2018 is coming to an end. Regardless of whether this is greeted with a celebratory cheer or an apathetic shrug, the new year shall soon be upon us, therefore, might as well make the most of it! Depending on a person’s cultural background, the customs associated with the inauguration of the upcoming year vary widely. Nevertheless, certain characteristics exist that successfully bridge the gap dividing strangers! Serving as a means to unite fans from all corners of the globe, manga transcends boundaries and culture!
What stories are perfect for such an occasion? While there are a couple of comics that mention the New Year in some form or another, few exist that focus exclusively on the feast. Once upon a time, U2 stated that nothing changes on New Year’s day, and while the band is presumably right, the occasion’s image will forever be associated with a fresh start! Looking for something appropriate to read during the holiday season? Whether relevant to the medium’s current scene or embodying themes intrinsically linked with New Years, these upcoming manga should ensure 2019 launches with a bang!
10. The Breaker
- Authors: Park, Jin-Hwan (Art), Jeon, Geuk-jin (Story)
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Martial Arts, School
- Volumes: 10
- Published: 2007 – 2010
Starting things off with a South Korean manhwa, The Breaker arguably ranks among the most famous books to stem from this particular industry and serves as a fantastic entry point. In fact, this is one of the main reasons The Breaker earned a spot on this list! Wishing to slightly broaden your horizons in 2019? In that case, pick up this gripping martial arts drama and embark on an exciting adventure down a less traveled road!
The Breaker revolves around a Munim martial artist who enrolls in a fictional school to exert revenge on the government controlling this section, who has recently kidnapped the fighter’s sensei. Chunwoo Han is the ultimate badass, but The Breaker’s protagonist is actually Shiwoon Yi, a bullied student who asks Chunwoo to train him in order to overcome his timid nature. As a coming of age story, The Breaker depicts the lengths one person is willing to go in search of a brighter future!
9. Touhou Bougetsushou: Tsuki no Inaba to Chijou no Inaaba (Inaba Of The Moon And Inaba Of The Earth)
- Authors: ZUN (Story), Arata, Toshihira (Story & Art)
- Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
- Volumes: 2
- Published: 2007 – 2009
Touhou is a tricky series to summarize. A long-running bullet hell video game franchise with an extremely devoted fanfiction community, the series spawned countless spin-offs and adaptations. Touhou-related manga tend to favor isolated stand-alone stories with plots typically resolving by the end of an entry. Consequently, the serialized Inaba Of The Moon And Inaba Of The Earth stands out due to containing an overarching narrative and a convoluted distribution schedule that saw the publication of three concurrent works through separate publishers.
Containing the main bulk of the narrative, Silent Sinner in Blue sees various organizations challenge the Moon in an attempt to steal its technology. Packing enough action and lovable characters to entertain even the most impatient of readers, this manga is a solid option for those seeking to dip their toes into the license. Published simultaneously with Silent Sinner in Blue, Inaba Of The Moon And Inaba Of The Earth is a slice of life spin-off that chronicles the everyday reality of those who live on Eientei. At one point, the cast rings in the New Year.
8. Holyland (Holy Land)
- Authors: Mori, Kouji (Story & Art)
- Genres: Action, Martial Arts, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 18
- Published: 2000 – 2008
What is it about former victims turned defenders of the weak that simply screams “New Year?” Is it just us? Holyland’s premise is very similar to The Breaker and roughly another 100,000 manga, but Mori Kouji’s story should not be dismissed as merely another shounen series about a reformed weakling who spends their days delivering sweet justice. That is only one component of a wider equation.
Severely bullied to the point of abuse, Kamishiro Yuu is left with no choice but to abandon school in order to survive. Seemingly disappearing from the face of the Earth for approximately a year, Yuu reemerges as a deadly martial artist who is more than capable of holding his own in a fight. Determined to improve his life, Yuu partakes in a rigorous training regimen to destroy any vulnerabilities that used to define the teenager. Even though the manga paints gang violence and bullying in quite a sobering light, Holyland is a surprisingly uplifting read!
7. Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland)
- Authors: Demizu, Posuka (Art), Shirai, Kaiu (Story)
- Genres: Mystery, Horror, Sci-Fi, Shounen
- Volumes: 11+
- Published: 2016 – Ongoing
With a number of long-running series coming to an end in swift succession, Shounen Jump launched an initiative to establish an array of successors worthy of standing alongside One Piece. Among the newcomers, The Promised Neverland floated to the top as a fantastic dark fantasy manga with a touch of horror! Now, you might be thinking, “Horror scarcely sounds like a suitable genre to ring in 2019! Why not focus on something a touch more inspiring?” Regardless of the genuinely intense atmosphere encompassing the majority of the manga's available volumes, Kaiu Shirai’s comic is about persevering despite reality's horrors!
Set in a unique orphanage called Grace Field House, The Promised Neverland tells the harrowing tale of three children forced to protect those dearest to them from the person who should have been their protector! In this orphanage, children are shipped to a foster family prior to their 12th birthday. Up until that point, life is serene and ideal, but Grace Field House holds a sinister secret that puts at risk the life of every single child in its care! An anime adaptation is scheduled for Winter 2019, therefore, there has never been a better time to read the manga.
6. Oyasumi Punpun (Goodnight Punpun)
- Authors: Asano, Inio (Story & Art)
- Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 13
- Published: 2007 – 2013
Oyasumi Punpun is weird. Frankly, the English language has yet to birth another adjective more adapt to describe Inio Asano's manga. While the main character and his family are normal human beings, Oyasumi Punpun presents them like birds in order to inject an additional dose of the surreal. Pushing past the protagonist's quirky design, one finds a coming-of-age story dealing with familial struggles, ambition, love, and death.
A young boy with an overactive imagination, Punpun Punyama hails from a dysfunctional family and wishes to be an astronaut when he grows up. Frequently communicating with "God" and falling in love with a girl who has her own demons, Punpun struggles to understand the world around him. In fact, as a means of escape, Punpun's dream is to fly away to another planet. Set over approximately two decades, Goodnight Punpun follows its protagonist as he adapts to the challenges presented by life!
5. Fumetsu no Anata e (To Your Eternity)
- Authors: Ooima, Yoshitoki (Story & Art)
- Genres: Drama, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 8+
- Published: 2016 – Ongoing
With the end of 2018 and the birth of its successor, one cannot help but crave a change. Time for a fresh start! What exciting new ground will be traveled upon throughout the upcoming 12 months? The world is enormous and packed with untapped experiences! Now, in all fairness, responsibilities tend to restrict a person's options; nevertheless, there is no harm in imagining the possibilities!
Discovery is To Your Eternity's central theme. An immortal being dropped onto Earth, "It" can assume the shape of any living or inanimate object, but the entity must feel a strong drive to copy something's look. It is not merely a case of shape-shifting. As such, any transformation is driven by a need to expand "Its" horizon. Every act is purposeful and crucial. Laced with just as much tragedy as moments of joy, To Your Eternity embodies self-growth!
4. Jumyou wo Kaitotte Moratta. Ichinen ni Tsuki, Ichimanen de. (I sold my life for ten thousand yen per year.)
- Authors: Taguchi, Shouichi (Art), Miaki, Sugaru (Story)
- Genres: Drama, Shounen
- Volumes: 3
- Published: 2016 – 2017
How much is a life worth? Is it priceless? Are some futures more precious than others? If in a desperate enough situation, would auctioning a number of your remaining years seem reasonable? Is leading a challenging 60-year existence preferable to 30 comfortable ones? Jumyou wo Kaitotte Moratta. Ichinen ni Tsuki, Ichimanen de. asks these questions and many more!
