for a couple of series.

When he was 19, he won an award, and even was in an article about the hottest up and coming young mangakas. From there he went on to outsell other series and climb vigorously to the top of the list outselling incredibly big names like ‘Death Note’, ‘Naruto’, and ‘bleach’.

‘One Piece’ was not dethroned for over ten years, until recently when ‘Demon Slayer’ took the top spot for one year, breaking the streak but not the legend.

He is currently still writing ‘One Piece’ to this day, and has managed to stay humble as well as stay out of a career ruining scandal, like many other mangakas, for two decades. 

10 lesser-known young adult book recommendations

By: Bijou Kruszka

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Have you ever been looking for something to read, but you can only find recommendations for ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Divergent’? They’re fine books, but most have read them already. If you want something fresh to read, try these novels.

1. ‘Renegades

In this series, by Marissa Meyer, who you may recognize as the author of ‘The Lunar Chronicles’, Nova Artino infiltrates a superhero team to try and get revenge for her parents’ death. But when she bonds with Adrian Everhart, the son of the main superheroes, Nova doubts her beliefs. The series has a diverse cast of characters and interesting ideas about right versus wrong.

2. ‘We Are The Ants

‘We Are The Ants’ is a beautifully tragic novel about Henry Denton, a high-schooler with a terrible life, who gets abducted by aliens. In one particular abduction, the aliens allow him to save Earth by pressing a button. He’s determined to not press the button, but when he returns to Earth, he meets Diego, whose positivity and love make Henry wonder whether he should destroy the planet or not. Henry is cynical as a narrator, which is rather refreshing for a YA book. Also, for a book as sci-fi as it is, it is incredibly real, and most readers could probably connect with Henry in one way or another.

3. ‘Nevermoor: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow

If you’re looking for another fantastical world on the level of ‘Harry Potter’, without having to think about the problematic views of the author, I wholeheartedly recommend the ‘Morrigan Crow’ series. The first book follows Morrigan Crow, a young girl cursed to die on her 11th birthday. When she is rescued from death by Jupiter North, he takes her to the magical realm of Nevermoor, a world filled with magic and interesting characters. To stay in Nevermoor, Morrigan must participate in the trials to enter the Wundrous society. The world of Nevermoor is very immersive and creative, and the dynamic between Morrigan and any other characters she meets is great.

4. ‘Aru Shah and the End of Time’

If you miss ‘Percy Jackson’, with its modern takes on mythology, and its genuinely good comedy, then look no further than ‘Aru Shah’. This series recently ended in January, and it’s fantastic. Aru Shah, in an effort to impress some kids at school, accidentally incites the end of the world. To fix her mistake, she must team up with Mini, a timid girl with extensive and disturbing knowledge of medical things, and Boo, a sarcastic pigeon. Hijinks ensue. This book does it all — incorporates Indian mythology into modern situations, has pop culture references abound, and a cast of well-developed characters.

5. ‘The Line Tender

Words cannot describe how much I love ‘The Line Tender’. The book begins with Lucy and her best friend, Fred, creating a scientific journal about sharks for extra credit in their science class. When a beached shark suddenly disappears, it looks like the book will be turning into a light-hearted mystery, but then the story takes a hard turn away from that. When Lucy experiences a huge loss, the novel turns into a painting of grief and how to deal with it. The book is tragic, but also beautiful. Plus, the author lives in Minneapolis, so reading this, you’re supporting a local author.

6. ‘Welcome to Night Vale

Both fans, and non-fans, of the hit podcast of the same name can find something to like in this novel. Single mom Diane Crayton and antique shop owner Jackie Fierro work together to solve the mystery of the enigmatic man in the tan jacket, whose face no one can seem to remember. The magical and mysterious town of Night Vale is a cool setting, and you won’t see the end coming.

7. ‘Legendborn

‘Legendborn’ follows Bree, an African-American college student grieving the recent death of her mother, who discovers a secret society called the Legendborn, made up of descendants of members of the round table. When she joins their ranks, she sees the bigotry behind the Legendborn. With an epic battle on the horizon, Bree has to decide whether to fight with them or take them down. Though heavy with exposition, the representation in this novel is abundant, and the main character is more likable than most.

8. ‘Skulduggery Pleasant

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ is about a teen girl named Stephanie as she teams up with a talking skeleton named Skulduggery Pleasant to solve her uncle’s murder. The magical setting of this world is original, and the character of Skulduggery Pleasant, though odd in concept, is a very likeable protagonist.

