Manga Starting Points

If you’re curious about where to start reading manga, here are links to some recommendations:

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka (Viz) | An eight-book revamping of an Astro Boy storyline in which someone targets the world’s seven greatest robots for murder. The best translated manga available in the U.S. and a story with someone for everyone: excellent art, cinematic storytelling, deep themes, and affecting plot twists.

Nana (Viz) | An incredibly involving tale of two young women named Nana, one a naive girl looking for love in the big city, the other a singer working for her dream of musical success.

Yotsuba&! (Yen Press) | A charming series of encounters by a young girl who enjoys everything. Heartwarming and funny.

Hikaru no Go (Viz) | A series about competitive gaming that appeals to almost everyone.

Fruits Basket (Tokyopop) | A blend of comedy, romance, fantasy, and drama with an attractively mainstream art style.

The following series, unfortunately, may no longer be fully in print. Some volumes may need to be purchased through used bookstores.

Tramps Like Us (Tokyopop) | My favorite manga, an excellent “chick lit”-style story about a woman struggling to balance work and home life who adopts a younger man as her “pet”.

Maison Ikkoku (Viz) | This light romantic comedy, a modern classic, has wonderfully clear art and layouts.

Planetes (Tokyopop) | Character-based science fiction about garbage collectors in space, with a more realistic art style.

Paradise Kiss (Tokyopop) | A five-book romance aimed a little older with edgy attitude and a fashion industry setting.

The Walking Man (Fanfare/PonentMon) | Astounding beautiful clear-line art illustrates short atmospheric pieces with a Japanese sensibility.

The Kindaichi Case Files (Tokyopop) | Stand-alone mysteries.

Dramacon (Tokyopop) | The best OEL (original English language) manga tells of a girl’s first anime convention and the romance she finds there.

For more ideas, browse my entire list of manga reviews.