Some manga we enjoy and can read casually. Others have stories so compelling that every page is turned with extreme anticipation of what is to come. Finish one volume and your hand is already on the next. Here are some of those stories.
5. 僕はビートルズ (I Am The Beatles)
You love the Beatles, but that isn’t enough. You form a Beatles cover band, but that isn’t enough. So you time travel with your cover band back to the Beatles era, and release their music before they get the chance to. Bingo!
4 loyal Beatles fans who end up in the past decide that they want to release the Beatles music first, right before the Beatles get a chance to. Their logic is that if they release the music first, the Beatles will be forced to create even more new and innovative music that never existed before.
But the cover group is in Japan in the 1960s. Can 4 Japanese musicians re-create the same impact and fervor on the world that the original Beatles did? What happens if their plan actually succeeds and the Beatles instead decide to quit music altogether?
I’m in no way a Beatles fan (I actually don’t really know much about them at all), but I enjoyed this immensely. I would assume Beatles fans would enjoy it that much more.
4. 僕だけがいない街 (The Town That Only I’m not In)
When bad things happen, you wish you could’ve done something to prevent it. Satori has that ability. Before something terrible happens, like an accident or crime, he has the opportunity to experience it once in his mind before it actually happens.
He uses his visions to help those around him until someone very close to him is murdered. He was unable to use his visions to save them, and now he is being framed for the crime. His power suddenly evolves and he is able to travel back in time to his youth and work to unravel the horrendous serial kidnapping in his past that somehow has made a connection with his present.
Will he figure out who is responsible? Will he be able to save who was murdered in the present?
This is an incredible page-turner mystery, is heart warming, and has an amazing Sci-Fi grounding. Everything is tense. Your heart will be pounding, and you will be in tears. You never know what will happen next. And the cliffhangers are amazing. You want to read this. This is probably one of the most powerful manga I’ve read in a long time (currently it is on volume 4).
3. ガン ブレイズ ウエスト (Gun Blaze West)
From the creator of Ruroni Kenshin comes this exciting tale of cowboys and gunfighters in the 1800s.
Viu had a dream. He wanted to reach Gun Blaze West, a legendary place where outlaws came together to test their skills and seek out adventure. To get there, Viu must learn to shoot, he must get together a team, and he must face the fierce and lawless U.S. West. This series is quite unique, and it is so much fun to read the manga fiction take on this era of America (just like the manga fiction era of Meiji Japan for Kenshin).
The story is new and unpredictable and you never know the direction (except west). Sadly, you will be kept wondering what happens next, eternally. The series was cancelled after 3 volumes. The U.S. based story just wasn’t popular enough to sustain a full series.
However it’s an exciting ride for the 3 volumes, and it does have a somewhat proper ending.
2. アイアムアヒーロー (I Am A Hero)
Zombie outbreak! In Japan! No way! Part comedy, part horror, this is unlike any zombie movie/TV show you’ve ever see.
A zombie outbreak begins and the extremely unlikely Otaku, who happens to own a sport shooting rifle (very rare in Japan), must navigate his way through it. After having to kill his zombie girlfriend, he seeks shelter from the horde of zombies that are attacking everyone.
Escape to Mount Fuji! It must be safe there.
“Excuse me, can you stop biting me? Please stop biting me.”
Japanese politeness still prevails.
“Hikkikomori (shut-ins) unite! We will outlast this plague on 2-chan!”
There is such a modern and realistic edge that it feels like what would actually happen. Yes, Hideo wears ear protection when he fires his shotgun. Guns are loud.
Original twists and plot elements everywhere. Baby zombies. Half zombies. Somewhat able to talk zombies. If you like zombies, this will be fresh. If you don’t like zombies, this won’t feel like your typical zombies.
1. ホーリーランド (Holyland)
Kamishiro is constantly bullied and is desperate to find his place in life. His space where he can be him. His Holyland.
To fight away the pain, he practices boxing in his bedroom. Not because he wants to be a boxer. Not even because he wants to defend himself. But because he tries out the basic one-two punch after reading it in book, and finds that it allows him to forget everything else in the world.
So he practices the one-two over and over again. Thousands of times a day. For months and months.
One day, at a game center at night, he starts to be bullied by some delinquents (“Yankees”). After all of his boxing training, he instinctively fights back. After doing nothing but this unintentional training for a few years, he is strong. Real strong. And easily takes down his enemy.
And so his reputation begins as the “Yankee Hunter.” He starts being targeted by other Yankees everywhere. Stronger Yankees. Those that have various fighting styles like karate, judo, wrestling, and kendo.
Kamishiro must get stronger. He must face tougher opponents. He will not give up his Holyland. He will remain.