Top Manga by Naoko Takeuchi [Best Recommendations]

There are some mangaka who’ve not only inspired millions with their timeless classics, but have changed the entire landscape of the community and have bridged the gap for more to enter the scene. One of those trendsetters is Takeuchi Naoko who for years, has brought us nothing but sheer quality not only through her brilliant artwork but through capturing our hearts with captivating stories. Many of us can attest to this and say that at one point in our lives, Sailor Moon has made an appearance and influenced us in some way. Serena’s (Usagi in Japanese) air headed, whiny, yet determined attitude wowed over the audience and became a reason for so many people growing up in the 90’s to show interest in Japanese pop culture. Naoko’s tales of love, heartbreak, and fighting for what’s right in the world have transformed her into a global icon placing her in the upper echelon of manga specialists. Takeuchi Naoko’s collection of manga don’t just stop at Sailor moon so let us take a closer look at some of her other influential works, and get a better understanding of what makes Naoko’s work stand out.

5. Toki☆Meka!

  • Genres: Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Shoujo
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published: 2005

Mimi had good upbringing and lots of friends, one of which was Hoshiko. When Hoshiko decides to venture to the states to pursue studying abroad, Mimi convinces Hoshiko to promise that the two remain close friends even after they’ve separated. Years have passed on by since their last encounter but Mimi ends up meeting a new individual, Meca, who then becomes her new friend. However much of her character isn’t what Mimi had assumed it to be, as Meca continuously finds herself in trouble, saving the lives of others, and using her cell phone to summon various entities.

Naoko had taken a long hiatus from creating manga due to a lot of major life changes ongoing at the time, one of which was of course marrying the famous Yoshihiro Togashi, and bringing two wonderful children into the world. Toki☆Meka! was her very first series after being away from the spotlight and due to this, many of her fans actually wanted her to continue the series. However Naoko decided that she wanted to pursue other ventures and left Toki☆Meka! as a one-shot. In spite of her decision, Toki☆Meka! really enticed readers because for the most part it was a fresh take on a new series, while still maintaining the same level of creativity that Naoko is quite known for. Mimi’s character is quite quirky as well which sort of reminds you of Usagi in a way because she’s always all over the place, and Meca just can’t seem to control herself. While the story is most certainly short when compared to that of her other works, Toki☆Meka! Is still a wonderful series that takes a very simple plot and expands on it to create a colorful and idiosyncratic experience.


4. The Cherry Project

  • Genres: Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Sports
  • Volumes: 3
  • Published: 1991 - 1992

If Yuri!! on Ice is a series that you’re enjoying, then you will most likely need to thank Naoko and The Cherry Project, as it’s one of the manga that truly inspired the growing popularity of ice skating. Chieri, also known as Cherry, was inspired to start ice skating after watching her idol and skating champion Tsuzuki Masanori take to the rink in spectacular fashion. Her dream is to skate alongside Masanori in hopes that she will someday overcome her rival Princess Canty, and win over the hearts of millions who tune in.

As stated in the earlier paragraphs, Naoko achieved acclaim with her very simple plots which she then expands on to create a remarkable and exciting experience, that takes the reader on a crazy journey. Many of her manga do generally place precedence on romance which is what she became popular for, and so The Cherry Project fits perfectly into it all. Chieri had a passion for skating and it only took off even further when she fell madly in love with Masanori. We can all somehow relate to Chieri’s experience because we’ve all had that one person who, despite how far ahead they were in terms of their skill, we looked up to them not due to their talents but their character as well. Chieri put in every ounce of effort to ensure that she could live her dream and outpace her rival, and with all of the emotional drama that she has to deal with, it truly makes you cheer for her as the underdog to win not only the respect of fans but Masanori’s heart.


3. Maria

  • Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published: December 1989 - May 1990

Maria is a young girl who currently attends a Christian private school. Much of her life is in disarray as her family is barely surviving off of what they earn, while her mother lies in the hospital with an illness. Their only way of moving forward is by depending on a man known as ‘Daddy Long Legs’ who stipulates that the only way for the support to continue is by Maria marrying him. With Maria unsure as to just who this mysterious man is, she sets out to uncover the truth behind his appearance and just why he’s made it a purpose to help her family.

