Monday, January 23, 2012

Manga Mondays Meme (86): Recommend Contemporary Manga Series

New Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 18 months ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Needed: Good Contemporary Manga Series

Shoujo Manga is filled with fantasy and paranormal series. Just like American teenagers, Japanese teenage girls seem to have an infatuation with vampires. Don't get me wrong, I like my vampires as much as the next girl. In fact, I probably like them even more (Edward Cullen...sigh; Jasper Hale...sigh; Adrian Ivashkov...sign; Christian Ozera...sigh; On the manga side: Zero...sigh).

Sometimes, though, I'm in the mood for something a little more realistic. But realistic manga series aren't that easy to find. That's not true exactly - good, realistic manga series are hard to find.

The only realistic series that I've read and really loved was Sand Chronicles by Hinako Asihara.

I loved the serious issues that the series dealt with, the depth of the characters, and the tragic, drama-filled romance of Ann and Daigo. It was a bit melodramatic but felt more real than any other series I've read. I want to read more like this one.

I just read the first volume of Sugar Princess by Hisaya Nakajo. It was cute and contemporary - although I find it hard to call a series where the main character executes a perfect double axle the first time she put on ice skates realistic.

I've also read the first volumes of:

Peach Girl - Miwa Ueda
Love*Com - Aya Nakahara
Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi, and Sashimi - Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki

These were okay, but I didn't love any of them. Peach Girl and Love*Com both were in the silly/stupid realm to me. Oishinbo was decent, but not in the shoujo world that I like best.

So I am looking to you for advice:

What are some good contemporary fiction manga series? Even better if they are serious, not just a flighty romance and dumb jokes. 

Sign up for the Manga Mondays Meme!


  1. Hey Alison, I'm having issues commenting on your IMM. *lol* But it allowed me to comment here! Any who, thanks for visiting my blog. I know you love Manga; and I've been meaning to ask you if you've heard of the "2012 Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge"? If not you should check it out.

    Happy Reading!

    Kindred Dreamheart

  2. Hi, Alison!

    Here are a few more you can try if you haven't already -

    Forbidden Dance by Ashihara
    Monkey High
    Kimi ni Todoke

    Those are the ones on the top of my head. I have to think about it to recommend more :)

    1. I definitely have to push the Kimi ni Todoke here too - it's completely sweet and really makes me feel all warmy & mushy inside frequently while still keeping things real.

    2. I'm having trouble with the comment box, so I've clicked reply!

      Skip Beat is fantastic! It's one of my favourites, so it's a definite must read!
      A Devil and her Love Song, is coming out soon and is another definite must read! (nothing to do with paranormal)
      Beast Master is an amazing 2 volume manga that is one of my all time favourites!
      Beauty Pop is another favourite!

      Hmm I could probably rec about 100 more lol but no more have popped up for the moment so I'll have to get back to you!

    3. so I googled all your recs and Kimi ni Todoke seems promising! I like the 'Slowly, but surely, a sweet love blossoms between the two as they overcome circumstances and obstacles that stand in their way.' part of the plot according to wiki. Since Rywn says it keep things real, I will definitely be reading this ASAP! thanks you guys:D

      Racquel @ The Book Barbies♥
      -thank you&come again.

    4. @Kate this is not the first time I see someone recommended A Devil and her Love Song, hmm, added to my TBR shelf!

      definitely tell us about those 100 more recs;D

    5. Thanks Julie! I've definitely been meaning to try Skip Beat. I'll have to look up the brownies.
      @KTJ Thanks for clueing my into A Devil and her Love Song. Looks very interesting.

      Kimi ni Todoke is rising on my list since lots of you seem to like it.

    6. @ KTJ and Alison - Yes, Beauty Pop! That is so funny - I totally forgot about it!

      Beast Master is good - only two volumes, too!

      I have A Devil and Her Love Song, but wasn't able to read it over the weekend as planned :(

      I like Itazura Na Kiss, too. It's an older series. The mangaka sadly died before competing it.

      I love Library Wars, too! It's not really shoujo, but I think you would enjoy it, too.

      I have a love/hate relationship is Miki Aihara - her characters are spineless, but I find her stories compellingly readable. Honey Hunt and Hot Gimmick have been released by Viz. Hot Gimmick was great until the last 2 volumes - just a warning.

      Crimson Hero is about a girl and her love for volleyball. I hate volleyball, but love this series. I think Viz gave up on this one at vol 14, though.

      Flower in a Storm by Shigeyoshi Takagi is quick and funny, too.

      sorry for the long reply...

  3. Sorry Alison, I can't help in your question:( I don't know of a good contemporary manga series. But, I am going to check out all of the suggestions from @Manga Maniac! Thanks

  4. I can't answer your question either, but I just have to say how much I love how wide the girl's mouth is on the cover of Sand Chronicles:) It's funny how they have huge, gaping mouths but no teeth. That's completely random and not helpful at all to your question, but there it is:) The illustrations are beautiful though, I wish I could draw characters like that!

