Lately, I’ve been finding that I gravitate more and more to reading manga more than watching anime. I’m not sure why that is, sometimes my likes and obsessions come in waves and cycles. Right now I’m in a comics and manga cycle more than an anime and TV cycle. I’ve also been more active on checking Twitter and Reddit, keeping tabs on the community and the new releases which has plunged me more and more into the deep world of reading manga. My bookshelf is getting ever full, and I have a huge one for only manga and comics. There are so many awesome and inventive stories coming out every month, so I wanted to highlight some of my favorites at the start of every month and some of the ones that I may not be familiar with but am looking forward to trying out for curiosity’s sake.
Yona of the Dawn Volume 22 (February 3)
This is one of my absolute favorite series. I’ve only recently gotten hooked on the manga and have been following it religiously ever since. I love the characters, the art, the story, and how it uses these old shoujo story lines to create a powerful story of female empowerment. It reminds me a lot of Snow White with the Red Hair and not just because the main character also has red hair, but that it tells the story of a woman uprooted from her home and forced to make a place for herself through her own power and wits. It shows a remarkable amount of empathy for the characters and what they have to go through, crafting people that are easy to relate to and fall in love with.
Takane and Hana Volume 13 (February 3)
Takane and Hana is one of those series that I started up with some hesitation because of the nature of the relationship in the story, one where an older man in his twenties forms a relationship with a high school girl. But I have to say, the more I read, the more I fell in love with the comedy and characters featured in the manga. Both of their antics create this really funny story of a man who is a bit too caught up in his own ego and a high school girl who breaks through his almost childish facade to fall in love with the true person underneath. Their age difference is still in the back of my mind, but I think over time I become a little more okay with it because their emotional age is much more compatible.
Beyond the Clouds Volume 1 (February 11)
“Young Theo works as a mechanic, putting his knack for machines to use in the industrialized city where he lives. But when he finds an injured, amnesiac a girl with wings, his life changes forever. Her name is Mia, and although Theo’s talents make quick work of repairing her injured wing, their quest to find her home will take them beyond the clouds and further than they would ever have imagined.”
This is a new manga that I haven’t heard much about except for reading the synopsis and looking at the cover. But so far, it has intrigued me with the quality of art I can see so far and a unique story set in an almost steampunk/fantasy world. The concept, when I read it reminded me a bit of that really old Miyazaki short On Your Mark with the winged girl who is rescued by these men in a steampunk-ish world. It also makes me think a little bit of Castle in the Sky where a mysterious girl enlists the help of a boy to help find her way home. I’m kind of excited to see where this goes.
Kase-san and Yamada Volume 1 (February 11)
Kase-san and Yamada is a continuation of a fairly popular series Kase-san and Morning Glories that follows the main characters into their University lives, when they are older and pursuing their dreams. I’m still in the process of finishing up the original series, but I love it when we get to see the process of a relationship as it grows and changes as the characters get older. Far too often romance manga follows the start of a relationship, ending when the characters finally get together or when they graduate high school. I’m much more fascinated with how two people navigate the intricacies of being together after they are official and after the honeymoon phase fades away. I think it’s here that we see a more interesting discussion of romance and relationships. So I’m interested to see how their relationship changes as they both navigate the complicated world of University.
My Androgynous Boyfriend Volume 1 (February 11)
“His makeup is flawless! The daily ins-and-outs of an office lady and her beautiful boyfriend. Wako and her androgynous boyfriend don’t exactly have the most traditional of relationships. She spends her days working hard in the world of publishing, while he spends his time obsessing over fashion and makeup-all with the goal of making himself beautiful just for her. This romantic slice-of-life story is about love, relationships, and breaking with tradition!”
This is another new manga that I have no idea if I’ll actually like. The concept seems interesting and unique, taking a look at an older couple who are in the thick of their professional lives, one of whom is Non-binary/Androgynous. I don’t think we really get too many of these stories in Japanese media even though there’s a fairly big movement among young asian people to adopt more androgynous styles and identities. I’m interested to see how they handle this character and their relationship, and I’m hoping it winds up being a fairly sweet story.
Drifting Dragons Volume 3 (February 18)
Drifting Dragons is another series I just started following. I’ve already read volumes 1 and 2 and instantly fell in love with it. The story follows a dragon hunting ship and their adventures in hunting and killing all types of dragons, selling their flesh and fat to the cities and towns throughout their country. It’s an interesting look at a fantasy world and it reminds me a bit of a story following the whaling industry just in a vaguely steampunk world. The hunters use harpoons and guns to bring down dragons sometimes twice the size of their ship, butchering the creatures for their meat and oil. I’m always interested in reading less epic stories about the more mundane aspects of a fantasy world, and I think this manga does a good job at making an exciting and interesting story and world to fall into. The characters are funny and interesting and I find myself looking forward to the next volumes.
Ancient Magus Bride Volume 12 (February 25)
Ancient Magus Bride has to be one of my all-time favorite manga, as you can probably tell from the variety of posts about the manga, anime, and intricate references to real-world mythology. The story and world has always fascinated me. It combines just the right mix of Japanese and Asian mythology into a world that is just filled with magic and wonder. The creatures, characters, and mysteries pull me in and I can’t help trying to dig a little deeper to find out the lore and mythology of each volume. These volumes follow Chise’s journey into magic school, allowing us to see an expanded view of the mythical universe the mangaka has created. I’m super interested to see deeper into this world and watch how she expands the worldbuilding as the volumes progress.
~~Thanks for Reading!~~