Book Recs: Manga Edition

The last shelf is my manga shelf!

I started reading manga a few years ago thanks to the encouragement of Alexa and Kristin, and our Kinokuniya book dates. Initially, all I thought I wanted to read was fantasy and I was adamant that slice-of-life/contemporary probably wouldn't be for me. Well, the joke's on me because ever since I read my first slice-of-life series, that's pretty much all I want to read and what spurred me to start picking up a bunch of new ones. I'm all about the romances! I've read enough to fill a shelf and to finally be able to share some recommendations. 

So whether you're new to manga or looking for a new series to start, I'm hoping this list will have something for everyone! (Note: These are in order of when I read them.)

Nana21 volumes / completed-ish
I read this slice-of-life series back in 2020 and it was a great one to start with! Physical volumes are hard to find but I finally have almost the entire collection, minus Volume 12 (which I have on Comixology). It's about two young women, both named Nana, who meet on a train to Tokyo and unexpectedly become best friends in spite of their many differences. We watch them navigate life and love and I was pleasantly surprised by how mature the storylines were. But be prepared, the author never finished the series so there's no final closure. Still worth reading though! 

Orange • 6 volumes / completed
This one is mostly contemporary with a slight sci-fi element to it. The main character, Naho, receives a letter from her future self on the first day of 11th grade and in that letter, it gives her specific instructions about a new student Kakeru, and how she can save him from a terrible future. She doesn't believe it at first but as the contents of the letters come true, she starts to listen. It's so heartfelt and a beautiful story about love and friendship. 

Love in Focus •
3 volumes / completed
This was the first lighthearted slice-of-life series that I read and honestly, even more of a game changer for me. While I loved Nana and Orange, they were both emotional, kind of heavy reads. Love in Focus just made me smile a lot and I didn't realize how much I needed that. It's so sweet! It's about Mako, who's always had a passion for photography and at her best friend Kei's encouragement, switches to his high school to join their prestigious photo club. When she moves into the dorm with him and his classmates, she makes new friends and meets a guy who inspires her. 

A Sign of Affection
 • 4 volumes / ongoing
When I got to this manga, it felt so fresh and different from anything I had read before. The main heroine, Yuki, is deaf and currently a college student whose life revolves around grades, friends, and all the usual stuff. When she meets Itsuomi-san, a fellow classmate who is hearing and often running off to his next travel adventure, they don't seem like a likely pair. But they bring something new to each other's worlds. I love seeing how their story unfolds and how the author portrays Yuki and ASL in the series. I can't wait for the next volume!

Perfect World
10 volumes / ongoing
While this is certainly a more mature and heavier series, that didn't make it any less binge-worthy. I was, and continue to be, invested in the raw and honest story the author is bringing to life. It follows Kawana, who works in interior design, and when she attends a company happy hour at a client's architectural office, she runs into her first love. She hasn't seen him in years and realizes that he's now in a wheelchair. This manga doesn't shy away from the realities of what a life together means for them and I rooted for these two from page one.

Sailor Moon: Eternal Edition
• 10 volumes / finished
Alexa got me the first volume a few years ago but I didn't read it until last year. Having re-watched the anime (with Alexa, in fact), it was cool to see the differences but I didn't continue. Cut to last month when I read volume 2, bought the rest, and finished by end of May. I don't know if it was the timing but I was hooked! As much as I love the anime, the manga was even better. It was more mature, storylines were tighter (no filler episodes!), and I loved how the characters were portrayed. Reading the series really solidified Sailor Moon as one of my absolute favorites. 

Living-Room Matsunaga-san • 10 volumes / ongoing
I might be making a crazy statement here but this might be my favorite! It was laugh out loud funny, swoonworthy, and the guy in this might just be my ideal slice-of-life manga boyfriend. I picked it up on a whim and within days I was ordering every volume available. It's about Meeko, a high school student, who moves into her uncle's boarding house with a group of adult housemates. It's a learning experience for her to be living on her own and befriending the people she lives with (who I loved!). Matsunaga-san, who is the "oldest," always looks out for her and as you can guess, she can't help falling for him. While the age gap might be a problem for some, I didn't mind because it's handled really well (IMHO!). The last volume comes out next month and I'm both excited and sad to see how the series will conclude. 

Would love to hear your thoughts!
Have you read any of these? Are you going to try one?
Or better yet, do you have a recommendation for me?

1 comment

  1. You have such great series recs on this list! Nana is an all time favorite of mine and I loved Orange as well! I can't wait to start Living-Room Matsunaga-san soon!


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