*Excuse the graphic…Fred IV doesn’t want to work with me and it’s too late to be concerned with it -_-. Also forgive the tardiness: unexpected delays. It was a rough, but fun, day.*
Truth: I am not an otaku, but I really, really, reaaaalllly love manga! (And manhwa, and webtoons, and comics, and…basically BOOKS. Boooooks.) I do, however, fangirl…and of course, I’ve got to keep things fairly nerdy so I can continue to use the phrase, “Nerd on.”
NERD ON <—Pinterest board evidence 😀
More truth: I’m a voracious manga reader, always on the hunt for a great new manga to sink my teeth into.
Thing is, when I check out people’s top ten or even twenty, it’s understandably full of manga that’s so mainstream/über popular that I 1) have already read it and/or 2) am not a fan. And then I am in a quandary. Hunger for more manga+already been there lists=unhappy non-reader. Naruto. Bleach. One Piece. Skip Beat! Kimi ni Todoke. Kamisama Hajimemashita.
Granted, I love Naruto, and if I was doing a favorites or top of all time list or ranking at all, uh, yeah, it’d be on there because Naruto is Naruto?? ‘Nuff said. (For real, though, Naruto actually is my #1 fave and the precursor to my now slightly manga-crazed self.) I also greatly enjoy many popular manga; they’ve become popular for a reason. Still not sure what reason is behind the popularity of Bleach, but I digress…
ARE YOU READY TO RECEIVE THE GIFT OF GREAT, AND GREATLY UNDERRATED/UNDERRANKED MANGA??
Ok, maybe it’s not all that great. But I do hope you enjoy, that you’ll check these titles out if you haven’t already, and come back and flail/rave with me about how wonderful and woefully underranked they are. Also if you have any that you feel should be added, tell me! Voracious manga reader will be happy ^_^.
These aren’t in any particular order because I am indecisive and also very late to post this as I had an adventure-filled day with unexpected delays :/.
1) The Promised Neverland (Yakusoku no Neverland), by Shirai Kaui & Demizu Posuka
When I started reading this, I thought it’d be a fun read. I’ve enjoyed manga that feature kids (like Gakuen Babysitters and such), so I figured, hey, why not. Plus that title is epic. SOLD.
First chapter: WHAT IS THIS WONDROUS WORK AND WHY HAVE I NEVER HEARD ABOUT IT
Delightfully twisty and superbly suspenseful, this is one manga you’ll just have to binge read. Trust me. It’s so terrible…but so good.
2) Otoyomegatari (A Bride’s Story), Mori Kaoru
This one is somewhat popular depending on the circles you run into, but I’m surprised it’s not lauded more openly. Perhaps it’s because the series is older?? Regardless, this is a gem. Gorgeous, absolutely stunning artwork, as you can tell from the cover. Everything is exquisitely detailed, and, though I may be exaggerating on this point, the movement captured by the artist’s hand is so well done I’d venture to say it’s the best I’ve ever seen.
And it gets better! The story is adorable and intriguing, the cast is well-rounded and varied, and the culture. This is culture done right!! I loved learning about a culture so steeped in tradition. Beautiful work! Otoyomegatari won the SF Taishou Award in 2011.
3) Boku dake ga Inai Machi (Erased), Sanbe Kei
‘WOW’ was my go-to response while reading this manga (as well as WHAT?! and Nooooo and whhhhyyy) because it is so ridiculously well done and brilliant and clever.
If you enjoy manga like Deathnote and other psychological/mental workouts, this manga must be added to your TBR pile. (Did you add it? You must stop reading this and add it. You’ll thank me later!)
While the artwork isn’t nearly as wowing as Otoyomegatari (perhaps an unfair comparison, though, to be fair), the plot more than makes up for any lack of artistry you may perceive. I thought it was well done, but it’s not, again, the sparkly, shiny art that people ooh and ahh over. It’s pleasantly simplistic. The cast is also well done. I did guess the killer wayyy early on, but that’s because I couldn’t get the person off my mind and I kept saying, even aloud, “I just don’t like ___.” I was convinced and honestly if I hadn’t been right I dunno what I would have done hahaha. But WOW. Gripping. Totally binge-read worthy.
4) Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice), Ooima Yoshitoki
Review<–You can read my review of the work on Goodreads 🙂
This is a heart-wrenching one! It’s difficult to watch someone get bullied, especially when it’s for something they can’t help–like being deaf, which is the case with the girl on the front cover.
It’s a sobering read, but that’s part of what makes it so great. Issues like this need to be heard, need to be seen…and need to be properly addressed.
5) Barakamon, Yoshino Satsuki
I am a total sucker for slice of life, and Barakamon is one of the finest I’ve read. It’s an evocative tale that addresses the struggles of identity and meaning in a lighthearted, easy-to-digest manner. The protagonist is endearing and the cast is full of warmth. I could rave for days about the art style (I’ll spare you :-), and I loved the nod to calligraphy. Best part? The story is absolutely hilarious in large part thanks to the semi-precocious Naru.
Barakamon quickly and easily became one of my all time favorites.
6) Karakai Jyouzu no Takagi san (Teasing Master Takagi-san), Yamamoto Souichirou
Again you’re seeing my bent towards younger-aged manga, an admission I’m unashamed of because ADULTHOOD ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Adulting, though a natural season of life to mature into, is legitimately difficult in the best of circumstances and I’ll be the first to admit things were a whole lot easier when I was just a kid!
Hearkening back to such simple times is KJT: a surprising, happy, and hilarious (and CUTE!) manga about a girl and a boy whose relationship cycles from tease to failed revenge tease to push ups and back again. My shoddy description doesn’t do it justice, so to find out how funny (and endearing) it really is, you’re just going to have to READ IT *_*. ❤ ❤
7) Fukuyadou Honpo (The Fukuya Family Shop), Yuchi Yayomi
Blunt moment: I disliked the art in this, which is really a tactful way to say it was on a level far below what I’m used to seeing. Granted I could never draw manga, so there’s that…but honestly, if you’re looking to be wowed by the beauty of the art, Fukuyadou is just not the manga you’re looking for.
However, if you’re looking for a seriously epic story? Fukuyadou is one of the best out there. The story is told through the perspective of the three sisters on the cover and chronicles their journeys into the wild sea of adulthood (see above notes about adulating). My favorite part about this manga is that it’s real, but not gritty; the mangaka employs a rare eloquence and a delicacy that’s almost unparalleled (comparing to other works I’ve read).
8) Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April), Arakawa Naoshi
THIS MANGA WRECKED ME. I mean, yeah, I guess I should have seen it coming. In hindsight, it was maybe obvious? (??? I dunno!) But GAH, for a while after I read it I would literally cry every time I thought about it or read the title on my manga list! Terrible. Not sure if that’s the response awaiting YOUR read-through, but suffice to say I both loved and despised this manga for cruelly manipulating my feelings in the best way.
Arakawa Naoshi is a genius.
9) Nijiiro Days (Rainbow Days), Mizuno Minami
You can check out my review on Goodreads here 🙂
Nijiiro Days is one of the quirkiest, fun-loving manga I’ve read–outside of The Wallflower, that is–and, for the most part, it’s good clean humor. You may have noticed by now that none of the manga in this list are ecchi or anything even close, and that’s because I detest coarse humor. If that’s your thing, *snark moment coming on* your taste needs adjusting. That’s like enjoying sour milk and rotten eggs when you could be eating gourmet. *Shakes head*
Anyway, the characters and predicaments they get themselves into are nothing short of hilarious; pure comic gold. I love how the four guys are vastly different, but are still the best of friends. I NEED MORE, MIZUNO-SAN.
So, what do you think? Good list? Terrible? Do you have any you’d add??
Thanks for tuning in :). See you Tuesday!