  5. Girl, I wish I could help you with your question, but I'm less than a newbie...I'm a wannabe newbie when it comes to manga! Can you recommend any good manga to just dip my toes in the water?

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. You might like Bakuman. It's about two guys who want to create their own manga series. It's kind of a behind the scenes of how it actually happens. It's really good. :)

  8. I need recommendations too but I was thinking of checking these series out:

    Crossroad by Shioko Mizu
    Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa (I think this one is out of print)

    Check out these sites for more recommendations:

    1. Thanks for the recs! I haven't heard of these.

    2. Yes! Paradise Kiss! Ai Yazawa is an absolute FAVE of mine! You should look at NANA, too, but that is incomplete, and due to health issues, Yazawa working on it VERY SLOWLY....

  9. Hmmm...I really can't think of any good contemporary manga that is...normal. Isn't that sad? But you have two good picks here, and I will be on the lookout for you.

    I don't normally do manga mondays, but today I have some manga reviews posted! Check them out if you'd like:


  10. Hi Alison!

    Okay, serious normal manga is definitely not my speciality but... The best I can tell you:

    Koizora (grab your tissues): high school, serious love story.

    Watashitachi no shiawasena jikan: short, tough and sweet. I think you might like it!

    Do let me know what you think if you check them out!

    Ron @ Stories of my life

    1. Added both to my TBR shelf. Koizora especially! I love the illustrations, very different for some reason. Great recs:D

      Racquel @ The Book Barbies♥
      -thank you&come again.

    2. Thanks Ron! Koizora definitely sounds up my alley.

  11. I enjoy MM because even though it's a genre I don't read, I like knowing what is out I had not clue that Contemporary Manga existed. So cool. I'm happy to see others sharing their love for manga.

  12. Oh I love this MM today! I love contemporary, my favorite genre:D even though I read prince of tennis, eye shield 21 and similar boyish manga I really do love josei (even more then Shōujo, like you said it seems like I always read silly shoujo!) manga the most which I think kind of fits along with contemporary. Sand Chronicles sounds pretty interesting and I will make sure to check everyone recs int he comments:D I like these specific genre focus MM! (i just really love contemporary haha)

    Racquel @ The Book Barbies♥
    -thank you&come again.

  13. I always think it's the other way around--that shojo manga is heavy in realism.

    I'd suggest Skip Beat! (this one is THE best out there, for real), Ouran High School Host Club, Absolute Boyfriend (currently reading-is really good), High School Debut (very cute), The Wallflower (love this anime), The Story of Saiunkoku, Kimi ni Todoke (which I hear fab things about). Realism is all the rage!

    1. Ouran High School Host Club is one that I've been wanting to start. Everyone raves about it. Skip Beat too.

    2. @Cathy & Alison - another great series I completely forgot about - I 2nd the recommendation for High School Debut.

      The Wallflower is good, too, but it gets repetitive. It's great in small doses.

  14. *claps hands* I've read a couple of those and really enjoyed them! One contemporary I LOVE (though it kinda went a little scifi toward the end) was Weiss Kreuz about four young assassins, each with a painful secret in their past that they feel driven to seek redemption for. They also made an animated series out of it (I discovered that before the manga) and just can't say enough good things about this series!


  15. I agree with the recommendations for Ouran High School Host Club, Bakuman and High School Debut, and would like to add some recommendations of my own:
    Hana-Kimi (shoujo)
    With the Light (josei)
    Only the Ring Finger Knows (shounen-ai)
    Seven Days (shounen-ai)
    Confidential Confessions (shoujo - and quite mature/dark)
    Hikaru no Go (shounen)
    Wandering Son (drama)

  16. I definitely agree on Kimi ni Todoke and Ouran High School Host Club! They're both fantastic, cute, and super hilarious.

    I'd also recommend We Were There, which won an award, and Nodame Cantabile, which is a hilarious slice of life type of story about two musicians and all of their equally quirky friends.

    If you're looking for something more gritty and mature, I'd recommend Life by Keiko Suenobu. I haven't read it yet, but I read a oneshot by the author, and my sister said that it was basically a shorter version of what Life was about, which was pretty surprising since it was so intense and realistic.

  17. I am super stoked about this. I've been telling myself I need to start reading one manga a week since I've been neglecting them lately. This is just the push I needed!

  18. I REALLY loved Ouran high school host club!! it was HILARIOUS, another awesome one is Skip Beat!! I'm actually watching the taiwanese dram adaptation for it and its GREAT!! check it out if you want :D

    another favorite is Parfait Tic! , this one is AMAZING, but the last couple of volumes haven't been released in english yet so i am impatiently waiting for them.

    - juhina


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