Since we all have a lot more free time these days, I’m here to recommend my top 10 manga series!
1. Pandora Hearts written by Jun Mochizuki. Characters end up tangled into a mystery surrounding the Abyss.
2. The Case Study of Vanitas written by Jun Mochizuki. A vampire and a human explore France while discovering new secrets about their worlds.
3. Toilet-bound Hanako-kun written by Iro Aida. A highschool girl wonders into a bathroom in seek of the ghost that supposedly resides there.
4. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba written by Koyoharu Gotouge. Demons slaughter a boy’s family and he wants revenge.
5. My Hero Academia written by Kōhei Horikoshi. In a world of superheroes, a boy was born without powers but still aspires to be a hero.
6. No. 6 written by Atsuko Asano. A so-called “perfect” city turns out to have dark secrets lying beneath its wonderful reputation.
7. Blue Spring Ride written by Io Sakisaka. A girl encounters her first love from middle school again in high school.
8. Bakuman written by Tsugumi Ohba. Two boys come together to create manga.
9. Bloom Into You written by Nio Nakatani. Two girls who have never fallen in love before end up seeking love from each other.
10. Kimi no Todoke written by Karuho Shiina. A shy, misunderstood girl befriends a kind and considerate boy, and they fall in love with one another.
I hope you find my list helpful! I tried to include different genres of books so many different viewers could enjoy.
“Phantom Tales of the Night” written by Matsuri is a horror manga that takes place in modern Japan. It has four stories, with the first and last related. Murakumo Inn- where all the events happen - is a mysterious business open to people or spirits who are having issues with their life. The odd innkeeper does not desire money; instead, he wants your deepest, darkest secrets in order to let you stay.
Tokihito, the first story’s protagonist, had always seen butterflies following him, but he didn’t know why. One day, a giant and aggressive butterfly spirit was chasing him. Tokihito then runs into the Murakumo Inn and meets the unnamed and eccentric innkeeper. The innkeeper asks Tokihito for a secret, but he has none. The innkeeper reveals that the butterflies chasing him were actually one of the inn’s employees, Butterfly, but in a different form.
Tokihito soon realizes he’s forgotten how to get home and what his parents look like. He is startled when the innkeeper calls him a “spirit.” Tokihito starts to freak out when he’s told that he’s actually dead, and immediately his body begins to decay and his torso turns into skeleton. When he wakes up in a bedroom and sees the innkeeper behind him, he realizes that it wasn’t a dream. The innkeeper says, “This is a secret I made just for you.”
The next story follows Miho, a woman in her late 20s. She and her twin sister, Kaho, were always told how different they were. Miho felt jealousy towards Kaho and when she gets dumped by her boyfriend and loses her job, while Kaho gets a fiancé, these negative emotions are amplified. One day, Miho stumbles upon Butterfly in his human form and starts to talk to him. She tells him about Kaho and Butterfly says he has granted her wish. She doesn’t seem to know what this means and heads home to find her sister dead. For some reason, the only feeling that welled up inside her was joy. Miho starts her new life with a smile on her face only for it to turn into a frown when everybody starts calling her Kaho. Miho slowly goes mad and starts to melt into butterflies.
The third story introduces a new character, Spider. Like Butterfly, he can change into different forms. He also possesses the ability to use webs. Spider serves as one of the guards for the Murakumo Inn. A girl (who is mostly snake) shows up and tries to assassinate the innkeeper on her master’s order. Spider locks her in a cage and tells her she’s being used. The girl seems to believe that she’s the only one her master trusts to kill the innkeeper, and she starts flipping out when she realizes she has been lied to. The innkeeper ends up killing her, and Spider becomes bitter because he couldn’t save her.
The last story involves Tokihito again. He meets an odd man who wishes to kill the innkeeper. Tokihito brings him to the inn, and the innkeeper and this man start attacking each other. At one point, the innkeeper is presumed dead but starts to take the form of a demon-like creature with eyes all over his head. The man’s attempt fails, and he and Tokihito go home.
