2015 came and went so fast and I feel like I haven’t read enough manga. OTL. More like, I feel like I haven’t written much about the manga I read in the last year. I remember making a call for more josei this year but I ended up reading so much shonen (and dojinshi) for my thesis. OTL. However, I did have a few favourite reads and as I jotted them down, I realised they were mostly by female authors! Yay! I guess I did josei up this year, after all! Well, technically, they’re not titles in josei magazines but I guess I’m quite happy reading a diverse set of reads from female authors (and 2 dudes with awesome titles). I guess having online readers such as Line Manga and Comic Fleur helped. I started reading a lot of these titles because they were initially available for free online. But I really should be reading the physical manga I’ve bought but hahaha. OTL.
Again, just like every year, these titles are not necessarily published on 2015 but ones that I’ve read in 2015. So, here’s my favorite reads from last year!
Ohayo to oyasumi to sono ato ni by Hamada Kamome
BL | Read in Comic Fleur, Ebookjapan, Amazon
This is my favorite BL manga last year and I don’t know how many times I’ve read this title over and over and over again. Like reading 3 volumes for maybe 10 times in just the last few months is crazy but it’s worth it. This is a lovely story between an aspiring chef, Tachibana Kaito, who can’t help but want to feed this thin and troubled design student, Kataoka Iisuke. Tachibana helps Kataoka gain some muscles before one thing led to another and they end up taking care of each other. The series progresses with them adjusting towards the changes in their lives as they try to become better versions of themselves. This story has the same comfort as Itoshi no Nekokke by Kumota Haruko with food and restaurant life in the middle. Food and BL, two of my favoite things in manga. I can’t ask for anything more.
Suki na hito hodo by Harada
BL | Read in Ebookjapan, Amazon
Tsunderes are Tsundebest! Tsundere salarymen are the best! Harada’s Yoneda is trying his best to show his affection for his junior, Iida, but does things the wrong way. In fact, he does things in the THE WORST ways possible. But when their boss advices Iida to extend his patience to Yoneda, Iida learns that Yoneda has so much love to give, in his own cute adorkable and tsundebest ways. Add a dash of Harada’s usual comedy and this title has warmed my heart. IDK why this title hasn’t gone the internet rounds since the internet has been nothing but all over Harada this year. Oh well, if you haven’t read this, I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy the tsundebest that is Yoneda.
Ohayou Rakuen-kun by Nakamura Asumiko
Josei | Read via Ebookjapan, Amazon
2015 was a big year for Nakamura Asumiko. Apart from the release of many of her works and exhibits, her entire collection of older works was also republished with some awesome fancy covers. I’m considering buying them if not for my full shelf. OTL. One of the titles published last year is a collection of shorts she wrote for Rakuen Les Paradis, a josei anthology. I find Ohayou Rakuen-kun (kari) as a unique read as it’s written in the first perspective, where you feel like you’re engaging with Rakuen-kun, the ‘mascot’ of the anthology. Every chapter reveals a short glimpse Rakuen-kun’s school life and his relationship with you/me. As the story goes on, I find my affection for Rakuen-kun growing until the last chapter reveals an interesting ‘metaphysical’ twist. For that, I find this immersive manga ingenious and I can’t help but applaud Nakamura for executing Rakuen-kun’s story so beautifully.
Sweetness and Lightning by Amagakure Gido
Seinen | Read via Crunchyroll, Amazon, Ebookjapan
Food manga is my weakness. So when this came to Crunchyroll this year, I was over the moon. Amagakure Gido brings so much cuteness in this title about a widowed father who tries his best to make homecooked meals for his most adorable daughter, Tsugumi. He seeks the help of his student who’s also finding the strength to even hold a knife. This manga is just adorable to the bone with reasonable and easy recipes to try. Also, it’s not heading towards the Usagi Drop direction so I’m not freaking out over the relationship between Inuzuka (the father) and Iida (the student). I LOVE THIS SERIES. It makes me so hungry and it has fuelled my desire to try more dishes from manga. Also, I want to have cute adorable babies like Tsugumi. YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF MY LIFE, TSUGUMI!!!!
