The world of manga is wonderfully diverse. From action to romance, slice-of-life, historical fantasies, and everything in between, there is a manga out there for every reader.
With the stressful end-of-the-quarter week now behind us, here are five manga recommendations to help you destress and to reawaken the weeb inside you.
Art and Coming-of-age – Blue Period
“But until now, I never felt like I was alive. Until… I painted that blue painting.”
Blue Period follows the story of a second-year delinquent student, Yaguchi Yatora, who is constantly bored out of his mind. He has good grades and is even touted as a genius by his friends, who he goes to karaokes and bars with. He looks happy on the outside, but deep down he feels empty as he realizes that his feelings of happiness are ingenuine. That is until he discovers drawing. After an eye-opening experience in an art exercise, Yatora finds himself deeply invested in Art that he decides to pursue it as a living. But he knows nothing about arts, and soon enough, he realizes that the road awaiting him is not easy.
Blue Period is a story of discovering your true passion and persevering towards it. It takes the cliche of “following your dreams and making them come true”, and turns it into a sincere, realistic, and relatable reading experience. Even if you are not into Arts, Blue Period is still a manga you should try reading. And who knows, maybe you’ll become the next Picasso after that rush of inspiration you get as you follow Yatora in his journey through the arts.
Fantasy – Tongari Boshi no Atorie (Witch Hat Atelier)
Are geniuses, geniuses the moment they are born? How about singers, athletes, or models? These are not decided from birth but through time and hard work. The same applies to witches.
Coco, a daughter of a humble dressmaker, has always been in awe of the magic that runs the world around her. She has long dreamed of becoming a witch, but there is one problem—she has no affinity for magic! It also doesn’t help her that witches take careful precautions in keeping their methods a secret from the public. But one day, she was presented with an opportunity to spy on a traveling witch named Qifrey. She then realized that her favorite book was secretly a book of magic all along! However, after experimenting with the book, an accident befell her home due to a spell, and she was only saved with Qifrey’s help. After realizing that Coco is his only lead to tracking a dangerous group of witches involved in the experimentation of forbidden magic, Qifrey decides to take her under his helm. And so begins Coco’s path to fulfilling her dream of becoming a witch!
Witch Hat Atelier is a magical fantasy that boasts a very picturesque and beautiful art style. Shirahama Kamome, the author and illustrator of the manga, gives careful attention to drawing every single thing that you can see. Each panel, composition, and transition look to be true works of art that one would see in an art museum. The art style is not that of a conventional shounen or shoujo style but is akin to that of a painting. If you want to drown yourself in beautiful art every time you flip a page, then Witch Hat Atelier is a must-read for you.
Comedy and Slice of Life – Spy x Family
Imagine a family with a spy husband, an assassin wife, and an esper daughter. Sounds chaotic, no?
The peace between Westalis and Ostania must be kept in order. The best spy in the Westalis nation, Agent Twilight, works routinely to prevent war from sparking between the two neighboring countries. For his most recent task, he must infiltrate a prestigious private school, the Eden Academy, to investigate an Ostanian politician named Donovan Desmond. To accomplish this, he must first get married, have a child, and play house. Agent Twilight, real name Loid Forger, adopts an orphan named Anya to play the role of his child. For his wife, he “marries” Yor Briar, a city hall employee. But little does Loid know that he is not the only one in the family leading double lives. His wife Yor, is actually an assassin named the “Thorn Princess,” while his daughter Anya is an esper (mind reader). As an esper, Anya knows the real identities of both her parents. But she does not snitch on them, because where is the fun in that?
Spy x Family is a refreshing and unique take on the Mr. and Mrs. Smith style of stories. The manga is filled with comedy and surprises, where seemingly mundane actions are turned into an action sequence. The dynamic of the family members and their hidden secrets leads to a lot of unexpected comedic situations. The aesthetic art style also complements well with the explosive action scenes, the romantic interactions between Loid and Yor, and the cheerful and heartwarming moments of family bonding. If you want to die of laughter or diabetes from too much sweets, go read Spy x Family!
Romance and Drama – Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)
“Back then, if we could have had heard each other’s voices, everything would have been so much better.”
Shouya Ishida, a delinquent elementary school student finds that a deaf girl, Shouko Nishimiya, will be transferring to his school. Troubled by her impairment, Shouya leads the class in bullying Shouko despite her best efforts in making friends with her new classmates. The teasing escalated into taunts, then to physical bullying. The constant harassment only stops when Shouko finally transfers to another school. When the class’ actions were finally addressed by the staff, Shouya was made the scapegoat and the entire class turned against him. Now experiencing bullying himself and being treated with contempt for years, he becomes docile and reclusive. In a twist of fate, he meets Shouko five years after the incident. Still haunted by guilt over his past behavior, Shouya is determined to make up with Shouko and make amends for his past wrongdoings.
A Silent Voice is an exceptional manga that presents the core messages of anxiety, depression, and self-hatred and how you can learn to overcome them. The manga shows that there are things in life that cannot be simply just forgiven, no matter how much you try to apologize. But despite the heavy topics, the manga takes a positive outlook on these mistakes that can never be reverted and forgiven. The conflicts are deeply rooted in reality, which makes the experience feel more relatable and allows the readers to sympathize with the characters. If you want a good drama story sprinkled with romance on top, A Silent Voice is a good place to start.
Sports and Action – Haikyuu!
Ready. Set. Spike! Score!
Volleyball. A team sport where two groups of six players face off against each other, separated only by a net. Drop the ball, and that’s one point for your opponents. Shouyou Hinata watches as his 170 cm idol, the “Little Giant”, towers over the seemingly impenetrable wall of blockers. Inspired to stand on the court like his idol, Hinata enters his first volleyball tournament in his last year of junior high school. However, his moment would be abruptly ended as his team of ragtags were decimated in their first game against a powerhouse school called Kitagawa Daiichi, led by a talented but egoistic setter by the name of Kageyama Tobio, dubbed also as the “King of the Court” due to his autocratic attitude. Hinata goes to study in Karasuno High School, the school that the “Little Giant” played for, to try and take revenge on Kageyama. Except that he can’t, because as he enters the gymnasium, he is greeted by his new classmate and teammate, the “King of the Court” himself. Now, Hinata must work with the troublesome Kageyama to make it to the top and follow the steps of the “Little Giant”.
Haikyuu is not just a story about volleyball. It is also a story about teamwork, ambition, and breaking norms in sports. Haikyuu reminds us that life is like volleyball: it is easier to win when you work with your teammates. The manga not only focuses on our main team in Karasuno High but also develops the characters of the players from the opposing schools. The action scenes are also very hype, so if you need a rush of adrenaline, Haikyuu will not disappoint you.
Recommendation by Patrick P. & Feature Image by Marianne G. (G11)
Reviews are uncommissioned, unpaid, and represent the personal views of the authors. They should not be taken to represent the views of Dragon’s Print and Cebu International School.
Blue Period. (2022). MyAnimeList.net. https://myanimelist.net/manga/107931/Blue_Period
Tongari Boushi no Atelier. (2022). MyAnimeList.net. https://myanimelist.net/manga/100035/Tongari_Boushi_no_Atelier?q=witch%20hat%20atelier&cat=manga
Spy x Family. (2022). MyAnimeList.net. https://myanimelist.net/manga/119161/Spy_x_Family?q=spyxfamil&cat=manga
Koe no Katachi. (2022). MyAnimeList.net. https://myanimelist.net/manga/56805/Koe_no_Katachi?q=a%20slient%20voice&cat=manga
Haikyuu!! (2022). MyAnimeList.net. https://myanimelist.net/manga/35243/Haikyuu