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Favorite Manga of 2014




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marie-antoinette



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 4136
Location: Ottawa, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:48 am Reply with quote
Look, I remembered to start the post this year! Also, this is the 8th year of the thread, that is CRAZY.

This thread is meant for sharing the manga you read this year that you enjoyed best. This does not have to be a manga that only came out this year, just one that you read during that time.

Also, we've had mentions of graphic novels that are not, strictly speaking, manga so feel free to bring those titles up as well.

Last year's thread

Anyway, let me get things started.

I have to admit, this is another year where I didn't read a whole lot of manga. And most of what I did read were series I had been following for awhile. However, two of my absolute favourites ended this year, so I am going to let them be my joint answer.

Vampire Knight and Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden.

I love both of these series so much. They are 5 and 2 respectively on my all-time favourite manga list. And I do think both of them came to very satisfying endings, though both may have meandered a bit on the way to said ending (Vampire Knight more so, given that it seven volumes longer).

I also will give a mention this year to my favourite re-read, which was Imadoki!. I think it's a shame that it's the only one of Watase's non-fantasy work to be translated into English because it really is delightful. Tanpopo continues to be one of the manga characters I personally identify with the most and I think this series just has a lot of meaningful things to say (which is why I have a tattoo on my ankle inspired by it).

As far as non-manga sequential art goes, this year's pick for me is the Library Edition collection of the three Dragon Age comics that David Gaider wrote. I'd read some of the individual issues before but it was great to get the whole story and read the commentary from the creative team.

Plus, anything that stares my beloved Alistair is pretty much guaranteed to be awesome, at least in my books (bad fan fic aside).
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classicalzawa
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Joined: 19 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:29 pm Reply with quote
Ah, gotta love this yearly thread! Always fun to think back on the year, what I liked, what I didn't. This year, I've read a lot of good manga and actually have gradually collected less and sold some stuff, so lots of collection changes too. I keep thinking back and going "wait, was that this year?" as, after three months, I tend to start to get foggy on when I read things (and now I feel old).

A good year for manhwa as I discovered not one, but two fantastic series. I discovered Goong first, just in time for the series to come to an end in May and the painful wait to still occur. Glad they're doing those omnibuses at least. I also finally figured out how to pronounce the damn title (as I am not that familiar with Korean pronunciations, it's "Goon-g" for the record, not "Go-ong" as I first thought) because in Korean, things get K-dramas (which I found at a used movie store for the bargain price of $13, man!) But yes, the soapy soapy goodness washes over me as I read Goong and get into it. I also lent it to my bff, because I needed someone to talk to about it.
But that's not all! More recently I got 13th Boy when I was trying out a bunch of random v1s a few months ago. This was the only one that stuck though because it's just really awesome. If anything, I'm surprised I was able to take a series with a magic, bishie transforming talking cactus so seriously, but dammit, the ending made me bawl like a baby!

In the realm of "this has been out forever, you're seriously only just reading it now?" "Yes, shut up", there's xxxHolic. I'm not a CLAMP fan, I can't even pretend, but I'm really enjoying xxxHolic. I've read two omnibuses so far, but I like that it's more than just the supernatural things that happen in similar series like Pet Shop of Horrors, there's lots of character stuff going on that puts it above similar series (don't get me wrong, I love Pet Shop).

favorite new shonen likely goes to Blood Lad, and I was glad I had so much I could read at once. I definitely put it above other, similar shonen as I think I know the characters better, Staz is an otaku, and the plot is interesting but not difficult to follow

I believe my friend gave me the first 5 vols of Real in the early months of 2014 and I eagerly await v13 to arrive at my comic shop in my best seinen title. This was pretty much a no-brainer, it's so much more than a sports manga that it's ridiculous. Takehiko Inoue clearly did research into the sport of wheelchair basketball, but it's more than his awesome art that makes the series. He also clearly did research into the daily lives and rehabilitation of people who become disabled and sometimes, all you have to do is depict it perfectly to win. It also helps to have interesting characters though, naturally. It's pretty much a win all around, it's impossible to go wrong, and if you don't like sports, there's really not all that much there. If only it came out at a rate of more than one volume a year, pretty much its only negative.

