Pick five

Some people are surprised by the complete exclusion of comics from Japan from the A.V. Club’s list of the best comics of the ’00s. In the midst of all of the semantic discussion of when decades begin and end in the comments over at The Beat, the Club’s Noel Murray explains:

“There’s no manga largely because most of us only dabble in manga (at best), and if we even tried to acknowledge it we’d likely come off underinformed. (I did consider DRIFTING LIFE, though.)”

Moving on.

So for fun, why not pick five manga titles you think merit inclusion in such a list? Don’t overthink it. Just toss out the first five that pop into your head. I’ll start:

  • Sexy Voice and Robo by Iou Kuroda, Viz
  • MW by Osamu Tezuka, Vertical
  • Swan by Kyoko Ariyoshi, CMX
  • Antique Bakery by Fumi Yoshinaga, DMP
  • Planetes by Makoto Yukimura
  • 45 Responses to Pick five

    1. One Piece, (Eiichiro Oda, Viz) Pluto & Monster (Naoki Urasawa, Viz), Vagabond (Takehiko Inoue, Viz), Yotsuba&! (Azuma Kiyohiko, ADV/Yen Press).

      I guess I’m a Viz fan?

    2. davidpwelsh says:

      Nothing wrong with that!

    3. Danielle Leigh says:

      Flower of Life (Fumi Yoshinaga).

      Paradise Kiss (Ai Yazawa).

      Pluto (Naoki Urasawa).

      Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (Fumiyo Kouno).

      Emma (Kaoru Mori).

    4. Eva says:

      Wow, asking me not to overthink something is like asking me not to breathe, but here it goes:

      Pluto, by Naoki Urasawa, VIZ
      After School Nightmare, by Setona Mizushiro, GoComi
      Tekkon Kinkreet, by Taiyo Matsumoto, VIZ
      Flower of Life, by Fumi Yoshinaga, DMP
      Fruits Basket, by Natsuki Takaya, Tokyopop

    5. Katherine Farmar says:

      From your inclusion of Swan and MW, I’m guessing that you mean “translated in the 00s” rather than “originally published in the 00s”. Therefore:

      Tekkonkinkreet, Uzumaki, The Times of Botchan, Ouran High School Host Club, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.

      (Would you say that MW is better than Ode to Kirihito and/or Apollo’s Song? I’ve read the latter two but not the former, and the description of the former has made me leery.)

    6. davidpwelsh says:

      Katherine, I was just going with books translated in that period.

      Honestly, you should be totally leery of MW, but it made such a vivid and lasting impression on me that it popped immediately to mind. I don’t know that it’s better than other Tezuka titles that have been published, but it’s the one that made the most noise in my head at that moment.

    7. Danielle Leigh says:

      And because I can’t help myself my “favorite” 5 that aren’t necessarily the titles I consider the best of the decade:

      Skip Beat (Yoshiki Nakamura)
      NANA (Ai Yazawa)
      xxxholic (Clamp)
      From Eroica with Love (Yasuko Aoike)
      Junjo Romantica (Shungiku Nakamura)

    8. Ed Sizemore says:

      Pluto
      20th Century Boys
      Astro Boy
      Buddha
      xxxHolic

      Those are the five that come to mind first.

      (Thanks for you’re patience.)

    9. Lorena Nava Ruggero says:

      This is what I came up with:

      Dororo (Osamu Tezuka)
      Antique Bakery (Fumi Yoshinaga)
      NANA (Ai Yazawa)
      Emma (Kaoru Mori)
      Tekkon Kinkreet (Taiyo Matsumoto)

      Nice mix of styles and genres, I think.

    10. Hmmm…

      Emma
      Mars
      A Drifting Life
      Parasyte (Del Rey)
      Drifting Classroom

      Oh, my two loves, Shojo and horror manga, right on display.

      And I could have added “Mail” to that list, too.

    11. Katherine Farmar says:

      You know, I think I’ll drop the vote for Ouran and replace it with one for Junjo Romantica. (Thanks for reminding me, Danielle!)

    12. badzphoto says:

      Cardcaptor Sakura
      Her Majesty’s Dog
      Fullmetal Alchemist
      From Far Away
      Venus In Love

    13. Julia L. says:

      Emma
      Pluto
      Crimson Hero
      After School Nightmare
      Planetes

    14. Pluto
      Fullmetal Alchemist
      Dororo
      Saiyuki
      Dragonball

    15. Tucker stone says:

      Good-Bye, Pluto, 20th Century Boys, Monster Men, Drifting Classroom

    16. Marla says:

      Pulling out favorites in story, characterization, reach, and enjoyment, I offer:
      Fullmetal Alchemist
      Fruits Basket
      Black Jack
      Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
      Yotsuba&!

    17. Gricomet says:

      Bit too sleepy to think it fully through but I would say:

      XXXholic
      Fruits Basket
      Genshiken
      Nana
      Sand Chronicles

    18. DerikB says:

      Times of Botchan (Tanuguchi)
      Phoenix (Tezuka)
      Blue (Nananan)
      Yokahama Kaidashi Kikou (Ashinano)
      Lone Wolf & Cub

    19. Phoenix
      Pluto
      Red Snow
      Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
      To Terra

    20. Komavary says:

      Pluto
      Saint Young Man
      Yotsuba&
      Scott Pilgrim
      Panorama-to kitan

    21. Dave Carter says:

      Yotsuba&!
      The Walking Man
      Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
      Planetes
      New Engineering

    22. Dave Carter says:

      Crap, Uzumaki too; but that’s 6…

    23. Youstuba&!
      Pluto
      Vagabond
      Detroit Metal City
      Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

    24. [...] the manga gap is glaring. David Welsh suggests folks naming their five favorite manga of the ten years past, and I’ll endorse that [...]

