Manga Recommendations

Manga I’ve enjoyed over the years. Unlike the old list, this doesn’t include unofficially translated titles, only titles with an English license, or titles that I read in their native language.

Currently 68 entries. Last updated on 2023/12/26.

Cover for 5 Seconds Before a Witch Falls in Love Cover for After School Mate Cover for Ai to Noroi Cover for The Apothecary Diaries Cover for Asa Okitara Tsuma ni Natte Ninshin shiteita Ore no Report Cover for Asa Okitara Tsuma ni Natte Ninshin shiteita Ore no Report: Kosodate-hen Cover for Bonnouji Cover for Death's Game Cover for Fly Me to the Moon Cover for Flying Witch Cover for The Gods Lie Cover for The Golden Sheep Cover for Haikei, Seken-sama Cover for Hina and Bambi Cover for HIRAETH -The End of the Journey- Cover for The Holy Grail of Eris Cover for House of the Sun Cover for How Do We Relationship? Cover for I Had That Same Dream Again Cover for I Think Our Son Is Gay Cover for Ichizu Bitch-chan Cover for Is Love the Answer? Cover for Kaibutsu Shoujo wa Hatsukoi no Yume o Miru ka? Cover for Kase-san and… Cover for Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You Cover for Kimi no Ashiato wa Barairo Cover for Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan Cover for Like Wind on a Dry Branch Cover for The Makeup Remover Cover for Machida-kun no Sekai Cover for Mage & Demon Queen Cover for The Many Flavors of Kumika Cover for Mao yu Hai de Biduan Cover for Men Men Musubi Cover for Mi-chan to Airi Cover for Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Cover for Ms. Itsuya Cover for My Broken Mariko Cover for My Brother's Husband Cover for My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness Cover for Nan Hao Shang Feng Cover for O Maidens in Your Savage Season Cover for One Day Cover for Ore ga Watashi ni Naru made Cover for Otome Danshi ni Koisuru Otome Cover for Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare Cover for The Reason Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke's Mansion Cover for ReLIFE Cover for Sannensa Cover for See You Tomorrow at the Food Court Cover for She and Her Cat Cover for A Silent Voice Cover for Sometimes, Even Reality Is a Lie! Cover for Soulmate Cover for Spirit Circle Cover for SQ: Begin with Your Name! Cover for Sumikko Futari no Natsuyasumi Cover for Sweetness and Lightning Cover for This Witch of Mine Cover for To Strip the Flesh Cover for Tokyo Tarareba Girls Cover for Tsuredure Children Cover for Who Made Me a Princess Cover for Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku Cover for Yona of the Dawn Cover for Your Throne Cover for Yuri Drill Cover for Zenbu Kimi no Sei


Summary from Seven Seas Entertainment:

A magical enemies-to-lovers yuri romcom!

Solitary witch Meg likes to be mischievous and make trouble in the forest for her nemesis, Lilith the Witch Hunter. But when an altercation goes sideways and Meg turns Lilith into a cat, a cascade of unfortunate events means witch is now responsible for saving witch-hunter! Sparks were flying between these antagonistic ladies before–what will their relationship be like after this cat-astrophe?

A collection of three oneshots. Two deal with a witch and a witch hunter who are going at it, while one follows a modern-day girl who can see the supernatural and helps out an angel and a demon. All three stories are adorable, and of course I’m a sucker for anything featuring witches. Be warned that the collection does play a little fast and loose with consent over kissing.

Summary of Volume 1:

家族、友達、自分自身――…体と心の性差を自分ではわかっていても理解 を得られないことに苛立ちを持つリカ。ある日、母親とケンカをして家 を飛び出す。そこで出会ったのは、【理解されない】ことを共有できる 少年・サツキだった…出逢ったふたりは、逃げ続けた問題へと立ち向かっ ていく――「個」を問いかける青春ドラマ、鮮烈に登場!!


Family, friends, himself…Rika himself has always understood the difference between his body and his heart, it irritates him that he can’t get others to understand. One day, after a fight with his mother, Rika runs away from home. There, he meets Satsuki, a boy who also isn’t understood…These two who met by chance, now stand and fight against the questions they had always run from—a coming-of-age drama that questions “self” makes its striking debut!!

A story about a transgender man and his unlikely friend. What struck me about this one is how grounded it is. Rika’s and Satsuki’s struggles aren’t overly melodramatic or crazy, and all involved (including parents) are generally reasonable…but it’s hard to make people understand with just words.

Summary of Volume 1:

物心ついた頃には始まっていた父親からの性的虐待、宗教にのめり込む 家族たち。愛子は自分も、自分が生きるこの世界も、誰かに殺して欲し かった。阪神淡路大震災、オウム真理教、酒鬼薔薇事件……時代は終末の 予感に満ちてもいた。「ここではないどこか」を想像できず、暴力的な 生きにくさと一人で向き合うしかなかった地方の町で、少女はどう生き 延びたのか。『ぼくらのへんたい』の著者が綴る、半自伝的90年代クロ ニクル。


For as long as she could remember, her father had sexually abused her, and her family had been obsessed with religion. Aiko wanted someome to kill her, to kill the world she lived in. With the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo subway attacks, and the Kobe child murders……the times were filled with a sense of doomsday. In a rural town where she could only face the violence and the difficulty alone, unable to imagine “somewhere else”, how did she survive? From the author of Bokura no Hentai, a half-autobiographical chronicle of the ’90s.

I think that says it all. This is not an easy read, and admittedly, my Japanese level was not quite up to the task. But regardless, this is a chance to peer into the mind of frankly one of the more twisted and experimental manga authors in the industry.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: sexual abuse, suicide

Summary from Square Enix:

After breaking a “curse” on the imperial heirs, a palace servant with training in herbal medicine is promoted up the ranks to food taster…and right into the thick of palace intrigue!

Maomao, a young woman trained in the art of herbal medicine, is forced to work as a lowly servant in the inner palace. Though she yearns for life outside its perfumed halls, she isn’t long for a life of drudgery! Using her wits to break a “curse” afflicting the imperial heirs, Maomao attracts the attentions of the handsome eunuch Jinshi and is promoted to attendant food taster. But Jinshi has other plans for the erstwhile apothecary, and soon Maomao is back to brewing potions and…solving mysteries?!

A tale of court drama and intrigue in imperial China, from the perspective of Maomao, an unwilling apothecary brought into the service of the court by kidnappers. While it may sound serious, it’s actually more comedic: Maomao is relatable both because

  1. She wants absolutely nothing to do with all the intrigue around her, and just wants to get back to reading manga—er, playing with poisons,
  2. She’s quite perceptive and good at what she does amidst a sea of incompetency, yet she’s surprisingly dense in other ways. So you’ll get your fill of both drama and slice-of-life.

J-Novel club has the light novel available, which by my reckoning would cover the first three or four volumes of the manga. They list 10(!) volumes of the novel, so let’s hope they’re translated (relatively) quickly!


「あなたと子育てなんて絶対ムリ」と、突然嫁に離婚を突きつけられた俺、三浦 優一。次に目覚めると、なんと妊娠中の嫁の中身が俺に!? 『妊娠は病気じゃな い』『俺の飯は?』『母性足りないんじゃない?』次々と突きつけられる「俺」 からの言葉に、いかに自分が無神経だったかを思い知る俺…。果たして俺は、こ んな「俺」と出産までたどり着けるのか? 夫婦のあり方を考える、新感覚マタ ニティ・ライフ!


“There’s no way I could raise a child with you.” Saying that, my wife suddenly thrust divorce papers at me, Miura Yuuichi. When I opened my eyes, somehow I had become my pregnant wife!? “Pregnancy isn’t an illness.” “Where’s my dinner?” “Are you sure you’re cut out to be a mom?” One after another “I” thrust these words at me, and I realized just how callous I had been…Can I really make it all the way to giving birth with “me”? A fresh-feeling story of maternity life that reflects on what a married couple ought to be.