For the Hidden Gem Discovery award, probably going to go with Record of a Fallen Vampire. I'd seen random used volumes all the time apparently, but it's really damn easy to overlook, the art is only so-so on the covers, the spines aren't overly attractive either. Also wins the "most plot twists" award, in 9 volumes, damn near every volume has one. But I think it says a lot that, for a series with vampires, aliens are also involved and I didn't feel like the shark had been jumped. It became easier to follow as it went on, despite all of those plot twists, then it became hard to stop reading as well. Not what I was expecting from a vampire story at all, but that's a good thing.

Best New Series, always a hard one, but I'm very tempted to go with My Love Story, which follows a guy who looks like he belongs nowhere near a shojo, let alone as the main (even the covers don't focus on him) in this ungodly adorable romance with this typical shojo girl who just thinks he's the coolest guy in the entire world. Even when her friends are jerks about it, but then, just leave it to the main guy to do something badass to fix it. There's also the best friend, who looks like he should be the main love interest in any shojo manga, but is most definitely the wingman here and a damn good one at that. Part of what I love about it is that, two volumes in, there's really no backstabbing bs to create forced drama that I so dislike, it's just straightforward and damn good at it. If this were written to appeal to horrible people, the wingman would totally be trying to steal the girl and laughing behind the main's back or something, but I actually love that that's not happening. Also, it's really really damn funny. It's simply impossible not to be grinning from ear-to-ear while reading this.

And, for my last category, the I swear I'll get to this in 2015 winner! Winners, make that plural, I have Slam Dunk and Vinland Saga at the top of that list though. Yes, I have a complete Slam Dunk set and 5 volumes of Vinland Saga sitting un-freakin-read.
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marie-antoinette



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:50 pm Reply with quote
xxxHolic is great! Well. At least until the ending, I didn't much care for that. I haven't checked out any of the new stuff yet either because I honestly don't think the story needs to go on. But still, it was great, definitely my favourite CLAMP series.
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classicalzawa
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Joined: 19 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:15 am Reply with quote
I heard the new stuff basically ignores the ending on the original, so I'll probably check it out eventually too. No idea when it starts to ignore the original's ending though, mostly because I'm only 6 vols into xxxHolic as is. So maybe it's just more random goodness that takes place after everything (characters and whatnot) has been established? I'm sure someone else can clarify that better.
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st_owly
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 20 May 2008
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Location: Edinburgh, UK

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:14 am Reply with quote
I love this thread <3 I've not had as much time to read stuff this year as I'd have liked because university has been sucking my life away, but here we go.

Best New Series
This one has to go to What Did You Eat Yesterday? It's nice to read a manga about gay people which isn't yaoi or yuri, and Fumi Yoshinaga's storytelling is as delightful as ever. It makes me hungry every time I read it though.

Best Concluded Series
I'm going to give this one to No. 6. After the rushed ending the anime got, the manga was far more satisfying. The art's lovely and the story is pretty solid as well. Plus Kodansha did an excellent job localising it, and the colour page section in volume 8 was beautiful.

Surprise License of the Year
This goes to Black Rose Alice. I've always wanted more Setona Mizushiro to be published in English ever since I read After School Nightmare years ago. I genuinely didn't think it would happen, then it did. I read about 10 chapters of this scanned years ago, but ended up forgetting about it for various reasons. It's one of the oddest vampire stories I've read, but I'm definitely enjoying it. I hope that SuBLime picks up some of her BL stuff as well.

Gone but not Forgotten
Always Drops of God. I live in hope that Vertical will eventually release more.

Favourite Ongoing Series
This is a tough one, but I'll go by what I look forward to new volumes of the most. It's a tie between Tegami Bachi, Library Wars, Blue Exorcist and Kimi ni Todoke Kimi ni Todoke is definitely starting to drag though. The curse of popularity....

I'll Get To This Eventually
This goes to Vinland Saga and Wandering Son. My local library actually had the first 2 volumes of Wandering Son, so I've read them, but I've wanted my own copies for ages. Fortunately, someone on a UK anime forum I visit is selling volumes 1-7 for £65 including shipping, so I've asked him to keep them for me until I am paid. I also need to start Ooku, then I will have all the Fumi Yoshinaga. I also want to get the fancy Moto Hagio releases, but I've just not had the money.

I Got Them Eventually
Almost 4 years after volume 2 was released, Alice the 101st volumes 3 and 4 finally appeared. Now to see how long the wait for volume 5 will be...