I personally really enjoyed this series, and have been dying for volume two to come out. This has a mix of traditional Japanese lore yet modern themes. Matsuri wrote this really well and portrayed the innkeeper as a sadistic in-human creature. The art is beautiful and quite expressive. I would definitely call this a horror series.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5
“American Born Chinese” a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang is a winner of the Michael L. Printz Award and is a National Book Award finalist. The genre of this book is realistic fiction, and the recommended audience is 13 and up. This story follows three characters (Jin, The Monkey King, and Chin-Kee) as each of their stories become intertwined in a journey of learning to be happy with themselves.
Jin Wang is the son of immigrants who moved to America from China. When he is in third grade, his parents move to a new town. At this new school, Jin faces many challenges, one of these being discrimination. Teachers at his school can’t even say his name right, people assume because he’s Chinese he was born in China, and the other kids make racist comments. Jin feels very frustrated because he wants to just blend in with everyone else, but he can’t because people only see him as who they think he is based on his race. Eventually Jin becomes so obsessed with trying to be like everyone else he begins to change his appearance and pretends he is someone else until one day he actually changes into someone else named Danny. When this happens the character Chin-Kee is introduced.
Chin-Kee is supposed to be a living representation of all negative Asian stereotypes and makes life very difficult for his cousin Danny who thinks of him as a nuisance. Danny can’t stand to even be around Chin-Kee because all he sees when he looks at him are things that make him embarrassed. Chin-Kee’s character is supposed to be incredibly offensive, and I think the reason the author put his character in the story at all is to make a point. I think Yang is trying to show people the stereotypes they have subconsciously embraced, and I believe he is trying to make readers aware that anyone can have them, even those who should know better.
The Monkey King - based on one of the oldest Chinese fables - is the ruler of all monkeys and a master of the four heavenly disciplines of Buddhism. One day, the Monkey King starts to believe that he doesn’t want to be a monkey; he wants to be a god so that he will have the respect of everyone in the land. Like Jin, as he becomes someone he isn’t, the Monkey King forgets who he is and loses all his honor. SPOILER: Later on in the story, Jin discovers that Chin-Kee was actually the Monkey King in disguise, his purpose to remind Jin who he is.
An important theme in this story is self. All of the characters in American Born Chinese have some part of them that represents self or self-discovery. Jin’s character represents not liking yourself, Chin-Kee represents the part of yourself you don’t like, and the Monkey King represents learning to appreciate who you are in order to keep moving on in life. A quote early in the book captures this well. “It’s easy to become anything you wish… so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul” (Yang 29).
Overall, I found this story very intriguing. All of the messages were really interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction and anyone who likes complex stories or fables. The only thing I did find hard about this book is that some of the stories and parables within took me a while to understand and sometimes there was so much going that I got confused.
“Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me” by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is a graphic novel following the main character Freddy Riley, a highschool girl who’s girlfriend, Laura Dean, won’t stop breaking up with her.
Laura is popular, good looking, and supposedly the perfect girl. But Freddy’s been trapped in a toxic relationship with her, and always ends up coming back to her despite their many break-ups. Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, tries to get her out of this relationship many times, but Freddy grows cold towards her instead. Freddy’s other friends, Eric and Buddy, are also concerned for her. She seeks help from a journal columnist, Anna Vice, and Seek-her, who is a curious medium. Freddy is told to break up with Laura, but doesn’t know how. “I think I know now why the words “‘love’” and “‘punch’” go together so often. Seriously, it’s a punch.”
Laura never seems to devote herself to Freddy and often leaves her alone at parties while she dances with someone else. Laura can also be rude, but Freddy’s convinced herself that Laura makes her feel good. When she and Doodle head out of a party, Freddy meets Vi working at a donut shop. Later in the story, Vi and Freddy become friends and Vi gives her the push she needs to fix her current situation.