This series is exactly the title: a hilarious(ly painful) look at what it means to be a wife and mother in a society that often respects neither, by giving men a taste of their own medicine for once.


「あなたは子育てに必要ない」と、妻が離婚届おいて出て行ってしまった僕、伊 藤誠一。慌てて転んで目覚めると、出産したばかりの妻の香ちゃんになっていた!? 「香ちゃんなら大丈夫!」「もっと家事やってもらえない?」「僕は何をしたら いいの?」…自分なりに育児に参加していたつもりの「僕」だったけど、実は何 もわかっていなかった…?各所で話題沸騰のマタニティコメディ「朝起きたら」 シリーズ今度は“子育て”編!


“I don’t need you to raise my child.” Saying that, my wife put divorce papers on the table and left. When I, Itou Seiichi, ran after her and fell, the next time I opened my eyes, I had become my wife Kaori-chan back when she had just given birth!? “You’ve got this, Kaori-chan!” “Could you do more of the chores?” “What should I do?” “I” had tried to help with raising a child in my own way, but I actually hadn’t known a thing…? This time, read the parenting edition of “When I Woke Up”, the popular maternity life series that’s the talk of the town!

Just like its counterpart up above, this series explores the struggles of motherhood by forcing a man to live the hell he constructed for his wife for a year. As a bonus, learn about fun phrases like “I failed to get into preschool, go die Japan!!!”.


彼と別れたばかりのOL小沢さん。ある日、飲んだ帰りに訪れた同じマン ションの一室は、とんでもない部屋だった。住人の小山田くんはいたっ て普通の青年だったが、「煩悩の限りを尽くす」という兄から送られて くるモノで溢れるその部屋は、統一感なし、センスなし、意図も不明。 しかし何が気に入ったのか、そんな部屋で癒される小沢さんはヒマがあ るとその部屋『煩悩寺』に通う日々が始まるのでした。


Ozawa, an office worker, has just broken up with her boyfriend. One day, on her way home from drinking, she calls on another apartment in her building—and what an outrageous place it was. Oyamada, its inhabitant, was a completely ordinary young man, but the place itself was overflowing with things from his older brother, on a mission to “exhaust his worldly desires”. Cohesion? Fashion sense? Any planning at all? None were to be found in that apartment. Yet something about the place piqued her interest and soothed her, and when she had time, Ozawa began to visit “Bonnouji”, the Temple of Worldly Desires.

Of all the series here, Bonnouji has a serious shot at being my absolute favorite. Why? It’s about adults who are comfortable with themselves finding a romantic relationship that they can also be comfortable with. For example, they’ll crack the occasional awkward joke: Oyamada going “I’ll have you…Someday…Just kidding…” when Ozawa asks him what he’d like for dinner, followed by some uncomfortable silence as they process what just happened. And that’s fine! They’re adults. Not a big deal. Yet that still comes back up occasionally as a recurring gag, like when she takes the decorative restaurant menu in Oyamada’s room and writes herself in as one of the dishes while nobody’s watching. Oyamada and Ozawa have a relationship worth aspiring to, and one that feels down-to-earth all the same.

One other thing I love is the symbolism of the name. Bonnouji quite literally means “temple of worldly desires”. Oyamada’s brother, eventually to take over the family temple, currently indulges himself in material goods, storing the leftovers and discards at Oyamada’s place. So, Oyamada’s apartment gains its unusual nickname. At one point, he shows up to clean up all the stuff he’s dumped there over the years, taking away all said worldly desires and symbolically tearing down Bonnouji. What next? Of course, temples are made to be rebuilt, as is tradition, and Ozawa offers to redesign the apartment as a gift and as a surprise. So she’s setting up the next stage of their relationship, but not changing it entirely. Everything changes and stays the same.

Summary from Webtoon:

He’s perennially unemployed, his ex-girlfriend has moved on, and he’s just lost all his life savings to a bitcoin scam. Burdened by societal pressures, Yijae Choi decides to take his own life. Insulted by his flippant attitude towards dying, Death comes to punish him with her game: he must experience death over and over again through 13 other lives. But if he can find a way to survive the imminent death coming for these lives, he gets to live out their lifetime. His life was a bust, but what about the lives of others?

Yijae Choi, after taking his life, comes face-to-face with Death herself, who offers him a punishment: he has to live through the lives of 13 other people who are about to die, experiencing death over and over. But if he can find a way to avoid death, he’ll get a second chance and can live out the rest of that person’s life. It’s a story of rehabilitation, where Choi goes from spending his lives trying to take advantage of them and trying to avoid the immediate obstacle in front of him, to where he starts thinking about the future and caring about life again.

Summary from Viz:

From the day his parents named him, Nasa Yuzaki has been destined for outer space…or so he believes. But while trying to join the space program, he is thrown for a loop when an accident introduces him to Tsukasa, a mysterious girl with strange powers. Is she an alien, a moon goddess or something else? Since she insists on marrying him, Nasa has plenty of chances to find out!

Nasa, about to be hit by a truck, is saved by a beautiful girl; in the moment, he asks her to marry him before passing out. She, of course, disappears, and he starts work while waiting for her return. One night, she shows up, introduces herself as Tsukasa, and declares herself his wife. The rest of the story is just slice-of-life moments about their married life. While there’s occasional hints of an actual plot involving Tsukasa’s background, you’ll quickly forget all of that while watching them flirt and pout. If all you want is to overdose on cute & funny married couple life, grab this series now. Of all the married couple series here, this one is my favorite.

(Don’t worry: those threads about Tsukasa’s background are eventually developed further, if you are interested in what’s actually going on.)

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

Makoto Kowata, a novice witch, packs up her belongings (including her black cat familiar) and moves in with her distant cousins in rural Aomori Prefecture, in the far north reaches of Japan, to complete her training and become a full-fledged witch.

A relaxing slice-of-life following Makoto, a novice witch who moves into rural Japan to complete her training. There’s a bit of an overarching plot; enough happens to keep things interesting and to prevent it from feeling childish, but it never gets out of hand or veers into drama, and it’s nice to see the little details of how magic gets integrated into an otherwise “normal” life.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

Natsuru Nanao, a 6th grader who lives alone with his mother, strikes up an unlikely friendship with the reserved and driven Rio Suzumura. Natsuru plays hookey from soccer camp that summer and instead of telling the truth to his mother, he spends all his time with Rio and her kid brother at their rickety house, where a dark secret threatens to upend their fragile happiness.

A short but devastating one-volume story. Natsuru’s ignored by the girls in class since he turned one of them down on Valentine’s day, but Suzumura, an oft-neglected girl in his class, one day talks to him, and so he learns her secrets.

Content warning: child neglect

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

From the creator of the acclaimed the gods lie. comes Kaori Ozaki’s latest series!

Winter of junior year. Not quite able to become adults, we couldn’t stay as we were as children, either. Our tale explores a group of teenagers and their impatience and rebirth. “They say if you write down your wish, bury it under Sheep Tower and then dig it up after 7 years and 7 months, your wish will come true…

Tsugu Miikura, a high schooler who loves to play guitar, had moved away due to family circumstances from the rural town where she spent her childhood. After several years, she’s back in her old hometown. She reunites with her childhood friends—Sora, Yuushin, and Asari—the friends she’d buried a time capsule with back in elementary school. Tsugu is overjoyed to be with her friends once more, but the bonds that she thought would never change have in fact started to grow major cracks…

A captivating coming-of-age tale about four friends, reunited after one of them, Tsugu, moves back from Osaka to the Japanese countryside. In the intervening years, her friends appear to have changed completely, from carefree and protective to bitter and mean—or have they? Desperate, Tsugu searches for a solution…

In some ways, this reminded me of Goodnight Punpun, but more condensed, and less soul-crushing. The Golden Sheep is a quick read, but it’ll leave a lasting impact—and despite the bevy of warnings up top, there’s hope and compassion for our group of four here.

Also includes a short story, Love Letter, at the end.

