Best Manga of 2009

I’ve never written a “Best of ” list since I never thought I knew enough to make such choices, but I’ve decided to make the attempt this year.  All of the titles on the list are books I’ve read at least one volume of, and most started this year.  The few exceptions should be obvious.

Best Title Ending: Chibi Vampire

This title from Tokyopop was one of their few consistent good sellers and with good reason.  It’s a fun, romance that turns the traditional vampire story on it’s ear.  Good characters and a humorous and twisting story made for an entertaining read.

Best Continuing Title: Fullmetal Alchemist

I thought the hardest about this category, and decided that it would go to the title that consistently thrilled me with every volume and was a must have.  There were a few contenders, but only one title fit the bill.  The characters and story of this title are just amazing, and every volume leaves me wanting more.  Even after 20 volumes.

Best First Volume: Kimi ni Todoke

I was enchanted by this volume from the first read, and continue to be.  The romance is a sweet and gentle one.  It’s so different from so many of the other shojo titles that it really stands out.  The characters are fun and quirky and you just can’t help loving them all.

Best Reissue: Fushigi Yugi

Fushigi Yugi is the title that many people hold other shojo titles up against, which usually end up paling in comparison to.  This re-release allows new comers to the format and genre a chance to read a classic series that also started a category of shojo; the historical reverse harem.

Best All Ages Title: Dinosaur Hour

There were a lot of all ages titles released this year, but only one really lived up to that rating.  Dinosaur Hour is laugh out loud funny, and can be read and enjoyed by anyone of any age.  This is a title you won’t regret reading, and can read over and over again, with the laughs never getting old.

Best OEL Title: Dark Hunters

OEL is a genre that is still trying to come into it’s own, and adaptations like this one will really help it find it’s footing.  Based on a popular supernatural romance novel series, this title grabbed me with it’s wiry humor, great characters, and well rendered art.  Not really “manga-esque” but still something easy to look at.

Best Manhwa Title: Goong

I’m fairly new to manhwa.  My first real introduction to it was Yen Plus, though I had read some individual titles from Tokyopop.  This title however really convinced me of it’s worth.  It was strongly supported by titles like Pig Bride and Time and Again, but this one grabbed me from the first volume I read, which also happened to be in the middle of the series.  That really says something about the quality of a title.

Best New Title: Pluto

Only one title could be called the best of 2009, and that title had to be Pluto.  All the acclaim it got when it was first released made me curious enough to buy the first two volumes, and by the end of the first volume I was convinced I was holding one of the best titles I had ever read.  The themes and characters that Urasawa weaves together into this retelling of an old Astro Boy story are just amazing.  The action, mystery and drama are just riveting and you really feel the emotion of the characters.  It really deserves the praise it’s been given.

Most Anticipated Title for 2010: Chi’s Sweet Home

Throughout 2009 we were regaled with all the new titles that would be coming out in 2010.  Only one publisher announced one title that made me cry “YES!” at the news.  Vertical’s announcement of the license of Chi’s Sweet Home.  Any title about a cat will get praise from me, but Chi’s Sweet Home goes beyond that.  It’s about a kitten, doing kitten things with her new family.  The cuteness of the art and story just burst out from the pages.  If this title doesn’t become a breakout hit for Vertical, then that just shows this is a country with no heart.

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