    25. Buddha
      Pluto
      Real
      Apollo’s Song
      Yotsuba

    26. mark thorpe says:

      Akira (Dark Horse release)
      Blade of the Immortal
      Eden
      Vagabond
      Berserk

    27. Matthew says:

      Aaaaaaah, this is impossible!

      Uzumaki
      Planetes
      Sexy Voice and Robo
      Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
      Disappearance Diary

      But my list doesn’t have any Tezuka on it (Ode to Kirohito I think), any shonen comics (Eyeshield21, Hikaru no Go, Naruto, Bleach), Yotsuba&!, Drifting Classroom (vol 10!!!!!) or any of the other stuff I’ve sure I’ve forgotten as I didn’t even go look up other books just chose five from the lists other people made. Barefoot Gen! The last of the flipped manga.

    28. [...] Manga | In response to the exclusion of manga from The A.V. Club's best comics of the decade, blogger David Welsh puts out the call for five Japanese comics that merit inclusion on the list. [Precocious Curmudgeon] [...]

    29. Oliver says:

      I will just second the motion on the previous manga mentioned:

      One Piece
      Swan
      Detroit Metal City

      and add my own:

      Nodame Cantabile
      Tsubasa RC (the story pretended to be nothing but froth until the plot just kept spilling out suspense and heart-wrenching moments from then on)

      Almost every person here lists Yotsuba&!, maybe I should get going on it.

    30. jakeforbes says:

      Parasyte
      Cardcaptor Sakura (or maybe Wish)
      Fullmetal Alchemist
      Antique Bakery
      Pluto

    31. Going with some personal favorites:

      Black Jack
      Oishinbo
      Yotsuba&!
      School Rumble
      Ouran High School Host Club

    32. Rij says:

      Fullmetal Alchemist
      Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
      Penguin Revolution
      Tramps Like Us
      REAL

      I could add another five easily, these are the ones that just leaped at me from the bookshelf

    33. Rin says:

      NANA
      Fruits Basket
      Honey and Clover
      Solanin
      Skip Beat

    34. toonfactory says:

      Pluto
      Buddha
      20th Century Boys
      Black Jack
      Astroboy

    35. Kare Kano
      Tramps Like Us
      Fruits Basket
      Nodame Cantabile
      Solanin

      I pick Kare Kano because it’s such a different kind of shojo, yet it’s entirely easy to read if you’re a teenager. The others are pretty obvious choices…

    36. Ahavah says:

      NANA
      +Anima
      Ode To Kirihito
      20th Century Boys
      Sand Chronicals

      But that barely scratches the surface!

    37. [...] learn or hire someone. David Welsh takes steps to remedy this at Precocious Curmudgeon, where he nominates his top manga for the decade and invites others to join [...]

    38. Heather says:

      This was harder than I thought to just name five, but I decided to focus on titles not mentioned yet.

      Maison Ikkoku
      Petshop of Horrors
      Baby & Me
      Dance till Tomorrow
      Club 9

      It’s just so sad to only list five, there are easily so many more.

    39. Monster, by Naoki Urasawa
      Ode to Kirihito, by Osamu Tezuka
      Tekkon Kinkreet, by Taiyo Matsumoto
      Real, by Takehiko Inoue
      Nana, by Ai Yazawa

      There, that’s my five, written without looking at any of the other comments, pretty much off the top of my head.

    40. Matt Thorn says:

      I’m not up on what’s being translated (I read in the original Japanese), but five of my own top manga that first appeared after January 2000 would be:

      Nodame Cantabile, by Tomoko Ninomiya

      Wandering Son (Hourou musuko), by Takako Shimura

      Pluto, by Naoki Urasawa

      Otherworld Barbara (Barubara ikai), by Moto Hagio

      With Or Without Me (Watashi ga itemo inakutemo), by Ryo Ikeumi

    41. Kevin Lighton says:

      From Far Away
      Azumanga Daioh
      Monster
      Kindaichi Case Files
      Aqua/Aria (Technically 2 titles, but it’s all one story)

    42. davidpwelsh says:

      Matt: Only two of those (Pluto and Nodame) are licensed. I’m dying for someone to pick up the Moto Hagio book, and I’m sure after some research, I’ll desperately want the other two as well.

    43. Justin Colussy-Estes says:

      What’s awesome is that there’s entirely too many choices, I think. Here’s the ones that jump to mind for me (though they’re obviously weighted toward the more recent releases)–
      -Fluffy Gigolo Pelu (I think Mizuno’s fantastic and totally unique. This is the volume where all her talents sync up like magic)
      -Ode to Kirihito (Honestly, this could be “what’s the top 5 Tezuka releases of the decade” and you’d still fall short)
      -20th Century Boys (Urasawa is such a discovery)
      -Blue (I have this in Japanese and loved it despite not knowing what was going on at all. The translation only made me love it more)
      -Eagle (this early decade release really opened my eyes to what manga could be)

      Or maybe Swan? Or Antique Bakery? Or Tekkon Kinkrete? How do you pick?

    44. [...] I know Friday is usually license request day, but when Matt Thorn stops by to list his five favorite manga of the current decade, you make an exception. Two are already being [...]

    45. [...] or whenever), and the breadth and depth of Shogakukan’s catalog, and even Thorn’s own list of the best manga of the early 2000s, the possibilities seem satisfyingly vast. And while Gary Groth may not be the cuddliest messenger [...]

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