I often see people asking about manga on social media. Anything from “Is this manga okay for this age group?” to “What do you recommend?” A lot of the time, especially with recommendations, I see a lot of older titles. And while we all love older titles, I thought it might be fun to highlight some newer manga and give my overall thoughts–both good and bad. Basically, my guidelines for manga I look at is it has to be released in the US in the last year (I said 2017 in general), have at least 3 volumes, and be rated Teen + or lower.
So, here are some of the ones I looked at. (If you missed my earlier rounds of reviews, catch them here.)
The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai
The children of the Grace Field House orphanage have their happy lives upended when they find out they’re being raised to be fed to demons. Can they escape their fate before it’s too late?
Life at Grace Field House has been good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious foods and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…
Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as “Mom,” all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing. The children of the orphanage are being raised as food for monsters, and their loving caretaker is behind it all! Emma and the others plan their escape, but can they make it out before it’s too late…?
Rating: Teen Plus
Volumes Read: 3
My Thoughts: I will throw this out there from the start, this is a more slow-moving manga than most. The three older teens find out the secret of the orphanage early on and plan to escape, but so far that’s all it’s been. Plans. Now, I’m all for slow build-up and intrigue and generally enjoy the strategic mental games that are happening. I even grabbed the next volumes because I’m interested to see how it all pans out. There’s lots of room for betrayal and disaster and I want to see who comes out ahead. However, the action is definitely on the lower side.
My biggest complaint would be how the one caretaker, Sister Krone, is portrayed. While the facial expressions are ones I’ve seen before in manga, she is the only character who makes consistently evil/distorted/very caricatured faces. In fact, it was rare that she made a normal face at all. As one of the few black characters in the manga it stood out/bothered more than it might have normally. She was only in two volumes, but it still felt like something worth mentioning.
Also, while this one is rated Teen+, there hasn’t been anything bad as of yet. The subject is a bit more mature, but the violence is typical manga style and not bloody/gory at all and sexual content is at zilch. Of course, this could change, but my guess is the rating is due to the overall storyline being darker than most manga.
Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu
A strong-willed high school girl and a hot, young scion of a business empire can’t help trying to outwit each other every chance they get… But could these opposites be conning themselves out of the perfect match?!
After her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in to save face for the family. But what happens when Hana meets Takane is an unexpected pairing of utter opposites!
The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana embarks on a hilarious journey with Takane that just might lead to love!
Volumes Read: 3
My Thoughts: If you’ve read my other reviews you know I normally hate the older man dating a younger girl. And, to be honest, it still makes me cringe with this one, but at the same time, I didn’t mind it as much as some of the others. I think it may be because the meeting was supposed to be with Hana’s sister and not her. She was only supposed to be a temporary replacement and it only continues because Takane likes that Hana tells him off. While there is still some power play due to their social status, Hana holds her own nicely against Takane. And to be honest, while they are kind of dating (courting?), in the three volumes that I’ve read there has only been a single kiss and nothing more. Considering how grumpy I thought I’d be with this series, I actually am looking forward to the next volumes. If your teens are looking for more shojo, this would be a nice cute one to consider.
Your Name by Makoto Shinkai
A story of two people determined to hold on to one another.
Mitsuha, a high school girl from a town deep in the mountains, dreams of an unfamiliar life in Tokyo. Taki, a high school boy from Tokyo, dreams that he is a girl living in the mountains. As the two begin swapping lives, a miraculous story is set in motion.
Volumes Read: 3
My Thoughts: So, a lot of the teens may already know about this one, especially since it’s a movie. It’s a short manga with only 3 volumes (although, there is a companion series coming), but one I really enjoyed. The first volume is full of fun with all the body swapping, but does become serious once Mitsuha’s history is revealed. I’ll admit that volume three felt like a slight let-down compared to the other two volumes, but it was a nice wrap up to the story. I’m super interested in reading the companion manga since it’s supposed to deal with more of the body swapping, which honestly was my favorite part. I highly recommend this series for any library!
Here are some manga currently on my pile for future reviews (either TBR or waiting for additional volumes):
- Delicious in a Dungeon
- Flying Witch
- Mermaid Boys
- Teasing Master Takagi-san
- Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts
Got a series you’d like me to check out? Leave the name in the comments and I’ll add it to my list!