In Japan, people of all age groups, from those learning to read to older folks, enjoy mangas. It’s very similar to the American comics genre, except it has the unique allure and cultural twists of the Far East. They vary in form quite a bit, with lighter material being in parallel with comics, and more sophisticated forms more closely related to a graphic novel. Mangas are getting more and more attention worldwide as years go on, despite the competition of all other formats of entertainment.
In this article, we are going to discuss the titles that received the most praise during the pandemic. There were a lot of new releases, perhaps because of the way lockdowns made authors work relentlessly on their art as they were stuck home. All the mangas that we are listing are worthy for you to pick up, with excellent hand-drawn graphics, interesting storylines, and incorporate a variety of genres.
Beastars by Paru Itagaki (both the author and the illustrator)
The series opens with a cold-blooded murder of one of the school’s students. Instead of humans, we got human-like animals in the show. One of the main themes being the difference between carnivores and herbivores, the plot focuses on the prejudice against those who differ from you, self-discovery as an individual within a group, and the role of government in its citizen’s lives, and how totalitarianism can manifest itself.
Set in a classic high-school drama setting, this one also has plenty of nostalgic moments and it’s good at making you think about the past. Love, status within a hierarchy, and how you are supposed to “grow up” are all explored territory within this manga. It can get rather hilarious and ridiculous at the same time. Remember, you are dealing with animals after all. Lions run crime gangs, rabbits doing what they love to do, and turtles just moving quite slowly thinking about life. If the premise outlined is insufficient for you to read it right now (it’s worth it, trust me), check a detailed Japanese review by mangatrend.net, which explains all the charm of the series in a thorough manner.
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The Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto (written and illustrated)
An incredibly dark work, yet with a profound underlying meaning, this manga revolves around demons and humans living in the same world. The story is full of surprises and revelations, which I really don’t want to spoil here. Focusing on a poor young man down the social ladder, he is desperate enough to do anything for money. Taking a job as a demon hunter, it turns out to be gravely bad for him. He is actually killed by a demon he was trying to take down, and as a consequence reborn as a demon, with an innate chainsaw inside his body that he can summon upon his will.
Now set to explore the new world he has discovered himself, his tragic and meaningful story goes on. It will completely subvert all of your shonen expectations and yet give you an experience that resonates with the genre. You will be confused, in awe with the beautiful twists, and yet completely touched by what’s going on through the series. The main hero (although he could hardly be called that at all), is the boldest expression of an anti-hero. He isn’t set to save the world, his friends, or his family. He is just after money, and by miraculous events, he turns out to be a good guy in the end. Don’t expect to feel strong emotions for him anywhere at the start of the show, though.
My Hero Academia
Imagine a world where everyone is a superhero. You are just born with a special power (they are called Quirks). Cool? Not so much for the minority that is born without any spark. Exactly twenty percent of the population lack anything remarkable or supernatural about them, and they are doomed to be servants or slaves to their superpowered majority.
But a young boy deems the situation unfair. He wants so badly to be a superhero as well, and by sheer luck, he is met by one of the Great Heroes. He knows the secrets nobody else does, and he promises to make him special as well. In My Hero Academia, where Izuku enrolls after acquiring his newfound power, he will learn to become a superhero. His dream is to fight the supervillains and make the world a more just place. A common plot, yet there is a reason why this show was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews and a massive fanbase. Read this post to find out why.