The reason I got into reading manga was when I was in grade 7 and I noticed that the girl next to me on the bus was reading something and I was curious about it and so I asked if I could see it. I started to read it after she showed me how to read the strange looking comic book. I never knew that there were such books, I mean the book was read BACKWARDS and it looked exactly like the anime I grew up watching. The girl accidentally forgot the book on the bus because I was reading it when she got off, so I kept reading. I finished that first book that night. I gave it back to her the next day at school and told her I really liked it and asked her where she got it, since it wasn’t an actual book but one that someone had printed off and had bound together. She told me that she got it from 2 friends of ours, they were twins so the book belonged to both of them, and was shocked that I finished it so quickly. So what did I do? I went and talked to the twins and they explained to me the magical world of online manga scanlations. This was only the beginning of my new obsession and it only grew. What was that first manga I ever read? It was “Hikaru no Go” by Yumi Hotta and I now have a copy of that book once it was released officially in English.
One day my family and I were on our way back from somewhere that I honestly don’t remember and we stopped at the one Chapters in Edmonton because my mom had to pee. I went in with her and I finally found the manga section! I was looking at all the different books from Tokyopop (which doesn’t distribute manga anymore and it still makes me sad), Viz Media. There are a lot more companies now but back then there weren’t too many and manga wasn’t very popular so bookstores only held the more popular companies of the time. My mom came up to me and I was holding a book so she asked me if I wanted to buy it, which of course I said yes! That book was “Wedding Peach” by Sukehiro Tomita and it reminded me a lot of Sailor Moon. This was the very first manga I ever bought and it was the start of my manga collection.
Right now I own, at last count, 1800 different manga volumes. You can see an old picture I posted on Instagram, before I started using it for this, and you can see my shelves. My shelves have 5 shells and they are the wider shelves so I can double stack them because there are so many. Not all of the books fit on the shelves now so I have a little bookshelf that I’ve put some one and then they are in random places on the floor in my room.
Now let’s get in to why you are here, my top 20 list of manga I love to read!
1. “Attack on Titan” by Hajime Isayama – 18 volumes (Ongoing): This series will appear on two of my lists because I have fell behind reading them. From what I have read I am absolutely enthralled by the series. Be it anime or manga, “Attack on Titan” is simply amazing! Kick-ass characters, an actual interesting plot that doesn’t fizzle out, and creepy Titans (though the ones from the live-action movie made me laugh).
2. “Black Butler” by Yana Toboso – 21 volumes (Ongoing): I started reading this series when it came out in Canada and I loved it, warning I’m probably going to be saying “I love it” even though this is a list of manga I love so it is kinda redundant so just pretend it isn’t. This had a unique plot that made the series addicting to read.
3. “Bleach” by Tite Kubo – 70 volumes (Ongoing): Ahh “Bleach” the addicting series that one of my friends got me into. It has Shinigami, Hollows, a whole society for the dead. It kinda makes me want to read the series again because it is just that good.
4. “Dawn of Arcana” by Rei Toma – 13 volumes (Complete): A princess being forced to marry to ease tension between kingdoms. She discovers she has a power that allows her to see the past or future, the “Arcana of Time.” This story was great! It was interesting to see the different things of the world and see Nakaba use her power.
5. “Death Note” by Tsugumi Ohba – 12 volumes (Complete): It isn’t a list of manga without “Death Note”! It has created such popularity since its release. I was quick to snatch it up and read it! I mean come on, teenager finds a notebook on the ground and meets the Shinigami Ryuk. What does the notebook do? Well like the title says it is a Death Note and who ever writes a name in the book will die of a heart attack within a certain amount of time unless otherwise specified by the writer. Deceit, death, detectives, apples; all words used to describe this series.
