Recommended Manga: Titles for kids, teens, young adults and the rest of us.

This page is intended to supplement my Librarian's Guide to Anime and Manga and Teachers Companion to the Anime Companion.

These lists can also be used as guides for individuals looking for titles to buy .

All titles are in a graphic novel format, unless indicated otherwise these are only available in paperback.

The phrase 'continuing series' means that the series is still in the process of being released in English. Entries without this phrase are either finished or discontinued.

Regardless if you are a parent, librarian, teacher or just a fan there are several criteria to take into consideration when buying manga. A few are:

  1. Intended age group.
  2. Long series, short series or single volume titles.
  3. Problematic Content in Anime and Manga. While the titles here, with very few noted exceptions, are no more offensive than what is seen in novels and short stories the simple fact that it is illustrated can produce a stronger reaction from some adults who assume that anything with drawn characters is for children.
  4. Age ratings. Some companies are now setting age ratings.
  5. Cultural content. I shall be noting when titles have Japanese cultural content or deal with social issues of race, gender preference and identity. Racial monorities, gay and lesbian characters show up in some titles and this will usually be noted as some may be searching for such material.

I have included some 'Cautions' at the end of some entries. Erotica and pornographic works exist and will be noted as sexually explicit.

Note on buying items:

If you are interested in buying items I strongly urge you to check local dealers first. Buying locally saves money on shipping and encourages local merchants to stock more manga.

Title List:



Astro Boy.

Banana Fish.

Black Jack.

Blade of the Immortal.

Barefoot Gen.

Cannon God Exaxxion.

Club 9.

Dance in the Vampire Bund.

Disappearance Diary.

Doing Time.

Drifting Life.

Four Immigrants Manga.

Fushigi Yūgi.


Ghost in the Shell.

Gunsmith Cats and Gunsmith Cats Burst.

Hikaru no Go.

Hot Gimmick.

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit.

IWGP: Ikebukuro West Gate Park.



Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl.

Kaze Hikaru.


Lady Snowblood.

Lone Wolf and Cub.

Maison Ikkoku.


Mobile Police Patlabor.

Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin.

Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture.


Naoki Urasawa's Monster.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Neon Genesis Evangelion.



Oishinbo A La Carte.

Old Boy.

Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers.

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka.

Princess Knight.

Ranma 1/2.



Satsuma Gishiden.

Seraphic Feather.

Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan.

Strange Tale of Panorama Island.

Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist.

Times of Botchan.

20th Century Boys.


Video Girl Ai.

Wandering Island.

What Did You Eat Yesterday?.


Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan.

A Zoo in Winter

Full List (by story author):

- A - H - I - K - M - N - O - S - T - U - W - Y

- A -
Aihara Miki
Hot Gimmick by Aihara Miki
VIZ Media
Hatsumi's younger sister Akane confides in her that she may be pregnant. Akane is too nervous to buy a pregnancy test so Hatsumi does that for her, in disguise. Shedding the disguise she returns home only to bump into the Ryoki who she has feared since she was little. The test drops to the ground and Ryoki takes advantage of the situation to blackmail her. So begins a tale of a shy girl in an abnormal relationship that draws you in and makes you want the next volume as soon as you can get it.
Cultural Details: Modern school and urban life.
Cautions: Suitable for teens and older. Some sexual tension, nothing more explicit than clothed touching in a couple of panels.

Akahori Satoru
Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl by Akahori Satoru (story) and Katsura Yukimaru (art)
Seven Seas
Hazumu was feeling down, feeling rejected by the girl he likes, so he went for a walk in the hills. Then the alien spaceship crashed and killed him, then the aliens brought her back to life, oops Hazumu is now a girl, and the process cannot be undone. What Hazumu finds that he was in fact not rejected and is still liked by the girl, which leads to complications as another girl has liked him for some time resulting in a love triangle between the (now) three girls.
Cultural Details: School life, small town life.
Cautions: Girl - girl love, exposed teen flesh.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Anno Moyoko
Sakuran by Anno Moyoko
Vertical Inc.
Sold as a child into indentured servitude to a brothel in Edo's Yoshiwara district, Kiyoha remains a spirited child and refuses to accept her situation. She finds herself determined to become an oiran, the highest rank among the prostitues of the Edo, when she is told there is no way she can achieve that rank. Even as she works her way up the ranks her spirit is not broken, though it is tested many times. That same spirit helps establish her reputation and makes her desirable to many clients. Love and the pain it brings a woman like her increases her resolve to leave, but contracts such as her's are up to ten years and even if she walks out of the gates what options does she have in the world.
In 2007 the anime was adapted into a movie staring Tsuchiya Anna.
Cultural Details: Edo Period prostitution
Cautions: Some sexually explicit scenes.
Out of Print in the U.S.
Azuma Hideo
Disappearance Diary by Azuma Hideo
Twice in his career Azuma Hideo simply walked away from his work and family and lived as a homeless bum. He has left out the harshest parts of his experience intending to tell the story in a humerous light. We get to see how he survived scrounging for food, harvesting "wild" vegitables in gardens, trying to stay warm, finding change in vending machines etc. How he got a manual labor job, a place to stay and was eventually (both time) stopped and indentified by the cops who notified his wife. You also get to see what his life afterwards was like as his career as a mangaka progressed and he experimented with different kinds of stories including how he broke a taboo by creating the lolita genre with teenage girls in sexual situations.
Cultural Details: Everyday life and work. The manga industry.

