Recommend manga thread

I've never seen those before! The wiki page for it says that although they share a character in the title, the contents are not related. Apparently there is a drama too...

*edit * asked a stupid question which I answered myself, nothing to see here move along (and leave recommendations)
Edited: 2013-06-13, 9:55 am
jankensan Wrote:I've never seen those before! The wiki page for it says that although they share a character in the title, the contents are not related. Apparently there is a drama too...

Ah, thank you. Smile
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しろくまカフェ(Polar Bear Cafe)**
Text: medium
Furigana: yes; on all kanji (this is based only on myself reading half of Vol 1)

A friend on Twitter recommended this to me. A slice of life manga about a Polar Bear who runs a cafe. He has other animal and human friends like Panda and Penguin. There are only 4 volumes (according to wiki it's ongoing but can't be too sure) but the anime has 50 episodes.

Overall it's pretty easy to follow. If you like cute animals this is for you ^^ also you get a lot of katakana practice with all the animal characters xD
RawrPk Wrote:A friend on Twitter recommended this to me. A slice of life manga about a Polar Bear who runs a cafe. He has other animal and human friends like Panda and Penguin. There are only 4 volumes (according to wiki it's ongoing but can't be too sure) but the anime has 50 episodes.
I much preferred the anime, but I did watch it before reading so your mileage may vary (the format is completely different). The anime is pretty easy to watch (compared to other animes) with subtitles. Smile
Edited: 2013-06-13, 6:30 pm
Does those mangas all have furiganas? xD Thanks!
pauro02 Wrote:Does those mangas all have furiganas? xD Thanks!
No. Most seem to. Read the posts. ctrl+f and "furigana" makes it easier.
I have updated my main post to include furigana, made it look messy but hey ho if it helps people find what they want easier,then I will have to swallow the pain of messy text.
Babyrat Wrote:I have updated my main post to include furigana, made it look messy but hey ho if it helps people find what they want easier,then I will have to swallow the pain of messy text.
Why not just put a sexy symbol for those that have Furigana?
Just put Furigana = ふ (or something) at the top of the list and then you can just put that next to the furigana titles and make things a lot cleaner?
Good idea! Wish I thought of that before going through the pain of adding to the list...

Keroro Gunso Difficulty rating: ***/****+ if you want to understand all the culture references and puns

Description: A quirky manga about a vanguard of invading aliens that are frog-like, but all goes wrong and they are captured by a family. The manga follows Keroro and his platoon constantly trying to take over the world while being submissive to the family that captured them, 100% comedy with lots of things going wrong for poor Keroro.

Difficulties: As mentioned in the difficulty rating, it refers to pop culture and puns very often, which can quickly lose you. Ignoring that (although you are ignoring a lot of text) it is not too hard, it has quite a few military words but they are often used over and over again.

Furigana: Yes

Text: Quite a lot
Edited: 2013-06-14, 10:09 am
Vinland Saga *****

Taking place in 11th century northern Europe, the manga is the story of Thorfinn, a boy who becomes a ruthless warrior in order to avenge his father's death. His story takes place against the backdrop of historical events, including the Viking invasions of England, the rise of king Canute and the Norse settlement of Vinland (though, as of chapter 93, they've yet to get there). The history and culture of the time and place are researched fairly well, though the story is not without breaks from reality for the sake of drama and "awesomeness". The manga is perhaps most famous/notorious for its intense and gory battle scenes.

With dialogues ranging from political and philosophical discussions in highbrow keigo heavy on archaic phrasing to highly informal vulgar warrior banter, all sprinkled generously with vocabulary and concepts from a cultural context very alien to modern-day Japan, the language in Vinland Saga is about as far removed from everyday conversational Japanese as possible. So, probably not a good choice for beginners, unless you're planning on reading lots of historical fiction or European-style fantasy in Japanese.

Furigana: only in the first two volumes. Early in its publishing history this manga was moved from a weekly shonen to a monthly seinen magazine, which meant that the artist no longer had to add the furigana. It also meant a less constricting schedule, which led to an improvement in the detail of the artwork.

Oh, and I might be missing something, but I'm pretty sure that "Yotsuba" and "Yotsubato" refer to the same manga.
20th Century Boys (20世紀少年)

difficulty 4/5 (no furigana)

This is an odd story about a weird cult / cult leader ("tomodachi") who seems intent on taking over and destroying the world. The plot revolves around childhood friends, now adults, who realise that they went to school with tomodachi and must use their childhood memories to try and predict his next move and thwart him. Unfortunately their memories are not very reliable, to the extent that even though they are sure they went to school with him, no-one can quite remember who he was or what his name was.

