Have you heard of “The Manga Taisho（マンガ大賞）”?
The Manga Taishō (マンガ大賞) is an annual Japanese manga award. The award is limited to series with eight or less collected volumes, in order to promote newer titles. The nominating committee, composed of staff members from bookstores, each initially vote for five series and the titles with the top ten number of votes become the official nominees of the year. Finally a second round of voting determines the winner, as well as second and third place.
There are 1 grand prix winner and several other nominees. I will introduce 4 recommendation from the selection of 2015.
1. “Kakukaku Shikajika” (かくかくしかじか) by Akiko Higashimura (2015 Grand Prix Winner)
Akiko Higashimura has produced some famous manga such as “Kurage-Hime” (Jelly Fish Princess).
This is an autobiography that tells the story of Akiko Hayashi, the author as she was in her third year of high school at the beginning of the story. Through her friend Futami, Akiko starts going to an art class led by Kenzou Hidaka, an intimidating teacher who spends much of his time yelling at his students and keeping them focused on drawing with the use of a bamboo sword. Akiko is initially confused by the behavior of the teacher and her fellow students in the class, but she keeps going regardless, eventually becoming the manga author she is today.
from Baka-Updates Manga
I personally read this and as I read, even I knew that how the end is going to be, I can’t stop crying as I read along. Very sad but heart warming story of Akiko and her former teacher.
2. “Koe no Katachi” (聲の形) by Yoshitoki Ooima
“Koe no Katachi”, means “Shape of Voice”.
Shouya Ishida, a boy always looking for ways to beat boredom, ends up looking for it in the wrong place. Weirded out by his new classmate, a deaf transfer student named Shouko Nishimiya, he deems her as the target of his ostracizing and bullying. Day after day, Shouya picks on Shouko, unaware of the effects of his thoughtless actions. He finally understands the pain he has inflicted on her when one day, his bullying culminates in her leaving the school, and his classmates begin to shun and harass him every chance they get instead. Determined to right his wrongs, five years later, Shouya, now a third year high school loner, meets Shouko again. Thus begins the story of a young man’s path to redemption.
From My Anime List
This manga depicts really well about teenage fragile feelings and relationships. Some scenes are really sad but not so bad in the ending.
3. “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” (僕だけがいない街) by Kei Sanbe
Struggling manga author Satoru Fujinuma is beset by his fear to express himself. However, he has a supernatural ability of being forced to prevent deaths and catastrophes by being sent back in time before the incident occurred, repeating time until the accident is prevented. One day, he gets involved in an accident that has him framed as a murderer. Desperate to save the victim, he sends himself back in time only to find himself as a grade-schooler one month before fellow classmate Kayo Hinazuki went missing. Satoru now embarks on a new quest: to save Kayo and solve the mystery behind her disappearance.
From My Anime List
The murder mystery Satoru tries to solve is very interesting. Who was the killer? Can Satoru save all lives that were supposed to be lost? That is not yet told.
4. BLUE GIANT by Shinichi Ishizuka
A high school 3rd year student, Miyamoto Dai, whose heart was touched by Jazz, continued to play the Saxophone alone in Kawahara, rain or shine, day or night, for many years. “I want to become the world’s best Saxophone player…!!” Effort, talent, faith, environment, luck…which are necessary? A tale of reaching towards his goal recklessly and sincerely begins in Hirosegawa, Sendai.
From Baka-Updates Manga
Dai’s honest behavior towards making his dream come true is very heart warming. These kind of story seems to be around everywhere, but professional Manga author Shinichi Ishizuka makes it breathtaking.
These are 4 selections from ones that I have read. All of them are not really “Otaku” kind of manga, and the stories are not for kids. Those of you who never have read manga, how about trying from these ones?