I remember when I accidentally picked up a manga in a bookstore when I was twelve.
Including anime, this was a huge turning point where I started to learn English properly and broaden my perspective on the world. Yes, I know it is weird to learn English from a comic book, please don’t judge me.
To me, manga held a special place for me where I can delve into their world and experience the journey the characters had and understand the emotions and actions they possessed in every unique situation. Anyway, enough talk, time to introduce the manga that makes my childhood awesome.
5. Aoharu x Kikanjuu (Aoharu x Machine Gun)
- Mangaka: NAOE
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Shounen
- Volumes: 15
- Published: Jun 2012 - Ongoing
Hotaru Tachibana is a high school girl who disguised as a boy. Through weird circumstances and development, she meets her apartment neighbor, Masamune Matsuoka, who works as a host in a nightclub, and with an ero-manga artist Tooru Yukimura who lives in another unit. This was when Masamune introduced Hotaru an intense outdoor sport, can be done indoor as well, called Airsoft.
Get your gears because we are going to need you in your best form and fully strap. And yes, don’t forget your safety goggles. This manga showcases the beauty of the airsoft culture, gun aesthetics, tactics, and disciplines. The interesting part about this manga is how Tachibana develops as a person while keeping her gender as a secret because… plot. The artwork emphasis on seriousness and comedy of the characters and the environment looks so surreal.
I don’t think there is a lot of airsoft manga out in the market, but this one takes the cake. There is a fine balance between the airsoft matches, character developments, and background stories.This manga is meant for airsoft fans and readers who are interested in a girl cross-dressed as a boy going out blasting at her opponents… with plastic pellets, of course.
4. Soul Eater
- Mangaka: Ookubo, Atsushi
- Genres: Action, Fantasy, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 25
- Published: Jun 2003 – Aug 2013
Death City, home to the Death Weapon Meister Academy that was established by a Shinigami – the grim reaper. The objectives of the academy are to train Meisters and Demon Weapons, people who can transform into weapons, to maintain peace in their society and create a “Death Scythe” to be wielded by Shinigami by consuming souls of 99 wicked humans and a witch.
Maka Albarn and her partner Soul Eater “Soul” Evans, students of the academy, aim to become the best Meister and Death Scythe along with their classmates who held the same dream through trials, misadventures, and missions. However, mysteries began to surround them as new enemies appeared under their watch and they must fight to protect Death City and the academy.
If you may have heard of Enen no Shouboutai (Fire Force), this manga is also made by that same author. To start with this manga, one must have the mindset of not expecting anything. I’m serious. You should not expect a lot of things from this manga because there is a lot of weird and comedic developments and actions to a point- you can’t take this story seriously.
The timing of the scenes, fantasy, and art style are on point. This manga had taught me how teamwork is important when it comes to working with someone no matter the backgrounds and experience, they possessed.
3. Kingdom Hearts
- Mangaka: Amano, Shiro (Art), Nomura, Tetsuya (Story)
- Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Shounen
- Volumes: 4
- Published: Oct 2003 – Jan 2005
Sora is a young energetic boy who seeks adventure to another world with his friends, Kairi and Riku. The three decided to build a raft together to leave their island until, one day, a dark force took over their island and separate three of them. However, Sora was soon bestowed with the most powerful weapon known as the Keyblade. The next thing Sora knew, he found out that got transported to a strange town called Traverse Town. There, he meets Donald and Goofy, who were tasked by King Mickey to search for who holds the key to save the world. Thus, the three joined forces to search for his friends and the King while traveling through the various world and save them.
I couldn’t help but put this manga into the list, because this is the very first manga I’ve read in my life and led me into the manga world. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I noticed that this is a combination of Disney and Final Fantasy. It was strange at first, but such a combination turned out surprisingly well. Reading this manga makes me feel like visiting Disney World in a different sort of way.
I like how Shiro Amano keeps the Disney and Final Fantasy art style into the manga as this approach proves how much he respects and the care he has towards the original creators. The story of adventure, fantasy and the sense of responsibility the characters had toward their adventures brought tears to my eyes and mixture of emotions in a certain situation in a good way. Most importantly, the subtle romance between the two of the main characters. Yes. I believed there is a romance blooming in there even though that is not listed in the genre. If you love the Kingdom Hearts series from the game, give this manga a try to see a slightly different perspective toward the story.
2. World Trigger
- Mangaka: Ashihara, Daisuke
- Genres: Action, School, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Space, Supernatural
- Volumes: 20
- Published: Feb 2013 - Ongoing
Earth is under constant threat from Neighbor’s, monsters from another dimension. This is where Border’s elite warriors come in, who are equipped with alien technology to fend off against Neighbor’s. Meet Osamu Mikumo, he may not be the Border’s best agent, but he is committed to risk his life to defend Earth. Out of nowhere, Osamu meets a humanoid Neighbor named Yuma. Will they be friends despite their origins?
World Trigger is one of the very few sci-fi manga I have read so far. I felt a special bond is formed when I first read this series. To summarize what this manga: it feels like a combination of Star Wars and Dog Days but in the 21st-century setting. I love the simple yet complex of the weapons and their implementation during the battle. The battle scenes increased my adrenaline level by threefold.
Not just the battle scenes, there is a sense of realism in their tactical warfare, both against Neighbor’s and… let’s not go there yet. I don’t want to spoil it. They introduced so many characters in the story with unique skills and backgrounds and makes you wonder who is better. Most importantly, we have to cheer on our boy, Mikumo. I hoped to see how he tackles his weakness and grow as a person and an agent.
1. Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE
- Mangaka: CLAMP
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Shounen
- Volumes: 28
- Published: May 2003 – Oct 2009
Sakura, princess of the Clow Kingdom, possesses a strange power that could change the world. Syaoran is an aspiring archaeologist and Sakura’s childhood friend. One day, an elusive figure tries to use Sakura’s power for his ends, resulting in her memories take the form of feathers and scatter across countless dimensions.
With that, Syaoran and Sakura seek help from the Dimensional Witch and meet two strange travelers: a rough-mannered ninja and a magician trying to flee of his homeworld and past.
Once the group is established, there is a heavy price each must pay to cross different dimensions to the witch. This is the story of four distinct travelers who were bound into a dangerous journey.
I’m going to start with that no, this is not an isekai. Anyway, the artwork of the manga is similar to Cardcaptor Sakura, but you can feel the mature vibes around them. The actions and fights scenes are smooth as butter, let your imagination flow, oh, did I ever mention traveling in style? Yes. Each world has its own culture and time that leads our characters to try to fit into their society because people would probably freak out if they came from another world or dimensions depending on the settings. But their ensembles make me feel like I want to try them out one day because of how much care and effort CLAMP has done on them.
This manga has been such a roller coaster for me. If you want to experience something as if you’re traveling around the world, while feeling as if you’re in another dimension, toexperience the different cultures, history, romance, and the development the characters had, give this classic manga a try.
At the end of the day, this list of the manga is only an opinion. I don’t want to force someone to read a manga series they may not like; it is all up to you. I just realized all of these manga have common genres.
These manga brought so many memories of my life and make me who I am now. I hope that applies to everyone as well. What are your thoughts on my favorites? What is your top 5 favorite manga?