This is quite meaty, with more than 20 volumes and a lot of dialogue, so once you are at the right level it will provide a lot of material. The language is not that hard (comparable to death note, perhaps), but the lack of furigana could be a problem for some people. I wasn't able to enjoy it fully till I was at N2 level, maybe slightly above.

Despite the childhood theme, this is actually a fairly adult manga - most of the childhood stuff is through the lens of being remembered by various middle aged adults. It is quite dark in places and somewhat depressing.

I'm reading the second to last volume at the moment, and I'm going to miss it when its gone! If anyone has any suggestions of similar manga I would be grateful to hear them.

By the way, I think this is a good manga for people who don't actually like manga very much - a category I would put myself in.
Edited: 2013-06-15, 7:42 pm
Thanks for the contribution guys, I will update later today or tomorrow.

vonPeterhof Wrote:Oh, and I might be missing something, but I'm pretty sure that "Yotsuba" and "Yotsubato" refer to the same manga.
They are, but if people post a recommendation for a manga that is already on the list, I will still put them up there. The reason it is spelt differently is because I just copy the persons title for ease Smile
I went ahead and edited the title of yotsuba(to) to avoid confusion in the future. I had just automatically written it as Yotsuba because I’m so used to seeing it referred to that way, even though Yotsubato (or technically Yotsubato!) is the correct title. Thanks for catching that vonPeterhof!

Also added a few more notes and example pages to some manga I posted earlier.

Akira Difficulty Rating ****
Description: “Kaneda is a bike gang leader whose close friend Tetsuo gets involved in a government secret project known as Akira. On his way to save Tetsuo, Kaneda runs into a group of anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military leader. The confrontation sparks off Tetsuo's supernatural power leading to bloody death, a coup attempt and the final battle in Tokyo Olympiad where Akira's secrets were buried 30 years ago.” (from imdb)
Furigana: No
Text light/medium/heavy: Has long periods were it’s very light but then it will suddenly have a few pages filled to the brim with text. (At least for Volume 1)
Uses Kanji for words that typically use kana
助平 (すけべい)
何故 (なぜ)
uncommon vocabulary ex:スクラムハーフ
lots of slang/colloquialisms
ぐれー ―――> ぐらい 
いい気になンじゃねエぞォ ―――> いい気になるじゃないぞ 
つったって ―――> なんといっても
These volumes have an unusually high number of pages, 358, versus the usual 180/190ish.

Example Page:

Chi’s sweet home Difficulty Rating *
A beginner would probably have to post in the "whats this word/phase" thread to figure out the baby talk at times. However, If you already know a good amount of everyday/common vocab it should be rather easy.

Description: “A grey and white kitten with black stripes wanders away from her mother and siblings one day while enjoying a walk outside. Lost in her surroundings, the kitten struggles to find her family and instead is found by a young boy, Youhei, and his mother. They take the kitten home, but pets are not allowed in their housing complex, so they try to find a new home for the kitten. This proves to be difficult, and the family eventually decides to keep the kitten, naming her "Chi".” (from myanimelist)
Furigana: Yes except in the chapter titles. Also there isn't much kanji in general, it tends to use kana instead.
Text light/medium/heavy: Very Light to Light
Difficulties: baby talk

いめにあったwhich is--->ひい目にあった (though in this case, the next panel showed the correct spelling)
ク ―――>ミク (though in context, it was obvious that the kitten was talking about milk)
おもろかった ―――> おもろかった
っこ ――> おっこ
びっくちた ―――> びっくしちゃっ

Some colloquialisms:
もうやらからしんだふり ―――> もうやらないからしんだふり

Example Page:
Edited: 2013-06-16, 7:05 pm

You really should have started this thread Hotpotato as you have created so much of the content! Thanks for the contribution and the detail you go into each one. Out of curiosity do you physically own the mangas? Or do you obtain them through other ways that I have never heard of or done... ... ﹡ʷᶦᶰᵏ﹡

If you own them you must have one impressive library.
Fear not, I don’t plan on adding another one anytime soon so you won’t have to deal with my spam for a good while haha. As I’ve been watching the thread I’ve been surprised at how quickly you updated the list and replied to questions; thanks for taking the time to manage the thread, I’m certain it’s greatly appreciated!

I may have obtained most of them through mysterious means, though I have a few volumes of my favorites and had basically rented some from bookoff for a dollar each (minus the bit of change I got from selling them back).