Nostalgia Blues
For taking me back to being a teenager, Battle Royale: Angel's Border. I first read the novel and original manga when I was 13 and watched the film shortly after. Then I didn't touch them for years, then this came out. I hope Viz release a properly translated version of the original manga.

Vintage Find of the Year
I found nearly all of Happy Mania in a second hand bookshop this summer and then got the rest online. Some of it was still shrinkwrapped. I've only had time to read 3 volumes so far, but it's basically a soap opera in comic form and I love it.

Rescue of the Year
I debated including this or not, since it hasn't actually been released, but since the announcement has been made this year, I will. I've been hoping this would happen for years, and it finally will! Yen Press have rescued Emma Now I don't have to track down the CMX release. And it's going to be hardcover too <3

Manhwa of the Year
Manhwa seems to be on the decline in the English publishing world sadly, so I'm going to go with an old release which I discovered this year. I found volumes 1 and 2 of Hanami: International Love Story in the bargain bin at the comic shop. It's basically a Korean Shonen Jump style romcom, and it's really cute and sweet. The closest equivalent I can immediately think of is Nisekoi, but it's much sweeter than that, but the shonen trappings stop it being too mushy. It also has the advantage of only being 4 volumes long.
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Ensof



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 70
Location: Meifumadō

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:42 pm Reply with quote
I didn’t read as much manga this year as usual – my new PS3 took up much of my spare time, and most of the rest went to watching live-action movies. I fell behind with some series such as Blade of the Immortal, Dorohedoro and Knights of Sidonia, so I can’t include them in this year’s list. Actually my backlog is as bad as I can remember it. But anyways . . .

Best Concluding Series: I’m a huge Mohiro Kitoh fan and I read all of Bokurano in scans years ago as I thought the chance of it getting licensed was nil. Now I have the whole thing on my shelves! A thumbs up to Viz for seeing it through, even if they did censor volume 2. An honourable mention goes to Arisa. I would never describe it as a masterpiece but I always looked forward to new volumes and was sad to see it end.

Best One-Shot: Nijigahara Holograph is by far my favourite work by Inio Asano. It’s a dark, complex and fascinating book that reminded me a lot of the more arthouse Japanese horror movies of the 90s (e.g. Angel Dust, Cure). As an added bonus the art is great and Fantagraphics didn’t stint on the presentation. An honourable mention goes to Moyoco Anno’s In Clothes Called Fat.

Best New Series: There wasn’t a lot of new seinen this year, so I was thankful for the quality sci-fi/horror/thriller Ajin: Demi-Human. It deserves a lot of kudos for not mucking about: it throws the protagonist in the deep end within the first twenty pages and never really lets up.

Best Ongoing Series: Last week I caught up with No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! (AKA WATAMOTE), and it was the most fun I’ve had with a manga in a while. Not only is it funny, it doesn’t trivialise Tomoko’s isolation and can be quite poignant at times. Vinland Saga and Showa: A History of Japan are the standouts of the other series I’ve been keeping up with, but then I’m a sucker for historical stuff.

Best Discovery: Thanks to Lazielulu’s inquiry and Treetastic’s answer in the “Identifying Manga” thread I found out about Inugami, a really entertaining sci-fi horror series from the 90s. It has a similar vibe to Parasyte, though the plot is quite different. Unfortunately it can only be read in English via scans and the chances of it ever being licensed are non-existent.

Biggest Turkey: One Peace is a quirky little publisher that has released some interesting stuff (Tenken, Whispered Words), so I feel like a bit of a meanie nominating Raqiya as the work I disliked the most this year. It was just so heavy-handed with everything it attempted – especially the comedy – that it came across as a parody of itself. I can’t say I found the esoteric gnostic theology that underpins the plot to be at all interesting either. The art is admittedly of high quality and I suppose the subject matter might have shock value for devout Christians.

Back from the Dead: For a pleasant change no series I was collecting got the plug pulled on it this year. Not only that, Dark Horse released a new volume each of Eden and MPD Psycho after three years of nothing, and are bringing The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service out of hiatus next year. I do think they’ll have to start releasing these series as omnibuses if they seriously intend to finish them though. Also DMP are finally releasing the third and final volume of Lovephobia next month after a very long and really unnecessary delay.

