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.

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

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

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

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

The following series, unfortunately, are no longer in print. Volumes may need to be purchased through used bookstores.

Tramps Like Us (Tokyopop) | My favorite manga, 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.

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.