Glad to help! I remember it had been frustrating to find mangas at my level or those that I saw recced for others ended up having unexpected difficulties, so I wanted to help rectify that a bit for future learners.
tashippy Wrote:Hikaru no Go
The whole series mysteriously disappeared from the NYC Book-Off shelves after I posted this. I'm not saying there is a connection, but what will I do after I finish what I have (that is up to volume 6 and I'm on 4 now? Tongue “Fuller! Go easy on the Pepsi!”

You should check out Urasawa's other manga too. He seems to consistently be involved with serious stories that non-ヲタ adults can enjoy. Pineapple Army was a bit "manga-ish", but the recommendations in this thread - マスターキートン and モンスター - are very good. I've also heard good things about プルートウ and アトム.
夏目友人長 Natsume Yuujinchou

Really simple language and day-to-day vocabulary. Each chapter is its own story (typically) and the length varies, 15-40 pages ish. I think Natsume Yuujinchou is really enjoyable series for all ages, with heartwarming short stories about a lonely high school boy and his adventures with and against youkai.
It's the easiest manga I've read yet and I love the stories--I highly recommend it. The art isn't that great, but I think the writing makes up for it. Also has a great anime if you want some listening practice.

Dousei Ai

Really simple language and day-to-day vocabulary. I love Mizushiro Setona so I tried this earlier work of hers - storyline is decent, art is less than decent, language is easy to understand. If you're craving a BL this one's an easy read. However, I can't recommend it unless you're a Mizushiro Setona fan...the ending is just kind of disappointing. But if you want a BL, message me and I can send you the raws.

銀魂 Gintama

Lots of pop culture references and puns, and some run-on sentences when a straight man is bashing. Lots of slang. There's a lot of variety in the way the 3 main characters speak (brash, formal, "foreign" accent) so you get practice with lots of different things! I've had to re-read pages several times and the colloquial language can take some getting used to, but it's a hilarious manga with touching storylines and, I think, it's well worth the effort. Also has a good anime if you want some listening practice.
[kana]shirokuma KAFE[/kana] Polar Bear Cafe
(by Aloha Higa)
** [kana]fu[/kana] (except for author notes)
This is something I read simultaneously with Yotsuba&! and I learned just about as much as I did from this manga as I did with Yotsuba&!. It's about a polar bear that runs a cafe and how he and his other animal friends do random, amusing things in each chapter. I had a very good time reading the first book and I'm on my way to the second one. The drawings are all done very neatly and honestly sometimes the scenes are ridiculously hilarious (but maybe it's just because they main characters are animals).
Polar Bear Cafe is also an anime, so you can check out one of the episodes to see if you're interested.
ながされて藍蘭島 (Nagasarete Airantou)
** maybe *(*/2) (At least for the first few volumes, I remember some weird scenarios appearing later on though, don't know how that'll affect the vocabulary)

Furigana: Yes, on just about everything.

Remember when romcom manga were funny, back when you first started reading manga? No? Well, either way, this is pretty good fun, since it's more of a plain comedy than a romcom.
It's nice to read something that knows it's absurd once in a while, rather than the mass of things that take themselves too seriously while being absurd in the wrong way. Sometimes I think the mangaka just doesn't know how to draw realistic animals and so doesn't even try, but that's okay, because these animals fit better (I don't think it can be properly described without an example). Story-wise, not much to say; a bit more continuity than a slice-of-life school thing, but it's definitely not a big part of the manga.

ぬこづけ! (Nukodzuke!)
* or *(*/2) at the most.

Furigana: Yes, in the bubbles. May be difficult to see at times and there's often text outside the bubbles. Not too many kanji to begin with.

Do you like adorable things? If so, this manga will give you your fix. Premise: dude finds two abandoned nukos (intelligent, humanoid cat chibi things) and decides to raise them. It's basically a cat video if the cats could talk and weren't being leprechaun.
Published online on the 花とゆめ site; chapters are pulled when the volume is available in print.
It's a 四コマ so sometimes text will be squashed, but it's pretty easy, so it shouldn't be a problem for most (sometimes, context is your only guide, it gets so cramped!).

EDIT: I love the auto-censor; 'goblins', hah!