- H -
Hanawa Kazuichi
Doing Time story by Hanawa Kazuichi
Manga artist Hanawa Kazuichi had a hobby, an illegal hobby, he loved guns and had some handguns he had picked up through the black market. However the police found out and he was sentenced to three years in prison. Doing Time is his account of the routine of Japanese prison life and the years he spent living it.
Cultural Details: Prison life, Japanese food.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Hirata Hiroshi
Satsuma Gishiden
Dark Horse
Hirata is known for the high quality of his writing, the dynamism of his art and his excellent calligraphy. Statsuma Gishiden is set in the Edo Period, specifically the mid-18th century, when the shogunate decided to weaken Satsuma Han by having them undertake a very expensive flood control project in another part of Japan. The tale is told in a series of story archs, which is very good as only three volumes of this work came out in English before low sales resulted in it going into haiatus. Those three volumes are worthy of purchase in and of themselves. The Satsuma samurai were known to be the most extreme warriors, maintaining a strict code of bushido to the point of avoiding contact with women they were not related to. frustrated and violent they were also brave to a high degree. Eventually, in the 19th century, they would play a major role the overthrow of the shogun's government.
Cultural Details: Everyday life in Satsuma and rural Japan.
Cautions: Quite violent, after all it is about Satsuma samurai..

Hotta Yumi (story) and Obata Takeshi (art)
Hikaru no Go story by Hotta Yumi, art by Obata Takeshi
VIZ Media
Hikaru is an energetic kid who does not do too well in school. Punished for bad grades by having his allowance cut off he is looking in his grandfather's attic for something to sell. He finds an old board for the ancient game of Go and proceeds to try to clean the stain off of it, a stain his friend does not see. Then he hears a voice saying "You can see it?" when he responds the speaker is happy he can hear him. Hikaru turns around to see the spirit of Fujiwara no Sai a Heian period Go master who died in exile and who cannot move on until he plays the perfect Go game, known as the Divine Move. How will Hikaru cope with being haunted in this way, and how will he cope with a growing interest in one of the most ancient board games in the world?
This manga, and the later anime, have resulted in literally millions of Japanese picking up a game that few were playing regularly. The same effect is happening in other parts of Asia especially China the nation where the game originated.
Cultural Details: Contemporary Japanese life, Go.

- I -
Inoue Takehiko
Real by Inoue Takehiko
VIZ Media
Continuing series.
Inoue is best known for his original basketball manga Slam Dunk and for his award winning manga Vagabond. Real is also a basketball manga but don't expect tall athletic players dashing about a court slam dunking the ball. Real is about wheelchair basketball, mainly about the players and people associated with them. The early volumes mainly follow Togawa; a player who has a bone disease that cut short his interest in competitive running as a child, Nomiya; a 'bad boy' who truly loves the game who was in an accident that left the girl he was with crippled, Takahashi; an arrogant athlete and former schoolmate of Nomiya who has lost the use of his legs due to an accident and a wheelchair basketball team called the Tigers. The story has a good pace, it would have been all too easy to rush the story however Inoue is allowing time for the characters to grow, for their feelings to be expressed and what happens to them to develop in such a way that the reader can be drawn in to the drama.
Cultural Details: Contemporary life.

Vagabond by Inoue Takehiko
VIZ Media
Continuing series.
Based on Yoshikawa Eiji's famous novel Musashi. This is the story of Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most famous swordsmen of Japanese history. Opening in 1600 at the aftermath of the battle of Sekigahara, the last battle between samurai armies before the founding of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the only battle Musashi was to ever fight in. And from there dramatizing his life. This manga won the 2000 Media Arts Award for manga from the Japanese Ministry of Culture.
Cultural Details: Early Edo Period life.
Cautions: Contains a little sex and plenty of violence, after all this is a story a swordsman.

Ishida Ira and Aritou Sena
IWGP: Ikebukuro West Gate Park by Ishida Ira (story) and Aritou Sena (art)
Digital Manga Publishing
Makoto is just a young guy interested in picking up girls on New Year's Eve when he and his friend meet Hikaru and Rika. They start hanging out together and in time become more than friends. However there is someone drugging and assaulting young women in the area leaving them unconscious in love hotels. When this happens to someone they know Makoto and his friends are drawn into events they would have rather avoided. That is the beginning of the first volume in a series of tales involving Makoto and events in his part of Toyko. Based on a popular novel that went on to be a top rated TV drama.

