It was a good year for manga in America, and with the astonishing popularity of titles such as demon slayer, A piece, my hero academia, and One-punch man, there is no reason to doubt that in 2022, manga will continue the trend of interest and appreciation from American comic audiences.
One feature of the manga that not only separates it from the comics, but will also prove important in attracting new fans is its diversity of subject matter. Indeed, from superheroes to sports, from romance to LGBTQI+ stories, the manga covers it all, comprehensively. Below are five titles that long-term and potential manga fans should look forward to reading in the new year.
Tokyo avengers follows the story of Hanagaki Takemichi, an affable 20-something who lives with no great plan other than spending hours at his dead-end job as a convenience store clerk. His life changes when he learns of the death of his former college girlfriend at the hands of a notorious Tokyo Manji Gang. Lost in thought for his girlfriend while waiting for a train, he falls or is pushed onto the tracks at the entrance of a train at the station. Believing this to be his end, he closes his eyes to accept his fate. However, when he wakes up he finds that he is not dead but rather was transported 12 years in the past when he was in middle school and still dating his girlfriend. Using his knowledge of the future, Takemichi decides to join the gang that will kill his girlfriend and do what he can to change history and ensure his ex lives. With its interesting premise and story, Tokyo avengers became very popular in Japan.
Unlike most mainstream manga of the last year, which makes Tokyo avengers worth reading is that it doesn’t rely on the typical manga tropes of super-powered beings fighting against each other. Indeed, its scope is more restricted and more focused on the characters as well as the interactions between them. This produces a solid manga story with situations that readers can relate to and understand. Indeed, many comic book fans would like to have a second chance to redo certain aspects of their lives. Tokyo avengers is available now from Kodansha Comics USA.
As manga becomes more organic in the American comics industry, the line that separates it from comics has become stronger and stronger. Nowhere is this more evident than in the upcoming manga Deadpool: Samurai, a Marvel + Viz Media collaboration set to release on February 08, 2022 from Viz Media.
As the title suggests, this manga is about the still-in-love Deadpool who, while working on a mission in Tokyo, is approached by Iron Man with a job offer. Contrary to his better judgment, Iron Man offers Deadpool a position in the Avengers, working from the Avengers’ headquarters in Tokyo. Naturally, Deadpool accepts the offer after which all hell breaks loose.
There’s a lot to love about this manga. First, there’s Deadpool, and his patented “breaking the fourth wall” delivery. Second, there’s the revealing manga style that mixes asymmetrical panels with exaggerated facial expressions. It puts an interesting twist on the more formal Marvel style that American fans are used to. More importantly, the manga offers the perspective of comic book dark humor that endeared Deadpool to his fans everywhere.
blue lock is a tip of the hat to popular manga sports subgenre which got lost in all the recent hype surrounding more supernatural stories and superheroes. The comic tells the story of Isagi Yoichi, a talented high school soccer player who dreams of playing for the national team. However, failing the National Team Trials, Yoichi is given a second chance by participating in a special talent project. According to the rules, the winners of the project will automatically get a place in the national team. Conversely, anyone who fails training must agree to permanently give up the desire to play professionally. It makes every practice, game or competitive situation a chance for success or failure.
While the common characteristic of a great comic is thrilling fight and action scenes, the best comics tend to be ones that combine an interesting story with solid artwork. blue lock satisfies both of these points with plenty of spare for creative character development that will have fans debating long into the night who is the show’s true hero and villain. blue lock is available now from Kodansha Comics USA.
Ayashimon tells the story of Maruo Kaido, a hardcore manga fan who, like many young comic book fans, dreams of one day being like one of the heroes he talks about. To accomplish this, Maruo relentlessly practices the moves he sees in the favorites series. Eventually, he’s able to perform some spectacular superhero feats, but no one seems interested in hiring a hero. One day, Maruo stumbles upon a girl disturbed by yakuza members. Jumping at the chance to use his skills, he saves the girl. However, the girl is not normal. She is actually an alien and a member of a supernatural yakuza gang. Impressed by Maruo’s skills, she recruits him into her gang, to help her gain control of her gang. Thus begins the work of Maruo’s dreams, or is it really.
Combining elements of One-Punch Man, with a line of Kaiju #8, to tell the story of a hero from the perspective of a criminal team. This means that there are sure to be plenty of morally ambiguous issues for Maruo to face and overcome, in addition to battling “bad guys” who might just be members of his own team. It’s a refreshing new take on the traditional yet popular manga story of the unlucky loner who makes it big. Ayashimon is available now from Viz Media.
In this new series of tokyo ghoul creator Sui Ishida, Choujin X introduces the manga universe to Azuma Higashi and Tokio Kurohara, two high school friends who couldn’t be more different. Azuma is confident and tough, while Tokio is nervous and weak. One day, on the way back, they meet a choujin or the human with supernatural powers that he obtained by using a drug. Narrowly escaping death, the two come across two syringes filled with the drug the choujin was using on himself. Faced with the choice of dying at the hands of the choujin, or taking the drug themselves to become a choujin as well, they choose the drug. Thus begins the adventure of two friends suddenly endowed with superpowers, as they attempt to navigate life, school, and most importantly, their friendship.
Naturally, fans of tokyo ghoul and Ishida’s style of art and story, will be drawn to this manga. It refreshes some of the best elements that made tokyo ghoul so good, namely the relationships between the characters and how a normal person deals with becoming super powerful. Even if we haven’t read tokyo ghoul, this story grabs readers’ attention from the very first pages. Choujin X is now available on Viz Media.
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