While this is happening, Doodle is going through a rough time and needs Freddy around. But she’s so caught up with Laura she doesn’t realise Doodle feels the way she does. Freddy finally realizes she needs to pay more attention to the person who cares about her and less attention to Laura.
This series has been praised by many authors and was definitely worth reading. I enjoyed the characters and the story seemed very real. It’s a really good book, and I liked it a lot.
I would rate this series: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Today I’m reviewing, “Behind The Scenes!!!” by Bisco Hatori, the author of the famous manga “Ouran High School Host Club.” The story’s protagonist is the very anxious and pessimistic Ranmaru Kurisu.
After just settling in to his first year in college, Ranmaru is caught off guard by zombies near the area he’s relaxing in. They’re not real, granted, but despite that fact Ranmaru is still frightened. Ranmaru later finds out it was a movie shoot for his college’s group, the “Art Squad.”
In order to repay the group for messing up their shoot, its seemingly hostile leader, Ryuji Goda, says Ranmaru has to help fix and clean up their props. Ranmaru has always been very crafty and artistic, unlike the rest of his family. Seeing his skills, Ryuji lets him join the Art Squad. The following books consist of Ranmaru and the group’s different film projects and people they meet along the way.
The other characters in the story are Ruka Enjoji who is a third year economics major, and is a kind and caring character who always tries her hardest to make sure everyone’s okay. She is also part of the Art Squad.
Another character is Maasa Rokubu, a gore obsessed second year marketing major also in the Art Squad. She’s one of my favorite characters, and she seems pretty creepy but is actually very kind.
Some other Art Squad members are Tomu Tenba and Izumi Samura. Tomu is an energetic first year Humanities and Science major, while Izumi is a calm and friendly third year economics major.
I really enjoy this series. I have yet to read all the books, but I’m halfway through volume three. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the “slice of life” genre. I can personally relate to Ranmaru in the way that he’s always thinking about past conversations and worrying that he could of said something wrong. This book is very funny, but it’s also very warm feeling. My favorite line in volume one is when Izumi says, “Ranmaru’s negativity might be some kind of talent.” I don’t know why, but that line cracks me up.
A series I have really liked and spent a few weeks racing through is Pandora Hearts,written by Jun Mochizuki. There are 24 books, but here I’ll be reviewing volume 1. The protagonist of the series is Oz Vessalius, a young and carefree boy who just turned 15. Being born into an aristocratic family means he must be the next head of the Vessalius family, and his coming of age ceremony is the talk of the town, while he couldn’t care less.
Oz seems all smiles and fun, but is always studying in hope that his father will praise him. His mother died when he was young, and his father despises him. Luckily, Oz’s uncle, Oscar, takes care of him, and Oz sees him as a father. Oz is always getting into trouble and teasing his servant, Gilbert, who is a year younger than him. Before the start of the ceremony, Oz meets Sharon Rainsworth, a 14-year-old girl who is planning on being the head of the Rainsworth family herself. Sharon becomes an important part of the story.
When the ceremony finally happens, it strays far from what it was supposed to be. Suddenly, people in red hoods appear called the “crimson shinigami” or “the reapers in red.” Oz is sucked into the Abyss which is another dimension described as an “eternal prison” and there he encounters creatures called “chains” which are monsters that live in the Abyss. Oz also meets a girl named Alice, who rescues him from the chains despite being one herself. Alice can turn into a giant rabbit, also known as B-Rabbit (B stands for bloody and black) and is known as one of the most powerful chains in the abyss.
Alice asks Oz to make a contract with her, meaning that he would inherit her powers and she could stay in the human world. The thing is, time is weird in the Abyss: you could be in there for five minutes and, if you can get out, three years might have passed. So, when Oz does escape the Abyss, he finds out that 10 whole years have passed.
