Tell Us Dammit: What Are The Best Manga You’ve Ever Read?

Tell Us Dammit: What Are The Best Manga You’ve Ever Read?

Asking something like “What’s the best manga you’ve ever read?” is such a big question. And yet, rudely, I’m asking it anyway. Ruby asked for everyone’s favourite anime not that long ago, and that was great! We learned a lot! However, I’ve been trying to dial back the time I spend staring at a screen lately. Picking up physical books and graphic novels in the evening has been one way I’ve accomplished that. This brings me to manga.

It’s been a long time since I’ve considered myself an anime and manga fan. I fell off the manga wagon years ago. An occupational hazard of coming up in the Cowboy Bebop era is that it was so good, it’s hard for much to measure up. But it’s been many years since then, and I’ve been thinking lately about wiping the slate clean. Starting over. But this time, I don’t want to be staring at a TV. I want to be holding a book in my hand. A graphic novel, if you’re nasty.

To that end, I put out a call on Twitter. Weeb friends, help me out. What would you consider to be your favourite manga, and what would you consider to be among the essentials for new readers? What would you consider a modern classic? I open the floor to you as well, dear reader. Please get in the comments and point me in the right direction.

Let’s look at some of the suggestions I got on Twitter, starting with a long list from a dear old mate:

Based on Mark’s recommendations alone, I have about a hundred years of material to get through. And some of these recommendations would come back again.

But wait, another old friend:

Kotaku US’ Luke Plunkett also weighed in with his single, strong suggestion:

Friends of the site began to pour in.

The Humble Bundle that Ed Tran (who you should visit at GamesHub) has recommended is an absolutely insane deal. All that Lone Wolf & Cub for under $28? Absurd.

Kotaku Australia‘s own Chris Neill gave me another lengthy list of must-reads, including What’s Michael, a series about a fat orange that he called “objectively speaking, the best manga ever.” Subjectively, however, Chris recommended Akira as his personal all-time favourite: “There’s more cartooning and craft on single pages of that book that most artists only manage in their entire career. If you’ve only seen the movie, then you owe it to yourself to read the full thing because that adaptation is quite different and only covers about 40% of the manga.”

He also recommended anything by Naoki Urusawa, particularly Pluto. “This short series (by Urasawa’s standards at least) is a retelling of an Astro Boy arc and just straight up one of the most beautiful comics I’ve ever read. The hook of “someone is killing the world’s strongest robots” should be enough to draw you in, but if you love sci-fi works that explore the theme of ‘What does it mean to be human?’ then this is a must-read.” Chris’ final recommendations were for Taiyo Matsumoto’s Ping Pong and Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk, along with Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist.

Anyway, now I have a lot of reading to do. And, if you’ve been on the hunt for something new in the manga space to read, maybe you do too!

Have you got any recommendations for me that you haven’t seen represented here? Let me know in the comments! Tell me about the stories you love most and let’s find something new to read together.

Manga Book Club, maybe? Put it in the book for 2023.

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