9 Years of Manga (10th Day of Anime 2019)

Okay, here’s the scenario. I was young – far too young – in late 2010 and borrowed a volume of manga, after having been introduced around that time to the Wii game which brought me back to anime. (Well, there might still be records from 2009, but 2010 is the date of the earliest records I have access to without having to figure out who else in my family borrowed it instead, since my family members have always been borrowing books on behalf of other members. )

As you might already be aware, this game was the Mirapolis Investigation and the manga was volume 4 of Detective Conan (or if you want to be picky, Case Closed, since it was the English version).

This sounds mighty inconsistent because I’ve remembered the starting year as 2009 for quite a while, but when I started compiling these lists and properly adjusting my manga list based on my library records, I threw a wrench into my own celebrations…but moving along…

Using this particular metric, I’ve read manga for what appears to be close to a decade…and long enough to count for a decade if we’re going by the “2010 – 2019 = 10 years” measurement. I’ve read on average about 1000 chapters per year from various sources…hopefully most of that was legal…

So, like with these other celebration days, let’s celebrate these years with some lists. All stats are correct as according to my AniList as of the day of writing.

Top (?) 10 Worst (Dropped) Manga

Currently I have no manga rated under a 30, but that’s because a lot of my manga is unrated because in a lot of cases – unlike anime – I don’t remember where I left off, which then eventually leaves me to drop it or pause it for eternity. Note I had to sift the series by subjectiveness because there’s so many ties…

10. Kiss of the Rose Princess

The font is tiny on the books, making it confusing as to what’s going on. (I swore this was a Yen Press series due to that, but turns out it’s from Viz…?)

9. 1001 Knights

A scanlation-only series I discovered when I was prouder of dealing with such things. This series is from Yukiru Sugisaki, who’s also responsible for DN Angel. I simply forgot where I was in the series that I couldn’t continue and so had to drop it.

Sidebar: Sugisaki’s noted to have said she takes inspiration from shonen for her plots and shoujo for her characters – I thought I was similar when I was writing fiction. However, she is also noted for her aborted stories…which is a problem of mine as well…

8. Bloody Monday

This one I got the first volume for from a library at one point. It’s basically what I wanted Gridman and Neo;lation to be, but a (more straightforward) thriller. I just…kinda got fed up with this one, if I remember right.

7. Arata Primal

Arata Primal is this “humanity goes back to the stone age” series on Manga Plus (it debuted later than Dr Stone). Unlike Dr Stone, Arata Primal keeps stronger ties to modern technology and plays up the horror of the scenario. It’s partially from the creator of Karada Sagashi, a horror series where the title translates to “body search”, which should tell you about how qualified the author is for this genre, but…I couldn’t see the series lasting for a long time.

6. Arslan Senki

Arslan Senki…I just find that I don’t like war stories in general, particularly ones I don’t see fit to invest in emotionally. (I might change my mind if I ever get around to the anime these days, because both the title character and his advisor Daryun have long hair…)

5. Bleach

Bleach is one of those series I could never get into because I developed a bias against it because it was so hugely popular. The fact I finished a chapter of this, versus not even being able to finish a chapter of fellow-popular-series-which-I’ve-developed-a-disliking-of Naruto or Shingeki no Kyojin, tells you something about me.

6. elDLIVE

Aka “that series by the character designer of Psycho Pass and the creator of Katekyo Hitman Reborn“.

I started this because I got into KHR around the time it ended and needed something to fill that gap (I dropped the KHR anime because the only source for the episodes, the one when I switched to using legal sources, was illegal). While KHR was a gag series that became a bishonen action series, elDLIVE was a standard shonen series from the outset and so I believe – because that idea still stands – it’s a waste of the series’s potential.

5. Jujutsu Kaisen

I’ve had to drop a few Weekly Shonen Jump series because I had no way of reading past chapter 3 without paying and I didn’t think the used money would be worth it. Jujutsu Kaisen fell victim to this…so I was pretty annoyed when 1) the series started being released in physical form and 2) the anime was announced in almost rapid succession.

4. Summer Time Rendering

I gave my thoughts during my initial sampling of Manga Plus.

3. Bokura wa Mahou Shounen

Bokura wa Mahou Shounen…I found this one in Japanese (and why I found it should be obvious to anyone who’s read how I describe myself on my anime/manga-related profiles), but the art was far too cartoony – even moreso than One Piece – to stay invested. (My best example of the artstyle is the blue magical boy, who you can see on the AniList cover.)

2. Futari no Taisei (Double Taisei)

Double Taisei proves I do read basically anything if I’m bored (although lately, even seeing an anime trope in a place where I didn’t expect it – in the instance I’m thinking of, it’s a mystery novel which involves a panty shot, just so you know – is enough for me to return a book). It’s a shogi manga and I distinctly remember I wanted it to fill a Hikaru no Go-shaped gap in my heart, since I started that series during my scanlation days and haven’t been able to find too many volumes since (even though I can find other somewhat rare series in physical format, such as Gintama, just fine without having to reach too far outside my usual legal channels).