9. ‘The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

Also based on a podcast, ‘The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel’ is creative and works really well in a novel form. Mars Patel’s friend is missing, and nobody seems to care. He is determined to find her, and finds out disturbing things about his idol along the way. The cast of protagonists are all very distinct and likable, and the end has a huge plot twist that you won’t see coming.

10. ‘Star-Crossed

‘Star-Crossed’ is about a girl named Mattie who auditions for a small part in her school’s production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. In a turn of events, Mattie has to play Romeo. To top it all off, Gemma, the cute new girl is playing Juliet. This book has an adorable romance and it has discussions about bisexuality that I haven’t seen in other novels.

This concludes my list. Happy reading!

The future of architecture

By: Grace Helmke

The human race has long been graced with creatives in all fields. We have been subject to artists who have shaped our culture without us even knowing. Architecture is one the least acknowledged fields of art, yet it contributes a great deal to the society in which we exist.

Architecture is the physical representation of a society. It reflects how we see the world, and how we see ourselves. That being said, what does the future hold for architecture? How will society shape our physical world into a reflection of our newfound values? 

  1. Smart cities 

Technology has become an important part of the lives of practically everyone in society. It’s part of our everyday lives. Smartphones are the keys to city life, providing information on any topic you could think of. It allows us information on healthcare services, access to transit, traffic, restaurants, and even provides safety measures and alerts. According to McKinsey & Company, smart-city strategies are about “Using technology and data purposefully to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life.”

Creating architecture built around the idea of increased technological use would significantly impact all aspects of society. Citizens would fight crime, and improve public safety, make daily commutes faster if smart-mobility infrastructure is created, deliver a cleaner and more sustainable environment through electric and more sustainable applications. 

  1. Vertical cities 

As our world’s population continues to rise, we will have to accommodate for the increase in the need for living spaces. Currently, over 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. This figure is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. Land will become scarce, especially if we continue to build out, instead of up. Creating vertical cities will not only provide a society that’s community based, but would expedite the goal of smart cities. 

  1. Bioarchitecture

Bioarchitecture is the blending of the art of architecture with biomimetics. It incorporates natural shapes to provide a structure that is essentially bioinspired, and eco-friendly. The architecture would mimic its surroundings to provide less of an intrusive existence.

This idea isn’t necessarily new. Ancient Greeks and Romans mimicked nature in their architecture. They incorporated leaf motifs into their structures. Frank Lloyd Wright was a pioneer in the bio architectural movement. He continuously pursued the idea of blurring the lines between his buildings and their landscapes. Even so, this movement will continue to increase as our society places a higher value on our own individual impact on the environment.

  1. Parametric architecture 

This type of architecture involves complex design and unique varieties of structures. It is characterized by free-from architectural concepts with sweeping lines, curves, and irregular shapes. This style presents as very futuristic. It rejects symmetry and uniformity, and instead creates works of art that vary in shapes, textures, and sizes. 

The future will indeed place a higher value on creativity and expression. This form of architecture will produce a work of art which can be doubled as living, working, and recreational spaces. It will produce a society free from the concepts of uniformity. 

  1. Space housing

Technological advancement in the field of aeronautics is happening at a rapid pace. We are closer and closer to achieving commercial space travel. And when the day comes that individuals may be able to travel to space for extremely low prices, an industry will likely emerge on other planets. Hotels and homes capable of housing humans in outer space and on other planets will develop. At first, these habitats will likely be inflatable. Bigelow Aerospace, a company in Nevada that specializes in space technology, has begun to produce these alternative housing solutions.

  1. Accessibility in architecture 

Hopefully, the future holds a greater opportunity for inclusivity. We do not currently have a society that’s built for all forms of life. One major issue for many disabled people is lack of adequate and accessible designs in public architecture. As we progress to become more aware of issues facing all walks of life, we will begin to develop ways in which everyone is benefited. 

Our future holds incredible opportunities for advancement. We may just become a society based upon inclusion, awareness, and desire for good. Our incredible architectural artists and talented technicians will no doubt help us to create a better world where our actions will be for the betterment of all. 

For more information, please visit: 

Why is ‘The Boxcar Children’ (original book) the best children book

By: Ayane Jarso

Image taken from: Goodreads

‘The Boxcar Children’ is a wonderful book that I think is a must read for children everywhere. It tells a story about four children who recently became orphans; they create a home for themselves in the forest and live in an abandoned boxcar in secret. They fend for themselves, cook, clean, and their eldest brother goes into town for work so they have money to live off of.

