Best Manga of 2020

Best Manga of 2020

-Written by: Right Stuf Anime Crew

Finally, 2020 is almost over, and that means Best Of 2020 lists are here! Yes, there was good stuff happening in 2020, mainly great manga coming out. We asked our reviewers which ones they liked the best.

Will: Blood on the Tracks

I can’t believe that I’ve reviewed 27 books this year! It was hard to pick just one (thus the long list of honorable mentions) but I had to choose this book from horror maestro Shuzo Oshimi. What makes this book so scary is how believable the plot and characters are. Overprotective parents are very real, and this book shows the silent but suffocating force they place on their children. While other manga scare with guts or shock factor, Oshimi turns love into a terrifying power. When a motherly smile can send shivers down your spine, you know you’re reading something special.

Honorable mentions: Sazan and Comet Girl,Ping Pong, Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji, My Broken MarikoSpy X Family, Downfall, My Brother’s Husband, Blue Giant

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Kelly: The Daily Lives of High School Boys

The Daily Lives of High School Boys was a funny slice of life that was a reminder of my first anime, Azumanga Daioh. The humor was cute, the character design was good and the jokes hit just right.

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Krystal: Slasher Maidens

I read a variety of different stories this year. It was hard for me to choose my favorite one because they were all so different (I also have commitment issues so these things are never easy). I loved the fantasy world in Ascendance of a Bookworm, characters in Heterogenia Linguistico, the emotion in Three Days of Happiness and the character development in Sadako at the End of the World, but I think I’m going to have to give Slasher Maidens the honor of being my fave. The book was such an unexpected joy that it probably made the most impact this year. The creative yet grotesque monster design, the entertaining fight scenes and the wonderful characters created a very enthralling story that I had no trouble finishing in one sitting. The most surprising thing about my enjoyment of this manga was that I wasn’t completely disgusted with the fan service (which typically is not my thing). It was tasteful and added to the story, where a lot of fan service feels more unneeded when it comes to storyline. I highly recommend reading this treat!

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Devlen: Pokemon Adventures Collector's Edition

2020 has been a crazy and wild year for everyone, and the same can be said with our manga reviews. With all the reviews I’ve written this year and countless manga pages consumed, I think my favorite one I’ve read is the Pokemon Adventures Collector’s Edition manga. For starters, this manga helped me explore more of the Pokemon world (not like I’m not already deep in this Diglett hole). Discovering how the Pokedex holders use their strengths to overcome any obstacle and baddie, helped me endure this year! I loved the series so much that I’ve been collecting all of them as soon as they go on pre-order. I can say that the story keeps using Bind on me more and more...and it’s super effective!

Honorable mention: Another review I enjoyed was Bleach: Can’t Fear Your Own World. Bleach was my first anime that really changed my track toward the anime world and seeing the latest installment after the Quincy Blood War satisfied a hunger I didn’t realize I had! Not to mention, with rumors of the final Bleach arc coming to anime, this helped hyped me up more!

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Olivia: Given

The fact that volume 1 of Given came out this year completely blows my mind. I swore it came out in 2019, but 2020 felt like five years crammed into one so I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been keeping up with the manga as I impatiently wait for the movie to be available on Crunchyroll. Given has a special place in my heart and volume 1 is a wonderful introduction to the series. If you liked the anime and need more, the manga is definitely worth checking out.

An honorable mention is the 20th Anniversary Edition of Chobits. Other publishers should take note because this is a collector’s edition done right. The amount of care put into the construction and design of the manga makes me so happy and the story still feels unique after all these years. Whether you’re new to Chobits or have nostalgic memories of the series, the manga is perfect for any collection. (tldr: IT’S SO PRETTY AH)

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Chris T: I Had That Same Dream Again

I was lucky enough to get to read a lot of great things in 2020, but the one that stuck with me the most this year would have to be Yoru Sumino and Idumi Kirihara’s manga, I Had That Same Dream Again. Lead character Nanoka’s journey of learning to embrace empathy is one we’ve all had to go on at one point or another, and since everything’s been collected in a single volume, it’s an easy trip to take. While there are some tense moments, the book gets its ideas across in a gentle, soothing way that leaves you with a warm feeling in your heart afterwards. In a year that’s been all about isolation and distancing from others, this book was a nice reminder that while we’ve been trying to protect ourselves, everyone else still has their own struggles to face.

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Quinn: Loner Life in Another World

Truth be told I'm a bit weary of the isekai trope, but Loner Life In Another World managed to put a mostly fresh spin on things and kept me laughing. Its writing is top-notch and the comedic timing is a big highlight. Also, Haruaka's running commentary about his current loner status, equipment, and acquired skills are highly amusing. Best of all Haruka works out what his abilities actually do and he’s quite smart in applying them in multiple situations so there aren't many cheap laughs. The same may not be said about the supporting cast, who are conveniently grouped together under easily identified labels like Nerds, Bimbos, and Jocks, who all have their parts to play too. This story isn't so much about saving the world, but rather feeling empowered by what you can do on your own!

Honorable mention: Seven Days Monday-Sunday

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Chris S: Folktales from Japan: Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales for Children

Out of the four books I reviewed for the Right Stuf blog this year, my favorite is surprisingly not a manga. Instead, the one I enjoyed most was Folktales from Japan: Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales for Children by Florence Sakade and illustrated by Yoshio Hayashi. What made this book stand out were its bright colors and expressive artwork. Seeing these beautiful illustrations and reading these fascinating folktales gave me strong feelings of nostalgia from when I grew up hearing similar stories at bedtime. However, instead of reading adaptations of the typical Western fairy tales we’re all so familiar with, I was able to experience some new tales that originated from Japan and gave me new insight about Japanese culture. Even though the title says “for children,” I feel that Folktales from Japan is a book that anybody can benefit from reading. And with 16 stories to choose from, you’re bound to find at least a few you’ll enjoy!

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Jennifer: King of Eden

The best book I've reviewed in 2020 is definitely King of Eden. Out of all the ones I read, this one was my favorite so of course I wrote a dang good review for it to hypnotize — I mean convince people to read it too. The best quote I can use to summarize my review is the banger opening line "King of Eden has a rare, chilling, and realistic element where you actually feel like you’re witnessing something straight out of a horror movie." All in all, 2020 was a great year for newly released manga!

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