Cultural Details: Contemporary life in Tokyo.
Cautions: For Adults. Contains some sex scenes and some violence.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Ishikawa Masayuki
Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture by Ishikawa Masayuki
Del Rey
Tadayasu and his best friend Kei have moved to Tokyo to attend college. Tadayasu has a secret his friend knows, he can see bacteria with the naked eye and interact with them. However Tadayasu's grandfather has told an old friend, a professor at the school, about the secret and instructed Tadayasu to look him up. As word gets out college life takes a direction he did not expect, much to our amusement.

Cultural Details: Food, student life.
Cautions: Fermented foods some may find disgusting, others may find intriguing.
Out of Print in the U.S.

- K -
Kariya Tetsu (story)
Oishinbo A La Carte by Kariya Tetsu (story), Hanasaki Akira (art)

I have said for years that you cannot understand a culture unless you eat it's food. Now many non-Japanese think they know Japanese cuisine because they have had sushi, teriyaki and eaten instant ramen. Think again, there is far more variety and far more subtlety than most realize, even more than many Japanese realize. This is a series about food, and the people who make it, eat it and raise the ingredients. If you have any serious liking for food, not just Japanese food this is a series to pick up. In fact it goes beyond food to include one volume just on sake and in Japan the word sake means all alcoholic beverages.

One note however, originally this was a long series about a group of people, especially one young man, working on a project for a newspaper to create the "Ultimate Menu". However this edition is not a translation of the full original manga but of a later Japanese edition of select stories organized by culinary topic. This also means that you don't have to read them in any particular order, tho' personally I recommend the first volume Oishinbo A La Carte: Japanese Cuisine as a good place to start.

Cultural Details: Food, day to day life life.
Cautions: You may have a desire to eat foods which are difficult to get outside Japan.

Katsura Masakazu
Katsura is a master of romance stories for boys. He works in all the indecisveness, fear and insecurity a teenage boy has with girls.
I"s by Katsura Masakazu
VIZ Media
Ichitaka is very interested in Iori, however he is very shy about aproaching her. Itsuki is not a shy girl and is interested in Ichitaka. Add in Izumi and Aiko and the title becomes apparent with so many characters whose name begins with an "I" sound.
Cultural Details: Contemporary life.
Cautions: Contains some nudity and sexual humor.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Video Girl Ai by Katsura Masakazu
VIZ Media
Ai is a video girl, her entire purpose is to comfort those special enough to qualify to rent her tape. But Yota's VCR is defective and Ai comes out of the TV with a very different personality, and, to her anger, smaller breasts. Ai does try to help Yota in her own way, encouraging him to pursue the girl he is in love with, but Ai is now 'defective' and can feel love herself, something which does not please her maker.
Cultural Details: Contemporary life.
Cautions: Contains some nudity.

Kikuchi Hideyuki (story), Shin Yong-Gwa (art)
Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist by Kikuchi Hideyuki (story), Shin Yong-Gwa (art)
Kikuchi Hideyuki is best known outside Japan for his novels such as the Vampire Hunter D and Wicked City series. Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist is an excellent addition to his collection of works. Korean artists Shin Yong-Gwa's illustration have a mix of ethereal beauty and creepiness that go well with Kikuchi's story style. The tales are short series spread over a few chapters with the Akamushi Fujiwara assisting people who are having to deal with supernatural threats, however this exorcist acts as if he is more interested in the hunt than the clients.
Cultural Details: Supernatural elements, daily life
Cautions: violence, sexual situations.
Hardcopy Out of Print in the U.S.

Kio Shimoku
Sasahara Kanji is a freshman at Shiiou University, modeled on Chuo University, and is looking for a club to join. He considers the manga club, the anime club and eventually decides to check out Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyūkai (現代視覚文化研究会), "The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture”, Genshiken for short. However the story starts with Sasahara but is not about him, it is very much about the club as a whole and as the series progresses we see members graduate, new arrivals join in and old members occasionally show up. There ia also a second manga series, Genshiken: Second Season, which continues the tales of the club. Genshiken has also been adapted as an anime TV and OVA series.
Cultural Details: College Life, otaku culture, Tokyo locations
Cautions: References to erotic works of entertainment.

Kiyama, Henry (Yoshitaka)
Four Immigrants Manga
Stone Bridge Press
One volume.
The first manga in book form to have been published in the United States. Originally printed in 1931 in San Francisco this is the tale of a group of immigrants living in California in the very early 20th Century. The original was bilingual, with the Americans speaking English.

