Is the warm weather (or global pandemic) all but forcing you to take shelter indoors -- leaving you feeling stranded and, worst of all, bored?
Never fear, because that's nothing a good old-fashioned manga marathon won't fix!
It’s never too late to throw yourself headfirst into some new manga, especially when they can tide you over till the start of a future anime season -- or fill the void left by one that has just ended.
But with so many awesome ones flooding the fandom recently, what are some of the best manga to pick up and read first?
You're about to find out!
#1: Fruits Basket
“If change is a part of life, why does it seem both cruel and gentle?”
The end of the Spring 2021 anime season also signaled a bittersweet end to the Fruits Basket remake. A masterpiece on par with the 1990s original, it ultimately earned the accolade of Anime of the Season at Anime Trending’s Spring 2021 Anime Awards.
If you missed out on the magic, don’t worry! There’s a whole manga series featuring amazing art and a delightful mix of drama, romance, and comedy to get into.
Fruits Basket tells the story of 16-year-old Tohru Honda, an orphan who starts living in a tent after her mother dies in tragic circumstances. Despite these hardships, she continues to work hard at school -- greeting both friends and bullies alike with the bright smile her mother always loved.
Tohru comes to find out she set up her tent on the private property of the elite Sohma family. When the tent is destroyed in a storm, it’s Shigure Sohma and his cousin Yuki (the so-called “prince” of Tohru’s school) who take her in -- it turns out they’re terrible at taking care of themselves, so they agree to let Tohru lodge at their house as long as she helps out with the chores.
On Tohru’s first day of living with the Sohma family, a boy with orange hair crashes through the ceiling. His name is Kyo and he’s challenging Yuki to a fight! When Tohru tries to stop them, she accidentally bumps into Kyo, turning him into a cat (?). Then she falls into the arms of Yuki and Shigure, who subsequently change into a rat and dog respectively (?!).
Tohru has just stumbled upon the Sohma curse: members turn into animals of the Chinese zodiac whenever they hug someone of the opposite sex…
“I’m beginning to understand it now -- the reason I was born a wolf.”
Beastars Season 2 made its mark in Spring 2021, continuing the tale of lone wolf Legoshi and pure-white dwarf rabbit Haru.
But if you’re itching to go even further beyond and dive more into the wild world of Cherryton High School, the manga is what you need! What awaits is a remarkable story that deftly blends risqué violence and wholesome, unbreakable friendship.
Legoshi and Haru live in a bittersweet society of anthropomorphic animals where herbivores cruelly discriminate against carnivores, dismissing them as senseless monsters at the mercy of a primal urge to feast on their fellow creatures. And when the murder of an alpaca named Tem rocks Cherryton High, things only get worse: everyone thinks a meat-eating predator is behind it all.
Rumors in the halls point to Legoshi the grey wolf, a crew member in the school’s drama club. Though a gentle giant of a beast (he’s even downright awkward at times), Legoshi knows there is a darkness inside of him which he always has to keep under wraps -- especially in front of the prideful red deer, Louis, the star of the drama club.
Things come to a head when Legoshi meets and falls for the feisty bunny Haru during his pursuit of Tem’s killer. Between the investigation, his relationship with Haru, and life in a hostile society trying to keep him down, Legoshi knows he’s going to have to confront his animal instincts and true nature just to survive.
#3: Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro
“You were thinking about lewd things, weren’t you…”
This romance-comedy anime may have aired and ended in the Spring 2021 season, but the unlikely escapades of high school girl Hayase Nagatoro and her senpai are far from over!
With the manga’s eighth volume hitting shelves in mid-August, no doubt Senpai will once again be filled with both dread and excitement at the thought of seeing Nagatoro in the school art room.
Before the mischievous Nagatoro walked into his life, the timid Senpai was content to spend his school days doodling alone in his sketchbooks. He never expected Nagatoro to find one of his drawings -- or stick around as long as she eventually would, for that matter.
Nagatoro loves teasing her senpai, and he in turn comes to enjoy her newfound company. It’s a unique friendship that helps Senpai come more into his own, fostering within him a sort of courage he never knew he had.
#4: Komi Can’t Communicate
“Read the situation and make sure to stay away from trouble.”
With its long-awaited anime adaptation airing in Fall 2021, there’s never been a better time to get up to speed on the cute romantic comedy that is Komi Can’t Communicate. There’s a total of 25 volumes at the time of writing (April 2022), so you can rest assured you won’t be starved of content!
With beautiful looks and long flowing hair, Shouko Komi is truly the “Madonna” of Itan Private High School. There’s just one problem: she has no idea how to talk with or behave around other people!
Komi has had enough, though, and wants to change her ways. She wants to be able to reach out to others and have everyday social interactions like her classmates.
Her dream is to make 100 friends -- but she currently has zero.
The last person you’d expect to help Komi achieve her dream is Hitohito Tadano, an everyday high schooler who himself hates to make waves. Though the two sit next to each other in class, nobody -- not even they -- could have imagined their worlds would collide.
And not just in any old way, mind you, but rather with a single word (or noise, more like it) from Komi…
#5: Kaguya-sama: Love is War
“If it’s true love, I’m prepared to even accept an explosion!”