You might be wondering why they didn’t try reaching out to any other family after their parents died, and they became orphans. Well, the only family member they ever heard of was their grandfather but they got the impression that he was a cruel man because he never gave them a visit.

I believe that this is one of the best children books out there because of the descriptive imagery. Reading this book I truly felt like I was there with the characters. I felt their nervousness anytime they were close to getting caught.

The author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, gives such good descriptive detail to every part of the book. The children sit down for dinner every single night and go over their days while eating their supper. It feels as if I’m on the sidelines listening to their conversation. That’s something Gertrude did really well, it doesn’t feel like a story when you read it, and as a child I felt like I was a part of the adventure which was incredible for a very imaginative young child.

Most of the book takes place out in nature, and according to Wikipedia, ‘The Boxcar Children’ was published in 1924, meaning there wasn’t much technology in the story. I think it helps remind kids that there is a whole world outside of screens and that it can be really enjoyable.

Review of the ‘Berserk’ manga: “Golden Age Arc”

By: Jalalaisa Geleto

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‘Berserk’ is one of the greatest things I have ever read. I’m only halfway through the entire story, but I finished the most iconic and famous ‘Berserk’ arc, the “Golden Age Arc,” last week.

The “Golden Age” is the arc that is most adapted to  other media forms although the story arcs that happen after are much better. This arc is the first real arc in the manga, and it sets you on a reading binge.

I’ll divide my review into three parts: art, story, and characters.

The art in ‘Berserk’ is out of this world. Each manga panel would take me a day to complete, but the author, Miura, made thousands of these. The art in the series has the scale and detail of a renaissance painting but it doesn’t break the flow of the story necessarily. The way he draws things makes you marvel at them but It won’t make you stop for a couple of minutes and stop the flow of reading. His art is completely done with pen and pencil, you can see every mark he makes and it makes his drawings even prettier.

In the great battle scenes of ‘Berserk’ you can feel the speed, intensity, and ferocity of the battles. The line art really does convey the power behind many blows the characters give or take in the manga. The sheer ferocity of some of the character design is quite impressive.

Another thing about the art in this manga is the facial expressions of the characters. Although they can be insane and greatly exaggerated, the expressions are great and sometimes really funny.

The story of the “Golden Age” arc is great overall but it does start relatively slow. “Golden Age” is essentially a backstory for the main character and the main antagonist. Many criticized ‘Berserk’ because the prelude arc (which is two chapters long) spoils the fact that Griffith (Guts, the main character’s best friend) becomes the main villain. Miura does this though, to peak our interest and makes us want to find out more about our mysterious protagonist and antagonist.

The spoiling of it takes out the impact of what happens at the end of the “Golden Age” arc. The arc itself is extremely dark as is everything after it. I wouldn’t recommend ‘Berserk’ to anyone who has a low tolerance for, blood & gore, cursing, horror, and sexual violence.

The ‘Berserk’ story is quite straightforward during the “Golden Age” arc, and nothing of brilliance really happens until the end of the arc. The arc’s purpose is to build you up for the main story of ‘Berserk.’ It’s an arc that familiarizes you with the world. It makes you care for the characters then it finally shatters everything and puts you on an adventure with Guts.

The characters of the “Golden Age” arc is what makes it, not the plot. The plot doesn’t become the greatest of factors till the end of the arc. The characters are really likable and you enjoy all their screen times. Characters get the right amount of time in the story. You get to know and like the side characters without them bogging down the story and becoming annoying.

The main three characters – Guts, Casaka, and Griffith, are all well fleshed out and their actions reflect their character and personality. There aren’t any out of character moments with them; everything makes sense and there’s a reason for it.

Griffith, while a well fleshed out character, is still mysterious. We understand Griffith but we really don’t know much about him. I found this interesting and honestly, I don’t really need to know much of his past; it’s better off a mystery.

Overall, the “Golden Age” arc is a great beginning to an epic story. It has one of the greatest build ups and plot twists of all time. I believe it deserves to be called one of the greatest, if not the greatest, manga ever written. I’ll give the “Golden Age” arc an 8 out of 10.

Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’:  Part one – Inferno

By: Jalalaisa Geleto

‘The Divine Comedy’ is one of the greatest Christian arts ever made. The poem was started in 1308 and was completed in 1320. It was written by Dante Alighieri. It shows what the Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestants believe what the after life is.

‘The Divine Comedy’ is written in three parts. Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Heaven). Dante goes through the multiple levels of these realms to find his love in Heaven.