TRIGGER WARNING: Bullying; sexual assault; suicide/attempted suicide

Summary from くらげバンチ:

LGBT当事者である著者が描く、秘められた青春。 今から10余年前、と ある地方の女子高生橘りのは、学校に通い、そこそこ勉強し、仲良しの 女友達とのおしゃべりを楽しむどこにでもいる“普通”な子だった。ただ、 自分の体に“違和感”があることを除いては。現代よりさらに“普通”が求められた 時代で、違和感を隠しながらも懸命に生き、自分らしさを模索していく“アイ”の物語。


A hidden adolescence, drawn by an LGBT author. Over 10 years ago, in a certain province was a high school girl, TACHIBANA Rino, who went to school, more or less studied, and enjoyed talking with her close girlfriends—a normal girl you could find anywhere. Except, she felt a sense of discomfort in her own body. In an age that demanded normality more than our present, she kept that discomfort hidden and lived earnestly. This is the story of her search for a “love” true to herself.

This manga starts at the ending, and it’s a happy one: the narrator has finally been given permission by society to love the one he loves. What follows is the account of how he got to that point from a “creature who must wear a skirt”. The drama and the angst are high, and while the story is loosely inspired by the author’s own life, he didn’t attend high school himself (as stated in the press release interview), so this is more of a what-if story.

I’ll also offer this quote from chapter 1:

世間様 あなたは私が嫌いでしょ?


Society, you hate me, don’t you?

The feeling is mutual
I hate myself too


この春、都会の高校に通うことになった幼馴染みの拓とひなた。山奥の 村でずっと一緒にいることが当たり前だった日常が鮮やかに変わってい く…!?


This spring, childhood friends Taku and Hinata started attending high school in Tokyo. They’ve gotten used to always spending their days together, from when they lived in a village nestled in the mountains, but now their days feel more vibrant…!?

A fairly cute and sadly cut-short romance drama about two childhood friends who move to Tokyo. KOMAKI-sensei’s art is the highlight here, with most of the drama coming from them struggling to figure out their relationship with each other in light of the two new friends they make. It did end early, unfortunately, so know that it’ll stop just as it gets going.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

After the death of her best friend, Mika is determined to follow her into the grave. But her suicide attempt introduces her to a world unlike any she’s ever seen…full of gods and spirits and entities of which she could never have dreamed. But even with this world of wonder, can she find a way out of her sorrow?

A beautifully illustrated, captivating tale that works in multiple dimensions: a leisurely tour across the Japanese countryside with a god and an immortal; a search for meaning in life; a journey to the end of life. Hiraeth deserves to be experienced rather than described.

Summary from Yen Press:

The Grail family has a single guiding principle in their lives—Thou Shalt Be Sincere. However, sincerity alone can only get a lady so far in the twisted world of high society…as meek Constance Grail soon learns after she is framed for petty theft and loses her fiancé and reputation in a matter of minutes. But one gaze on her isn’t quite as chilling as the others, though the woman’s uncanny resemblance to Scarlett Castiel must be a coincidence. After all, Scarlett isn’t just extremely wicked…she’s also very much dead.

A (thankfully) non-isekai villainess story with some Yugi/Yami Yugi vibes: Constance Grail ends up attached to Scarlett Castiel, with the late Scarlett able to talk to her and even possess her if necessary. Constance and Scarlett play off each other quite well, with both of them influencing each other over the course of the story, and of course the central mystery itself runs quite deep (though I don’t think it’s the kind that you can figure out before the author tells you the answer).

I will note, the story is fairly dense, and I think the light novel (also officially available in English) is much easier to digest. At two volumes (complete), you’ll be able to get through it much more quickly than the 8+ volumes of the manga.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

The moving account of a young woman who reconnects with a childhood friend as she puts together the pieces of her life following her parents’ broken marriage.

As a child, Mao spent all her time at Hiro’s house across the street. Going to his house always made her feel cheerful. A few years later, Mao’s father gets remarried and Mao finds herself with nowhere to call home. Hiro ends up letting her stay with him in the house he’s been occupying alone since the death of his parents. A love story unfolds, between two childhood friends of different ages.

House of the Sun is about Mao’s struggles with her splintered family and her love for her childhood friend, Hiro. As the name implies, it’s warm & comfy series with an adorable cast, and as with many of the series here, it avoids excessive melodrama while still providing enough conflict and trouble to keep things moving and keep you interested. Also, the side characters get real development—the cast feels fully fleshed out, and you’ll find yourself caring about everyone, instead of cursing them for distracting from the main couple as is sadly all too common.

Note: the main couple has an age gap, though the author explains it as based on her own life.

Summary from Viz:

Shy Miwa has always dreamed of finding love, but living in small-town Japan made finding the right match difficult—especially since she likes girls! Even going away to college didn’t seem to help, until one day her outgoing classmate Saeko suggests they might as well start dating each other since it’s not like either of them has other options.

At first it seems like things won’t work out as their personalities clash and misunderstandings abound. But when their casual friendship starts to become something more, Miwa begins to wonder—can a pragmatic proposal lead to true love?

A yuri romantic comedy about two college students in a band. This series has quite a bit of drama; Miwa is rather shy and working on coming out fully, while Saeko has no shame and has to adjust to Miwa’s pace. It’s a fun & funny read, and as they’re in quite a different stage in their lives and relationships, Saeko’s and Miwa’s relationship is interesting to follow.

Summary from Seven Seas Entertainment:

An unhappy girl who engages in self-harm, a high schooler ostracized by her classmates, and an old woman looking to live out her twilight years in peace–what could three such different people have in common? That’s what grade schooler Nanoka Koyanagi is trying to find out. Assigned by her teacher to define what “happiness” means to her, Nanoka tries to find her place in the world by exploring her relationships with these three strangers, and through them, comes to know herself.

A slightly bittersweet coming-of-age tale featuring a young girl who, seeking to define happiness for a class project, and being somewhat ostracized by her classmates, instead turns to her friends: an aspiring author, a high school girl who she finds cutting herself; an old lady living out her final years alone; and a young woman selling her youth. This being by SUMINO Yoru, there’s a twist to that.

TRIGGER WARNING: self-harm, suicide/attempted suicide

Summary from Square Enix:

Despite belonging to a family of four, the Aoyama residence is typically home to three due to father Akiyoshi’s job. While he’s away at work, mom Tomoko and her two beloved sons Hiroki and Yuri go about their everyday lives–going to school, making dinner, doing homework, etc. But now that Hiroki’s in his first year of high school, his thoughts are turning ever so slightly to sex and romance…and his mom can’t help but notice his slips of the tongue when he’s talking about who he likes. Supportive Tomoko has an inkling Hiroki might be gay, but she’s going to let him figure it out for himself. Unfortunately, Hiroki has little talent for keeping his “secret,” so he might die of embarassment before all is said and done!

A sweet slice-of-life series from the perspective of a mother who realizes her teenage son is probably gay and does her best to support him without giving it away. While of course the series focuses on his situation, it doesn’t overdramatize it; really, this is the story of a caring mother watching over her typical son, who just happens to likely be gay, struggling through the same things all kids his age go through. There’s not much of an overarching plot so far, so you can treat this as just little slices of a family’s life.



好きな先輩にだけグイグイいく後輩と、据え膳食わぬ先輩に、やきもき がとまらない!!! ツイッターで大反響を呼んだ思春期ラブストーリー が描き下ろしを加えて1冊に。ここではじめて、ふたりの過去が明かさ れる…?


Is it wrong to be overbearing, just to the person you like?

A kouhai who goes after her her beloved senpai over and over, and a senpai who refuses to eat this meal set out before him—you won’t be able to contain your jealousy! This love story that’s been making the rounds on Twitter now comes with an extra chapter. Here is their beginning—their past will be revealed?

Despite the aggressive title, this is actually fairly cute slice-of-life about a girl who won’t take no for an answer and a boy who wants to do things properly. It follows them and their friends through college, so you’ll be able to stay with them for a while.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

A poignant coming-of-age story about a young woman coming into her own as she discovers her identity as aromantic asexual. A complete story in a single volume, from the creator of Mine-kun is Asexual.

