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.
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.
Do you enjoy reading fantasy books? If so then The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman might be a great book for you!
The Graveyard Book follows Nobody Owens (also called, Bod) as he is raised by ghosts in a graveyard which he calls his home. One night when Bod was a toddler, his family was murdered. Unknowingly, he wanders into a nearby graveyard and meets the ghosts who live there. When they realise that Bod is helpless and has nowhere to go, all of the ghosts agree to help raise him. He is given to his foster parents Mr. and Mrs. Owens along with “The Freedom of The Graveyard.” He also is taken care of by Silas, his guardian, who is able to leave the graveyard to get Bod food and clothing.
As Bod grows up, he experiences all sorts of fantastical adventures as he explores all the corners of his little graveyard. While everything is mainly happy for him, Bod still has many questions about who killed his family, eventually learning that the person is still out there looking for him.
I really enjoyed this book because of the characters and the descriptions in the story. The characters have a lot of depth to them and you can really imagine what they would be like. While some of the characters only appeared for a chapter, you can still learn a lot about them because they have very defined personalities. The descriptions of the setting and emotions the characters felt were also very enjoyable and detailed.
One of my favorite things about the book are the insightful quotes that the characters say like this one from Silas when he was talking about a death from suicide: “... It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.” (pg 104)
I have read that they are going to be making a movie of this, but nothing seems to have happened so far. I really hope that someone will.
Platypus and Bean is a website of many different subjects and reviews.