best of manga

Manga Classics: Emma

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One of the perks of being a Jane Austen fan (or Austenite) is the abundant para-literature on all of dear old Jane’s books. Current variations include zombies, vampires, and gender bending of characters with other formats in the mix. Manga Classics:…

Gyo 2-in-1 Deluxe Edition

First published in Japan in 2002 and translated into English in 2003, Junji Ito’s Gyo has been re-released this April in a deluxe hardback 2-in-1 edition by Viz Media. Designed to complement Ito’s classic Uzumaki, the handsome matte cover opens…

My Love Story!!, vols. 1-3

My Love Story!! Volume 1 Cover

Takeo Goda is the best thing to happen to shojo manga. He is a towering, muscular super-athlete, and characters like him are usually nowhere to be found in sparkly romances. His main love interest, the bubbly dessert cook Rinko Yamato,…

Sword Art Online: Progressive, vol. 1

Sword Art Online Progressive cover

Your assessment of Sword Art Online: Progressive will come down to your tolerance for fanservice: targeted objectification or hypersexualization of anime and manga characters. All fanservice aside, this is a fairly entertaining debut story for Asuna Yuuki, one of the breakout stars of…

Accel World, vols. 1 & 2

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Based on the award-winning light novel by Reki Kawahara of Sword Art Online fame, the manga adaptation of Accel World is a fast-paced and engaging story that combines futuristic “full-dive” virtual reality technology with the everyday struggles of ordinary middle school students.…

Alive

Alive

Alternative manga is often obtuse, which can be a detriment or a delight. Taguchi Hajime’s Alive is often both at once. The book is a collection of loosely-connected stories: teenagers hiding from their exams on a rooftop; a man who is afraid to love, cohabiting with a…

Girls Und Panzer, vols. 1 & 2

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Most high school girls spend their time studying, making friends, or carousing with cute boys. The girls of Ooarai Academy, however, have chosen to enlist in the school’s revitalized tankery club to practice World War II-style tank combat with reverence and…

My Neighbor Seki, vol. 1

My Neighbor Seki Volume 1

The beauty of the “slice of life” genre is that a multitude of content can be contained within a simple premise. If I tell you that Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star are each about a small group of high school girls and their everyday routines,…

Unico

Unico Cover

Unico fits perfectly among the Greek myths: the pet of Psyche kidnapped by a jealous Venus, sprightly Unico is transported to different times and places, only to be whisked away with his memory wiped after a few days’ time. At worst, Unico leaves his new friends…

Trigun: Multiple Bullets

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Trigun is perhaps one of the most popular anime series among Western audiences. Set on the hostile planet of Gunsmoke, this sci-fi western focuses on the exploits of Vash the Stampede: a gunfighter who has embraced a life of nonviolent heroism after a case of…

Vinland Saga, Books 1-3

Vinland Saga Book One Cover

Makoto Yukimura’s claim to fame before Vinland Saga was a relatively brief manga series called Planetes. It was a “hard sci-fi” series that focused on the lives of a team of orbiting garbage collectors. There was a default main character,…

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 5

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After falling into an ambush plotted by the criminal mastermind known only as The Wiseman, assassin-turned-vigilante Mamoru Hijikata finds his confidence completely shot. Were it not for the intervention of tween psychic Haruka Tooyama, he would be dead. Thinking himself…

The Heart of Thomas

Heart of Thomas

Moto Hagio helped define the Boys’ Love genre back in the 1970s as one of the “Showa 24,” female mangaka who told the kinds of stories they wanted to read and, in doing so, jump-started shojo publishing. This epic tale,…

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 4

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The vigilante Element Network’s plan to strike fear into the heart of Tokyo’s underworld has been a success, but it has also attracted the attention of super-cop Detective Genda. Assigned to the kidnapping of Haruka Tooyama, Genda has uncovered evidence…

Trigun Maximum Omnibus, vol.1

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Trigun Maximum can best be described using the line of text on its contents page: “DEEP SPACE PLANET FUTURE GUN ACTION!!” The series includes lots of over-the-top, gunslingin’ action, with machines and weapons advanced far beyond what the Wild West-style setting suggests, coupled with a large…

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 3

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The third volume of Until Death Do Us Part opens in the thick of the action, with pre-teen psychic Haruka and her protector Mamoru on the run. Their pursuer is Fang, an international assassin who utilizes stolen military-grade technology to…

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 2

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As the second volume of Until Death Do Us Part opens, blind swordsman/ex-criminal Mamoru and his allies in the Element Network have successfully protected tween psychic Haruka from her would-be kidnappers. However, the vigilantes have little time to rest on their…