The surprising omission of a few popular series has some net users shaking their heads.

One of the Internet’s primary sources of Japanese-language news and featured articles about manga is a website called Comic Natalie, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary on December 25, 2023. In commemoration of the big day, as well as to take a stroll down memory lane, the site decided to host a general election among its readers to determine the most popular manga series that have concluded in the past 15 years.

The rules stated that for stories to be eligible, they had to have been serialized in a magazine or on a website or app and have concluded between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2023, regardless of start date. One person could enter a minimum of one and up to 15 votes for different series, but multiple votes for the same series were invalid. One-shots and stories with overly adult themes were also disqualified.

Comic Natalie revealed the top five winners out of 62,499 total votes on December 24, 2023, which we’ll count down below.

5. Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師)
Hiromu Arakawa
Original manga run: 2001-2010 / 27 total volumes

In a world where alchemy is practiced as a science, the Elric siblings Edward (the vertically challenged older brother) and Alphonse (the younger brother whose soul is bound to a suit of armor) must search for the philosopher’s stone to restore their bodies after committing the taboo of human transmutation. Along the way, Ed becomes a State Alchemist, encounters mysterious Homunculi, and proves that he’s willing to endure anything to reach his goal, even if it costs him more than an arm and a leg. At its core, Hiromu crafted a lasting story about the powerful bond between brothers.

▼ A July 2023 post by manga writer Chanmei celebrates 22 years since the start of Fullmetal Alchemist‘s publication in Monthly Shonen Gangan Magazine.

4. Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人)
Hajime Isayama
Original manga run: 2009-2021 / 34 total volumes

After witnessing the brutal death of his mother at the hands of a gigantic lifeform known as a Titan, Eren Yeager and his friends become members of the military’s Survey Corps to try to take back the rest of the world beyond their city’s walls from the Titans. As the true nature of the Titans is slowly revealed, the lines begin to blur between who is enemy and who is friend. Readers are often in awe of Hajime’s incredible foreshadowing throughout the story as well as his portrayal of the harsh truths of war and the meaning of sacrifice for the sake of humanity.

▼ An original illustration was shared by series creator Hajime to commemorate the conclusion of the anime adaptation in November 2023.

3. Gintama (銀魂)
Hideaki Sorachi
Original manga run: 2003-2019 / 77 total volumes

On a lighter note, Hideaki’s long-running comedic manga masterpiece is set in an alternate late Edo period Japan (1603-1868)…but with aliens. Freelancer samurai Gintoki Sakata engages in plenty of running gags and breaking of the fourth wall in this zany, genre-defying series. Also, is there anything in the real world that Gintama hasn’t parodied in some form over its long run?

▼ A December 2023 post celebrates the 20th anniversary of Gintama‘s start of publication in Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine.

2. Mob Psycho 100 (モブサイコ100)
Original manga run: 2012-2017 / 16 total volumes

Don’t let its confusing title fool you. This is the coming-of-age story of Shigeo Kageyama, nicknamed “Mob,” a young esper who’s learning to control his psychic powers and growing adolescent emotions in the midst of all of the obstacles thrown his way. As an unconventional manga protagonist, Mob is also in direct contrast to the more archetypal superhero protagonist Saitama from One’s first web manga hit One-Punch Man.

▼ Series creator One shared a thank you post to the fans who voted for Mob Psycho 100 in this Comic Natalie election.

1. Golden Kamuy (ゴールデンカムイ)
Satoru Noda
Original manga run: 2014-2022 / 31 total volumes

The manga taking first place in the general election follows Russo-Japanese War (1094-1905) veteran Saichi Sugimoto as he searches for the golden treasure of the Ainu, the indigenous peoples of the northern Japanese islands, along with the help of the Ainu girl Asirpa. The story is notable for being set largely in Hokkaido and featuring many important aspects of the Ainu culture and language. When notified of his win, Satoru shared that he was so sure that his story wouldn’t win that he didn’t even submit a vote for himself. The manga’s mark of popularity comes at a fitting time, however, as a live-action film adaptation is set to be released in Japanese theaters on January 19, 2024.

▼ A celebratory drawing was made by series creator Satoru for clinching the top spot in the election.

Upon release of the general election results, many net users were floored that some of the best-selling manga series of all time hadn’t even made the top five when others had.

“I love Golden Kamuy but I’m perplexed that it took the top spot.”
“Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer, Naruto, and Bleach are out of the top five?! Craziness.”
“I’d get it if Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer wasn’t #1, but for it to not even be in the top five is incomprehensible.”
“Attack on Titan was really amazing when I think about it now. It had hidden potential right from the start.”
“I’d go with these ones for the top five: #1 Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer, #2 Attack on Titan, #3 Fullmetal Alchemist, #4 Naruto, #5 Assassination Classroom”

While I personally can only say that I’ve read Attack on Titan and Fullmetal Alchemist in their entirety, I have at least one student who can vouch for Mob Psycho 100 as an excellent story in written or animated form. I discovered the following hastily scrawled, heartfelt recommendation on the back of their quiz one day:

© SoraNews24

There you have it–sold. It looks like we’ll all have a lot of catching up to do over the New Year’s holiday.

Source: Comic Natalie via Otakomu
Top image: SoraNews24
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