**(*/2) maybe *** (lots of game, anime, manga vocab and more)

Furigana: Yes

It's one of those 'just a bit more than subtext' girl's-love manga that have been showing up recently. It's mostly a comedy about a bunch of otaku though, so it may be worth looking at, if any of that strikes your fancy. The main difference from other comedies of it's type would be the representation of otaku culture. Despite initially seeing it as weird, the protagonist gets pulled in and starts to enjoy the things that her new friends do (she still denies it though). There's an entire chapter or so dedicated to a tabletop RPG session. That doesn't mean the negative associations aren't played for laughs, but it's refreshing to see halfway normal representations of the hobbies.
A big note: the mangaka is seemingly obsessed with PreCure and the main characters are similarly obsessed with the in-verse 'PrePure'. There are references aplenty, so be prepared (or ignore them).
I've enjoyed this one so far, but I'd think it'd be more of a niche thing than the other titles I've shared.
Published online on the Comic-Meteor website; two most recent chapters are available online.
Edited: 2014-08-09, 1:44 pm
Since I just noticed/remembered that someone specifically recommended プルートウ (Pluto) to me earlier in this thread, I feel duty bound to offer up a review now that I have finished reading it.


difficulty 3/5 (no furigana)

I really enjoyed this, along with most of Naoki Urasawa’s work. The difficulty level of the language is similar to 20世紀少年, but it is slightly less dense and shorter at only 8 volumes, so it is a less substantial undertaking overall and I gave it one less star. Lack of furigana might be a problem for some.

It is a sci-fi story centered on a German robot detective called ゲジヒト, who happens to be one of only a few super-advanced robots in the world. Things start to go awry when a serial killer (who may or may not also be a super-advanced robot) starts killing off all the other super-advanced robots in the world one by one, and it is left to ゲジヒト to investigate, knowing that he may be their next target.

It sounds kind of childish, but like most of Urasawa’s work he weaves it in with adult and philosophical themes. There is a fair bit in there about robot-rights, and whether they can or should be treated like humans, whether robots are capable of evil or have a soul, whether it is ever justifiable for a robot to kill a human (e.g. in the line of duty, as he is a robot-cop) and a fair bit of existential angst on the part of the protagonist as he begins to suspect his memories have been tampered with. Love between robots is also explored slightly, as is the raising of robot children.

I really enjoyed the first 7 volumes, although I thought it took a slightly lame direction for the final volume and the conclusion of the story, but nevermind. Don't let that stop you.
Edited: 2014-08-09, 3:49 am
So is this thread alive or dead? Anyway for those interested:

Yaiba (by Gosho Aoyama - 24 volumes)

Difficulty - **
Furigana - Yes

Old manga by the author of Detective Conan.
First volume is really not that great, the main character, Yaiba, is a bit of a jackass. Each time he was meant to be doing something funny he rather came out as rather obnoxious...
Thankfully by volume 2 it gets better, it looks a lot like Dragon Ball. Definitely not the read of your life but enjoyable nevertheless. You even get attached to many characters, MC excepted (I have high hopes for an heroic death at the end!).
Level is really low, compared to what I've read until now (lower than Detective Conan), for the first time I read a volume each day (get a used set very cheap on or whatever if you can, mine was 27€, shipping to France included...) instead of my usual 2-3 chapters. The main difficulty comes from samurai vocabulary and slang.
Edited: 2015-04-12, 11:00 am
This is a thread that is okay to necro (if you ask me), since the other information on the thread is still relevant.

Anyway, here's another manga that I tend to read English scans of instead of in Japanese:


Difficulty: *** (lots of narration for a manga)
Furigana: Yes

Published in Young Ace and online here:
(first and latest chapter available online).

A mystery series where the protagonist goes back in time to when he was a child and tries to prevent some child killings, save the innocent man blamed for them, and hopefully catch the real criminal so that he can't kill anyone else in the present.
You'll see none of that in the first chapter though, as it's used entirely to set up the main character (and the excuse for how he'll be going back in time) and only references the events of the past at the very end; however, the majority of the plot revolves around what I mentioned above (I avoided spoilers).
I'm not a mystery aficionado (other than a couple Sherlock Holmes stories and a couple other manga, I haven't really read many mysteries), so I can't say if it's good as a mystery story, but it's definitely a good read. Obviously, it's incomplete at the moment.
If you're looking for a (legally) free manga, I've been (slowly) reading チャンバレイド:

This is a period action manga with comedy, swords (as the name suggests... チャンバラ = "sword fight"), and supernatural. Jin, heir of the 氷狼 clan, is given the task of looking for a wife in order to give continuity to the family. Finds a mysterious woman who's much stronger than him. There's plenty to read, as the author has been updating the manga since 2011. The art is really nice, even better than that of a lot of pro manga.

As is usually the case with web manga, there's no furigana, so this may require a bit of effort.