When it comes to love, high schooler Chika wonders if she might be an alien. She’s never fallen for or even had a crush on anyone, and she has no desire for physical intimacy. Her friends tell her that she just “hasn’t met the one yet,” but Chika has doubts… It’s only when Chika enters college and meets peers like herself that she realizes there’s a word for what she feels inside–asexual–and she’s not the only one. After years of wondering if love was the answer, Chika realizes that the answer she long sought may not exist at all–and that that’s perfectly normal.

While it can only cover so much story-wise due to being a single volume long, Is Love the Answer? nevertheless manages to be educational and entertaining. It’s never prescriptive—it encourages the reader and the characters to ask their own questions, find their own answers, and decide what feels natural for themselves.

Summary of Volume 1:

草薙奏助の幼馴染・御門台鏡子は世界注目の頭脳の持ち主! 人間国宝、 果てには『怪物』とまで呼ばれる噂は世界中だけでなく、異世界にも広 まり!? 笑って泣いて、ちょっとだけ恋(?)もして…。2人で“普通”の 高校生活を目指す青春コメディ、開幕!


KUSANAGI Sousuke’s childhood friend, MIKADODAI Kyouko, has a world-famous intellect! She’s a living national treasure, and not only is she so smart that all over the world she’s rumored to be a monster, they even call her a monster in parallel universes!? They’ll laugh, they’ll cry, and maybe there’ll even be a little bit of love…Aiming for a “normal” high school life, their youthful rom-com begins here!

The basic setup is maybe nothing new: an inhumanly superior person seeking a normal life through a down-to-earth partner. Much like Dusk Maiden of Amnesia or My Monster Secret, a lot of this series plays on the supernatural or occult as sources of comedy. Monster Girls takes advantage of this to explore lots of different scenarios and genres through those supernatural elements, with interdimensional interlopers coming in each chapter to request the services of Kyouko’s monstrous intellect. The romance is fairly light and isn’t the main focus, but frankly it’s not missed too much.

Summary from Seven Seas Entertainment:

Yamada may be shy and rather clumsy, but the flower gardens at her school have always brought her happiness. Suddenly, a different sort of beauty catches her eye–the vivacious track star, Kase-san. Although the two girls don’t seem to have much in common, they soon start a romance where each must learn an important lesson in tending their budding relationship. Can the two girls, so different from each other, learn how to make their first love blossom?

A yuri story about the quiet greenery committee member Yamada and the cool & popular track star Kase. There’s lots of personal growth for both characters, and while there’s some drama, it remains low-key; overall, it’s a pleasant, happy read that doesn’t shy away from actually depicting them in a relationship.

Summary from Seven Seas Entertainment:

Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With striking similarities to a haunting movie character—jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor—she’s mistakenly called Sadako by those around her. But behind her scary façade is a very misunderstood teenager. Too shy to fit in, all she wants to do is make some friends. But when the most popular boy in class befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that—she’s about to make some enemies too!

A shoujo classic, Kimi ni Todoke stands out since the main couple get together relatively early, instead of leaving you hanging. You’ll also enjoy the rest of the cast, who don’t get in the way and have their own lives and developments.


私が好きな彼は、女の子の匂いがする…。神社の階段から落ちて、中身 が入れ替わってしまったはるかと拓海。元に戻る方法を探して数年、気 づけばカラダの性のまま、お互いを意識してしまい…。この気持ちは 「女の子」の好きなのか、「男」のそれなのか。せつな系長期入れ替わ りLOVE。


The guy I like, has the scent of a girl…After falling down the steps of a shrine, Haruka and Takumi swap places within each other. After many years spent searching for a way to go back, they started noticing each other as the gender they currently are…Is this feeling the love of a girl, or of a boy? In an instant, eternity becomes love.

Two childhood friends, Haruka and Takumi, swap bodies after falling down the steps of a shrine. Now they live as each other, searching for a way back. A relatively short story about the challenges and developments of puberty, as well as what it really means to “be a girl” or “be a boy”.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

How did the cynical Uramichi end up hosting a TV show for small children? And how long is the studio going to let him keep teaching the kids the sorrow and exhaustion of life instead of, say, the ABCs? This dark comedy manga started as a webcomic and became a bestseller across Japan — with an anime coming soon!

A comedy series about Uramichi, an actor on a children’s TV show who is…deeply unsatisfied with his life and job, and yet works hard to do his best for the kids. The series is the definition of painfully funny/relatable, and it’s a rare look at what adult life is like in manga/anime. (Note the synposis is out of date: the anime is already available on streaming services.)

Summary from Webtoon:

As plague and turmoil afflicts the empire, enchanting widow Rieta Tristi finds herself at the mercy of a malicious nobleman and his dying wish to have her buried alive beside his corpse. The plague has taken her husband, slave traders have taken her young child, and now her own life is at risk—until an unexpected visit from the empire’s outcast prince changes everything.

This series follows the widow Rieta Tristi, who was condemned to being buried alive after the death of her nobleman husband, but is instead saved when the outcast prince makes a surprise visit. It turns out she has abilities of her own as a mage, and as the story unfolds, she starts coming out of her shell—little by little—and using her powers to help those around her, while the prince tries (in vain) to show her what she means to him.

Summary from Webtoon:

After years of being told to focus on studying, Yeseul feels lost when she starts college and is suddenly expected to pay attention to makeup. When a chance encounter with brilliant makeup artist Yuseong leads to her taking part in a televised makeup competition, Yeseul begins to question the role that makeup and appearance play in society.

The story of a plain-Jane college student who gets caught up as a contestant in a reality TV beauty/fashion contest. This series has it all: a broad cast with distinguishing features that don’t feel like tired tropes, who each get their own development; healthy messages about relationships, romance, and beauty; and larger-than-life drama that gets you invested without feeling cheap. Even if you don’t really care about fashion or makeup, the series does a good job of showing you the industry and what’s possible with these tools. And of course, again, it’s always nice to get a series about adults instead of teenagers.


物静かでメガネ。そんな外見とは裏腹に成績は中の下。アナログ人間で 不器用。なのに運動神経は見た目どおりの町田くん。得意なことが何も ないと本人は思っていますが周りからは愛されています。その理由とは…? 別マの新感覚連載、必見の第1巻です!!


“Quiet and wears glasses.” But contrary to appearances, his grades are towards the bottom of his class. He’s not great with technology, and he can be a bit awkward. And yet his reflexes are just as you’d expect: this is Machida-kun. He believes there’s nothing special about him, but he’s loved by everyone around him. And the reason? Bessatsu Margaret Magazine’s fresh-feeling serialization has a must-see first volume!!

Machida-kun is probably the most comforting title on this list. The titular Machida, first son in a family of 6 siblings, views the whole world as his family, and never hesitates to stop and help anyone he may enounter. The main focus is Machida and the many people he meets and helps around the city, with a slow-burn romance in the background as he also comes to realize the difference between familial and romantic love, and what that means for him and one of his classmates.

Summary from Webtoon:

Adventurers seek to take the demon queen’s head, but a love-struck young female mage wishes to take her hand. Join us won’t you, for this bawdy tale of love and persistence set inside a real-life RPG.

A hilarious part-parody of isekai tropes that focuses on the hero’s love for the demon queen.

Summary from Mangaplanet:

In a world where aliens live harmoniously with humans, there exists a kind of alien that doesn’t need to “eat” the way humans do. Hailing from the impoverished planet of Chlorodium #2, where food is a luxury, these aliens live by inhaling microorganisms from the air. Kumika, an uptight, earnest office worker, is one such alien from Chlorodium #2. When a sudden cold leads to her being unable to “feed” herself her usual way, her coworker Chihiro comes to her rescue with a nice warm pot of udon noodles! After a lifetime of never having to eat human food, will Kumika ever get used to getting “hungry”?

