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Best manga of 2019 manga worth reading

Manga worth reading 2019

2019's best manga picked by our staff and guests!

Welcome to the Manga Worth Reading 2019 picks for our top Manga Worth Reading! 🤦 Although the site is only a few months old, we’ve reached back into our memories and hand-selected our choice picks for 2019. Also, we even threw in a few best of the decade picks for good measure. Because we love the manga community here at Manga Worth Reading, we asked some of our favourite Bloggers, Podcasters and YouTubers to get in on the action too. I’d like to thank them all for their participation. Please don’t forget to give them a follow and check out their excellent content also.

Manga worth reading guest picks

Simply Gee

What’s your favourite new series of 2019?

My favourite new series of 2019 would have to be one that also ended its English publication in 2019, Our Dreams At Dusk by Yuhki Kamatani!! Although I am a relatively new fan of Kamatani’s work, their perfect blend of artistry and storytelling means that this was an obvious choice for me. This series, in its final chapters, made me sob with an achingly bittersweet heart. The central theme of the story is finding a support system and community (in specific, the LGBT community), and how acceptance and understanding of others is an ongoing process. It was one of my most anticipated titles for the year, and the team at Seven Seas didn’t disappoint. Their release was so thoughtful and full of care; be sure to try it if you haven’t!

Our Dreams at Dusk Manga Worth Reading

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the year?

This is a much harder choice, as I’m following so many good titles!! Narrowing it down though, I’d probably have to say Yona of the Dawn. Amongst all of the wonderful new books that I buy every month, Yona is always my first priority to read. The series itself is hugely popular, and for very good reason, I don’t think I’ve met someone yet who has disliked it. Whether it’s the extremely likeable cast, the masterfully paced story or the exciting return of historical action shojo after a decade of absence, something about Yona just ‘clicks’ perfectly. It’s beautiful and funny and fiery and full of kindness, just like Yona herself. No amount of Yona is too much, and I can’t wait for more!

@CollectingGee / YouTube


MommaLuvsManga

What’s your favourite new series of 2019?

Oh my goodness, this is a hard one. So many amazing series were released in 2019… some I’ve purchased and have yet to read! Haha! But I think I’m going to have to go with the one-shot title Our Dining Table by Mita Ori. It’s a charming story about a young man working through his childhood trauma and finding solace, family, and love along the way. 

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the year?

Our Dining Table Manga Worth Reading

I am following quite a few ongoing titles and, predictably, it’s hard for me to choose a favourite. I want to give Arakawa Under the Bridge by Hikaru Nakamura a shout out because I adore this wacky series to pieces! (And if you haven’t, definitely check out Nakamura’s other title Saint Young Men. )

@MommaLuvsManga / Interview with MommaLuvsManga / mommaluvsmanga.com / YouTube


Manga Log Podcast

What’s your favourite new series of 2019?

Spy x Family. I held out on it for a while, but I can’t go on Twitter or listen to my podcast queue without at least one person showering it with praise. It has been selling bonkers in Japan, and this is without an anime adaption or physical English release (I can only imagine its popularity multiplying when both inevitably come out). I didn’t jump on the series immediately, but now that there’s a decent chunk to binge and it’s all conveniently available inside the Shonen Jump app, I couldn’t resist.

Six chapters in, I’m having a blast. I’ve fallen in love with our sexy, makeshift power couple and their adorable telepathic daughter. This mashup of oddballs shouldn’t work, but despite the hijinks, scheming, and at times tactlessness, there is a genuine chemistry developing between the members of this eccentric family. I’m excited to see how their relationship develops in the future, as they discover what family is while getting into all sorts of wacky situations.

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the year?

Back on the Shonen Jump app catalogue (can you tell I’m broke?), I’m continually excited for each new chapter release of Chainsaw Man. It’s my favorite series currently running in Jump. The art is crude but detailed and expressive. The action is explosive (sometimes literally) and super violent. Some pages will be showered in frenetic sprays of blood and debris, which lends to the series’ blistering pace. Most times I get to the end of the chapter and I’m shocked and disappointed that it’s already over.

Denji, the main character, is a little obnoxious and kind of a simpleton, but he’s also lovable and it’s entertaining to watch him get screwed over and wreak havoc at the same time. When Chainsaw Man is over, it’s one of the few manga that I will make time to re-read from beginning to end. It just clicks with me that much.

Chainsaw Man Manga Worth Reading

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the decade?

This was a tough one for me, since I start a lot of manga and don’t revisit them until much later, and a few of my all-time faves released before this decade. However, there is one series that fits the bill, which has been a mainstay in my manga reading since its 2016 release and that’s The Promised Neverland. Out of the series I’ve started this past decade, this is one I’ve poured the most time into and got the farthest in. And for good reason!