Oz wakes up inside Sharon’s home and is greeted by her, a strange man named Raven, and Sharon’s servant named Xerxes Break. Break informs Oz on how long he’s been gone, and tells him that everyone Oz cares about are doing just fine. He also tells Oz about an organization called “Pandora” that studies events that occur related to the Abyss. Alice possesses Oz and attacks Sharon, and Break acts fast. He knocks Alice out of Oz and he’s surprised to see that B-Rabbit is a small girl. Later in the story, Oz and Alice begin to work with Break, Raven, and Sharon as they study cases involving chains entering the human world. When Oz is reunited with his sister Ada and his uncle, he feels relieved.
I loved this book so much that I read all 24 books as fast as I could. Before I read the manga, I watched the anime version, which stops after the ninth book so that was disappointing.
I definitely want to read more of Mochizuki’s books, and I think she’s an amazing author. She was able to fit so much humor into this series while also capturing sadness. It made me cry, actually. Pandora Hearts referenced Alice in Wonderland as well as Pandora’s Box. Overall I’d have to say it’s my favorite series so far.
“the gods lie.”written and illustrated by Kaori Ozaki is a manga that takes place in Japan. The story follows Natsuru Nanao who is an 11 year-old boy who ends up spending his summer with Rio Suzumura, a tall and quiet girl. Natsuru lives alone with his mother who is a writer. He has a passion for soccer but is sad when his coach ends having to go to the hospital. The team gets a new coach, but Natsuru is not looking forward to soccer camp as much.
A few days before summer vacation, Natsuru finds a stray kitten. He brings it home to take care of it, but his mom doesn’t allow it, as she is allergic to cats. Natsuru brings the cat outside and runs into Rio and her younger brother, Yuuta. Rio announces that she’ll take care of the cat, but she had to stop for groceries first and asks Natsuru to tag along. Natsuru brings the cat to Rio’s house, and soon finds out that Rio and her brother live alone. Their father abandoned them and they don’t have a mother.
When Natsuru has to go to soccer camp a few days later, he packs all his things and goes out. He sits on the bench where his bus was supposed to arrive, and decides he doesn’t want to go. Rio and Yuuta find Natsuru who says he can’t go home because his mother thinks he’s at soccer camp. Rio invites Natsuru to live at her house. That’s how Natsuru spent his summer vacation. Eventually his mom finds out about soccer camp, and Natsuru has to go home.
My opinion: I really, really like this book. I wish there was a sequel, but at the same time I feel like the ending was just fine. This manga made me cry, so I’d have to say it’s a pretty sad story. Overall, it was written very well and the art is beautiful.
by Bean, edited by Platypus
I rate this manga: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Cells At Work! is a manga (that they then turned into an anime) written by Akane Shimizu. The story is exactly what it sounds like: you explore the daily life of cells working in the human body. There are loads of characters, and the first one we come across is Red Blood cell.
Red Blood cell has fiery red hair and a bad sense of direction, but her passion for her job is what keeps her going. When she was strolling through the body, bacteria suddenly floods in. Red Blood cell, in awe from the attack, was frozen, technically the perfect prey for the germs who try their hardest to infect the body. When she was almost eaten, White Blood cell pops out from nowhere! Most people fear the white blood cells, but they’re actually pretty easy-going guys excluding the fact that they’re assassins. White Blood cell kills the germ, keeping Red Blood cell safe.
Almost everyday Red Blood cell is getting in trouble, and almost every time the same White Blood cell comes to save her. Once, when White Blood cell encountered Red Blood cell, he escorted her to her destination, because she’s bad with maps. During this, they stumbled upon some platelets. Because platelets look like small children, the other cells are often found staring at them and making remarks on just how cute they look.
While the White Blood cells are tough, the Killer T cells are tougher. They’re only sent out when the White Blood cells need backup. The training is brutal, and you’ll often find the squad leader yelling at his trainees, and generally being grouchy. The Killer T cells have no mercy, and they eliminate whatever is causing harm.