A mildly sci-fi story following the alien Kumika, an immigrant to Earth who does not normally need to eat. However, her coworker Chihiro introduces her to food after she falls ill one day, and she begins to explore this entirely foreign landscape. There’s some mild romance here, but mostly this series is pictures of food and occasional descriptions of how to cook it.


单亲家庭出身的吴筱榕在学校是连老师都会调侃的边缘人物,因此非常讨 厌上学,升上小学三年级时她遇见了班级的人气王─童可蔚,内向的筱榕 觉得自己跟受欢迎的她是两条平行线,但在一次的冲动之下两人有了亲密 接触……


WU Xiaorong, from a single-parent family, is made fun of at school by even the teachers, so she really hates going to school. When she enters third grade, she meets the class celebrity TONG Kewei. The introverted Xiaorong feels like she lives in a different world than someone so popular, but an impulse leads to an intimate touch…

A short, tragic, yet sweet story about two best friends and the hands that life deals us.


ヨドカワ待望の 社会人GL(ガールズラブ)初短編集!!

運送会社でおじさん達に囲まれながらも 気合いを入れたメイクでエネルギッシュに働くサワコ。

時には周囲から心ないイヤミを言われゲンナリする時もあるけれど、 サワコには密かな心のオアシスがあってーー?

表題作「麺面むすび」を含む、 大人の女性たちの鮮やかで清廉な 関係性を描いた7つの掌編を収録!


Yodokawa’s eagerly awaited working adults yuri short story collection!!

While she’s surrounded by old men at the shipping company she works at, Sawako puts on her makeup and gives it her all nevertheless. Though there are times when she’s worn down from the thoughtless remarks all around her, Sawako has a secret oasis for her heart.

Including the title story, “Men Men Musubi”, this volume contains 7 stories of fresh and honest relationships between women!

This yuri collection stands out for its focus on working adults, instead of teenagers like gesticulates widly every other manga out there. Yodokawa-sensei’s art is a plus, too: we get a variety of character designs, a variety of clothes, and lots of accessories (like bracelets, earrings, etc.) that make the characters feel more real and individual.


社畜系OL・みどりは昼も夜も仕事に忙殺され、ご飯はだいたいコンビ ニ弁当、癒しはタバコとお酒、家に帰っても寝るだけという超絶荒んだ 日々をおくっていた。ある日の帰宅途中、ゴミ捨て場で寝ている女の子 を発見。気まぐれで助けるも、不思議な力を使い”魔女”(!)だと名乗 るその女子・アイリに「しばらく家に置いてほしい」と懇願され奇妙な 同居生活をおくることになり……!? 疲れた日々にほっこり癒しをお届け。 社畜系OL×落ちこぼれ魔女凸凹女子の同居ライフ!


Corporate slave and office lady Midori is working herself to death day and night. Her meals are boxed lunches from the convenience store, and she goes home only to sleep—call it a life truly wasted. On her way home one day, she finds a girl sleeping in the trash heap. She helps her on a whim, and the girl introduces herself as Airi, a “witch”(!) with mysterious powers. Airi begs Midori, “Please let me stay with you for a while”, and they begin their strange life living together!? She brings healing to her exhausting days. So begins these the cohabitation life of two mismatched ladies, a corporate slave office lady and a dropout witch!

A sweet story about an overworked office lady, Mi-chan, who one days picks up Airi, a witch sleeping on the street. Airi may not be the world’s most competent witch, but their sudden cohabitation breaks both of them out of their shells and helps them face life.

Summary from Yen Press:

The boy of her dreams…is a girl’s manga artist?! To the eyes of high school student Chiyo Sakura, classmate Umetarou Nozaki—brawny of build and brusque of tongue—is a dreamboat! When Chiyo finally works up the courage to tell Nozaki how she feels about him, she knows rejection is on the table…but getting recruited as a manga-ka’s assistant?! Never in a million years!

But for someone who makes a living drawing sweet girly romances, Nozaki-kun is a little slow on the uptake when it comes to matters of the heart in reality. And so Chiyo’s daily life of manga making and heartache begins!

A 4-koma (4-panel comedy) romance that is consistently, hilariously funny while also being a enjoyable (if not necessarily entirely realistic) peek behind the scenes of what it takes to be a manga artist. Chiyo Sakura, a high school student, confesses to her blunt classmate Nozaki, not knowing he’s actually a shojo (girl’s) manga artist. Of course, he misinterprets it as a fan of his manga coming to ask for his autograph and hands her his signature instead. She then joins his cast of assistants (who are also fellow classmates) and gets pulled into their hijinks (and Nozaki’s constant search for new plot material).

Not very heavy on the romance, but absolutely killer on the comedy.


This is a tale of my heart warming and strange calamity…At a certain rural junior high school…Itsuya Tsuruta, who came as a substitute art teacher has a secret mysterious power. The junior high school student, Toki, triggered by experiencing her power, becomes obsessed with Ms. Itsuya day by day…

A brief magical realism story that’ll nevertheless leave you devastated. Toki hasn’t had the best life, taking care of his sick grandmother without his parents in the picture. His school tries to help him out, and he ends up living with the art teacher Itsuya-san and the her relative Kon. Itsuya-san, however, has a bit of magic—she can blow on her drawings and bring them to life—which she uses to help those around her, including Toki and Kon.

I adore the author (Sahara Mizu) and wish she’d get more recognition. Here’s to hoping…

Summary from Yen Press:

Tomoyo Shiino has stood by her friend Mariko through years of abuse, abandonment, and depression. However horrific her circumstances, their friendship has been the one reassuring constant in Mariko’s life-and Tomoyo’s too. That is, until Tomoyo is utterly blindsided by news of Mariko’s death. In life, Tomoyo felt powerless to help her best friend out of the darkness that ultimately drove her over the edge. Now, Tomoyo is determined to liberate Mariko’s ashes for one final journey together…to set free her dear, broken Mariko.

TRIGGER WARNING: suicide; child abuse; sexual assault

Summary from Pantheon Books:

Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, and father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself to be the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

As Mike continues his journey of discovery concerning Ryoji’s past, Yaichi gradually comes to understand that being gay is just another way of being human. And that, in many ways, remains a radical concept in Japan even today. In the meantime, the bond between Mike and young Kana grows ever stronger, and yet he is going to have to return to Canada soon—a fact that fills them both with impending heartbreak. But not before more than a few revelations come to light.

While the attitudes may feel quaint to a Western reader, this is still a compelling story. Yes, it’s about Yaichi confronting and fully accepting his gay brother, but it’s also about what that means for how he raises his daughter, what it means to be family, and what kinds of biases people hold.

Summary from Seven Seas Entertainment:

A hugely popular comic on Pixiv, My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness offers readers an honest and heartfelt look at one young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age.

An autobiographical look at the author’s struggle with working life, self-harm, eating disorders, self-acceptance, and discovering her sexuality. Despite the title, and the notoriety it gained from the author writing about her experience hiring a lesbian escort, the focus of these volumes is more on, essentially, struggling with fitting in and being a good, productive member of society, of which her sexuality is one part.

Also has several follow-ups:

  • My Solo Foreign Exchange Diary
  • My Alcoholic Escape from Reality
  • My Wandering Warrior Existence

TRIGGER WARNING: self-harm; eating disorders


“青春是什么?羞耻+矫情+自以为是+自我意识过剩+……” 高校男生南号、 尚风是从小玩到大的死党。这是关于他们最纯粹的友谊,最热闹、无厘头 的校园青春故事!


What is youth? Shame + pretention + invincibility + self-consciousness + …” High school boys Nano Hao and Shang Feng have been inseparable since they were young. This story is about their most pure friendship, most passionate and most incomprensible campus youth life!