As a child, Kusunoki believed he was destined for greatness. By the age of twenty, he would be famous and everyone would sing the name "Kusunoki." Life had other plans. Perpetually broke and depressed, Kusunoki agrees to sell the vast majority of his life span in exchange for a measly ¥ 300,000, a decision that yields only three months to live. Assigned an observer tasked with ensuring that he does not cause any trouble for others, Kusunoki sets out to fulfill some goals that have otherwise eluded him.
Jumyou wo Kaitotte Moratta. Ichinen ni Tsuki, Ichimanen de. examines the consequences of giving up. Kusunoki opts to commit suicide, a decision that he might come to regret.
- Authors: Oono, Kousuke (Story & Art)
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 2+
- Published: 2018 – Ongoing
An overwhelming number of this article's entries tackle dreary themes and challenge readers to examine themselves. For a welcome change of pace, Gokushufudou is a laugh out loud comedy about a former yakuza member turned house husband. Feared as an "Immortal" killer who stormed a rival group's headquarters and took out ten of their members, Tatsu is intimidating and intense!
The protagonist tackles any and every objective with an endearing earnestness typically reserved for life or death situations. Married to a high-profile businesswoman, Tatsu abandoned the gangster's life to become a full-time house husband. Completely embracing his new life, Tatsu takes his responsibilities extremely seriously and expects others to do the same! Released in 2018, Gokushufudou is an impressive new manga set to extend its run into the upcoming year.
2. Tonikaku Kawaii
- Authors: Hata, Kenjirou (Story & Art)
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, Shounen
- Volumes: 4+
- Published: 2018 – Ongoing
Reading Tonikaku Kawaii evokes the feeling of floating effortlessly amid the clouds, free from any heavy anchors designed to pull someone towards the ground. Responsible for creating Hayate the Combat Butler, Kenjirou Hata is an accomplished comedy mangaka with a solid resume to his name. Tonikaku Kawaii embraces many of the same elements that defined the author's previous work, but the separate parts flow slightly better than some of Hata's other projects.
Named after the American Space Agency, Nasa aspires to be the greatest person to ever exist. Does that seem like an exaggeration? Well, it is not. Abruptly, the dude is nearly crushed to death by a van, but he is saved at the last moment by Tsukasa Tsukuyomi. Instantly falling in love with her, Nasa asks Tsukasa out; however, he has to agree to marry the girl. Overwhelmed by her cuteness, Nasa agrees to the stipulation.
Serialized at the start of 2018, Tonikaku Kawaii is a young manga with a blindingly bright future. Light-hearted and uplifting, Hata's story is the perfect warm blanket to ring in the New Year with!
1. Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan
- Authors: Yumeka, Sumomo (Art)
- Genres: Drama, Music, Romance, Slice of Life, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 2008
Lasting a brisk eight chapters, Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan centers around two depressed individuals who are ready to call it a day and commit suicide. Happy New Year!
Based on a Korean Novel by Gon Ji-Young, which is also worth reading, Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan earnestly explores suicide, guilt, depression, and regret. Blamed for her famous mother’s inability to continue her career as a pianist, Yuu steadily grows disenchanted with the world and considers killing herself as an escape from her temperamental parent. Through her Aunt, Yuu meets a death row inmate named Juri Mutou, who was convicted of three murders and is set to hang. Isolated in their respective circles, these two strangers are pulled deeper and deeper into a pitch-black hole with no end in sight. Together, Yuu and Juri may just be able to glimpse a light!
While nobody is going to criticize Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan for being overly cheerful, the manga expertly dissects its two main characters, as they begin a journey of rehabilitation and self-growth. Rather than forgiveness, the protagonists seek acceptance and understanding from someone equipped to comprehend their situations.
Be it 1999 or 2019, hundreds of mangaka continue to find the requisite inspiration to bless readers with powerful or beautiful narratives that dissect every facet of the human experience. Grab a manga, brew some hot cocoa, and launch the New Year on a fabulous note!
What manga is perfect for New Year? Or which accurately conveys the sense of embarking on a fresh adventure? Please let us know in the comments section below.