Our choice of manga to put under the tree

Sales of manga have exploded in France again this year. With an astonishing number of publications in bookstores (1,800 manga releases between January and the end of September), it can sometimes be difficult to navigate, especially for beginners. Below is a selection of the titles, whether they are major works or legacy manga, that have marked this bumper year.

  • ‘Pharmacy notebooks’: immersed in court intrigues

Based on Natsu Hyuuga’s bestselling novel published online since 2011, this series chronicles the arrival of 17-year-old Mau Mau to the imperial court. In a fictional Asian kingdom, this intelligent and thoughtful maid will have to thwart conspiracies and learn the habits of an environment you don’t know, who grew up in the Blazers region. Thanks to her knowledge as a doctor, the girl will gradually become an essential ally of the emperor’s concubines. In addition to its interesting plot and lack of knowledge that drips through its pages, pharmacy notebooks It applies to the delicate design of the mangaka Nekokurage, which wonderfully emphasizes the atmosphere of the courtyard.

pharmacy notebooksBy Nekokurage and Itsuki Nanao, based on the novels by Natsu Hyuuga, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Oden (Ki-oon, 167 pages, 7.90 euros).

  • ‘Spy X Family’: the spy who would have been adopted

This bizarre series continued to grow in popularity in 2021; It must be said that it stands out in the very standard catalog of shonen (intended for teenagers) by Japanese publisher Shueisha. The tenth spy family It tells how a spy finds a fake family in order to enter the aristocratic circles and carry out his mission. The agent’s cover turns out to be more intriguing than his top-secret adventures: his adopted daughter is telepathic, and his wife is revealed to be a contract killer. A mainstream manga in which the purported influence of Western thrillers and action films meshes with family comedy.

spy x family, De Tatsuya Endo, traduit du japonais par Satoko Fujimoto (Kurokawa, 208 p., 6, 90 euros).

  • YuYu Hakusho: Ghosts and Criminals

Shonen manga also, born in the early 90’s, Yo Yo Hakusho A must-have that would cement designer Yoshihiro Togashi’s reputation – ahead of his masterpiece, Hunter X Hunter. Reissued by Kana after nearly twenty-five years of a secret outing in France, this series chronicles the adventures of Yusuke Uramchi, a young striker with a big heart who dies prematurely while saving a child. Then he made a pact with the son of King Inma, the magistrate of the gates of hell: this allows him to recover, on the condition that he becomes an investigator in the afterlife. Although the drawing style is a bit outdated, Yo Yo Hakusho He can still seduce with his ability to transition from comedy to fight scenes, but also by the thickness of his hero, a self-deprecating teenager who has developed his moral demeanor.

Yo Yo Hakusho, by Yoshihiro Togashi, translated from the Japanese by Sebastian Gesell and Rudolf Jequel (Kana, 314 pages, €8.75).

Yo Yo Hakusho, De Yoshihiro Togashi.
  • “Mermaid Saga”: Goosebumps in the Land of the Sirens

We know her as the queen of the gag or the papacy of romantic comedies, but we don’t know much about the more mature and dark stories that Romeko Takahashi plotted on the sidelines of her main series like Maison Ecoko where Ranma 1/2. However, this is where the mangaka, winner of the Angoulême Grand Prix in 2019. The horror manga was published sporadically between 1984 and 1994 and is still pending, mermaid epic Inspired by Japanese mythology, the mermaids whose flesh we eat to preserve our youth. Then, through the ages and adventures, become the immortal couple formed by Yuta and Mana, Romeko Takahashi depicts the turbulent mood and atmosphere of remote Japanese villages. A traditional folklore that she loves and has never stopped visiting again in her career. After prematurely interrupting the first release, this time Glénat has re-proposed the entire trilogy.

mermaid epic, by Romeko Takahashi, translated from the Japanese by Nasreen Mazwan (Glinat, 400 pages, €14.95).

  • “Lone Wolf and Cub”: the cult of the wandering samurai

He was co-directed in the 1970s by Joseki Kojima and Kazuo Koike and praised by many Western cartoonists, including Frank Miller (S.In Town, Batman: The Dark Knight), this legendary sword story that follows the wanderings of Ronin Ogami Ito during the Edo period. In search of revenge, a fallen samurai travels across Japan with his young child, Daigoro, alive as a deadly killer. In the service of this powerful and highly actionable character, the brand of screenwriter Koike (Crying Freeman, Mrs. Snowblood), Kojima’s graphic talent is distinguished as much by the spark of determination in the eyes of her protagonists as it is by the spectacular scenes of the fights. Design displayed on large panels in this luxurious and oversized version.

Lone wolf and cub, de Goseki Kojima et Kazuo Koike, traduit du japonais par Makoto Ikebe (Panini, 688 p., 32 €).

«Lone Wolf and Cub», Dei Joseki Kojima and Kazuo Koike.
  • L’Envol: Free feather, sharp mind

From raw and silent boardrooms to those filled with caustic political dialogue, through circular narrative structures where the epilogue, hopefully to be understood, returns at the beginning of the plot, Kuniko Tsurita, a rare female character in his post-war manga, has not stopped experimenting, since his paintings First in Al-Talee’a magazine jar Until his untimely death in 1985. He tried his free pen with elegant lines without compromising many records, whether in SF, social record, esotericism or feminism. Accompanied by high-quality critical material, this anthology of about thirty short stories offers a view of the full range of this sharp and demanding mind that never let itself be locked up.

FlightBy Kuniko Tsurita, translated from Japanese by Leopold Dahan (Atrabelle, 480 pages, €30).

«L'Envol», de Cuneco Tsurita.
  • “The Blue Period”: a painting for adolescence

blue period It is a beautiful story for teens as well as learning manga – an imposed and well-known character from Japanese comics – skilled. Representing the protagonist, Yatora, torn between the need for academic excellence and the desire to immerse himself in painting, Tsubasa Yamaguchi’s mangaka questions the human between reason and emotion. It also provides, at the same time as it presents a story in the school setting, a true guide for young plastic art enthusiasts. When art painting also serves feelings.

blue periodby Tsubasa Yamaguchi, translated from Japanese by Natalie Legon (Pekka edition, 228 pages, €7.50).

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