A comedy series about a group of teenage boys in school and at home. There’s no overarching plot (though there are recurring gags), but the series hits a nice balance of nostalgia, relatability, and just pure wacky comedy (for instance, the author is fond of hiding things like people with animal heads in the background of panels). Somehow, it also manages to deliver the occasional emotional gut punch, as with a recent series about a student’s lonely Christmas and another student’s father, continuously away on business trips. The (fan) translation does lose a little something, so if you can, try to read it in the original Chinese.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

As a teen, how do you start thinking about sex? This debut manga from anime legend Mari Okada (Maquia) follows five girls and their five moving, funny, and mortifying answers. Join their bittersweet (and a little spicy) journey from girlhood to…whatever comes next! One of Japan’s top female screenwriters, Okada hones her knack for aching drama and wry humor that became her trademark with anime like anohana and Maquia. Amid an explosion of graphic novels about girls’ teenage years, like Lumberjanes and That One Summer, O Maidens brings a diverse, fresh, and hilarious perspective on how it feels to leave childhood behind. Anime coming soon!

Kazusa’s first high school literature club meeting starts with five girls being asked, “What’s one thing you want to do before you die?” When one of them blurts out, “Sex,” it launches these new friends down a raucous, embarrassing, all-too-relatable path.

The story of a group of 5 girls in the Literature Club who, going through their teenage years, start to wonder about and obsess over sex. While a touch melodramatic at times, their antics constantly had me laughing out loud—and it’s refreshing to see a series that tackles these subjects so frankly.

Also adapted into an anime (the synopsis is out of date). Note the author is OKADA Mari, the writer of Anohana and director/writer of recent films like Maquia and A Whisker Away.


三个女孩的青春与蜕变,以及在生活中碰撞出的奇妙温暖。这个城市很大, 我们虽然互不相识,但也许我们曾经在路上擦身而过。也许我们爱看同一 本书,爱听同一首歌,也许我们会谈保质期只有一天的恋爱。但这一天, 我们却看到了真实的彼此,并永远刻在了生命中。


The youth and transformation of three girls, as well as the warmth they run into in their lives. This city is vast, so even if we don’t know each other, maybe we once rubbed shoulders on the way. Or maybe we love reading the same book, or listening the same music, or maybe we’ll have a love with a shelf life of one day. But in that one day, we’ll see each other’s true selves, and engrave it into our lives.

One Day is a collection of stories about chance meetings of people in a city: a bookshop employee and a random traveler, who wish they could meet again; a tomboy and the classmate she has a crush on; and an office worker, struggling to move on after being dumped by her boyfriend. While short, you’ll find a peaceful, relaxing reflection on the coincidences and choices we face in life.

TRIGGER WARNING: bullying; sexual assault





A boy who often bullies girls, one morning wakes as a girl.

One day, a boy awoke as a girl. Contrary to expectations, this did not quickly go away. Bewildered by the gap between changes in her own heart and awareness of her surroundings, this is the story of her growth, little by little.

I’ll also offer this phrase from the end of the first chapter:


This is the story of how I grew from a “boy” to a “high school girl”.

Note that I am not trans, and so I can’t judge how well the series handles its, well, central topic. To me, I didn’t see anything problematic (though note that reading in Japanese, I may have missed some subtleties). Hence, your mileage may vary.

With that out of the way: I see this as a mix of a few things. In part, it’s a coming-of-age story that does talk about and address the changes, physical, social, and emotional of puberty. Akira has to find their way, in terms of their relationships with friends, plantonic and romantic. It’s also a story of self-identity: Akira initially firmly believes they’ll return to being a boy, but over time that changes…and yet the people around them may not see it the same way, or even know about this conflict in the first place. And part of it is a story of a bully having to face their past, much like A Silent Voice here. So overall, there’s a lot going on here, and I find it a worthwhile story in how it navigates all these demands of a growing young person with an added supernatural twist.


男嫌いの女の子・水口まゆが一目惚れした女性は「男の娘」だった!? 好きな人は女の子? それとも男の子?


MIZUGUCHI Mayu, a girl who hates men, fell in love at first sight with a girl…who was actually a crossdressing boy!? Is the one she likes a girl? Or a boy?

A fairly comfy slice-of-life series about a shy girl learning to break out of her shell and overcome past trauma thanks to a friend she made randomly on the train, who at first glance is a girl but is actually a boy who likes crossdressing. I wouldn’t say it’s quite a story about being transgender; it’s specifically about crossdressing and while gender roles are questioned, gender itself isn’t really. It’s still a generally relaxing read though; it’s not free of drama (again: past trauma) but doesn’t overdo things. And it has possibly the sweetest panel I’ve ever seen:

A lesbian couple explains their relationship to one of the main characters, Kei.
“It's not complicated at all, you know. I love her, and she loves me—that's all there is to it. We had some detours on the way to being able to say that, though. But you know, the important things are surprisingly simple!”

Summary from Seven Seas Entertainment:

The Harvey-nominated manga about a broad LGBT+ community.

Not only is high schooler Tasuku Kaname the new kid in town, he’s also terrified that he’s been outed as gay. Just as he’s contemplating doing the unthinkable, Tasuku meets a mysterious woman who leads him to a group of people dealing with problems not so different from his own. In this realistic, heartfelt depiction of LGBT+ characters from different backgrounds finding their place in the world, a search for inner peace proves to be the most universal experience of all.

“While manga frequently portrays the characters in yaoi/yuri (“boys’ love”/“girls’ love” genres) in a fetishized light, this series takes a refreshing turn, and the high-quality art makes it a potential breakout for broader audiences.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Tasuku, a high schooler, is terrified that he’s been outed as gay at school. Standing on the edge of a cliff, he sees a woman jumping off and instead rushes over to try and help her—but he finds the mysterious Anonymous-san perfectly fine. She brings him to a group of people, all struggling with problems much like his own. Unlike many manga, which depict LGBTQ+ experiences in a fetishistic or overly romanticized way, Our Dreams At Dusk stays grounded and serious, developing a full cast of characters and depicting their struggles without defining them by just one aspect of themselves.

Yes, yes, it’s another otome isekai. But Raeliana is fairly capable and proactive, with a few hilarious scenes of her showing off her firearms skills. She’s also no dimwit; she’s not overly oblivious of people’s affections and actively makes use of the knowledge she has from her past life.

The story is mostly comedic, with a few bits of drama. Most of the drama/action is at the end of the story. I do feel like the ending was maybe a little too neat (and I don’t like author inserts), but it’s rather hard to end isekai well.

Summary from Pocket Comics:

This isn’t the future I imagined for myself! 27-year-old Kaizaki Arata gets roped into a mysterious experiment in this fresh, youthful comedy.

Without a ‘real’ job, making ends meet with part-time work while hiding it all from friends and family, Arata is at the end of his rope when he gets a strange offer—participate in an experiment where he’ll be transformed back to his 17-year-old self to repeat the last year of high school, unbeknownst to everyone around him.

The setup is maybe not groundbreaking; redoing life is a common wish, after all. What makes this one tick is knowing that he has to return to adult life afterwards, and seeing how that affects his interactions with those around him.

Note that the official English translation at Pocket Comics is incomplete (they seemingly gave up about halfway through). The only way to read the story in full is in Japanese.



幼なじみの瑞希と和哉は三年差。『年の差』と呼ぶほどではないけれど、 青春を共有するにはちょっと離れている。そんな三年違いの二人が綴る 幼少期から現在までのダイアリー。


I hate that we’re three years apart!

Childhood friends Mizuki and Kazuya are three years apart. It’s not quite an “age gap”, but in the youth they shared was a sense of distance. This is a diary they, three years apart, write together; from their childhood to their present day.

Moments from the married of life of Kazu-kun and Mizuki, childhood friends three years apart in age, with their son Naoto. No drama here—just a relaxing story of their daily life mixed with flashbacks of their childhood and their romance, along with the occasional tale of those around them. It’s truly down-to-earth, with a realistic romance, and a parenting story that doesn’t involve a dead parent for once.

Summary from Yen Press:

To their classmates, Wada is a quiet rich girl while Yamamoto is an intimidating lone wolf…but what they don’t know is that Wada is a mobile game addict in a passionate love-hate relationship (with a 2D character) and Yamamoto has a penchant for urban legends with eyes only for her favorite YouTuber. And their biggest not-so-secret secret—these unlikely friends meet at the food court every day after school to rant, rave, and learn what makes each other tick!