6. “Fruits Basket” by Natsuki Takaya – 23 volumes (Complete): This is a cute manga series about a girl who is living with her grandfather after the death of her mother until they want to do renovations to the house and she is forced to move out temporarily but she doesn’t let that drag her down and doesn’t mind living in a tent in the park. That is, until she comes across the house of one of her classmates and she moves in with them. This family is not normal though, they have a curse on their family to transform into an animal of the Chinese Zodiac, plus the cat, whenever someone of the opposite sex hugs them. So much happens within the series and it all ties together. It is a lovely book series.
7. “Fullmetal Alchemist” by Hiromu Arakawa – 27 volumes (Complete): This is a story of 2 boys trying to get their bodies back after they tried to do the forbidden, bring their mother back from the dead. Al lost his whole body (Ed binds his soul to a suit of armor) and Ed loses his arm and leg. This story has such character development and growth. This story is definitely at the top of my favorites in manga.
8. “Full Moon o Sagashite” by Arina Tanemura – 7 volumes (Complete): This series made me laugh and cry. The story is so touching of a young girl with throat cancer who wants nothing more than to be able to sing. One day 2 Shinigami arrive at her home to reap her soul because she is set to die. She manages to get them to agree to give her the ability to sing in exchange for her to cooperate when they need to take her. This triggers a change in the list and her name is taken off the list and it is not her time to die yet. The Shinigami stay to help her with becoming a singer.
9. “The Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross” by Arina Tanemura – 11 volumes (Complete): Another by Tanemura-sensei but her works are truly amazing. The art is exquisite and the story is intricate. Every move is thought out and everything has a reason behind it. This is a story of a girl who was sold by her father to a lower class of rich man and is now from the lower rich part of the class (Bronze) who is love with the highest level boy (Gold). She does not shy away from her past as a delinquent and has no problem admitting it to people. She manages to catch the eye of the Gold and she becomes his bodyguard. What could go wrong? I love the story so much it was so heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I wish there was more volumes to read.
10. “Higurashi When They Cry” by Ryukishi07 – 38 volumes (Complete): This series is so creepy and makes you think one thing but then blindside you and change things completely. This has multiple storylines that intertwine together. One storyline will end with complete death and then the next storyline everyone is alive again and they will function like nothing has happened.
11. “InuYasha” by Rumiko Takahashi – 56 volumes (Complete): An amazing series about a girl from present day Tokyo being transported to Feudal Japan. When there she sees a boy attached to a tree by an arrow. In this world there is magic, demons, monsters; there are so many things to this world that it is hard to know if someone is good or evil. The main story is the group that the girl and boy become a part of are on a journey to find all the shards of a jewel that was shattered all over the world. They encounter adversaries along the way who are looking for the shards themselves. All-in-all, this is an amazing story to read about.
12. “Kamisama Kiss” by Julietta Suzuki – 22 volumes (Ongoing): This is a story about a girl who gets kicked out of her place due to her father’s gambling debt and comes across a man in a park who is in a tree due to a dog barking at him at the base. The girl chases the dog away and as a reward the man tells her to go to an old shrine and leaves her by kissing her forehead. When she gets there she finds that the shrine is falling apart and comes across 2 keepers of the shrine. Then she meets the man who sent her to the shrine’s familiar and learns that the man used to be the Earth Deity of the shrine and has passed his mark upon the girl, making her the Earth Deity. This story has so many great parts to it I can’t help but read it when I can.
13. “Midnight Secretary” by Tomu Ohmi – 7 volumes (Complete): A young secretary is working at a company and thrives at being the perfect secretary. She becomes the personal secretary to the director of the company and she meets a lot of difficulties with his way of working. One day, the secretary discovers that the director is in fact a vampire. She will do anything to protect his secret, including giving her own blood at its prime. Blood is at its best during sex, climax in particular. She must decide whether she can stay by his side or if she would be better off without him.
14. “Naruto” by Masashi Kishimoto – 72 volumes (Complete): This is about a young ninja who wants recognition from his village and whose dream is to become the leader of the village. The reason that the village is shunning the boy is because 10 years ago a demon fox attacked the village and killed many. It was only stopped when the village leader sealed the fox’s spirit inside a baby, the boy. Now the boy is becoming a ninja for his village and is assigned a team – a girl he has a crush on and a boy who is his rival. They are sent on missions to help people in and out of the village. Will the boy ever become the village leader and obtain the respect of his village?