Kobayashi Makoto
Club 9 by Kobayashi Makoto
Dark Horse Comics
Haruo is a country girl from rural Akita ken. She is now living in Tokyo going to college, She has promised her boyfriend she would remain a virgin until she returns home.But she has an unwanted room mate, ghost of a drowned virgin, a drowned virgin guy, a ghost that does not want to stay a virgin. In desperation she moves in with a class mate, but not wanting to impose she tries to find a job, and is now working as a hostess in a club in the Ginza. Now the fun begins. I had to put this one down a few times I was laughing so hard.
Cultural Details: Contemporary life.
Cautions: Slight sexual humor.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Koike Kazuo
Lady Snowblood by Koike Kazuo (story) and Kamimura Kazuo (art)
Dark Horse Comics
4 Volumes
Oyuki was not only raised to take vengeance on those who brutally wronged her mother, she was conceived to do so. After years of training she is earning her living as a sword for hire in Meiji Era Japan. As she carries out her tasks she also looks for clues to the whereabouts of the two survivors of the gang her mother wanted to kill.
There are also two live action Lady Snowblood movies available subtitled in English.
Cultural Details: Meiji Era politics, daily life, events, prostitution, Tokyo locations, yakuza customs.
Cautions: Violence, sex, lesbianism, rape, seduction.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Lone Wolf and Cub by Koike Kazuo and Kojima Goseki
Dark Horse Comics
28 Volumes
Long considered one of the great classics of manga with millions of copies printed, some in hardcover editions in Japan. There was an earlier incomplete translation done in the late 1980s of part of the series. This time the entire series has been translated straight to book form. Lone Wolf and Cub is the story of a bushi widower who has been forced out of his position and has become a professional assassin traveling the countryside with his young son.
From 2003-2006 Koike Kazuo teamed up with a new artist Mori Hideki to continue the story of the son using the art style of the late Kojima Goseki
There are also live action Lone Wolf and Cub movies available subtitled in English.
Cultural Details: Dense with details on common and samurai life of the Tokugawa Era, each volume has a glossary at the end of each volume.
Cautions: Violence, occasional sexual situations.

- M -
Maruo Suehiro
Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Maruo Suehiro
Last Gasp
A manga adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's famous novel. The tale of an impoverished writer, a wealthy classmate from their college years, a death and resurrection leading to the creation of a playful utopian paradise involving an entire island and costing a fortune in money and resources. How this project came to be, the motivations of the creator and how secrets were uncovered told in a way that keeps you turning the pages. The readers of the novel will notice some differences from the novel, however these are very much in the spirit of the original.
Cultural Details: Taisho Period Japan
Cautions: Some sexually explicit scenes.
Out of Print in the U.S.
Mase Motoro
Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit by Mase Motoro
VIZ Media
In another Japan, an alternative history, there is the National Welfare Act which requires all students to get vaccinated. In that injection one out of a thousand get a capsule implanted which between the ages of 18-24 will result in death. The purpose of this law is to remind the populace of the shortness of life and that it is precious. Shortly before an individual's death date local government officials get a notification. They then pass on an ikigami, a notice to the person that they have 24 hours to live. This series is about Kengo Fujimoto who's job includes delivering the notices, and about the reactions of the people who receive them, and his own reactions. However Fujimoto must keep his feelings and doubts to himself or risk serious trouble with the National Welfare Police, trouble that could end his life.
Cultural Details: Modern urban life
Cautions: Death

Miyazaki Hayao
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Miyazaki Hayao
VIZ Media
Internationally famous director Miyazaki's only manga series. The story was begin in the 1980s but sat unfinished for a decade until fan pressure convinced Miyazaki to complete the tale. This is the story of Nausicaä a young princess who find herself and her small kingdom caught up in a war between larger empires.
The Nausicaä anime is also available in English.

Mizuki Shigeru
Kitaro by Mizuki Shigeru
Drawn and Quarterly.
Mizuki's most famous character is Kitaro, originally a horror manga it was restructured in a kid friendly form and became a huge success. Kitaro was born from his mother's corpse and clawed his way out of the grave. His father was decaying from a horrible disease but was so worried about his son that one of his eyes survived growing arms and legs. Toss in various supernatural characters and you have a wide range of tales than can be spun.
NonNonBa by Mizuki Shigeru
Drawn and Quarterly.
Mizuki's account of his early childhood and his friendship with an old woman he called NonNonBa. Her views on the supernatural and her tales to him became a fountainhead he could draw on when writing tales about the supernatural. The book is also a look into the life of children at the time.
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths by Mizuki Shigeru
Drawn and Quarterly.
As a young man Mizuki had received some attention for art he had submitted to exhibitions. However he was drafted during WWII and fought in the south Pacific where he lost his left arm, he was left handed at the time. This tale draws on his wartime experiences and what he heard of a unit that survived an American attack only to be informed that their glorious deaths had been reported to Japan. Rather than admit the soldiers survived the unit was ordered to return to the front lines and attack the Americans again to finally die in battle.
Showa: A History of Japan by Mizuki Shigeru
Drawn and Quarterly.
Mizuki's four volume set covering the history of the Showa Period, 1926-1989. It covers the social and political changes in Japan as well as what life was like for Mizuki living in those times. The Showa was a period when Japan went from an increasingly democratic and cosmopolitan nation to one of increasing repression under right wing politicians and a belligerent military that took an aggressive role in military expansion abroad and social repression at home, followed by a military defeat and the post year wars of recovery and growing affluence.