It starts off with a thrilling hook and introduces a world steeped in mystery. Throw in a powerful enemy, huge stakes, and a seemingly impossible goal… I just had to speed-binge its first arc to completion. Since then, it hasn’t recaptured the same allure (I really loved the cat-and-mouse battle of wits and the mystery surrounding the enemy at the start of the series), but it has gone on a totally different track, filled with twists and turns, which has been both unexpected and exciting. As I grow to learn more about the world, I fear for the main cast of characters and the obstacles on the horizon, and I love them enough to want to see their journey through to the bitter end.

@mangalogpod / Manga Log Podcast


The Manga Critic

What’s your favourite new series of 2019?

Over the last 10 years, NBM Comics has been publishing a series of graphic novels that celebrate the Louvre’s collection. The stories and styles have varied considerably, offering playful, idiosyncratic, and occasionally pedantic reflections on the museum’s most famous artwork. Though NBM published Jiro Taniguchi and Hirohiko Araki’s contributions, VIZ was responsible for publishing the latest instalment in the series, Taiyo Matsumoto’s gorgeous, gloriously weird Cats of the Louvre.

Cats Of The Louvre Manga Worth Reading

The book is a visual feast, as Matsumoto goes inside several paintings and imagines what it would be like to explore the world created by their artists. These sequences are fanciful and fun but also tinged with sadness, a reminder that while these paintings are fixed in time, the world outside them is not. I know, I know—I’m making this book sound like a pretentious bummer, but rest assured it isn’t. If you like manga that feels like the authentic product of an artist’s imagination, rather than a calculated response to a reader’s poll, Cats of the Louvre is for you.

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the year?

With so many great series to choose from, I found myself torn between two superficially different series: Silver Spoon, a coming-of-age drama that takes place at an agricultural college, and Wandering Island, an adventure story with supernatural overtones. On the surface, the two manga couldn’t be more different: Hiromu Arakawa’s style is broadly cartoonish and gestural, filled with exaggerated reaction shots and jokes about farm life. In contrast, Kenji Tsuruta’s style is detailed, naturalistic, and largely devoid of dialogue.

A closer look, however, reveals that they have something essential in common: both are stories about young people pushing themselves to their limits in an effort to figure out who they really are. For Silver Spoon‘s Hachiken, that quest involves abandoning his city-slicker attitudes and making bacon, while for Wandering Island‘s Mikura, this quest takes a more literal form, as she searches for a mysterious island in the Philippine Sea. Both stories are told with nuance and grace (even if Arakawa can’t resist the occasional horse manure gag). If you haven’t started these series, now is a good time: Silver Spoon just wrapped in Japan at a reader-friendly fifteen volumes, while Wandering Island‘s second volume was published in English this year.

@manga_critic / mangacritic.mangabookshelf.com


That Man and his Manga

What’s your favourite new series of 2019?

The title I want to shine some light upon is Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! It’s a slice of life comedy about a young girl with bundles of energy. While it does lean slightly into the ecchi side Uzaki-Chan’s energy will keep you smiling.

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the year?

Uzaki-chan Wants to hang out cover

One Piece. Honestly, it’s not even a surprise that this one is leaps and bounds above others for me. I went into 2010 with loving the series, and it’s still my favourite series of all time. From the initial throngs of the Time Skip to the creation of the Luffy Pirate Alliance. One of the best fights of all time with Luffy vs Katakuri. The sheer amount of plot threads, One Piece has had a fantastic decade. 

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the decade?

I’m going to cheat, and while this absolutely does have a manga, it’s Light Novel is something that just keeps me coming back, and that title is Konosuba. We’ve seen so many Isekai over the year that it’s difficult to keep on top of them. So many young men are being transported to other worlds. Konosuba managed to take that and throw it on its head. Making all of the party members not only useless but also individually horrible members of society. We fell in love with the very worst of them. Creating a world where selfish whims take priority over common decency and honour. Konosuba managed to really knock it out of the park.

@localchan / YouTube


Manga worth reading staff picks

Bastian

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the decade?

My Light Novel of the decade is easily Bakemonogatari. The translation is fun, and it’s evident in the language the translator had fun playing with the English language while trying to convey and respect the original Japanese material. The writing is fun and witty, and the pacing is just to my liking.

@BastianInuk / mangaworthreading.co

Bakemonogatari Manga Worth Reading

Antonio V

What’s your favourite new series of 2019?