This matchless romantic comedy weaves a sweet story of two high schoolers, Kaguya and Miyuki, who are too proud to confess their love for each other.
With production of a third season already underway, anime fans can rejoice in the fact that the titular characters will be returning to their screens in the not-too-distant future.
For those of you who can’t help but want to keep the love story alive, don’t worry: the manga has everything you want and more!
At the well-heeled Shuchiin Academy, Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya are the cream of the crop. Miyuki is not just the student council president, he’s also Japan’s brightest student -- and his intelligence and work ethic are second to none. His only rival is Kaguya, student council vice president and daughter to the elite Shinomiya family.
Miyuki and Kaguya are the ultimate power couple who everyone aspires to be -- if not for the fact that they’re utterly unable to cast their pride aside and tell each other their feelings. In their eyes, to proclaim one’s love for another is to lose a war -- and be completely humiliated!
Of course, all’s fair in non-love and war. There’s no stopping either of them from trying to get the other to confess and come out on top, no matter how petty or desperate things get!
#6: Demon Slayer
“It’s alright to cry. It’s alright to run away. Just don’t ever give up!”
The Demon Slayer: Mugen Train movie broke all sorts of box office records when it released in 2020.
With the English version finally hitting Western theaters in 2021, and the anime’s second season -- the Entertainment District Arc -- having just finished airing, now is the time to get into this incredible story. (Viz Media released a complete Demon Slayer manga box set in November 2021.)
Tanjiro Kamado lives a peaceful life up in the snowy mountains with his mother and younger siblings, selling charcoal in town to make ends meet. But his whole world is turned upside down when he returns home one day to find almost his entire family slaughtered at the hands of a fiendish demon. His sister, Nezuko, is the sole survivor -- but she has turned into a demon herself and is fighting to hold on to her humanity.
Follow Tanjiro on his quest as part of the Demon Slayer Corps to track down the demon that killed his family and find a way to turn Nezuko back into a human!
#7: Jujutsu Kaisen
“I don’t know how I’ll feel when I’m dead. But I don’t want to regret the way I lived!”
Winter 2020's Jujutsu Kaisen successfully carried the mantle of supernatural action juggernaut that Demon Slayer laid before it the previous year. With the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Movie having wowed moviegoers in December 2021, why not get started on the action-packed manga that started it all?
High schooler Yuji Itadori first learns about Cursed Spirits and the realm of the supernatural when his school’s Occult Club breaks the seal of a cursed finger. Not just any finger, mind you -- a finger belonging to Sukuna Ryoume, the dreaded King of Curses himself!
In a drastic attempt to protect his friends from the ensuing chaos, Yuji pops the finger into his mouth and gulps it right down. The King of Curses now dwells within Yuji’s body, making him an immediate threat to peace and order!
Yuji embarks on a quest to find Sukuna Ryoume’s other missing fingers and quell the imminent uprising of Cursed Spirits, which have already begun to emerge from the shadows. He’ll have the tutelage of a teacher at Jujutsu Technical High School and the company of other peacekeeping Jujutsu sorcerers, but it’s going to take everything he’s got for him to pull through!
#8: Chainsaw Man
“If you’re gonna kill me, just do it. I’m dead either way.”
Chainsaw Man is a popular shounen manga series full of tasteful violence and dark humor. Its upcoming anime adaption also happens to be one of the most hotly anticipated in recent memory, with the teaser trailer alone instantly causing a huge buzz online.
16-year-old Denji is a simple boy who doesn’t really yearn for anything in particular. He just wants to live a happy life with the girl he chooses to love and spend his days with.
But life is rarely ever so simple.
Instead, Denji finds himself in crippling debt with the local yakuza, who as a result force him to do their dirty work: doing battle with nefarious devils! Denji fulfills his duties with the help of Pochita, a diabolic weapon that he treats as a pet.
When Denji is no longer useful to the yakuza, they send a devil to murder him -- but as he draws his last breath, Pochita fuses with his body, transforming him into a chainsaw devil!
Now, despite gaining the power of a devil-human hybrid, Denji is still determined to keep living to fulfil his dream of having a normal life. This gets a bit more complicated when a girl named Makima steps into his life and takes him down a new path -- as a Public Safety Devil Hunter?!
Catch the wave with a manga marathon
Sizzling sunshine, horrendous humidity, and a positively dreadful pandemic are all perfect reasons to take shelter indoors -- and commit to a new manga and anime franchise!
These titles made a huge splash in the otaku community (or are looking to do so in the very near future), so now’s the time to get in on the excitement and catch the wave while it lasts. From secret curses to sweet love confessions, there’s something here to appease fans of any genre!
After all, what’s the best way to enjoy spring or summer -- when outside is too hot to handle?
A cool, relaxing manga marathon inside!
Other articles you'll enjoy
For more explorations of anime and manga, check out the articles below:
- 5 Best Anime Songs To Tell Someone You Love Them
- 5 Crucial Lessons that Fruits Basket Teaches You About Bonds
- Nicker: Anime & Manga Supplies For Artists Everywhere
Thanks for reading!