- N -
Nakazawa Keiji
Barefoot Gen by Nakazawa Keiji
Last Gasp
The classic manga, 4 volumes were first translated into English in the late 1970s by New Society Publishing. The current edition is a new translation of all ten volumes for the first time. This covers from the days before the bombing to the main characters move to Tokyo in the mid 1950s. The author himself survived the bombing of Hiroshima and based this tale on his experiences and those of others. Gen starts out as a happy kid coping with living during WWII with his oparents sister and brother as best a kid can. With the bombing things rapidly change as only he and his pregnant mother survive the bombing. They struggle to do their best in the weeks after the bombing, and over time begin to form friendships with other survivors and from this a group of friends who help each other come into being. The authors anti-militaristic views are presented with force and humor as we see Japan's recovery from the devistation of the war through the experiences of one young man.
Cultural details: Military occupation, Hiroshima, daily life 1945-1955.
Order Barefoot Gen from Last Gasp

- O -
Otomo Katsuhiro
Akira by Otomo Katsuhiro
6 volumes.
The most famous manga by Otomo. Now reissued in the original black and white format in a series of very large volumes. Each volume is about 360 pages long and the height and width of a typical US comic. This title was originally issued in the late 1980s and early 1990s in a colorized version with needless additional explanatory text added to many of the wordless sequences, the extra text is not included in this edition.
There is also an Akira anime available

- S -
Sadamoto Yoshiyuki
Neon Genesis Evangelion by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki
VIZ Media
Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga version of the famous anime TV series described in the anime section. Not only is there this version of the original story there are also parodies and the Neon Genesis Evangelion Shinji Ikari Raising Project whioch places the characters in a different story.

Samura Hiroaki
Blade of the Immortal by Samura Hiroaki
Dark Horse Comics
Continuing Series.
Manji is a swordsman with an interesting curse, he is infected with a type of worm which makes it almost impossible for him to die. He does not age, cut him deeply and it heals, chop off a part and he can reattach it. He has been told that if he kills a thousand he can be free from his immortality.
The manga also was adapted into an anime series and live action movie.
Cultural details: Daily life in Tokugawa Japan.
Cautions: Not for kids, graphic violence and some sexual situations.

Ohikkoshi by Samura Hiroaki
Dark Horse Comics
One volume.
Two sets of interrelated short stories: the first series about a group of art students, their loves and aspirations, the second about a female manga artist who has to deal with men, a fondness for mahjong, unwanted affection from an editor and a gang war. There is an extra in the form of "Kyōto Super Barhopping Journal: Bloodbath at Midorogaike," an account of a trip to Kyōto the author took with some of the staff of the magazien he was working for.
Cultural details: Modern life.
Cautions: A few adult situations.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Shirow Masamune
Appleseed by Shirow Masamune
Dark Horse Comics
Shirow Masamune is best known for his Ghost in the Shell manga. This earlier series involves two survivors of a world war, Deunan and her partner Briaros, who are recruited by Olympus, a large utopian nation playing a role in the emerging new international order. But all is not peaceful in utopia as is shown by the fact that these new recruits skills are only applicable to the police. Appleseed is a very complex story that not only deals with the lives of the protagonists but the political and economic structure of a world very different and vaguely familiar to ours. There are four volumes in the series plus two supplementary works:
There are also Appleseed anime, the first was done with cell animation the others with 3D computer animation.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor
Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface
3 volumes.
Described in the anime section. The manga is different in many ways from the anime with detailed discussions that would not work so well on the screen.
There are also two Ghost in the Shell anime features directed by Mamoru Oshii available, two seasons of a TV show and third feature following the TV series storyline.
The second volume takes place a few years after the first and includes large color sequences, the third is stores about section 9 that take place after the major leaves.
Cautions: Violence and nudity. The second edition of volume one from Dark Horse had the two page lesbian sex scene restored, the current Kodansha Comics USA edition has removed the scene, the bilingual edition includes it.

