Can you hear the sleigh bells ringing? Well, folks, the holidays are here and if you haven’t been able to figure out what you should be asking Santa for this year, then perhaps this list will come in handy. In this article, the primary focus is on manga that has come out recently. There are a few that started a couple years ago, but nothing is older than five years. In fact, the oldest is just about to turn five years old. So you’re getting a pretty fresh list, and hopefully you will be seeing a list of manga you don’t own yet.
Furthermore, we made an effort to pick a list of manga that captured the different genres. We got one for sports, action, historical fiction, mystery, dark fantasy, drama, comedy, etc. This way no matter what type of manga you like, you will likely still find this list useful. Without further ado, here are the top 10 manga you want for Christmas!
- Authors: Boichi
- Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Seinen
- Volumes: ???
- Published: Sep. 2016 - ???
Origin takes us to the year 2048. In this time period, Japan is linked to the Eurasian continent by a transcontinental railroad, and Tokyo, the capital, houses a countless number of criminals and terrorists as well as some mysterious force that is not quite human. In response to all the forces that do not wish to integrate peacefully into society there is Origin, a robot ninja.
Origin displays the best aspects of Boichi’s work. The artwork is lush and beautiful, and the action is absolutely incredible. The paneling just flows effortlessly and puts us right in the center of the action. It is thrilling and hard to put down once you open its pages.
9. Harapeko no Marie (Marie the Hungry)
- Authors: Tamura, Ryuuhei
- Genres: Comedy, Action, Romance, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 4
- Published: Feb. 2017 – Oct. 2017
Have you ever wondered to yourself in the late hours of the night what it would be like to suddenly share a body with the resurrected French Princess Marie? Well, Harapeko no Marie goes about answering that question for us as the main character Taiga finds out a dark secret of his next door neighbors and then is suddenly sharing a body with the French princess.
Harapeko no Marie is a series full of hijinks and hilarious events. This manga, after all, is by Ryuuhei Tamura, the author of the beloved Beezlebub manga. He proves that he still has a knack for creating eccentric but lovable characters, as all the characters bounce off one another in ridiculous fashion. The artwork is solid, and there is little doubt that you will enjoy this series if you liked Beezlebub.
8. Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous)
- Authors: Ichikawa, Haruko
- Genres: Action, Fantasy, Seinen
- Volumes: 8
- Published: Oct. 2012 - ???
In the future, there is the life form known as the Houseki. The Houseki are basically the energy forms of gems, and there are 28 of them. These 28 Houseki are under attack from a race known as the Tsukijin. To prevent themselves from becoming decorations for the Tsukijin, the Houseki have parceled out certain roles to its members, such as cleric and warrior. However, there is one particular member of the Houseki, Phos, who is strangely designated as the editor of the natural history magazine. As she journeys the world to record things for the magazine she runs into the gem Cinnabar, who has been cast to live in exile. The two team up and start changing the fate of the Houseki.
This manga has a little bit of something for everyone. The artwork is unique and pops out at the reader. There is quite a bit of action thrown in that keeps you on your feet. There is even a good chunk of humor that awaits the reader around every corner. It is simply an enjoyable read all around.
7. Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau (Children of the Whales)
- Authors: Umeda, Abi
- Genres: Mystery, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Shoujo
- Volumes: 10
- Published: Jun. 2013 - ???
Children of the Whales’ focuses its narrative on the boy Chakuro, who is the archivist of the Mud Whale. No, the Mud Whale isn’t actually a whale. It is, however, practically a utopia that floats above both sea and land. In this utopia, there are those who have been marked with special powers, but to use their powers will greatly shorten their lives. Then there are those without powers, who get to live much longer lives. Chakuro and his friends spend their days imagining what the world is like outside of their society, and one day that wish is answered. The Mud Whale runs into an island where Chakuro meets a girl who changes his life forever.
This manga has the most beautiful artwork on the list. The art has a watercolor influence that causes everything to blend in a surreal way. It is honestly breathtaking. Matching the dream-like quality of the artwork, the story meanders and wanders at a leisurely pace. Some might find it a bit slow, but the art and the unique premise make up for it by a long shot.
- Authors: Furudate, Haruichi
- Genres: Sports, Comedy, School, Shounen, Drama
- Volumes: 29
- Published: Feb. 2012 - ???
Haikyuu!! follows the competitive drive of Karasuno’s volleyball team, as they fight their way through numerous tournaments in order to become the number one team in Japan. Though the light primarily shines on the incredible freshman duo of Kageyama and Hinata, every character on Karasuno’s team and many characters from other teams get a lot of love in this series.
Haikyuu!! is a manga that is simply hard to put down. The artwork jumps out at you and keeps you on your feet. You feel every jump and you feel every spike. The artwork captures all the frenzied movements, as people dive to the floor and fly through the air, as well as holds onto those moments of intensity, when everything slows down and you can feel your heart hitting your sternum. Pushing the art along is a well-developed cast of characters for almost every team. There might even be a moment or two when you find yourself rooting against the main characters.
