Wow. What a year.
As compared to last year, 2012 was good to me — very good to me.
However, because it was good to me, it also meant it ate my time. Lots of my time. Particularly, my champloo and manga reading time. In terms of my time for this blog, I didn’t fulfill my wonderful spotlight series monthly. Nor did I even continue the columns I wish to continue! I wish I can do more and please don’t blame my tumblr habit. ; 3; It’s easier to reblog than write. My life in tumblr is filled with likes, porn, and tons of reblogs. But yes, in general, I have nothing but my life to blame on why I didn’t get things up to speed. At the very least, I was happy that I managed to host my first MMF quite successfully.
Despite this madness, 2012 was still a great year of manga. Here’s a list of 12 mangas I read in the last year. They’re not necessarily manga released in 2012 but they are all amazing manga that I’ve discovered and love this year. In no particular order, here are my favorite mangas read from last year.
1. No Longer Human by Usamaru Furuya
A modernized version of the Japanese classic of the same title, Furuya’s version is a fantastic depiction on how a human can be detached from his humanity. Despite owning the same theme as the original, this manga managed to make itself relevant, capturing how the present can destroy Oba’s soul and corrupt until it’s past saving. It’s beautifully drawn and quite compelling. I have many feels in the first volume and it remained true to the very end. If there’s a manga that made me feel most emotional in the last year, it’s this one. Strangely, it’s given me emotional numbness as well. Brilliant work that it made Furuya one of my favorite artists.
2. Lychee Light Club by Usamaru Furuya
After No Longer Human, I went on a Furuya spree so I bought Lychee Light Club and enjoyed youth at its extremes. Since I read “Bokura no Hikari Club” (Trans. Our Light Club) first from pocopoco, I had hope that this was a light, if not, humorous adventure about a group of boys. That was not the case at all and it turned from erotic, to grotesque, to strangely, hopeful tale about how emotions can move people. Fantastic read and one I surprisingly enjoyed. <3
3. My Darling Kitten Hair by Kumota Haruko
Fuuko, my friend from hazukashiikedo, has been endlessly talking about Kumota Haruko. And I don’t blame her. Kumota manages to write a grounded, erotic, BL tale with her delightfully cute art. The best of which is seen in her story, My Darling Kitten Hair. This is probably one of the most earnest, if not, relaxing “domestic” BL story I have ever read. It never fails to make me squee because Mii and Kei are just an adorable pair. It’s a love comedy you’d love to watch over and over again without ever getting annoyed. And while I’ve had these in tankoubon, I’m quite pleased that Jmanga released them in English this year as well.
4. Equus/Hatarake Kentaros by Est Em
Centaurs at work. Centaurs in manpr0n. Est Em. ‘Nuff said. Brilliant shit and madness that I enjoy over and over again. <3 Thank you, Est Em.
5. Golondrina by Est Em
When I heard that Est Em will write for Ikki, I was worried that she’ll follow after Natsume Ono and simply expand her world of sexy foreign men to something more palatable to a general mature audience. Thankfully, that was not the case. Golondrina, a story about a girl who chose to be a matador to pick up the broken pieces of her life, was quite a compelling tale that explored a person’s gender boundaries and issues. It’s not the political sort but because of Est Em, it became a very personal affair where you cannot just sit there and not feel for the heroine. Brilliant manga and one I truly enjoyed reading this year.
6. Don’t Cry Girl by Yamashita Tomoko
This is quite an old title but one I read fairly recently due to its Jmanga release. I love the sarcasm and the strangeness that came with this title. Seriously, if you’re a high school girl living with a carefree nudist you just… yeah… wtf, right? But Yamashita managed to make light of this title which might ring alarm bells for some. It’s a hilarious read and one of my personal favorites. That’s… telling of my character, isn’t it? OTL.
7. I am a Hero by Kengo Kanazawa
Having been shortlisted in the Manga Taishou a lot (but never winning it!), I felt compelled to finally check this title and figure out what it’s all about. I can’t help but say that for a zombie apocalypse title, it’s probably the most relevant if not one of the most fantastic titles that is running in Japan today. I feel I am Hero is this generation’s “iconic” manga. Thanks to this title, I’ll know what to do and where to go in Japan when there’s a zombie apocalypse.
8. Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji (Wolf girl and the Black Prince) by Hatta Ayuko
Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji is Betsuma’s proud title with a masochist and a sadist for leads. For a shoujo, it can be quite frightening. I confess that there are times where I felt disturbed because I was enjoying this even if I feel that it pushes itself a little too far. That said, this story has made me believe that sometimes being an idiot can even soften the heart of the coldest man. I love this for that reason and Hatta Ayuko has executed this well enough for me to appreciate this odd couple. Also, Sata Kyouya is hot. Very hot. <3 <3
9. Oremonogatari by Kawahara Kazune (writer) and Aruko (artist)
I got into a Betsuma phase after I read Ookami Shoujo so I went to their page and they were adamantly promoting this bulky fellow for some strange reason. I was surprised since I’ve felt that Margaret has always been the kind of magazine that basked in handsome men. Not this time. Oremonogatari intends to make the guys we tend to ignore, ridicule, and laugh at because they’re the “funny” guy, be the one who we will love in the end. Trust in Kawahara Kazune to pull this story off with such finesse that it can still make our hearts skip a beat. I love this title and I’m looking forward to more of it!
10. Orange by Takano Ichigo
I’m placing this here because for me, this is probably the title I’m looking forward to see develop over the next few years. Timeslips are strange. The historian in me hates how time slips prevent history and yet here’s a shoujo title that begs to change/save it, at least for the life of one person.
11. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi by Nakamura Shungiku
I know this title has been running for a long time but recent developments has made this a notable title for me in the last year. Maybe because I can sniff the ending soon. A 100 or more days should mean the end of Ritsu’s sailing down The Nile. And that excites me. It’s probably one of the more classic BL titles and probably another title that has captured this generation of BL fans who seek for tropes, schmex, and a good story. It’s a mix of the old and the new. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who hates this title at all. Even my roomie watched this anime. “For research,” he said. It does talk a lot about the manga editing process (which is a plus for me) and if you have a chance to read the manga, it’s all laid out there.
12. Flowers of Evil by Shuzo Oshimi
Prior to my Betsuma “phase”, this title made me question how shounen manga is changing. With similar titles to this, this one takes the prize as the harsher, far cruel title that any boy who read this would probably be scared to explore this further. And we, who are a little bit older, can possibly relate to the beautiful flaws of this story. Personally, my favorite Vertical release this year.
OMG I bet you guys are churning why the bloody eff didn’t talk about her fandoms like Kuroko no Basuke or Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun in this list. While they’re also good, there were just titles who stood out among the rest.
My rule of thumb for this one was to write down the first 12 titles I thought of when I decided to write this list. Sadly Kuroko no Basuke came as an after thought but I do love reading that title yeah. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is also a great title but yeah… sadly… these guys first came into my mind. Generally, it was a great year of manga for me. I’d put Gintama there like I always would but admittedly, the story hasn’t excited me in ages.
Here’s hoping for another great year of manga! /o/