Sonoda Kenichi
Cannon God Exaxxion by Sonoda Kenichi
Dark Horse Comics
This report is based on volume one. I never expected to be so excited about this title as I was when I finished the first volume. Sonoda has created a giant robot manga like no other. In this series the main character has to face alien invaders, but he is armed with weapons built by his grandfather a highly successful inventor who in some cases built his weapons by reverse engineering alien technology, and not technology from the invaders.
Cautions: Realistic portrayals of sex and violence are promised in the author info.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Gunsmith Cats and Gunsmith Cats Burst by Sonoda Kenichi
Dark Horse Comics
Rally Vincent is a gunsmith and bounty hunter who is also a serious firearms nut, Minnie-May is her friend and assistant who has a certain obsession, and skill, with explosives. The setting is Chicago, need I say more?
Cautions: Violence, occasional sexually explicit situations and nudity.
Out of Print in the U.S.

- T -
Takahashi Hiroshi

Worst by Takahashi Hiroshi
Digital Manga Publishing

Hana has just moved to Tokyo to attend High School. Born and raised in the country, so far from anything that cell phones don't work in his area, he is a bit lost in the city. He find his boarding house run by two brothers that look more like a yakuza and a woman than landlords and makes new friends with his house mates. Then on the first day of school the new students are called into the auditorium for the traditional challenge, to see who will be the last standing after a fighting competition. Hana has found himself in a place that he find exciting. And that's just the first volume.
This is a surprisingly well written story for a fight manga, the characters have distinct personalities and I was easily drawn into the story.
Cautions: Violence, this is a fight manga after all.

Takahashi Rumiko
Inu-Yasha by Takahashi Rumiko
VIZ Media
The title can be translated as Dog-Demon. The story involves a girl who's family has run a shrine for centuries. One day she is pulled into a sacred well by a centipede woman, finds herself hundreds of years in the past and part of a struggle against various demons that could result in the deaths of many innocent bystanders.
Cultural Details: Historical setting, folklore.

Maison Ikkoku by Takahashi Rumiko
VIZ Media
Described in the anime section.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Ranma 1/2 by Takahashi Rumiko
VIZ Media
described in the anime section.

Tamaki Nozomu
Dance in the Vampire Bund by Tamaki Nozomu
Seven Seas Entertainment
Japan's economy had collapsed, the nation caught with massive debts. Then there is a sudden recovery, a recovery fueled by funds from outside in a secret deal withe the government. The deal is made public, along with details of the agreement to secure the funds. A large artificial island in Tokyo Bay is to become The Vampire Bund, a project by the queen of vampires to come out of the darkness and live in harmony with humanity. However there are those who oppose it, both human and vampire.

Cautions: Violence, nudity and non-explicit sexual situations.

Taniguchi Jirō
The Times of Botchan by Taniguchi Jirō (art) & Sekikawa Natsuo (story).
Set in the later part of the Meiji Period this is a tale of Japan at that time told by centering around the lives of several renound writers in the Tokyo area. The combination of Taniguchi's beautiful art and Sekikawa's writing is excellent. The personal element set by focusing on a few individuals is a good one to maintain interest. The dynamism of the time is evident in the various incidents and the literary device of having so many significant people know each other is not that far fetched as Tokyo was the intellectual center of the country at the time and many of these figures did know each other rather well.
Cultural Details: Everyday life, Japanese history, literature, social change.

A Zoo in Winter by Taniguchi Jirō.
Set in the late 1960s this is the story of a young man in his late teens who goes from working for a fabric wholesaler in Kyoto to working as an assistant for a manga artist in Tokyo. On the way he meets people who enter his life casually and with significance, he learns from the experiences he has with them and eventually decides to work at becoming a manga artist himself.
Cultural Details: Everyday life, Kyoto and Tokyo geography.

Tatsumi Yoshihiro
Drifting Life by Tatsumi Yoshihiro
Seven Seas Entertainment
A fictionalized account of the authors life from August 1945 to June 1960. The work chronicles his rise as a manga artist from his early efforts, contact with Tezuka Osamu, struggles with publishers, move to Tokyo, and role in creating the gekiga genre of manga. This is a massive work, at 840 pages one of the longest single volume manga published in English.
Cultural Details : Postwar life in the Ōsaka area, 1950s Tokyo life, manga industry
Cautions: Mild nudity.

Tezuka Osamu
Astro Boy by Tezuka Osamu
Dark Horse Comics
23 volumes.
Tezuka's classic story of a robot boy. Written for children, this work is surprisingly sophisticated for it's audience dealing with issues of discrimination, war, and dignity.

Black Jack by Tezuka Osamu
17 volumes.
Black Jack is perhaps the second best known Tezuka character behind Atom (Astro Boy). Black Jack is a highly skilled, but unlicensed surgeon, who charges extremely high fees for his skills, often he takes on cases others have given up on. Tezuka was a graduate of medical school and draws upon that knowledge in these stories, even if the the situations and surgical feats are often exaggerated.

Metropolis by Tezuka Osamu
Dark Horse Comics
1 volume.
The tale of the creation of a robot who is raised as a child. She does not know her origins and searches for the parents she feels must exist. But those who had her made have other plans. Many themes found in later Tezuka works are found in this early story. There is also a Metropolis anime.
Out of Print in the U.S.

