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Manga Before Flowers — Best of ’09 lists!

Although I feel I can’t do a top ten list of manga from 2009 until I read a few things (GoGo Monster and Red Snow are the titles that spring to my mind instantly), the truth is even if I read those books my top three will probably remain the same — Ooku: The Inner Chambers, 20th Century Boys and Pluto (and I’m pretty much boring even myself at this point).

Anyway, instead of offering my own list this weekend I thought I would direct everyone to a few excellent “best of” manga lists that are well worth checking out.

I’ll start with a link to Katherine Dacey’s Best Manga of 2009 — I actually like this list because it looks rather eclectic to my eyes.  As Dacey notes, yes, she may fall out of step with many of us who would put Drifting Life and Ooku on our lists, but her choices actually give a fairly accurate picture of the depth of the current U.S. manga market.  (In other words, a lot is going on right now that has nothing to do with shojo and shonen titles and if you take a closer look you can see manga is casting a wider net than ever).  Oishinbo, Detroit Metal City and Children of the Sea have a broader appeal that reaches beyond just the usual manga reader and perhaps even the usual U.S. comic book reader (Oishinbo in particular).  And her list reminds me I still need to read Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu.  If only for the sheer weirdness factor.

The team at Manga Recon (which includes Michelle Smith and Melinda Beasi, who contribute wonderful manga reviews here) has put together a large, diverse take on the past year in manga.  They cover a lot of fun categories beyond best new series, including best continuing series, best one-shots, favorite guilty pleasure, biggest disappointments, best yaoi and so on.  I’m with definitely with Connie on her choice for Best Guilty Pleasure (Gakuen Prince), with both Melinda’s and Michelle’s Best Continuing Series (xxxholic and Honey and Clover respectively), as well as Grant’s choice of best OEL Manga (Okay, I think it’s a stretch to call Scott Pilgrim OEL manga but I’ll go with it since that means we get to claim one of the best North American comics out there).  I have a number of issues with Erin’s decision to name Ooku the best yaoi title of 2009, but Melinda names it as one of her runners up for best new manga of the year so I’ll have to be content with that.  Otherwise, I heartily agree with Connie and Michelle who named Future Lovers as their best yaoi pick of the year.

Johanna Draper Carlson’s list of the Best Manga of 2009 may reflect my actual reading habits more than any other list I’ve seen so far.  In particular her best “continuing series” or “concluding series” reminded me of many titles that are always pleasurable to pick up, including NANAEmma, High School Debut and Yotsuba&!.

6 Comments

I like 20th Century Boys a lot. Way more than Pluto.

But Yotsuba should win. Yotsuba should win everything.

Thanks for the link, Danielle, and the thoughtful commentary. I hope you do post your own best-of list, because it will undoubtedly inspire me to (a) re-read something I didn’t like the first time or (b) read something that’s been languishing on my shelf!

MarkAndrew — I thought I liked Pluto more but 20th Century Boys has really wowed me with the last few volumes. Pluto may still be number 3 on my list….we’ll see.

Kate — thanks! I *hope* to do one but honestly, I am still concerned about leaving out major works I may not get to by the end of the year (although I suppose there’s nothing against doing my list in Jan of 2010!)

I also like Pluto more, but maybe that’s because Pluto was my introductory work for Urasawa. I will admit 20th Century Boys to be a lot more ambitious and complex, in a good way. It’s almost unfair to ask anyone to pick between those two works.

Danielle, I faced a similar quandary on the Manga Recon list. I haven’t read GoGo Monster yet, either, so I didn’t want to pick a Best Oneshot with that one still sitting out there unread! I just left out that category altogether. :)

“Yotsuba should win everything.”

It does, my friend. It does.

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