Manga on the mind

Manga’s been on my mind since middle school. Growing up in the 1990s and early 2000s, Japanese anime like “Sailor Moon,” “Dragon Ball Z,” “Fruits Basket,” and “InuYasha” were on regular rotation at home. And naturally, I discovered that many of the shows I had been watching were adaptations of comics. Lots of teen life was spent looking at the library shelves and bookstore stacks for the next volume of my favorite series and pouring over new discoveries.

The manga publishing industry has only grown exponentially since. More and more works are being translated, and options in genre, story and style are broadening. The following are some recent favorites circulating at the library.

“Cat + Gamer” by Wataru Nadatani
Office worker Riko Kozakura somehow finds herself taking home a stray cat. A very novice pet parent, Riko finds that her hours playing in video games, especially RPGs, have actually prepared her for cat care. With lots of gaming terms and playfully expressive illustrations of Musubi the cat, this slice-of-life, feel-good series is perfect for video gamers and feline fans alike.

“Blue Lock” by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yusuke Nomura
High-intensity sports manga meets “Squid Game” in this action-packed ongoing series. 300 of the best high-school strikers are invited to compete in “Blue Lock,” a twisted, cutthroat competition. When Yochi Isagi does poorly in the entrance test and gets placed in the lowest ranking team, he’ll have to really work together with the rest of Team Z to make it to the top.

“Spy x Family” by Tatsuya Endo
Family hijinks abound in this multigenre series. Famed spy Twilight is sent on a covert mission to help keep the peace between two rival nations. What he doesn’t know is that the fake family he has manufactured contains a precocious telepathic child and a skillful assassin. Plenty of action and laughs–and heart.

“Frieren” by Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe
What happens when all is saved and the quest is over? This fun, slice of life-esque fantasy manga follows elf mage Frieren as she tries to answer that question. 50 years ago, Frieren and her fellow adventurers defeated the Demon King and ushered in peace to the land. Since then, Frieren’s lived a quiet life of traveling and learning new magic. When she reunites with some old friends, Frieren finds herself taking on a new adventure.

“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba” by Koyoharu Gotoge
One of 2022’s top circulating series in the library’s Teen Collection, “Demon Slayer” follows the story of Tanjiro who’s on a dangerous mission to save his cursed sister. Demons, ghosts, monsters, and demon hunters fill up his path in this Taisho-era-set story.

Photo by graciadharmaa on Unsplash.

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