Here are our top ten recommendations for comics to read as the year comes to an end.

2020 is drawing to a close, and while it may have been a year where a lot of stuff was cancelled or postponed, for some it was a year of productivity, with new-found free time being put to good use. Some of us learned how to cook, some took up photography. For some of us, though, 2020 was the perfect time to hunker down with a cup of tea and a good manga. And with people being encouraged to stay home and stay safe over the next couple of days, there’s no better time to lose yourself in a good story or two!

SoraNews24 Japanese-language writer K. Masami has compiled a list of the top ten manga that she’s planning to read over the winter holidays. Have a peek at them and see if any take your fancy!

1. Silver Spoon (Hiromu Arakawa) — 15 volumes

First on Masami’s list of books to read is Silver Spoon. Written by Hiromu Arakawa, the author behind the Full Metal Alchemist series, Silver Spoon is a charming tale about life in an agricultural high school (Arakawa herself is a graduate from an agricultural high school). Silver Spoon tells the tale of protagonist and city boy Yuugo Hachiken, as he struggles to fit in with his classmates, all of whom come from agricultural families. If you like coming-of-age stories or cows, this may be the perfect manga for you.

2. Tokusatsu Gagaga (Niwa Tanba) — 20 volumes 

Tokusatsu Gagaga tells the story of Kano Nakamura. By day, she’s a super girly office worker, but by night, she’s a huge fan of tokusatsu series (think Power Rangers and Kamen Rider!) The story makes you think; who dictates what sort of things you’re supposed to be into as adults? So what if you’re still into the same things you were when you were younger? People should be free to pursue whatever hobbies and interests they want, regardless of age or gender.

3. Hozuki’s Coolheadedness (Natsumi Eguchi) — 31 volumes

Next up is Hozuki’s Coolheadedness, a dark comedy from Natsumi Eguchi. The story revolves around demon Hozuki, who works for the King of Hell. Hozuki is tasked with sorting out which kind of Hell incoming dead people will be sent to. The story doesn’t particularly have any big moments, rather more like a slice of life series set in Hell. The series was made into an anime back in 2014.

4. Daddy and Pop’s Home Cooked Meals (Yu Toyota) 13 volumes

Written by the same author as the hit drama Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!, this manga is about two single fathers who share a house together, along with their children. The story is about their daily struggle to cook meals for their kids; after all, cooking not just for yourself but for others is tough, but often more fun. Not only is the story charming, but there are some pretty tasty looking recipes in the story that you’ll want to try out yourself, so this manga doubles up as a cookbook too! And for budding mixologists, we recommend the spin-off series Daddy and Pop’s Homemade Drinks.

5. Let’s Eat Together, Aki and Haru (Makoto Taji) — ongoing series

College students and close friends Aki and Haru go on a gastronomic adventure in this story. Author Makoto Taji has a way of drawing food that has us drooling the instant we see it. Whenever the characters are eating, it feels like we are eating vicariously through them. Much like Daddy and Father’s Home Cooked Meals, this manga has us itching to try out some of the recipes in the story for ourselves!

6. Miss Sumire Doesn’t Want to Cook (Hiromi Ookubo) — ongoing series

Protagonist Sumire Shirayuki is elegant, beautiful, stylish, she is a well respected piano teacher. But while she seems perfect at a glance, she shocks everyone by being completely unable to cook. Not only that, she is broke, single and in her thirties. Is her problem really being unable to cook? If she learns how to cook, will her troubles disappear? This story is about how society’s expectations might not be for everyone, and how women are not defined by their ability (or inability) to be ‘wife material’. Perfect for anyone who hates cooking or hates society’s expectations of women.

7. Demon Child (Hiromi Nagashima) – 2 volumes

A horned-demon child suddenly finds himself living with the Fukuda family. This whimsical tale follows Oni-kun and his journey from loneliness to finding warmth and friendship with his new family. All pages in the manga are in colour, making this charming tale even more fun to read.

8. Howling at the Moon (Yukiko Seike) — ongoing

A remake of an old classic, Howling at the Moon takes you on a whirlwind of emotions. Often abbreviated to ‘Tsukiho’, the story takes place in a fantasy world called Poetry Town, with characters inspired by famous poets and artists. When one of the characters finds an unidentified dead body, everyone works to get to the bottom of the mystery.

9. Kei x Yaku (Yoshie Kaoruhara) — ongoing

This boys love tale follows Ichiro, an investigator at the Metropolitan Police Department, and Shiro, a yazuka member who uses sex to blackmail politicians and just happens to be the younger brother of a senior investigator who has gone missing. Ichiro and Shiro team up and work together to solve the mystery of the missing investigator, acting as lovers to fool any higher ups who may be onto them.

10. Burn the Witch (Tite Kubo) — ongoing

Bleach fans rejoice, because author Tite Kubo is behind Burn the Witch, a spin-off that takes place in the Bleach universe. The story is about Noel Niihashi and Ninny Spangcole, two witches who work in the western branch of Soul Society. The pair try to protect and domesticate the dragons that roam around in Reverse London. The story is cute and fun, and while the first series finished with just four chapters this year, a second series has been announced for next year.

There are a whole bunch of manga that Masami wanted to include in her list, but top tens wouldn’t really mean much if we had more than ten entries, now would they? Hopefully there’s a series or two that sparked your interest. Have a look at your local bookshop or library and you’re sure to find something good to read; just be sure to give them back once you’re finished with them!

Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert images: SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

[ Read in Japanese ]