Then the Macrophages come into play. While they may seem dainty and “cutesy,” they too, are hardcore murderers. They help out when things get really bad and often work with young children to teach them basic things, almost like preschool for cells.
There are so many violent cells in this series! Another is the NK cell. She is like the female version of the T Cells, and tends to act a little sassy and annoys the them like there’s no tomorrow. The Helper T Cell, who, unlike the Killer T cells, gives orders to attack instead of actually getting his hands dirty. The Helper T often relaxes in his office when nothing comes up, sipping tea and eating biscuits. B cell creates weapons to destroy bacteria, and often fights with Mast Cell, whose job is to create Histamines and such. Lastly, is Eosinophil, another type of White Blood cell, who is weaker then the average White Blood cell, but has her own strengths. She’s often teased by the regularly cells who think she’s weak, but the other White Blood cells know her power.
I may have missed a few cells, but all in all, every character is different and that’s what I like. I certainly enjoyed this series, and it actually tells you quite a bit about real cells, and is pretty educational while being entertaining at the same time.
If you like semi-comedic stories that have a twist to them, I’d say this is for you. The author, Akane Shimizu, is actually in the middle of writing the 6thbook, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5
This shonen manga called Noragami written by Adachitoka is about a god named Yato who is unknown to most humans and dreams of building a shrine and becoming the most popular god. He helps people who have problems for a small fee. Yato can be very rude and not very good at his business. He had a spirit who served as his weapon, but she got fed up with him and quit.
Yato later meets Hiyori Iki, who is in a “blind spot” in between the near shore, which is the mortal realm, and the far shore, which is what humans call the afterlife. Yato and Hiyori meet when Yato is out looking for a cat and he runs into the street to get it. Hiyori pushes him out of the way when a bus just misses him. Hiyori is hit instead and sent to the hospital where she meets Yato again. She later goes back to school, but ends up falling asleep, causing her spirit to leave her body. From then on, she is like a spirit from the far shore, but returns to her body at random.
There are also corrupted spirits that feed on depression, so if they get a hold you they’ll make everyone around you hate you. This leads to rotten thoughts, which to these spirits are a delicious snack. But a reminder, only animals, young children, and people in blind spots can see the spirits. They do not believe spirits are the cause of this, which leads to sadness thinking people don’t like them.
I find this story interesting. It can come off as weird to some, but I think the story will go further then just swordfights with spirits. I think Yato is different from other shonen protagonists and sometimes acts like a child. I would describe the genre as fantasy, comedy, and action. I give this manga 4/5 stars.
I rate it: 5/5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐️/ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Laid Back Camp is a manga series written by Afro about girls in high school who are very passionate about the outdoors. The first two main characters are Rin Shima and Nadeshiko Kagamihara. They’re complete opposites who meet while Rin is camping. Nadeshiko is a very bubbly, happy-go-lucky girl who loves food, while Rin is just and introvert who likes to camp alone and read.
They become friends and later find out they go to the same high school—Motosu High. Every since first meeting Rin in the wilderness, Nadeshiko discovers a love for the outdoors and wants to join the school’s more relaxed outdoorsy club, the OEC (Outdoor Exploration Club) where she meets the only two members, Chiaki Ōgaki and Aoi Inuyama. Chiaki is very serious about camping and tends to overreact, and makes life kind of fictitious. Aoi is Chiaki’s friend, and is very kind and goes along with Chiaki’s strange habits.
Then we have Rin’s friend, Ena Saito. She’s very cheerful and has a pet Chihuahua. So, just watch as they learn about wildlife, and food while battling their high school life, and meet new friends.
This manga is adorable! The art ranges from very detailed to very cute chibi. I think anyone can enjoy this manga, and it actually gives you camping tips that are quite useful, such as reviewing types of sleeping bags, and food tips. This is also an anime that you can watch on Crunchyroll.™ A second season is also in progress, so hopefully that comes out soon!
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