All-time Favorite Manga

1. Oyasumi PunPun

Some say ideals and hopes are nothing but mere delusions of a child, something Punpun would soon faces as he steps into the convoluted, lifeless world of adulthood. Oyasumi PunPun is a perpetual cycle of depression and anxiety, an infernal life of myriad regrets — of characters facing the cold, harsh reality that just never stops whittling down their minds and souls. A manga that is raw and visceral in it’s portrayal of life, and is probably one of the best manga out there that deals with the human experience. It’s ugly, it’s hopeless, and it’s very real, a manga that depicts the uncertainty and turbulence that is life, a manga that will sail it’s own characters to a perfect storm of emotional turmoil.

2. Onani Master Kurosawa

Onani Master Kurosawa — a character-driven story that arouses intensity, which slowly builds-up into a truly unpredictable rollercoaster of human drama. The slow ascent for the drama almost akin to the erection of Tower of Babel itself. And yet, all this peaks into a sweet climax — of a feel-good story where characters discover their maturity, self-growth and redemption; the ending the perfect vindication and satisfaction. In any case, Onani Master Kurosawa is a wonderful coming-of-age (coming, heh) story that is amazing in both it’s drama and resolution. After all, just like a good wank — a story that has both in equal measure gives that lubricious feeling of build-up and relief, and Onani Master Kurosawa is indeed unmatched in this regard.

3. Liar Game

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a sucker for the psychological cat-and-mouse stories; for instance, Danganronpa and Ace Attorney are two of my favorite video games. In manga, Liar Game held that spot as the best manga equivalent. It is the embodiment of what I like about the genre — premise that easily rouses doubt among it’s characters, and the innumerable attempts at outwitting each other; resulting in an exciting race to the top through layers upon layers of deceit and strategies. Liar Game is the model game theory. Only in Liar Game will you see a simple game of musical chairs transformed into a complex multilayered human chess game. Truly an engrossing experience like no other.

4. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou

What is Yokohama about? It’s about slowing down and immersing yourself in the scenery; breathe in the scent of flowers, soak in the warmth of sunlight and enjoy the cool of breezes. It’s about involving yourself into the lives of every single character in this modest world. It’s about enjoying the ephemeral moment, as the post-apocalyptic setting a melancholic reminder of the cruel workings of father time. Reading Yokohama was a particularly special experience, as it possesses an endearing charm and transcendental ambience that few of it’s peers can match. As long as you’re not looking for action or plot twists and seek the magic of tranquility, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is king.

5. Spirit Circle

There’s a lot to talk about Spirit Circle — a manga that at first, seems like a series of self-contained stories beautifully interwoven into this one grand finale. It has some interesting ideas that drive the series forward; primarily, on death and rebirth, on the power of hatred and forgiveness. Indeed, Spirit Circle is a fascinating reincarnation story that will bring you and the protagonist on a vicarious journey through some rather heart-wrenching past lives. Spirit Circle portrays both the cruelty of death and the beauty of life, a manga that will make you feel the suffering of recurrence and the catharsis of absolution. Spirit Circle tells a powerful message of letting go of your obsessions and overcoming your hatred; of moving on and finding and cherishing your happiness.

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