5 Mangas To Read While Quarantined
Swap your regular schmegular novel for a manga and delve in for a spectacular quarantined read!
I’m sure by now you’re absolutely sick of hearing about the coronavirus pandemic. Worse yet, you’re sick of being stuck at home 24/7 dreaming about all the holiday plans you could have had otherwise. We totally understand because we’ve been there.
But guess what got us out of our funk? Manga. Some good old entertaining manga that whisked us away from all the drama of reality to an entirely different world that had us sitting on the edge of our seat or dreaming about our own happily-ever-after romance. And the same could happen to you.
So, without further ado, here are our 5 best mangas to read while quarantined!
#1 STANDALONE MANGA – SOLANIN BY ASANO INIO
Solanin is a slice of life self-contained manga about a recently graduated student named Meiko Inoue who quits her mundane office job in search of an “epiphany”, moves in with her boyfriend Taneda whom she is falling out of love with, while also living out her days defined by utter boredom and lack of guidance. When tragedy strikes, however, Meiko is forced to make big decisions that will affect her life forever.
Asano Inio is easily one of the best manga artists of our time so that should already tell you the high-quality artwork and storytelling you’ll be getting in Solanin. And if you’re thinking that Solanin will turn out to be some fluffy slice of life manga that ends with a totally undeserved happy ending, think again. Solanin is popular for exactly the opposite reason; you will see Meiko go through some seriously hard-hitting stuff that will have you questioning your own life’s trajectory.
All in all, you won’t get a better coming of age story than Asano Inio’s Solanin, that’s for sure.
#2 SLICE OF LIFE SHOUJO/ROMANCE MANGA – ORANGE BY ICHIGO TAKANO (6 VOLUMES IN TOTAL)
Looking for something a little less depressing than Solanin and a little more romantic and cutesy? Ichigo Takano’s Orange might be more up your street.
Orange follows the story of high school students Takamiya Naho, Naruse Kakeru, and Suwa Hiroto and their group of friends. After receiving a mysterious letter from her future self, Naho tries to implement small changes in her present daily life in order to reverse the events of the future, especially a particularly dramatic event that reshapes Naho's entire narrative.
This is a shoujo (Japanese artforms targeting primarily female audiences) manga that, while offers some elements of the fantastical, is essentially about the dramas of high school life and the uphill battle of youth to adulthood.
If a typical shoujo artwork of colorful, big drawings and the easy-to-grasp narrative is what you’d rather dedicate your time to, then this sweet yet unique manga about high school life is just the one for you.
#3 CLASSIC EPIC MANGA – AKIRA BY KATSUHIRO OTOMO (6 VOLUMES IN TOTAL)
First and foremost, you’ve probably heard of Akira. I mean, it’s one of Kanye West’s favorite film, straight from the horse’s mouth. But while the film is so highly revered (and rightly so), the manga is where the magic first came to be.
Akira is a cyberpunk page-turner about dissatisfied teenage bikers living in Neo-Tokyo, which has been rebuilt in the aftermath of fictional World War III. These teenage bikers war with rival gangs and generally get up to no good but things get really dark one fateful evening when they come across a secret military project involving psychic children.
The gang and their leader, Shotaro Kaneda, must now figure out a way to help their friend, Tetsuo Shima who, having acquired incredible telekinetic power after the discovery of the military complex, goes on a chaotic and dangerous riot throughout the city.
Not only is it far more detailed than the film, but the journey is more enriching, and you get given deeper insights into each character’s psyche and general life. The artwork on every page is mind-blowing to the point where you can’t help but wonder how a human being could have created all of that by himself. That’s what makes Otomo a true genius in the manga world and Akira is his most acclaimed work. If you’re serious about manga, Akira is an absolute must-read.
#4 POPULAR COMEDY MANGA – GREAT TEACHER ONIZUKA (GTO) BY TOHRU FUJISAWA (25 VOLUMES IN TOTAL)
Great Teacher Onizuka - or more affectionately known as GTO – is about a 22-year-old biker Eikichi Onizuka who, continuing on from his school days, is a general troublemaker and sloth. But with little to do and even less fun to be had, Onizuka wonders if he himself can turn his sights on becoming a teacher in the hope of acquiring the interest of female students.
After landing a teaching role in Holy Forest Academy, Onizuka’s sole role is to teach the troublesome kids of class 3-4. As time goes on, however, he becomes more and more aware of the many teaching flaws within the education system and how it once negatively affected him and now the kids he’s in charge of.
GTO is littered with jokes that’ll have you giggling as if you’re doing something you shouldn’t be, and the easily digestible content means that you’ll find yourself burning through the chapters in no time at all. The visual humor coupled with good pacing of drama followed by touching character growth makes Fujisawa’s GTO a wonderful starter read for any budding manga reader.
#5 ICONIC SHONEN MANGA – NARUTO BY MASASHI KISHIMOTO (72 VOLUMES IN TOTAL)
Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto stands as one of the most iconic mangas of all time. It is known as one of the Big 3’s, alongside Bleach and One Piece. The world of Naruto, in particular, is incredibly complex and diverse, with a wonderful world history and origin story.
What is Naruto about exactly? Well, the series begins with the renowned Shinobi (aka ninja) village of Konoha which was historically attacked by the Nine-Tailed fox demon. The then leader of the village sacrificed his life and trapped the Nine-Tailed demon fox inside his newborn son: Naruto Uzumaki.
The story thus follows 16-year-old newly graduated shinobi Naruto who, having grown up shunned by the village because of the demon inside of him, embarks on a journey to becoming the greatest Hokage (aka leader) the village has ever seen. With that, however, comes many challenges and enemies that Naruto and his friends must overcome.
As typical of any shonen manga, you’ll get explosive battle scenes, heart-racing storytelling, and impassioned dialogue with a mixed bag of characters. What makes Naruto different, however, is the message it sends out. Each character is there to teach you something about life. Naruto is all about friendship and having each other’s back because without these people to share your success with, you’ll never truly live. The series will make you laugh, it’ll make you cry but most of all, you’ll have a ton of fun flying through the volumes.
Sure, it’s a hefty series to commit to, but if you have the time and the willingness to read Naruto - do it. You won’t regret it, we promise!
Next up, 5 Animes To Watch While Quarantined