The first part of the story is Inferno. There are nine levels of Hell:

The first level is Limbo. This isn’t a heavenly place, but it isn’t the worst of Hell. This is where the unbaptized and virtuous pagans go to. In actual theology, there are many areas in limbo unlike in Dante’s where it’s just one realm.

The second circle of Hell is Lust. Those who are lustful and adulterers will suffer the many punishments for the different types of lustful sin they have committed. Famous historical figures in that circle are Cleopatra and Helena of Troy. Also, a lot of adulterous Italian politicians. This will be a theme throughout the entire story. Dante depicts all of his dead political opponents being in the many levels of Hell.

The third level Hell is for the sins of Gluttony. Those who over consume and spend so much on material things instead of God are sentenced to this level. Many politicians and upper class are sent to this level in Dante’s story.

The fourth level Hell is for the sin of Greed. These are for the bankers, greedy, and overly materialistic. One of their punishments is to forever bicker over money doomed to eternal mental anguish and anger.

The fifth level of Hell is for the sin of Wrath. Those who are forever angry and wrathful towards others are sentenced to this level of Hell. One of their many punishments is to forever fight in terrible battles with each other.

The sixth level of Hell is for the sin of Heresy. Any heretical Christians go to this level of Hell. Basically, if it doesn’t line up with what the original Church fathers said, and is against all of the holy text, it is heresy and you’re going to Hell.

The seventh level of Hell is for the sin of Violence. There are three different levels, or parts, to this level for the different types of violence you can commit. The first part is for violence against people and their property. The second part for people who commit violence for themselves (suicide). The third part is for blasphemers and sodomites.

The eighth level of Hell is for the sin of Fraud. This level is obviously occupied by the fraudulent. This level is divided in ten parts and Dante sees all sorts of punishment for the different types of fraudulent things one can do in life.

The ninth level of Hell is for the sin of Treachery. This level is occupied by the first treacherous being, Satan himself, according to Dante. Satan is both being tortured and touring others. This part of Hell is frozen because Satan is always flapping his massive wings. Everyone in this level is frozen except for three people: Brutus (friend who betrayed Caesar for the Republic), Cassius (another friend of Caesar for the same reasons), and the worst of them all, Judas (the man who betrayed Lord Christ). They are forever being chewed and eaten alive by Satan’s three heads. Doomed to be regenerated and eaten forever.

‘Great Gatsby’ review

By: Mohamed Ahmed

‘The Great Gatsby’? Never heard of it. What is it? 

‘The Great Gatsby’ is a book written by a famous author called F. Scott Fitzgerald. I am going to try to determine if this book is for you. 

‘The Great Gatsby’ takes place in the 1920s. The main character/narrator is a young man with dreams of hitting it big in the bond business. After his father put a timer on him Nick rushed to find a new home which ended up being close to a distant cousin and college acquaintance. His house also put him next to the title character.

One of the things I enjoyed most is the theme of the American Dream and the harsh reality of the real world. He delves into all sorts of relationships and how not everyone gets their perfect ending. 

The story starts out very slow however. It takes a long time to set up the main characters and the new environment all while keeping the story mysterious. He slowly builds a world and gives hints to foreshadowing. 

When all the pieces are in place though, the story comes together in an incredible way. The author found a way to word the story so that he keeps the mystery of Gatsby alive, all while keeping the story flowing. 

There are lies, ghosts from the past (not literally), mistakes, and heavy plot twists. 

The most important thing about the story is that it is from an outside perspective. If the narrator was all knowing then there wouldn’t be anything left to the imagination. There are vague scenes. It leaves the story up to interpretation inviting discussion because depending on your education level, life experiences, and knowledge about the author, you will interpret scenes in different ways. 

Due to the number of times that the author rewrote it, you know that the story is carefully crafted and the words that are used are intentional. 

All-in-all, to most people, I would recommend this book, especially if you can pass the first phases when the characters are all being introduced. 

‘One Piece’ review

By: Mohamed Ahmed

What is ‘One Piece’? ‘One Piece’ is the number one best selling manga in the world. ‘One Piece’ started on June 3rd 1999 and is still going on today. During that time ‘One Piece’ broke every sales record for manga sales in manga history. It is one of the big three anime and is by far the number one most popular and best selling manga on earth. 

There is an anime show that is based on the manga ‘One Piece’. There are lots of reasons people have for not watching ‘One Piece’. The number one reason I have heard that makes sense is that it is too long. The manga, ‘One Piece’, is currently at chapter 999 and the anime has 954 episodes out. 