A series featuring two unlikely friends (a fashionable gyaru and a straitlaced serious girl) chatting at the food court. No drama, no stakes, no real plot—just them talking about whatever they happen to be talking about. It’s only one volume long, so the premise doesn’t overstay its welcome. And as a bonus, the author draws some pretty funny faces.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

The manga adaptation of anime wizard Makoto Shinkai’s (Your Name) short film about a woman who lives alone with her cat—now also an anime television series.

“It was the start of spring. It was raining. That was the day that she brought me home.”

This is the story of Miyu, a woman who lives alone with her cat, Chobi. As Miyu navigates the world of adulthood, she discovers both the freedom and loneliness that come with living independently, and Chobi learns of the outside world through her actions. Time drifts slowly for Miyu and her cat, but the harsh realities of the world soon catch up…

A one-volume manga adaptation of an early animated short from SHINKAI Makoto, director of the hit films Your Name, Weathering With You, and Five Centimeters Per Second. The story follows the life of a young office worker from the perspective of her cat, who can’t understand her words, but supports her regardless through her struggles with work and life. From unwelcome suitors to uncertain feelings about family to past friends, we witness a few scenes of Miyu’s life through the eyes of her cat.

This manga lacks the visual splendor and dramatic romance of Shinkai’s other works, but retains that same sense of connection between two individuals, this time between a cat and his master. It’s definitely worth a read for its new perspective, and for dealing with the struggles that newly minted corporate adults face, a change of pace from the usual grade school stories.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

Years ago, Shoya Ishida led his peers in tormenting a hearing-impaired classmate, Shoko Nishimiya. When she transfers schools, Shoya finds he has gone from bully to bullied, and is left completely alone. Now Shoya struggles to redeem himself in Shoko’s eyes and to face the classmates who turned on him. This emotional drama is one of the most critically-acclaimed manga of the decade, earning an Eisner nomination and accolades from teachers and the American Library Association. An animated film adaptation from Kyoto Animation has swept the globe, arriving in US theaters in October 2017.

Nishimiya Shouko, a deaf girl, transfers into Ishida Shouya’s class. While at first everyone gets along, eventually Ishida begins to lead the class in bullying her, until she transfers out. The class then turns on him as the ringleader, ostracizing him. Over the years, he’s driven to the brink, without any friends or hope for the future, but he decides to try to reach out to Nishimiya one last time and try to redeem himself.

Also has an anime film adaptation from Kyoto Animation, which you should absolutely watch—it does a good job of slimming down the story while leaving the core of what makes it so special intact. (Frankly, I like the film more than the source material. I felt like the manga dragged in the middle; the film mostly tightens this up.)

TRIGGER WARNING: Bullying; suicide/attempted suicide

Summary from J-Novel Club:

Kaoru Terasaki is a gamer who’s into MMORPGs, and he’s finally meeting up with someone he’s been friends with in-game for a long while—this time, offline and in person. He’s worried that his friend will be disappointed to see Kaoru is a guy, unlike his female character in the game. But he’s the one who’s in for a surprise when, instead of another guy, his friend turns out to be a cute girl, Nanami Osaka. On top of that, Nanami told her parents that she would be bringing a friend over—a female friend. Even worse, Nanami’s dad is the super overprotective type who won’t allow any guys near his daughter. There’s only one solution to this dilemma: Kaoru has to cross-dress as a girl! Will Kaoru’s efforts pay off in the end?! Will Kaoru and Nanami remain just friends, or will their time together IRL change everything? Follow their romantic-comedy adventures to find out!

While there’s a little bit of romantic progression in this series, the focus is mostly on Kaoru slowly helping the extremely shy Nanami break out of her shell, using the crossdressing to help her feel more comfortable.

Summary from Tapas:

Qi closed her eyes and fell asleep in the warm embrace of her girlfriend Yuanzi… only to wake up 10 years in the past! Now back in high school, Qi sees this as the chance to save the love of her life from becoming terminally ill. But little does she know that her teenage self is in her adult body, with no clue about the life she’s built and the precious time she has left with Yuanzi. Throughout it all, with each other by their side, can their love conquer every obstacle, in any timeline?

Yu Qi wakes up one day to find that her 17-year-old self has switch places with her 27-year-old self. Now the “her” from high school must frantically adjust to life as a working adult and as Yuanzi’s girlfriend, without any of the experiences of the past ten years, while the ”her” from the future tries her best to take this one chance to save Yuanzi’s life from a terminal illness down the line.

Despite the dramatic synopsis, this is actually a charming and upbeat series about forming and rediscovering relationships and romances. While the side cast doesn’t get much time, you’ll definitely root for Yu Qi in both timelines as she unwaveringly stays by Yuanzi’s side.

Summary from Seven Seas Entertainment:

Fuuta Okeya can see ghosts. Besides that—and the bandage he always keeps on his cheek—he’s a perfectly normal 14-year old boy enamoured with the new transfer student. Unfortunately, Kouko Ishigami wants little to do with him. A strange ghost that follows her, however, seems to feel quite differently. But, when Kouko sees the strange birthmark hidden beneath the bandage on Fuuta’s cheek, she has a change of heart…for the worse. Not only does she denounce him as her enemy, but she claims that the birthmark is a curse she engraved upon his face during one of their many past lives. What happened between Kouko and Fuuta, and what is the connection to the strange, fantastical dreams that Fuuta begins to experience?

A strangely compelling series that builds up the relationship of a group of friends over six past and future lives. While the timeline/continuity gets messy, this isn’t the kind of series where it matters—instead, it’s how they relate to each other that’s important, with each of the six lives giving a different perspective on our main characters and helping build up their “present day”.


二附中的孙璟发现常会在公交车站遇到南高的秋瞳,终于有一天,孙璟鼓 起勇气询问了秋瞳的名字,于是爽朗坦率的孙璟与温柔纯真的秋瞳成为了 朋友。在欢笑和泪水中,一幅多彩的青春生活画卷徐徐展开…


Sun Jing, in her second year of middle school, finds out that she often runs into Qiu Tong, a student at North High, on public transit. One day, she finally works up her courage and asks Qiu Tong for her name. Then, the clear and straightforward Sun Jing and the gentle and innocent Qiu Tong become friends. Between laughter and tears, their colorful youth slowly unfolds.

The story of the budding friendship and romance between Sun Jing and Qiu Tong. Another slice-of-life comedy series; the romantic progression falls off a cliff after some point (usually blamed on either Chinese censorship, or an overly conservative publisher), but the enjoyment from their daily high school antics remains.



クラスになじめない、海外育ちのお嬢様。 いつも本ばかり読んでいる、内気な女の子。

クラスのすみっこで過ごす二人の女の子が、海に行ったり花火を見たり、 一度きりの夏休みを通してゆっくりと親交を育んでいくお話です。


Kiryuu, I want to go see the ocean with you.”

A young lady, unable to get used to her class, raised overseas. And a shy girl, always reading books.

These girls who pass their days in a corner of the classroom go see the ocean and the fireworks. A single story about them going through summer vacation and gently kindling their friendship.

A cute slice-of-life series featuring a Japan-obsessed foreign student, Serina-chan, and a quiet girl who’s always reading in the corner of the classroom, Kaho-chan. When summer vacation starts and neither of them have plans, by chance they catch each other’s attention and make plans to go visit the ocean together. Overall, it’s a short and sweet series about two misfits finding confidence in each other’s friendship.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

A single dad and a little girl learn the magic of cooking to bring families together in this manga that inspired a hit anime.

Having lost his wife, math teacher Kouhei Inuzuka is doing his best to raise his young daughter Tsumugi as a single father. He’s pretty bad at cooking and doesn’t have a huge appetite to begin with, but chance brings his little family and one of his students, Kotori Iida, together for homemade adventures. With those three cooks in the kitchen, it’s no wonder this dinner table drama is so delicious.