The year 2019 saw quite a few new exciting manga series being released. That said my pick for the best new series goes to Spy x Family. This great new series is written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo. This is a new action, comedy spy series with the first English chapter having been released back in September. So far, it has great humour, action, character dynamics, and an intriguing plot. I look forward to reading what the author has in store for us and hope to see the support for this series grow. Special mentions go to one of the main characters, Anya, for her hilarious reaction panels. Interested in reading this series? You can find all released chapters on the Shonen Jump app. If you are not a digital format fan, the first volume will be released later this summer under Viz Media.

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the year?

While it is exciting to talk about the new series, it is essential to not forget about past, ongoing series. To this day, Kaguya-sama: Love is War, written and illustrated by Aka Akasaka. It remains one of my most enjoyable manga to read. There is a myriad of great qualities that define this series. Whether it is the excellent situational humour or the character interactions within the main cast, there is always something to keep you entertained.

Even though this is a romantic comedy manga, there is no shortage of moments that will tug at your heartstrings, making it a nice two-hit combo. Finally, Chika Fujiwara is, without a doubt, one of the best characters that have graced the pages of any manga. It has 12 volumes being currently available and a second anime season later this year. If you have had any doubts about jumping in now is a great time to do so.

Love is War Manga Worth Reading

@StrikerE5 / mangaworthreading.co


Luke Hollywood

What’s your favourite new series of 2019?

For the short time that I’ve been involved in the manga community, I can’t think of a series that had a stronger debut than this year’s surprise smash hit, Spy x Family. One only needs to look at the year-end sales rankings from Japan. This series managed to sell over 800,000 copies with just TWO volumes currently in publication, to confirm this. So what’s so great about a spy and their family anyways? The answer: LOTS.  Mangaka Tatsuya Endo has crafted a charming and wholesome tale of renowned Spy Twilight taking on his most daring mission yet… raising a family?

What starts as a simple cover for Twilight quickly gets complicated. He starts to grow attached to his fabricated family, a big dilemma for the straight-laced, by the books Spy that he is. That concept alone would be entertaining in itself. But throw into the mix his fake wife Yor (an elite assassin) and their adopted daughter Anya (an experimental child telepathic), and the potential for wacky Spy shenanigans increases exponentially.

As you can imagine, this series shines with its comedy. Often in the form of Twilight and Yor’s white lies to keep their true identities hidden. Or the awesome sprinkles of action we get when we get to see either of them get down to business.

Still, the real heart of this series lies in its heartfelt moments, especially when Anya is involved. As a mind reader, Anya is the only member of the family who knows everyone’s real identity. That fact combined with the vital role she must play for Twilight’s plan to succeed means she’s a pivotal character for this series. It’s a good thing then that she just happens to be downright adorable and steals just about every panel she’s in. In fact, the more Anya-focused have been of the most entertaining chapters of the series. That’s saying something when the rest have been of such high quality.

The Forger family may be a bunch of fakers, but the love they have for each other is genuine (even if some of them just haven’t fully realized it yet), just as my love for this series is. Highly recommended!

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the year?

Okay, this one might be a bit of a cop-out as I only started reading the series this year. Still, technically Jujutsu Kaisen began its publication in 2018, so it’s very much an ongoing series for 2019. And oh boy, am I glad I checked this one out! Before reading the first volume of this series, I had heard plenty of buzz that this was going to be the next big Shōnen hit. With an anime adaptation on the way in the new year I’ve no doubt that the buzz will grow, and with good reason! I found Jujutsu Kaisen to be a thoroughly engaging read. When I reached the end of volume 1, I was actually angry that it was already over. The fight towards the end of the volume was so intense it had me turning the pages like a madman!

This series follows energetic highschooler Yuji Itadori and his unexpected escapades into the world of curses and exorcists through Jujutsu high school. An excellent mix of surprising comedy, high octane action and compelling characters, Mangaka Gege Akutami manages to hook you with his humour. Then he reels you in with his heart. It’s also worth noting that the battle system of cursed powers and weapons has near limitless potential, so look forward to lots of badass fight scenes! Jujutsu Kaisen certainly impressed me in 2019. I’ll definitely be continuing it on into 2020 when more volumes are released!

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the decade?

I know, I know, big surprise from the guy who runs a My Hero Academia podcast, but the fact remains that I would not be a manga fan today if it wasn’t for this series. As a comic book superhero fan, this decade had already been very good to me. Coming across this Superhero manga by chance in an online sale was perhaps the icing on the cake. Falling instantly in love with the quirky (Pun INTENDED) super-powered society concept, as well as our good boy protagonist, Izuku Midoriya.

