Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
Between last year and this year, my interest in talking about manga has gone up quite a bit. Part of that comes from wanting to diversify my media diet a bit and experience more of what there is to offer when it comes to art. The other part comes from the fact that, well, there’s been a lot of great manga coming out in the last few years. Because of that, this list skews pretty heavily toward more recent stuff.
Normally I would do a top 10 list for this sort of thing, like with my most recent anime and anime opening posts, respectively. However, while I have consumed a significant amount more manga than before, there are not really 10 series about which I feel particularly strongly. Thus, doing five makes a bit more sense. That being said, let’s get into it.
HM: Tokyo Ghoul
Regardless of the anime adaptation, which still is not that bad, the Tokyo Ghoul manga is a great piece of fiction. It has a great cast of characters who each shine through in their own way, whether as an ally of Kaneki or as an enemy in the larger ghoul world. The interplay between the focus on Kaneki as well as on the investigator team also lends a bit more perspective to the storytelling in what might be an otherwise one-note manga. The art also looks really damn, so that helps. However, given how long it has been since reading it, putting it any higher would probably be wrong.
5. Chainsaw Man
Another series that blends action and gore incredibly well, Chainsaw Man absolutely deserves a spot on this list. Denji alone is an infinitely fascinating character. On top of that, though, the various devils introduced throughout the series along with their range of power levels really shows a sense of creativity when it comes to the power system. Though my bias absolutely leans more toward part one, even part two has been adding some uniqueness to the universe which is greatly appreciated. This series is one of the primary drivers of my return to manga, and for that, I am definitely grateful.
4. The Flowers of Evil
Named after Charles Baudelaire’s influential collection of poetry, The Flowers of Evil is a strange series. It starts out with a middle schooler stealing his crush’s gym clothes and quickly escalates into an insane psychological journey, one that ultimately ends up scaring Kasuga for life. It ends up being one of the weirdest and yet strangely engaging works I have read to date, with themes of sexuality and self-identity being pushed to the forefront.
3. Blue Flag
Gay romance…that’s it, that’s the thought. I was initially skeptical about how this series would handle the subject matter, but it ended up being one of the most heartfelt romance series this side of shonen manga. Sure, there are parts that feel a bit drawn out and maybe could have been less wordy. But, it is still a slow burn with a lot of passion and an ending that will genuinely make people cry. At just around 50 chapters it is short enough that people could binge it in a day. A perfect length
2. My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness
It is very rare that anime turns towards the realm of autobiography, which makes My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, along with Kabi Nagata’s other works, a breath of fresh air. The illustrations are fairly simple, but it only adds to the style, one that emphasizes her character’s anxiety about the various situations she finds herself in. Queer representation in manga can be fairly hit or miss, so it is nice to have this as a prime example of how good it can be.
1. Goodbye, Eri
Tatsuki Fujimoto gets two entries. Normally I would limit it to be otherwise, but this one-shot is honestly just too damn important. Great pacing, amazing paneling, and a layered set-up that could rival even some of the most historically important tragedies, hitting hardest when one would least expect. I can still count on two hands the number of media that have made me cry, but Goodbye, Eri is definitely at the top, of that list and this one.
What are some of your favorite manga right now? Let me know down in the comments below.
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