A slice-of-life about a single father, Inazuka, who learns to cook to comfort his young daughter, Tsumugi, with the help of Kotori, one of his students whose family owns a restaurant. Not very much happens here—and the subject of Tsumugi’s mother is not really touched upon—but it’s a cute story about three people slowly learning how to cook. As a bonus, recipes are provided after each chapter.

Summary from Tappytoon:

In these times, if you’re too good or bad at something or simply too beautiful, you’re called a witch. Up against twists of fate and time, an outcast young boy and a mysterious witch will need more than just magic spells and incantations; they’ll need each other.

An anthology of sorts following the lives of a group of witches as they seek love—but as they’re immortal and can transcend time and space, traveling to different worlds and histories, what they seek from their mortal, human partners is rather demanding. A somewhat unusual romance that takes full advantage of its fantasy setting to explore the consequences of that setting, instead of just being “normal high school romance tropes, but she can cast explosion” (ok, well, that’s a part of it too).

Summary from Viz:

Chiaki Ogawa has never doubted who he is, although the rest of the world hasn’t been as kind. Bound by his mother’s dying wish, Chiaki tries to be a good daughter to his ailing father. But when the burden becomes too great, Chiaki sets out to remake himself in his own image and discovers more than just personal freedom in his transition—he finds understanding from the people who matter most.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

A sharp new comedy about female friendship from the creator of Princess Jellyfish!

Rinko has done everything right. She hustled her way through her 20s to make it as a screenwriter, renting her own office in a trendy Tokyo neighborhood. Everything should have gone according to plan… So at 33, she can’t help but lament the fact that her career’s plateaued, she’s still painfully single, and she spends most of her nights drinking with her two best friends in their favorite pub. One night, drunk and delusional, Rinko swears to get married by the time the Tokyo Olympics roll around in

  1. But finding a man—and love—may be a cutthroat, dirty job for a romantic at heart.

A hilarious but painfully relatable about three thirtysomething women’s quests to find love—and frankly, themselves. While dramatic and over-the-top in a really fun way, it’s always down to earth when it counts—and when it hurts.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

This manga is for those of you who just can’t seem to say, “I love you.” Toshiya Wakabayashi’s acclaimed school-romance is jam-packed with frustration, embarrassment, and awkwardness! Heavily revised and with never-before-seen chapters, this omnibus edition of the popular 4-panel web comic offers an experience you can’t find in the online version!

A 4-koma (4-panel comedy) series following the hijinks and troubles of several couples at school. With the number of couples, keeping track of everyone can be difficult, but you’ll appreciate the rapid-fire comedy and the range of relationships and characters on display—there’s something for everyone, and ultimately everyone is adorable, from the “love master” going around helping other couples while running from his own romance, to the girl who plays guitar only with a mask on in order to hide from her overbearing and traditional family.

Also partially adapted into an anime short.

Summary from Tappytoon:

The beautiful Athanasia was killed at the hands of her own biological father, Claude de Alger Obelia, the cold-blooded emperor! It’s just a silly bedtime story…until one woman wakes up to suddenly find she’s become that unfortunate princess! She needs a plan to survive her doomed fate, and time is running out. Will she go with Plan A, live as quietly as possible without being noticed by the infamous emperor? Plan B, collect enough money to escape the palace? Or will she be stuck with plan C, sweet-talking her way into her father’s good graces?! Based on the hit novel.

A fairytale-like take on the isekai genre. However, Athanasia is an active heroine who takes matters into her own hands, instead of relying solely on fortune or those around her. And ultimately, this story isn’t about romance, but family and friends; Athanasia’s fate doesn’t rest in choosing the right suitor, and the guys interested in her are mostly second tier to her relationship with her father and with Jeanette.

Summary from Kodansha Comics:

The awkward, romantic comedy manga about geeks in love that inspired the new anime! Can a professional man who’s secretly a hardcore gamer and a woman who’s secretly a fujoshi date without their hobbies getting in the way, or revealing each other’s secrets? Extra-long book includes 2 Japanese volumes!

Narumi Momose has had it rough: every boyfriend she’s had dumped her once they found out she was an otaku, so she’s gone to great lengths to hide it. When a chance meeting at her new job with childhood friend, fellow otaku, and now coworker Hirotaka Nifuji almost gets her secret outed at work, she comes up with a plan to make sure he never speaks up. But he comes up with a counter-proposal: why doesn’t she just date him instead? In love, there are no save points.

Yet another slice-of-life romantic comedy about working adult couples. What sets Wotakoi apart is the camaraderie of the cast; they really feel like friends and it’s easy to get invested in their antics together and cheer them on as they progress through life. Where the characters of many of the other series above are more down-to-earth and low-key, Wotakoi features a cast of strong personalities, keeping things interesting. Also, the characters are weebs (or well, otaku), making them presumably more relatable. I just wish there was one more volume to give everyone a little more of a conclusion.

Summary from Viz:

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

Princess Yona, sole heir to the throne, leads an idyllic life under her pacifist father. But when her crush Soo-won murders her father, nearly kills her, and takes the throne, she’s forced to flee for her life and seek out the truth behind a prophecy about legendary dragon warriors who might serve her.

Yona’s character develops incredibly—from an annoying, spoiled brat to a warrior in her own right, becoming the emotional core and leader of her ragtag band. More than the action or plot, watching her grow is the highlight of this series.

Also has an anime adaptation, covering ~9 or so volumes.

Summary from Webtoon:

Tensions are brewing under the seemingly calm surface of the Vasilios Empire, a kingdom ruled by the Imperial Family and the Temple. Lady Medea Solon has lost her place next to Crown Prince Eros, but resolves to do whatever it will take to win back what’s rightfully hers. Will she reclaim her throne?

Another villainess story, except with some welcome twists: there are two villainesses (or rather, a villainess and her foil), and neither of them reincarnated or traveled through time. In other words for once, the main characters don’t have knowledge of the future. Yet they’re still competent and take matters into their own hands. I’d compare it to perhaps the good parts of No Game No Life or Yu-Gi-Oh where the two characters build on each other’s strengths and their trust in each other, as well as their own individual abilities, to overcome long odds—in this case, abusive parents and a scheming prince intent on trying to play them against each other.

Also, I’ll give a shout-out to the art, which features some beautiful, slightly crazy eyes for our villainess, the Lady Medea Solon.


「明るい記憶喪失」著者の奥たまむし先生が生み出した【百合ドリル】 企画を、39名の豪華作家陣が全描き下ろしでコミック化!39名が挑 む百合の極致!!


The Yuri Drill project, created by OKU Tamamushi the author of Cheerful Amnesia, is 39 wonderful authors drawing oneshots and comics! 39 authors compete to create the pinnacle of yuri!

Yuri Drill is a mixed bag. Each volume is just a collection of (usually) one-page oneshots, where a bunch of authors are given a theme to draw around. Examples: “yuri I’ve been into lately”, “childhood friends yuri”, and “the yuri you find most exciting”. There are some hits and a lot of misses, and it’s fun to see what comes next. Both big names in yuri and more obscure authors are represented.









A trans rom-com where the genders get jumbled by the laws of nature!

Out of the blue one day, our protagonist Sagimiya Ryou becomes a girl due to the effects of “transsexual syndrome”. Ryou becomes entangled in a rom-com where the characters are all of ambiguous gender.

“Transsexual syndrome” is rarely seen. While on a school tour, Ryou meets and falls in love with Mikami Nagisa, then enters Tensei Gakuen, the school that Nagisa attends, because of that.

But where they meet again is the cosplay cafe that Nagisa works at, and on top of that, Nagisa has a secret!?

★Transsexual syndrome (abbr. “TSS”)

→When someone with this encounters a heart-pounding situation, they swap genders. The cause is unclear, but there are people who are born with it and people who develop it later in life.

Admittedly, the dated language in the description is a turn-off. But this is actually a fairly sweet (and sometimes pervy…) rom-com where the two leads, owning to their ability to switch genders basically at will, realize that love and romance aren’t really defined by their own gender or their partner’s.