5. Fumetsu no Anata e (To Your Eternity)
- Authors: Ooima, Yoshitoki
- Genres: Drama, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 5
- Published: Nov. 2016 - ???
The premise of Fumetusu no Anaya is that an immortal has been sent to Earth. However, this is not your ordinary immortal being. It does not just plop down and exist. This being takes the shape of dying things, but only if the inner driving force of that thing is stronger than the previous.
The immortal premise is pretty common, but it helps drive us into the main conflict: how is personality developed. This immortal being, our main character, does not have any personality at the beginning. It is simply absorbing the actions and personalities of the people that surround it. This is how it develops.
The fact that it can only take the form of dying things, on the other hand, is a unique twist on the premise and makes this series so powerful. There’s a lot of death and a lot of these deaths are painful, because we are watching someone die who we have just gotten to know on a more personal level.
4. Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland)
- Authors: Demizu, Posuka (Art), Shirai, Kaiu (Story)
- Genres: Mystery, Horror, Sci-Fi, Shounen
- Volumes: 6
- Published: Aug. 2016 - ???
The Promised Neverland introduces us to Emma and her group of friends that have been brought up in an orphanage. The caretaker is kind, and the group have been brought up well. However, there is one peculiar rule that the caretaker is adamant about keeping. The children can never leave the orphanage.
This manga is for fans of series like From the New World or When They Cry. It plays with our emotions tremendously as each page only brings about more mystery. This aspect is enhanced incredibly by the contrast between the bubbly art style and the dark plot. Both Demizu and Shirai are masterful at creating suspense, as we learn more about the manicured environment of the orphanage and then the world at large. Though the ever-twisting plot is the strongest point of this mystery manga, the characters are fleshed out well too.
3. Tokyo Ghoul:re
- Authors: Ishida, Sui
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Psychological
- Volumes: 13
- Published: Oct. 2014 - ???
In this world, there are these beings known as ghouls that look exactly like humans, but they have supernatural powers and their diet consists of only humans. Any other type of food will make a ghoul sick. Admittedly, coffee can help stave off the hunger, but not for long. So we have a world where there is constant conflict between ghouls and humans, specifically between ghouls that eat humans at an insane rate and agents of the CCG that hunt down ghouls. There are also a lot of territory wars between ghouls. In other words, it is not a fun world to live in for everyone.
Tokyo Ghoul:re is a direct sequel to Tokyo Ghoul, and it follows Haise Sasaki (spoiler: Ken Kaneki) as he tries to train a group of problematic CCG agents known as “Quinx.” This sequel contains all the power of the original, as it pushes the emotional and psychological boundaries of its characters. There is a ton of action and the line between right and wrong keeps diminishing with every page.
2. Golden Kamuy
- Authors: Noda, Satoru
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Historical, Seinen
- Volumes: 11
- Published: Aug. 2014 - ???
Golden Kamuy follows the perilous journey of Saichi Sugimoto. You see, our main character for this manga is a demobilized soldier from the Russo-Japanese war, and he has recently gotten work in the mines of northern Hokkaido. He does this to earn money to help keep a deceased war buddy’s widow afloat. When he stumbles upon clues to a massive amount of hidden gold, he decides to make a move on it. Well, a crime organization, the army, and a few other groups are also aware of the gold and are on to him. So begins his dangerous adventure.
Golden Kamuy simply does a number of things right. It does a great job capturing the struggles that many people face in a post-war setting. It captures the need to find work, the need to carry on the wishes of the deceased, and the weight of everything that you have seen and done. Enhancing these struggles is the harshness of the environment. The events are taking place in the early 1900s, and there is not a whole lot of infrastructure in this region. People do not have amenities and they are facing nature at its cruelest. So yeah, it’s tough making a living in this world. Finally, the plot and the two main characters, Saichi and Asirpa, are captivating.
1. Vigilante: Boku No Hero Academia
- Authors: Betten, Court (Art) & Furuhashi, Hideyuki (Story)
- Genres: Action, Shounen, Super Power
- Volumes: 2
- Published: Aug. 2016 - ???
Vigilante: Boku No Hero Academia is a prequel/spin off to the Boku No Hero Academia series. Still set in Japan, we meet Koichi, who gets recruited as a vigilante after being saved by one. Thus, we start following a group of people who don’t have hero licenses, but are still using their quirks to diminish crime. Not only do we get to follow the adventures of unique characters that enforce the law as much as they have to run from it, but also get to see some familiar faces. You even get to see what Stain was up to before he became the Hero Killer.
Vigilante: Boku No Hero Academia takes a slightly darker tone than the original series, and this works well with the vigilante vibe. The author and artist for this manga do a great job capturing the world set up by Kouhei Horikoshi, and they give us a deeper look at the world’s nuances.
Pushing us through this world is the rowdy and exciting crew of vigilantes who always have to be on their game. The action flows freely and there is rarely a dull moment as we constantly see new quirk after new quirk.
There you have it, people! These are the top 10 manga you should be asking for this holiday season. It’s also a pretty good list to choose from, if you have a friend or significant other who is really into manga as well. Best luck shopping this holiday season!