Published: Mar 29, 2023
Updated: Mar 29, 2023
Editorial staff at well-known publishing companies have shared their top picks they want you to start reading as part of MAL’s nomination based manga event—You Should Read This Manga 2023.
Check out their recommendations, there may be titles that strike your fancy!
※Please note that not all titles’ preview and purchase links may be available due to region restrictions.
“The Kodansha USA staff are manga experts of varying ages, ethnicities, genders, that wish to recommend the best manga for all readers. There's a manga out there for everyone and we want to help.”
A transgender teen named Ryo finds an escape from the expectations and anxieties of his daily life in the world of street fashion. This personal, heartfelt, fictional story from a transgender manga creator made waves in Japan and will inspire readers all over the world!
A unique and rare trans coming-of-age story created by a trans mangaka, and localized by a trans and non-binary team, Boys Run the Riot, expertly tells a sensitive "coming out" story while also folding in a story of support, friendship and chasing after your dreams, that anyone of any gender can relate to and enjoy.
Comment by Kodansha USA Staff
Misuzu Hara is a quiet, reserved 24-year-old high school teacher whose world is turned upside down after her friend's fiancé rapes her. Her attempt to connect with one of her students, himself a victim of sexual trauma, results in an unlikely romance, and the repercussions of these events affect everyone around them in often unpredicatable ways. 18+. Warning: Includes graphic depictions of sexual violence.
Sensei's Pious Lie, is a the thought-provoking drama about the emotional fallout of sexual violence and its effect on more than just the victims and perpetrators. Though dealing with upsetting subject matter the story & art is handled with tremendous attention and care to create a complex but responsible story about the intersections of sex, violence, gender, and power.
Comment by Kodansha USA Staff
In a world where everyone takes wonders like magic spells and dragons for granted, Coco is a girl with a simple dream: she wants to be a witch. But everybody knows magicians are born, not made, and Coco was not born with a gift for magic. Resigned to her un-magical life, Coco is about to give up on her dream to become a witch…until the day she meets Qifrey, a mysterious, traveling magician. After secretly seeing Qifrey perform magic in a way she's never seen before, Coco soon learns what everybody “knows” might not be the truth, and discovers that her magical dream may not be as far away as it may seem…
With stunning art and complex all-ages storytelling it's no wonder why Witch Hat Attelier is an Eisner & Harvey Awards-winning critical success as well as a fan-favorite! A magical fantasy to rival any popular wizarding story, this series is a must-read that will warm hearts and excite imaginations.
Comment by Kodansha USA Staff
42-year-old Kyoko Otsuka has spent the last 13 years living life as "mom" for her rebellious daughter and soft-spoken husband. Kyoko thought her average and hectic life would continue this way until one day she is told that she only has a year left to live! Shocked by this news, Kyoko decides she wants to spend the remainder of her life "living for herself." She declares to her family, who have been spoiled and taken her for granted, that she is done being their "mom" and is going to take back her life as "Kyoko"!
It starts off pretty heavy, but it’s almost inspiring to see how determined the main character is. I really love these kinds of characters that fight to live the way they want to regardless of how horrible the circumstances (and I mean… it does get really, really horrible). The daughter is also so cute!
Comment by a project designer who cries from cat videos
Haruka is a totally average high school girl, but she has a secret. A certain tacky four-eyes from her class, Souta Sano, is actually her childood friend and neighbor. What's more, that frumpy look is a disguise, and he's really a popular male model. "He's been there beside me since forever, but now..."Your true face that I've known since childhood, and the face you wear as a popular model - the more I see of you, the stronger this feeling of love grows, yet why do you feel so far away...?The pure love of this high school girl and her childhood friend turned model is sure to make your heart pound.
It’s a textbook "heart-pounding romance manga". Even though the character development is pretty cliché, I can’t help but keep reading to see what happens next! The trope of teasing the one you like is also great. I hope the two of them will stay together forever! They’re so adorable.
Comment by a web designer who's recently been really into scented candles
Is this love a dream come true? Or is it the beginning of a nightmare? From cheating, to gold-digging, to dangerous cults, Satoru is a man so unlucky in love that every woman he's ever fallen for has betrayed him. He decides that if he's only capable of falling in love with wicked women, he might as well go with the marriage match his parents have picked out for him. But one look at Michiru, the woman they've set him up with, and Satoru is head-over-heels. And that can only mean one thing...
I just couldn’t stop reading since it always felt like something was going to happen! The storytelling is so good. It’s also really lovely how no one is left without happiness. It’s the kind of story you can read with ease.
Comment by a marketing team member who pays monthly for the gym but never goes
Chainsaw Man has escaped Makima’s attempts to control him so far, but she now reveals the full extent of her plans. Denji will need the help of his remaining friends if he is to have any chance of defeating Makima in their final confrontation!
If you're looking for pure, chainsaw insanity, this is it! Follow Denji on one of the wildest rides you'll ever go on. This isn't your typical shonen battle manga climax. In a series known for unpredictability, this final volume of Part 1 may be the biggest surprise yet. The hype is real with this one!
Comment by Viz Staff
Momo Ayase strikes up an unusual friendship with her school’s UFO fanatic, whom she nicknames “Okarun” because he has a name that is not to be said aloud. While Momo believes in spirits, she thinks aliens are nothing but nonsense. Her new friend, meanwhile, thinks the exact opposite. To settle matters, the two set out to prove each other wrong—Momo to a UFO hotspot and Okarun to a haunted tunnel! What unfolds next is a beautiful story of young love…and oddly horny aliens and spirits?
UFOs, friendship, ghosts, spirits, romance, aliens... Dandadan has it all! This is the next big hit so get in early! Insanely gorgeous art, crazy lovable characters, wild fights, and non-stop madness! Okarun and Momo will have you laughing or cheering or both in every chapter!
Comment by Viz Staff
Akira and the gang’s trip takes them to the Sea of Japan. In Niigata, the home of rice production, Shizuka’s love of Japanese sake means they’re headed straight for a brewery. Being drunk off your rocker is all fun and games until you-know-what show up and kill the buzz. Later, Akira gives his dream of digging up fossils a go. Will his boyish ambition lead to the discovery of a never-before-seen species?
This manga is a breath of fresh air in a world overrun by zombie media. Akira's world is crumbling around him, but rather than despair, he's chosen to live—and live he does! From quitting his soul-sucking job to battling a zombie T.rex with a mech; Akira's adventures are full of over-the-top action and wacky hijinks. But what really makes this series a page-turner is its heart—the human moments when the comedy takes a backseat to horror of their new reality or to strengthen the bond between the members of this lovable ragtag gang. Of course, the unique character designs and stylish artwork help.
Comment by editor Karla Clark
You Should Read This Manga is a new yearly manga discovery list created for (and by) the international fan.
For over a century, the mission of Kodansha has been to achieve the impossible through books, manga, and more. In particular, manga have a unique ability to express ideas and stories that can't be done in any other medium, and with that in mind, the Kodansha USA Publishing team would like to present you with their top picks for imaginative, inspiring, and mind-bending manga titles—the types of impossible stories that you can only find from Kodansha.
Thank you to everyone who participated in MAL Yearbook 2023.