One selling point that will help to encourage readers to pick up Maria is in how powerful the plot is, and just how real the story feels once you travel further along into it. Maria’s family is destitute and this man somehow feels that it’s only right to support this woman in times of need. Their relationship slowly develops into something romantic because who can really say no to a man who’s committed to providing security and ensuring that your family is steady? Maria surely can’t and we probably couldn’t either because it just shows the beauty of human connection and how we gravitate towards those who’ve opened their heart to help others. While the story may purposely deviate you away from the main point at times, it reels you right back in because of how gratifying everything feels once the mystery man’s identity is revealed and your heart beats with joy as their romance only grows stronger.


2. Codename wa Sailor V

  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Shoujo
  • Volumes: 3
  • Published: 1991 - 1997

For fans of the Sailor Moon series, Codename wa Sailor V is the precursor to the main series which follows Usagi on her adventures to save the world from evil. This prequel looks at the life of Minako, a normal high school student whose life takes an incredible turn when she’s approached by a white cat named Artemis and notifies her of the power to transform into the beautiful Sailor V. Now with her magic pen in possession, Minako must now use her superpowers to fight against the evil agents of the Dark Agency, to ensure that Earth remains intact and safe from terror.

If you’re somewhat new to the world of Sailor Moon and you’re curious how it all began, then look no further for Codename wa Sailor V is the story that started it all. Before Usagi and her ditzy ways there was the outspoken and, often times, aloof Minako, who now has become the world’s hero to ensure that evil doesn’t consume humanity. What you’ll find in this story is nothing but action, laughter and romance, similar to what you’ll receive in Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon. Minako and Artemis make up such a wonderful duo because of their contrasting personalities, much like how Usagi pairs well with Luna. The only difference is that Artemis is male while luna is female, and you’ll get to know a little more about their backstories in this wonderful series. We’ll admit though that while the story was well done and captured and really breathed life in Minako as a character, Naoko perhaps wanted to save a lot of the story for the sequel which was why the story at times had a lot of filler. Nevertheless Minako’s backstory truly sheds a lot of light on what’s to come, and what initially had been planned as a one shot now transformed into what we now know as Sailor Moon.


1. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon

  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Shoujo
  • Volumes: 18
  • Published: December 1991 - February 1997

Growing up around the Sailor Moon series was truly a life changing experience because during the time of its release in the west, many of us were quite young and so the story felt more like a dream in many respects. Usagi had no intentions of becoming Sailor Moon until Luna comes in out of the blue informing her of the duties that comes with being a Sailor Scout. With her new powers at hand, Usagi must now fight for justice in the name of the Moon and the Moon Princess. Along her crazy journey she encounters other Sailor Scouts that team up with her to help battle the influx of enemies that torment planet Earth.

The initial story for Sailor Moon took its inspiration from the prequel, as both start off with two young girls who are then thrown into a new world and must conquer the obstacles that lie ahead of them. What’s great is that Naoko took the remnants of Minako’s adventure and refined it well enough so that it would sync flawlessly with Usagi’s journey. Naoko is so clever when it comes to storytelling because she uses a basic framework and then builds on top of it, much like constructing a house.

That framework is then altered over time to create a more robust and expansive story which then takes the reader on a wild ride full of romance, action, and tons of drama as Usagi and the Sailor Scouts not only battle evil but also their inner struggles. Each Sailor Scout is remarkably different from the next which is fantastic because they all have this unique personality that makes them attractive, and creates a wonderful plot line going forward. Tuxedo Mask then comes into the mix at some point and then more romance starts to roll in, along with Luna and Artemis having to put up with a lot of stupidity along the way. You’re never truly expecting the same thing to happen because each arc of the story takes you down a different road, which introduces new characters but also allows the spotlight to be shared among the Sailor Scouts allowing you to build a deeper connection to them.


Closing Statement

Naoko’s work ethic and passion to move forward despite many hardships during her career have given her enough momentum to continue shining on. She eventually went on to marry very popular and well known mangaka, Yoshihiro Togashi, with whom she has two children with. Naoko’s a great testament to the many aspiring mangaka out there that anything can be accomplished as long as you believe in your work, and put your heart into everything that you do. Romance can be obtained also if you continue doing what you love as well. Let us know which manga from Naoko Takeuchi’s collection stood out to you the most in the comments section below, and always be sure to like, share, and tweet our articles to keep the community buzzing.

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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