The reason why ‘One Piece’ failed in the west was because of the infamous 4kids dub. 4 kids was given a dubbing license as part of a package deal with some other series. ‘One Piece’ is not a show that can maintain its charm without the dark elements. The corruption of the world government, the main antagonistic force and the brutality of the pirates cannot be conveyed through censorship. 

‘One Piece’ has heart wrenching backstories and when you censor them to the point where it changes the plot, and closure is not given to the characters who found some way into the story, this takes a lot out of the way people view the series. 

The animation is another problem people have. Many ‘One Piece’ fans had that problem before watching the anime. After watching the anime people tend to miss the objectively bad animation and have a sense of nostalgia. That said, some people cannot watch something if it doesn’t suit their standards. 

Overall, I feel that people should give this series a chance, and not just rely on what the internet says about it. 

Manga rating: 10/10 

Anime rating 8/10

The story behind the Utah Monolith

By: Caden Ligman

On November 18th, the Utah Department of Public Safety was conducting a routine count of bighorn sheep when they came across the tall, metallic structure. They had no idea what, or where, this mysterious structure came from. Pilot Bret Hutchings, who was flying the plane that spotted the monolith structure said, “It felt like a scene right out of the Stanley Kubrick ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.'”

With so many questions floating in people’s heads, the biggest one was, why put a structure like this in a place so remote?

As soon as the monolith was reaching its peak of internet fame, it disappeared. The disappearance of the monolith was just as strange as the discovery. The disappearance occurred only nine days after it was discovered leaving civilians and the government questioning where this thing came from.

Not surprisingly, one of the most popular theories for why this monolith came and went so quickly was: aliens.

As strange as the monolith is, the idea of aliens is quite facilitating. This theory circled the internet, becoming a meme among social media users. Even the San Juan County Sheriff’s department poked fun at the ideas, posing on their Twitter a collage of aliens, captioned, “If you recognize anyone from this lineup provided as being in the area of the strange structure on the night of November 27, please let us know!”

While the idea of aliens is entertaining, a more realistic explanation for this monolith is that it was a piece of art. Many people believe the monolith to be the work of the minimalist sculptor, John McCracken. McCracken’s style of art matched the Utah Monolith perfectly.

The majority of people close to McCracken, however, do not believe that he would leave his work in a desert. His son, on the other hand, recalled a conversation he had with his father in an interview with the New York Times. He told reporters, “We were standing outside looking at the stars and he said something to the effect of that he would like to leave his artwork in remote places to be discovered later.”

There are many theories circling the internet of where this mysterious structure came from and why it vanished so quickly.

What was the purpose of this monolith? And why was it placed in the middle of the Utah desert? These questions are what has kept the internet buzzing. What do you think the real story behind the monolith is?

For more information, please visit:

Six reasons to read ‘Six of Crows’

By: Annika Getz

‘Six of Crows’ is a fantasy fiction novel written by Leigh Bardugo, with a sequel called ‘Crooked Kingdom’. It’s an amazing book, and there are a lot of things I love about it.

One thing I adore about this book is the dialogue and banter between the characters. It’s entertaining and interesting to read through their interactions. It also keeps the book a bit more light-hearted and fun. This is not to say that the story is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s deliciously dark, and filled with malice, which is why the witty banter and joking dialogue is so refreshing.

Another great thing about this book is how lovable the characters are. Each one is relatable and easy to connect with. I found myself immediately attached to them, which made the book all the more enjoyable.

Sticking with the topic of characters, I have to say that another thing I loved was the development each character went through throughout the duology. They ended up being well rounded and flawed characters. This made them feel more real, and engulfed me further into the story.

Something else I loved was simply how amazing the plot was. It was entertaining and captivating. Once the story really took off (since the first bit is just set up obviously), I was never bored while reading. It kept me entranced throughout the whole book.

This brings me to my next point, which is that the book really keeps you on the edge of your seat. The suspense is wonderful, it keeps you captivated and really brings you into the story. It’s almost like you’re really there with the characters, going on their adventures with them.

My final point, and perhaps my favorite thing about the book, is that there is so much representation. There are POC characters, LGBTQIA+ characters, characters with disabilities, characters who struggle with addiction, and so much more. But one thing that I loved about the representation was that most of it wasn’t a big deal. The entire characters weren’t based around their sexualities or their disabilities, it was just a part of them. It was refreshing to see characters who faced no invalidation whatsoever.

So there you have it. Six reasons I’d suggest reading the ‘Six of Crows’ duology.