The series is about shogi, but then it starts pulling out the gimmick characters, such as a guy who’s in a straitjacket for no reason at all. The title characters (?) are probably the worst at this, since I dropped it when the shogi prodigy personality got “locked away” because of a concussion.

  1. Category: Freaks

Category: Freaks is by Sakurako Gokurakuin, they of Sekirei and, more importantly, Juvenile Orion (which I remember liking quite a bit when I read it for the first time, so I was rather ecstatic to ensure its completion a few years back, despite its rather confusing nature). Category: Freaks was apparently released by a company called DrMaster at one point and somehow it ended up at one of the libraries I have access to (the first volume, at least). What should’ve been a pleasant experience ended pretty badly, suffice to say, but I’ve since erased the experience from my memory and don’t want to remind myself as to why I got angry at it.

Rarest Manga (According to AniList Popularity and From What I’ve Started)

Some of these, which I’ve included in bold, I added to the AniList database myself…so now you know why they have such low numbers. For reference, two other series I added to the database myself – Neon Genesis High School Diary and The Princess and the Samurai (both spinoffs to Gridman) – have a popularity of about 300.

10. Mahou Zakkaten Vi Via (popularity: 14)

Part of this series ran under the name Bishoujo Mahou Senshi Catling, so you know why I was on to it.

9. Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace (popularity: 12)

This one was serialised on the anime’s website, but each chapter was only available for a limted time, not to mention chapter 10 exists separately to those chapters…

8. Starry Sky: In Spring (popularity: 9)

There is an anime to this, but it’s only found illegally, so I can understand why the stats are so low on this…

7. Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu LOVE! LOVE! (popularity: 9)

Boueibu‘s manga for s2. This one actually shares its name with s2 of the anime, which may explain the extra reader. It has been left as “ongoing” for a good 2 or 3 years now, without any updates from the Boueibu twitter (where all the updates for it occur).

6. Binan Koukou Chikyuu Seifukubu LOVE! (popularity: 8)

Boueibu‘s manga for s1.

5. Phantom in the Twilight (popularity: 7)

You’re probably yelling at me, “This had a manga?!” It did, on Comico (one of my favourite homes for unloved manga and possibly the only one with full colour), in fact. It even went on to have a “second season”, focussing on a different protagonist but keeping Luke, Vlad and Toryu – so it went the way of Tokyo Mew Mew: a La Mode, so to speak.

4. Data (popularity: 7)

It’s described as “a magical boy series”, so you can see why I took the bait when I was still reading scanlations. Then again, it’s from the late 90s…and it shows. Think Angel Sanctuary, but more high fantasy – that’s how I remember it.

3. Mukidashi no Hakuchou (The Naked Swan) (popularity: 5)

By the same author as the currently-running-in-Weekly Shonen Jump series Mitama Security, which should tell you everything you need to know about it. Best summarised by what I say in the notes: “Basically Sakamoto Desu Ga, but with a nudist…”

2. Superstar wa Nemurenai (Superstars Don’t Sleep) (popularity: 5)

This is the one project I will protect until the end of time, because I discovered it and was responsible for all its popularity. Despite that, it’s just an ordinary idol series where the best character is one I never got to see debut (but see on promotional images and the like), Sakuya, who is the blue idol.

  1. Omae wa Mada Gunma wo Shiranai Bangai-hen: Sanada Ninja

When you see the one-shot has a popularity of 3, you know you’ve found a rare one…the premise of it is that there are two new transfer students and based on the stereotypes of their hometown, the usual suspects of Omae wa Mada Gunma wo Shiranai hypothesise that they’re ninjas.

Contributing Factors for a Rare Manga

  • in Japanese and/or scanlations only (for some reason, even manga that exist in more than one language are just more popular…)
  • available only for a limited time
  • either a spinoff to a more popular, existing series (which may or may not be translated into English), a spinoff to an anime which wasn’t licensed by anyone or a standalone series which did nothing to stand out

Best Manga

10. Vigilantes

A flagship manga title for this blog. See this for why.

9. Ao no Flag

Out soon in English! If you really want to know what the series is about, it’s a complex love triangle that hits emotional beats as hard as Stars Align does…which is to say, that’s its skill, but it’ll wear you down mentally afterwards.

8. Spy x Family

Heartwarming and gut-busting. Accept no substitutes for it (including Mission: Yozakura Family).

7. Fumetsu no Anata e/To Your Eternity

A gorgeous manga (by the creator of A Silent Voice!!!) which is about the human condition (a trait it shares with Heart Gear) and spans so many years that there’s not much like it, except maybe something like Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu.

6. A Silent Voice

Touches upon a mutual topic to Orange, but while the art is generally inferior to that, the use of the crosses and how uncomfortable it can make you feel (well, as much as I can say that for a drama-driven series) make it worthwhile.

5. Clover

Experimental, but possibly unfinished.

4. Orange

A touching, yet short manga (finished in 2 thick volumes/1 short one and 7 original tankobon) which really touches upon the fleetingness of what it means to be human.

3. One Punch Man

Manga > anime in this case, because of s2. S1 = manga in quality.

2. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso/Your Lie in April

See why here.

  1. Heart Gear

See why here.

So what are your favourite manga of the decade? A top 10 is fine.

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