MW by Tezuka Osamu
1 volume.
A bank clerk who is amoral and a guilt driven Catholic priest share a secret. They were the only survivors on an island where the entire population was wiped out by a U.S. weapon stored there. The Japanese government and the U.S. have been covering up the disaster for decades. Now the clerk wants to return to the island and use the remaining stockpiles to create massive destruction and the priest must stop him. However the priest finds himself still attracted to the young man who, then a kidnap victim, he raped many years ago on that island before he converted and became a clergyman.

Princess Knight by Tezuka Osamu
2 volumes.
A manga classic. Prince Sapphire has a secret, the prince is actually a girl. Secretly raised as a prince to prevent the succession from going to Plastic the son of Duke Duralmin Sapphire's training includes horsemanship and sword fighting. But after the death of the king Duke Duralmin's loyal henchman sir Nylon uncovers her secret which sets in motion a tale of valor, magic and romance that has delighted Tezuka fans for years.
Cultural Details: The style of this tale is heavily influenced by the famous all female musical theater troop of Takarazuka, the home town of Tezuka.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Tsuchiya Garon (story) Minegishi Nobuaki (art)
Old Boy
Dark Horse
A man wakes up after a night of drinking. He finds himself in a concrete room with a bed and TV. The next room has a shower, toilet and sink. Ten years later he wakes up in a park in Tokyo with questions, who locked him up for ten years and why? Quickly he decides that if he goes for revenge he will have been defeated, his spirit would have been broken. Instead he starts to hunt for the answers to his questions and the reader is treated to a story of suspense with the hunter being also the hunted. While the famous Korean movie of the same name claims to be based on this manga there is little in common between the two.
Cautions: An adult story, much would bore younger readers plus there are a few sex scenes.
Cultural Details: Tokyo, urban life.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Tsuruta Kenji
Wandering Island
Dark Horse
Mikura Amelia runs an airfreight delivery service between islands in the Izu and Ogasawara island chains with her grandfather. After her grandfather's death she finds a series of notebooks tracking a mysterious island that wanders the ocean. Asking around she finds out there are legends of the island. However the notebooks are not about folklore but actual attempts to predict the path of a physical island and find it. Intrigued Mikura begins her own search, one that takes some time as the island only drifts by every three years.
Cultural Details: Tokyo, island life as these islands are part of Tokyo.
Paperback Out of Print in the U.S.

- U -
Urasawa Naoki
Urasawa is one of Japan's masters of suspense literature. These titles are excellent examples of his work with tales than keep you coming back volume after volume.
20th Century Boys by Urasawa Naoki
VIZ Media
As grade schoolers Kenji and his friends created a story in 1969 about an evil organization. Then almost 30 years later the crimes of the organization start taking place. When one of the group dies from an apparent suicide Kenji starts looking into a new cult that is becoming more visible which that friend had asked him about in a letter. As he and his friends start recalling the events of their childhood they get drawn in deeper into events that will change their lives, change the face of international politics, and threaten the survival of humanity.
There is also a series of three movies based on the manga.
Cautions: Contains a short non-explicit scene in a sex trade business, (fasshon herusu (fashion health)) in one volume..
Cultural Details: Tokyo, urban life.

Naoki Urasawa's Monster by Urasawa Naoki
VIZ Media
A young Japanese surgeon practicing in a German hospital saves the life of a young boy and in doing so ruins his chances of advancement and loses his fiancé. Years later a series of killings leads him to hunt for the boy and his sister, a hunt that results in him becoming the prime suspect in the murders. As he follows the trail of clues into Eastern Europe he is pursued by the police and an organization that does not want their work to be public knowledge.
There is also an anime TV series.
Cautions: Contains an explicit sex scene late in the series.

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka by Urasawa Naoki
VIZ Media
Taking one story from Tezuka Osamu's Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy) manga and rewriting it from the perspective of other characters in the tale Urasawa has produced a science fiction crime story sure to lease his fans. Gesicht, a top robot detective for Europol, investigates a series of mysterious serial murders of some of the most advanced robots on Earth. As he investigates he uncovers information about events from years past, including some from his own life which should not have been forgotten.

Utatane Hiroyuki and Morimoto Yo

Seraphic Feather by Utatane Hiroyuki (art) and Morimoto Yo (story)
Dark Horse Comics
When he was little Sunao had his best friend Kei move to the moon where she died in a disaster. Years later he goes there to visit her grave and one day runs into Kei but she does not remember him. Quickly he is drawn into an adventure he never expected, an adventure involving interesting alien technology, as he stays to find out what happened to Kei.
Cautions: Some nudity, Utatane established his reputation as an erotic manga artist and it shows.
Out of Print in the U.S.

