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Beginner's Guide to Manga: Staff Favorites

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

We love these and think you will find something here to love, as well!

  • An Incurable Case of Love

    2019 by Enjoji, Maki

    I enjoyed Incurable Case of Love for its characters, because they develop so much over time. The beginning let me think that Dr. Tendo behaving like a jerk to his co-workers would result in the manga being predictable, but that was not the case. There was always something new to look forward to—and seeing how Dr. Tendo's treatment of Nanase took a 180° turn was beyond adorable. Their love blossomed and became a beautiful flower that made me want to cherish their love story forever! Recommended by Iqra.

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  • Assassination Classroom

    2018 by Matsui, Yusei

    I absolutely adore this series! At the beginning I refused to read it because of its art style and premise—a yellow octopus-looking alien teaching kids to be assassins? No, thank you. But wow, how wrong I was. This has to be one of the most heart-warming and wholesome manga I've ever read. Now I wish I had my own Koro-sensei! Recommended by Penny.

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  • Behind the Scenes!!

    2016 by Hatori, Bisco

    I love Ranmaru; he's scared of everything, but he's also a great and talented person. I really like the way he describes his family—as if they are aliens and he is the normal one. When the rest of the Squad gets a chance to meet them, everything about Ranmaru starts to make sense, and they all think Ranmaru is as weird as his family. I wish it had been longer. Recommended by Kassy.

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  • Death Note

    2007 by Ōba, Tsugumi

    It is very popular even today; so much so that Netflix has created an original film based on the series (it was a letdown for big fans though). The story is great, but we lovethat it is inspired from Japanese mythology of the "shinigami" (grim reaper) . Recommended by Robin and Eli.

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  • Dragon Ball

    2004 by Toriyama, Akira

    A classic within the manga community. The beginning of the series is very comical, but as the world opens up, the series becomes a fantastic, action-packed adventure. Recommended by Neil.

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  • The Drifting Classroom

    2019 by Umezu, Kazuo

    A truly horrifying story that explores themes that are both grotesque and psychologically damaging. Not for the faint of heart. After I finished the manga, it made me appreciate that I wasn’t living in their world as well. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Fruits Basket

    2016 by Takaya, Natsuki

    I still really like Fruits Basket even though it's old. Although the art style is somewhat dodgy, it more than makes up for it with a really moving story. And yeah, it's also kind of weird that an entire family of people turn into animals when hugged, but it's a way to talk about the impact of judging others, how people are multidimensional, and how family dynamics—both birth families and found families—can be so, so complicated. Recommended by Michelle.

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  • Given

    2020 by Kizu, Natsuki

    I love these characters. I love how they grow as people and as partners and friends. A little warning, it does have some very heavy topics, such as suicides and toxic relationships, but overall it's a beautiful story about healing and rediscovering yourself through music. Recommended by Penny.

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  • Gyo: The Death-Stench Creeps

    2015 by Itō, Junji

    If you are a fan of horror and grotesque themes, this manga is a fantastic choice. The story starts off tame, but quickly devolves into utter chaos. The art of this manga is very detailed, and it is scary how much terror and emotion can be conveyed purely through Junji Ito’s drawings. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Hikaru No Go

    2011 by Hotta, Yumi

    I don't know how, but the author and artist found a way to make these board game matches intense and engaging for someone like me who had no idea what Go was. I was so invested in the characters and the story that I finished this series within three days! Recommended by Penny.

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  • Hunter X Hunter

    2005 by Togashi, Yoshihiro

    My absolute favorite manga (at least right now). Hunter x Hunter stands out because of the characters, especially the antagonists. They have so many layers—and even though they have superpowers (I wish I did, too), they're somehow very relatable. The story is also extremely well-written. It started out as a typical action/adventure, but later developed into much more. Recommended by Penny.

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  • I Hear the Sunspot

    2017 by Fumino, Yuki

    This is what I look for in a love story. Both male leads slowly learn different things about each other, then they try their best to find a good balance. Sometimes it's difficult, and sometimes they fail, but they always have each other's back. They're so sweet together and I love reading about their relationship. Recommended by Penny.

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  • My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

    2019 by Yamaguchi, Satoru

    All of the characters here are great! When Katarina gets into an accident she begins to remember everything about her past life, and then she realizes that her new life is very similar to that of an Otome (romance-centric, story-based) game. Not just that, but in the game, she is supposed to be the villainess, and her endings are all bad. Everything she tries to do to avoid that terrible fate is hilarious! Recommended by Kassy.

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  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

    2004 by Miyazaki, Hayao

    I am an admirer of all things created by Hayao Miyazaki. This series is one that I come back to time and again. I love the gorgeous art style, the steampunk vibe, the ecological themes, and the strong female protagonist. I also enjoy classical references. Miyazaki got inspiration from a 12th-century Japanese tale and one of my favorite mythological characters from Homer's Odyssey—a Phaeacian princess named Nausicaa. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka

    2010 by Urasawa, Naoki

    This reimagining of a short story-arc in the Astro Boy series is a thrilling read. I love that it mixes a noir style detective story with science fiction. It reminds me of some of my favorites, like Snow Crash or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Highly recommend for fans of the cyberpunk genre and previous knowledge of Astro Boy is not required. Recommended by Leah.

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  • Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign

    2014 by Kagami, Takaya

    This is an action-packed dystopia manga. I love all of the characters. The story and art style are great, too. It keeps you wanting more! Recommended by Kassy.

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  • Shaman King

    2003 by Takei, Hiroyuki

    One of the very first manga series I've ever read. It's full of action, a fun plot, and a great cast of characters. Yoh is a really likable protagonist, and I enjoyed following him on his journey to become a Shaman King. (Whether he does or not, you'll have to read it to find out!) Recommended by Penny.

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  • Spy X Family

    2020 by Endo, Tatsuya

    All three main characters are great: Twilight (a.k.a. Dad), the best spy out there; Anya, a young girl who was an experiment and became a telepath; and Yor (a.k.a. Mom), an assassin whom no one but Anya knows about. Does the fate of the country really rely on this fake family? Recommended by Kassy.

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  • The Way of the Househusband

    2019 by Oono, Kosuke

    Great short stories about a former Yakuza legend. He gave it all up for his wife. While she works, he takes care of the house. People still fear him, and he doesn't really know how to express himself well, but it's hilarious and sweet to see him interacting with other characters. Recommended by Kassy.

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  • Tsubasa: [reservoir Chronicle]

    2004

    This series has all the hallmarks of a CLAMP title (really cool clothing designs, emotional whiplash, and a lot of crying), found families (one of my all-time favorite manga characters!), and incredibly well-planned plot beats. It's a little odd to say that about a series with an ending generally considered utter nonsense, but every part of the journey is perfectly constructed, and it has some astoundingly well-constructed twists. Recommended by Perry.

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