I quickly devoured all the released volumes I could get my hands on, eagerly awaiting the next release. And that excitement for this series remains for me today. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not without its faults, something myself and my co-host discovered pretty early on in our Hero Notes Podcast. I can imagine those who aren’t enamoured with the series are probably sick of it winning all the popularity contests at this stage. Still, I would be lying if I said that this series wasn’t something special to me. Even after delving deep into the world of manga and light novels, that magic still remains.

My Hero Academia Cover

Whether it be the compelling characters, Horikoshi has built up in the span of the 5 years since this series began. Or his unique and blocky art-style that provides a fresh take on the familiar superhero aesthetics. It’s many high-quality spin-offs, which always to keep me engaged with new concepts or clever world-building. My Hero Academia keeps me coming back week after week. It’s still the first series I check out when the weekly’s drop and a new volume always get an express ticket to the top of my ever-extending reading pile.

The series that started it all for me, and whether or not it’ll be around for another decade doesn’t really matter at this stage. It’s already made quite the impact, and helped forge me into a manga fan and Shonen fanatic. It might not be everyone’s choice, but for me, My Hero Academia was always going to be my must pick for manga of the decade!

@LJ_Hollywood / Hero Notes Podcast / mangaworthreading.co


Musume

What’s your favourite new series of 2019?

There was a lot of great new manga released in 2019, too much to choose just one title, so instead, I’ll list what I call my “big three”.

Beastars, a story about anthropomorphic animals, and one of the most unique manga I’ve ever read. Beastars takes place in a world where carnivores like tigers and lions live and work side by side with herbivores like sheep and rabbits. Eating meat is forbidden, and there are all kinds of rules designed to put predator and prey on equal footing. 

The story follows an enormous grey wolf named Legoshi, a boy who is torn between his love for a small rabbit named Haru and his desire to eat her. If you love manga, you owe it to yourself to read Beastars. It may turn out to be one of the best series ever.

Manga artist Akiko Higashimura is famous for series like Princess Jellyfish and Tokyo Tarareba Girls. In Blank Canvas, she turns the spotlight on herself. Blank Canvas follows her journey from high school all the way through college and beyond.

This series is exciting because Higashimura (real name: Hayashi) paints herself in a very unflattering light. She’s a mediocre student in high school, and not much better in college. She dreams of being a manga artist, but never actually draws any manga. She lies to her parents to get a bigger allowance so that she can spend more money on designer brands.

Blank Canvas cover

You may not love the young Akiko Hayashi/Higashimura, but you’ll love this manga. It’s an honest, poignant, and often hilarious look at the journey of an eventually successful artist. Highly recommended.

Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! is a slice-of-life manga about a handsome loner named Shinichi and a girl named Hana with enormous boobs who refuses to leave him alone. These college students go through all kinds of situations ranging from funny to touching.

On the surface, it seems like the typical girl-secretly-likes-reluctant-boy manga. Hana often is teasing Shinichi constantly and Shinichi telling her to leave him alone. Underneath that, however, is a story about two characters who genuinely care about each other. And, who will most likely end up as a couple? But not before they hit a whole bunch of twists, turns, and bumps along the way.

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the year?

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs has been my favourite ongoing series, which came as a surprise. Yuuna is a harem manga. I typically don’t like harem manga (except Love Hina, which is one of my favourite series ever). It never makes sense to me how an average or below-average dude (which most harem manga protagonists are) can draw the attention of half a dozen beautiful women. This manga, however, is different.

First, the series has a supernatural bent. The characters include a poltergeist (Yuuna), a demon, a luck god, and a demon-slaying ninja. It’s one of the most unique casts in harem manga. Second, the main character is overpowered. Unlike the hapless dudes in most harem titles, protagonist Fuyuzora Kogarashi is an enormously powerful psychic. He has the ability to punch ghosts in the face, and he uses that power to help people. This is the first harem manga I’ve seen where all the female attention is actually plausible. Yuuna is a surprise, but a welcome one. This is definitely a manga worth reading.

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs cover

What has been your favourite ongoing series of the decade?

By default, that series is Bakuman, since it’s the only one I’ve read in recent years that began and ended in the 2010s. But it’s a worthy choice regardless of its competition. Bakuman is the story of two high school boys (an artist and a writer) who dream of becoming a successful manga duo. It’s also a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Shonen Jump, the most popular manga magazine in the world, and what it takes to have continued success as a manga artist.

Hilarious hijinks, an eclectic cast of characters, a sprinkle of romance, and a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make these books we love to read. Bakuman is a natural choice for manga of the decade.

Bakuman cover

@musumethegame / musumethegame.com / mangaworthreading.co


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