Kounodori by Suzunoki Yuu
Seinen | Read via DMorning, EbookJapan, Amazon
So I said I wanted to have babies like Tsugumi, well Kounodori makes me think twice about this. This medical drama of an obstetrician/midnight genius pianist makes me question a lot about parenthood, pregnancy, and the responsibility that comes with giving birth to life. While this title has racked my kanji skills with all the medical terms, it remains to be an interesting medical drama. While Kounodori disrupts my own personal myths about pregnancy, it is a title continues to celebrate love and family.
Shiori Experience by Machida Kazuya & Osada Yuko
Seinen | Read via Ebookjapan, Amazon
A manga with Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and high school dreams of becoming a big ass rock band? Yup. It’s amazeballs. I can only wonder the lengths this story has in gaining rights to some songs but hey, if there’s a manga this year that’s living the dream, it’s this one.
Fukumenkei Noise by Fukuyama Ryouko
Shoujo | Read via Amazon, Ebookjapan
I thought I have outgrown my fascination for goth loli rockstars since Nana but somehow, this year, I can’t help but embrace more drama in my life. The story of a girl using music to search for a friend she lost was a cute premise but the story takes as a dramatic turn as she joins a band to save her friend from ruin. The story has an amazing energy that I can feel their music in their panels. I think fans of Nana will like this one. I hope this series turns out for the best. #teammomo
Kasane by Matsuura Daruma
Seinen | Read via Amazon, Ebookjapan
It’s been a long while since I’ve read a manga about actresses. Like Glass Mask long while. Kasane looks at the life of Kasane, a girl who dreamt of becoming a great actress like her mother. Unfortunately, she was born with a terrifying face however her mother teaches her a ‘trick’ to achieve her dream, a scarlet red lipstick. If Kasane kisses the lips of the face she wants, she can own that woman’s face. The manga explores Kasane’s desire for beauty, love, and art, unfolding the mystery and tragedy that comes with her mother’s lipstick. It’s a gripping read, one where I can’t help but pity and detest Kasane. I guess that’s a mark of an interesting heroine.
Umimachi Diary by Yoshida Akimi
Josei | Read via Amazon, Ebookjapan
While I’ve been a Yoshida Akimi fan, I confess that I haven’t touched any of her works past Yasha. Over the past few years, she’s been getting buzz for this title which I’ve delayed reading mostly because I knew it was no Banana Fish. Absent of any ambiguous sexual tension between male characters, I thought it’d be a boring read but in fact it wasn’t. The story of four sisters rediscovering their relationship was a pleasure to read, if not a bit refreshing. It’s nice to read Yoshida at a comfortable pace, opening a world that finds happiness in a quiet yet vibrant seaside town of Kamakura. I actually ended up buying the recipe book for a series which is such a delight to read. Thanks to this title, I’m now entertaining a short holiday in Kamakura, hoping to feel the town’s warmth as this title had shown me.
Dungeon Meshi by Kui Ryoko
Seinen | Read via Ebookjapan, Amazon
I have a friend who is a big Kui Ryoko fan and for a while she’s been getting me into the Kui Ryoko train but I just kind of ride along but never really joined the journey. It’s probably because I’m not so hot about fantasy and SF so I tend to find it ‘nice’ but never something I’d oggle. Then came this title that mixed food and fantasy. Dungeon meshi is like your dungeon-trawling RPG life where rather than focusing on the monster, the monster is merely the means to an end — a bloody great (or not so great) meal. To be honest, this manga warmed up to me quite late. The first few monsters dishes didn’t quite appeal to me. However, later on, their curiosity for their next meal struck my own foodie heart. What kept me going was the ‘what if’ spirit this ragtag crew had, one that bravely questioned the culinary potential of every monster. It’s like when I go to aquariums and wonder what each fish tasted like. I get it. And for that, it turned out to be a favorite read. Also, it’s the Kono Manga ga Sugoi for 2016 so you know it’s a great read.
I don’t know what I want to read for next year. The truth is, I have a horrible tsundoku life. A backlog that refuses to whittle down because I end up buying so much books that I never have time to read. To add to my horrible tsundoku life, I tend to read stuff via Line manga for free and then I get hooked into them that I buy them digitally. OTL. IT NEVER ENDS. I need a body double. Actually, I also need a stomach double. And a new book shelf. If 2016 proves to be the year where I can get these things, I’ll be totally happy. Anyway, hopefully we’ll all have great manga reads in 2016!!
What were your favorite reads in 2015? Did we have the same favorites? Let me know!