15. “Ouran High School Host Club” by Bisco Hatori – 18 volumes (Complete): A poor girl in a rich school walks into a music room to study in peace but it is actually the school’s host club, a group of six male students who gather to entertain the female students. The girl accidentally backs into a ￥8,000,000 (around $80,000 USD) and in order to repay the debt she becomes a host at the host club, even though she is a girl. The host club students did not realize that she is girl due to her scruffy hair and boyish clothes (she can’t afford the school uniform). She is considered a natural at entertaining the girls who come into the club. She becomes close with all the male hosts and slowly starts to pay off her debt.
16. “Rurouni Kenshin” by Nobushiro Watsuki – 28 volumes (Complete): This story is set in the Meiji period in Japan and it follows a former famous assassin. He decides to become a wandering samurai after he finishes his work against the bafuku and he lives his life now protecting people with a vow to never take another life. He comes across a swordsmanship school and its teacher, a girl who has been raised at the school who is having trouble with a murderer who claims to be the famous assassin. The wandering samurai decides to help her with the problem and in the process it is discovered that he, the wandering samurai, is in fact the famous assassin. With this revelation, old enemies and new surface to claim the title that he holds.
17. “The Story of Saiunkoku” by Kairi Yura – 9 volumes (Complete) *Note I know it is out of order because I always think of this series simply as “Saiunkoku” so forgive me!*: This is a fictional China-like world and is about a girl who’s from a noble family but has fallen on hard times after a plague ravaged the land. The girl has always wanted to become a government official but cannot due to being a woman. The emperor of the land has a reputation of being uninterested in the court and is believed to be interested in men but has requested the girl to become one of his consort and teach the emperor the importance of being a ruler. She would receive 500 gold coins if she agrees, the moment she hears this she accepts. This story it centered around the hardships of creating change, court life and imperial politics.
18. “Shugo Chara” by Peach-Pit – 12 volumes (Complete): This is about an elementary school girl who has a popular exterior but is actually very introverted. One night she wishes for courage to be reborn as her would-be self. In the morning she is shocked to see that there are suddenly 3 eggs in her bed. These are the eggs of Guardian Characters and each symbolize different types of a person she wants to be, the red one is the sporty self, the green is the caring and sensitive self, the blue is the artistic self. Since it is rare that 3 Guardian Characters are born, she is given a lock which has importance as the story progresses. She is recruited to become a Guardian at her school, which is basically the student council. She discovers that there is something called the “Embryo” which can grant anyone a wish that they desire. She meets someone who is against her and is looking for the Embryo himself but he is drawn to her and they become close as time goes by. Who will get the Embryo?
19. “Skip Beat” by Yoshiki Nakamura – 37 volumes (Ongoing): A girl does everything for her childhood friend and crush, the guy who is becoming a famous singer. The girl overhears the guy say that he is just using her to live comfortably even though he doesn’t need her. She becomes enraged and her Pandora’s box is opened which brings evil little grudge spirits. She vows to become more famous than he is, so she decides that she will become an actress at the rival agency. She meets one of the top actors in Japan and at first they hate each other but as time goes on they become closer. Her childhood friend notices her after a while and wants her back at his side. Who will she choose and will she accomplish her goal?
20. “Wallflower” by Tomoko Hayakawa – 36 volumes (Complete): This is about how a girl was called ugly years ago and since then she has become a shut-in and shuns anything so do with beauty, including people. Then her aunt has 4 tenants and decides that she will give them free rent if they can make her niece become a lady. Whenever the girl is around the 4 guys she gets a major nose bleed because they are “creatures of light,” which means that they are very beautiful so they are blinding to the girl. The girl becomes close with all of the guys and she becomes less affected by the guys as time goes on. Will she ever become a lady?