Monday, December 17, 2018

best of 2018: manga and graphic novels

A few notes:

  • Not all of these were first released in 2018, but that's when I first read them.  (This is why the list doesn't include long-running series that I'm still keeping up with like Food Wars!, since they've already been included in previous "best of" lists.)
  • All of these are commercially available in the United States.
  • Because there are only five titles listed here, they are in preferential order.
  • I doubt anyone still believes comics/graphic novels/manga are strictly kiddie fare in this, the year of Our Lord 2018, but just in case: I've made a parenthetical note of any potentially objectionable content.
  • And, as always, your mileage may vary.

1. The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu:  I don't want to tell you what this series is about, because I think the less you know about it going in, the more you'll enjoy it.  I hadn't even finished the first chapter of the first volume when something happened that made me gasp out loud, and every single volume has had at least one "Holy shit!" moment, so try not to spoil it for yourself.  (Strong violence; disturbing themes that I can't specify due to spoilers)

2. My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi:  This autobiographical manga covered a lot of topics I've never seen depicted (or depicted realistically) in manga: self-injury, eating disorders, debilitating depression, and coming to terms with one's sexuality.  Terrific, and very highly recommended.  (Strong sexual content/nudity; strong language; potentially triggering content listed above)

3. Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu:  Eric "Bitty" Bittle loves baking, ice hockey...and his team captain Jack.  Funny and very sweet.  (Strong language; sports violence)

4. My Solo Exchange Diary by Nagata Kabi:  The sequel to #2 on this list is not quite as engrossing as its predecessor, but still well worth reading to see how the author continues her search for self-acceptance and love.  (See #2)

5.  The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang:  At night, Prince Sebastian dresses up in gorgeous gowns and hits the town as Lady Crystallia.  Fearing parental and political censure, he has to hide this side of himself, but he finds an ally in Frances, a talented dressmaker.  A lovely tale of inclusiveness that doesn't feel forced.  (No objectionable content that I can recall)