- W -
Watanabe Taeko
Kaze Hikaru by Watanabe Taeko
VIZ Media
Kamiya Seizaburo in 1863 joins the Shinsengumi in the hope of taking vengence on the killers of his father and older brother. Small and quick Kamiya passes the test of skill in the use of the sword and is accepted. Okita Soji, a legendary swordsman and one of the founding members of the Shinsengumi, takes Seizaburo under his wing. However Kamiya is not a he but a she who had taken to disguising herself to carry out her mission and some of the men are very enamored with this "pretty boy" who has joined their troop.
Cultural Details: 19th Century Kyoto, bakumatsu, Shinsengumi, 19th Century urban life.
Cautions: Violence, swordplay, nothing sexual shown, references to male male sexuality, references to prostitution.

Watase Yu
Fushigi Yūgi by Watase Yu
VIZ Media
Miaka likes to eat and is struggling to get into an exclusive high school, in Japan you have to take entrance exams for high school. An incident happens when she is in a special collection at the National Library of Japan and she find herself in another world, a world very much like ancient China. She is recognized as the priestess of Suzaku and to get home she must gather together seven heroes. The gathering proves to be a daunting task and with many emotional consequences. One of the heroes is gay and very sympathetically portrayed.
Excellent for teens, very popular with girls.
There is also a very popular anime series.

- Y -
Yamada Futaro (story), Segawa Masaki (art)
Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan by Yamada Futaro (story), Segawa Masaki (art)
Del Rey
A group of vassals attempting to deal with the brutal excesses of their lord have been executed for treason, now their wives and daughters are out for revenge. Can a group of women develop the skills for fighting and strategy to destroy a daimyo and his bodyguards, the Seven Spears? If they have the famous swordsman Yagyu Jyubei Mitsuyoshi teaching them they just might pull it off.
Cultural Details: Samurai culture, ninjas, Edo, 17th century Japan
Cautions: violence, torture (mainly the aftermath), sexual situations.
Out of Print in the U.S.

Yoshida Akimi
Banana Fish by Yoshida Akimi
VIZ Media
The story of Ash a young gang leader who enters into a conflict with the mob over a strange drug. A drug somehow connected with his older brother's mind being seriously damaged in Vietnam. Ash is assisted by several friends including a Japanese photographer and his assistant. As the story develops they hunt for clues as to the meaning of Banana Fish and hide from those out to kill them.
Cautions: Violence, as would be expected, and sexual situations.

Yasuhiko Yoshikazu
Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Vertical Inc.
Yoshikazu Yasuhiko's retelling of the story of the original Gundam anime TV series (1979-1980). His retelling fleshes out many details and brings the tale to life in manga form. For both experienced fans and beginners this series is a good introduction to the growing corpus of the Universal Century Gundam stories. When this manga was first proposed to Kadokawa Shoten Publishing, it was with the goal of each installment being about 100 pages, almost 4 times as long as most mange serializations. Kadokawa Shoten decided to publish the story in a new magazine, a magazine entirely devoted to Gundam, Gundam Ace. Gundam Ace proved so successful that it rapidly went from a quarterly to a bimonthly in one year and became a monthly in 2003. There is even a Chinese edition published in Taiwan.
Yoshikazu Yasuhiko later directed a series of anime features based on the manga.

Yoshinaga Fumi
All My Darling Daughters by Yoshinaga Fumi
VIZ Media
A collection of interrelated stories dealing mainly with the relations between mothers and their daughters. Wonderful stuff exploring the complexities of families and relationships.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers by Yoshinaga Fumi
VIZ Media
During the Edo Period (1600-1868) Japan was an enigma to the West. What little was known was from the few accounts of 16th century missionaries and merchants. The nation had closed itself off from the rest of the world to preserve itself from disruptive influences and the threat of invasion. But what if something else happened at this time, what if a disease known as the 'red pox' had started in the North and spread throughout the land killing the majority of adolescent boys leaving a large female population who then took on the traditional males roles and actually run the country.
Cautions: Violence, as would be expected with samurai, and sexual situations including male-male, as would be expected with samurai.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Yoshinaga Fumi
Vertical Inc.
Shiro is a lawyer, his good looks make him seem younger than he is. He is serious, very much a professional, and his co-workers assume he is single even at his age. Kenji is a hair stylist, fashionable, and not very serious. Kenji is openly gay where Shiro is very much in the closet. Shiro's serious side comes out in his overseeing the household finances. His love for Kenji is partly expressed through cooking delicious meals on a tight budget. Together they make a good match. The series is very character driven, not only showing us Kenji and Shiro but also glimpses into the lives of their friends. The cooking is one part readers enjoy, you can actually follow the process Shiro goes through as he talks to himself.
Cautions: None really, just the life of a happy gay couple and good food.

Yuki Masami
Mobile Police Patlabor by Yuki Masami
VIZ Media
described in the anime section.
Out of Print in the U.S.

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Created August 8, 1999 | Updated November 21, 2020a