First off, what is manga? According to Merriam-Webster manga are Japanese comic books and graphic novels considered collectively as a genre. They also have distinct drawing styles that separate them from western and other graphic novels like:
People are sometimes intimidated with manga because it is not read right to left but left to right. It does take some getting used to but with enough practice it becomes really easy. Hopefully this chart will make reading them easier
Below is a list of manga, in no particular order, that stand out from our small yet growing collection.
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba Genres: drama, mystery, psychological, supernatural, thriller
Themes: crime, death, detective, justice, Magic Book, police, Shinigami
“Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life?”
Death Note is a classic among the manga/anime world. A story about a highly intellectual college student who finds a notebook with special powers. While picturing someone’s face and writing their name on the notebook, the person dies of a heart attack within thirty seconds unless the writer specifies how the victim will die under their name. Instead of using this power on random people, Light uses it to dispose of murderers and general scum of the earth. However this brings up the question, is murder okay when it comes to getting rid of bad people or is murder, murder no matter what?
Viz Media rating: Teen Plus, may be suitable for older teens (16+) and adults.
One-Punch Man by ONEGenres: action, science fiction, comedy
Themes: cyborgs, superhero
“Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of superpowered boredom?”
What happens when you do 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 10km run (6.2 miles) every day for a few years? You go bald. At least, that is what happened to Saitama, a super hero who is bored of defeating villains because he is super overpowered. Think of Superman but without a Kryptonite weakness. Filled with action, comedy, and superhero/villain madness, One-Punch Man is a fantastic and fun read.
Viz Media rating: Teen, may be suitable for early teens and older.
From Me to You by Karuho ShiinaGenres: romance, slice of life
Themes: friendship, love triangle, school, yandere
“Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine...for a horror movie. With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she's often mistaken for Sadako, the haunting character from Ringu. Unbeknownst to but a few, behind her scary façade is a very misunderstood teenager. Shy and pure of heart, she just wants to make friends. But when Kazehaya, the most popular boy in class, befriends her, she's sure to make more than just that—she's about to make some enemies too!”
Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, she is shy and awkward, he is handsome and popular. Does that sound like a typical romance novel/movie? It does and From Me to You is that but with so much more. It is a young girls journey from being an outcast to finding acceptance, to making friends and finding love. Whether the reader is young, old, girl or guy, From Me to You is filled with relatable awkward and romantic teen situations.
Viz Media rating: Teen, may be suitable for early teens and older.
Black Lagoon by Rei HiroeGenres: action, drama
Themes: guns, mafia, mercenary, pirates
“The baddest group of mercenaries ever to hit the high seas of Southeast Asia! Aboard their World War II torpedo boat, the Black Lagoon, Dutch the Boss, Benny the Mechanic, Revy Two Hand, and Rock, the salaryman from Japan, deliver anything, anywhere. In the dangerous underworld of the Russian Mafia, Chinese triads, Colombian drug cartels, crazed assassins, and ruthless mercenaries, it's hard to know who to trust. But if you've got a delivery to make, and you don't mind a little property damage along the way, you can count on the crew of the Black Lagoon! Rokuro Okajima was just an average Japanese salaryman, living an average life. But when he's taken hostage by the crew of the Black Lagoon, Rokuro finds himself thrown headfirst into a deadly world of outlawed heroes, brutal villains, and blazing gunfights. Where he ends up is anyone's guess, but one thing is for certain--he's in for a wild ride!”
Action. Unadulterated action. That is what Black Lagoon is. Rokuro is just an average business man who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets captured by pirates. Thus begins his journey from third world country to third world county sailing the seas with pirates while fighting mercenaries and surviving attacks from a woman wearing a maid outfit who also out to be a robot.
Viz Media rating: Mature, suitable for adults only.
A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki OimaGenres: drama, romance
Themes: bullying, deafness, suicide
“Shoya is a bully. When Shoko, a girl who can’t hear, enters his elementary school class, she becomes their favorite target, and Shoya and his friends goad each other into devising new tortures for her. But the children’s cruelty goes too far. Shoko is forced to leave the school, and Shoya ends up shouldering all the blame. Six years later, the two meet again. Can Shoya make up for his past mistakes, or is it too late?”
A Silent Voice is a powerful and touching story about a young boy who bullies a girl who is hearing impaired. Years later Shoya unexpectedly sees her and is reminded of the terrible things he did to her. His long time guilt resurfaces and he proceeds to apologize and make amends with her. A Silent Voice is a journey about two teenagers dealing with the consequences of childhood bullying, both the victims and perpetrators perspectives, suicide, forgiveness, and finding love among it all. But most importantly, they learn to listen.
Kadansha Comics rating: Teen, suggested for ages 13+.
Looking for some inspiration on what to read next? Who better to ask then the people who work around books for a living!? Each month we will post a "staff picks" blog post written by one of our staff members. These posts will vary in genre, theme, age appropriateness, etc. If you have any requests on a genre or age category you would like to see, submit a comment here and we will get it on the list!