Best Non-Manga: As with manga I didn’t read many western graphic novels this year . Fatale, a Lovecraftian horror with a noir approach, was the best concluding series. Of the ongoing series it was another two horror titles that I enjoyed the most: Revival and The Sixth Gun. The best one-shot was Snowpiercer; I haven’t had a chance to see Joon-ho Bong’s movie yet, but if it’s even half as good it should be great. And it was a relief to get a new volume of the Japanese-influenced French fantasy series Okko after a painfully long wait.
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RAmmsoldat



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 1111
Location: North wales coast

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:37 am Reply with quote
For the sake of simplicity I think I'll just limit this to manga that i can buy. The manga i bought this year that made the biggest impression on me was nijigahara holograph. It made my brain slightly melty and I dig stories are kinda circular plus its asano so the artwork is top notch as usual.

Also the book itself came in a very nice hardback edition though it cost about what i normally pay for 4 books its a one off so it wasn't all that bad.
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st_owly
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 20 May 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:35 pm Reply with quote
Another Lovephobia fan, wow. I thought I was the only one still interested in that series. 3 and a half years to release a 3 volume series is really quite ridiculous.
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Alan45
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:52 pm Reply with quote
So that is the story on Lovephobia. Diamond solicited all three volumes the same month. I got volume 2 a week before volume 1 which I found confusing. I haven't tried them yet.
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st_owly
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:01 pm Reply with quote
I read a review of the first volume on here, then the comic shop got it so I bought it. Volume 2 took a while as they had to wait for it to be released in Japan. Then DMP did that stupid thing where they abandoned all their print releases for 6 months in favour of digital.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:09 pm Reply with quote
DMP Evil or Very Mad The same thing happed with Alice the 101st. I had that in deep storage until a new volume came out. The main difference is that I didn't notice Lovephobia the first time around. I was surprised when they offered all three volumes at once. I then forgot I had it on order and freaked out when I got volume 2 of a series I had never seen before. Shocked
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st_owly
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:36 pm Reply with quote
I'm wondering when/if we'll ever get volumes 5 onwards of Alice the 101st. Eventually DMP are just going to be selling through Kickstarter only at this rate.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:43 am Reply with quote
Another Lovephobia fan here, although I think my sister may be the smart one for waiting for all three volumes to come out before reading it...

But anyway! Almost over the cold my students gave me, so here are my contributions.

Kind of Embarrassed I'm Reading It goes to Monster Musume, which just keeps getting raunchier and dumber...but is still a lot of fun and has great thought put into each new race. Plus Cerea's really growing on me as a character, when I disliked her at first, so clearly Okayado's doing something right.

Favorite High School-Set Story, which is no small thing for someone fifteen years out of high school, is Whispered Words. The realism of the girls' emotions and the care with which the story is told was enough to overlook One Peace's bungled editing of volume one. The story is beautiful and sometimes funny and always feels true - not something that you can say about every high school based story out there, manga or otherwise.

WTF Did I Just Read is absolutely Raqiya. I'm impressed I got a coherent review written about that. It was heavy-handed, uneven, and made very little sense in general. Bleh.

Liked It More Than Anticipated goes to Alice in the Country of Diamond: Bet on My Heart. Yes, I'll still read any QuinRose Alice title that comes down the pike, but ones featuring Blood tend to be my least favorites. This was the book that made me like the character, and I found Diamond itself really interesting...especially Jericho. I hope he gets a book of his own...

Favorite Completed Series is still Phantom Thief Jeanne. Something about this story really speaks to me - I'm not sure I could vocalize just what that is. But it remains one of my all-time favorites and Maron is one of my favorite heroines. I'm happy it got both a re-release and completed.

Favorite Ongoing Series...hmm. Probably still that's Skip Beat, although Say I Love You and Cage of Eden are still up there.

Release That Made Me Uncomfortable (In A Good Way) is hands-down In Clothes Called Fat. My youngest sister has body-image problems and I have two cousins with anorexia. This book hit home in a big, uncomfortable way, for which I think it deserves a lot of credit. I'd love to see it taught in high school or college women's lit classes.

Best New Series is tough. I think I'm going to go with Prophecy, though. It feels very timely and does a great job making both cops and vigilantes look equally bad. I'm not entirely sure why, but it sort of reminds me of "Arrow" without the abs. Anyway, I really enjoyed volume one.

Most Spiders in a Manga is Black Rose Alice. Ick, but it's Setona Mizushiro, so I'll keep reading it. Even with mouth spiders.
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