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Mangakissa: 2010 in Manga
It doesn’t take long to read a volume of manga, which makes life difficult when you’re hooked on a series and can read the latest, in its entirety, within an hour of getting your hands on it. Fortunately, there are more manga series than most of us can reasonably keep straight, so it is relatively easy to discover a new tale to obsess over while you’re waiting for the next volume of your primary interest to appear. Old favorites with and without continuing issues remained popular over this past year, and some noteworthy new titles crept onto the scene and the New York Times Best Seller lists:
Alice in the Country of Hearts by QuinRose and Hoshino Soumei
A romantic adventure retelling of Alice in Wonderland based on a Playstation 2/PSP game, this fantasy series was issued in five English volumes this year alone, with more to come.
Black Butler by Yana Toboso
Three English volumes of this supernatural crime series set in the Victorian era appeared in 2010. A demonic butler serves a 12-year-old orphan who has traded his soul for revenge on his parents’ murderers – it works.
Bleach by Tite Kubo
Since the first English volume appeared in 2004, this supernatural action saga of the spirit-seeing, Soul Reaper-battling teen Ichigo has kept readers infatuated. Volume 33 appeared earlier this month.
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
This psychological thriller has kept many readers up nights and, unfortunately, inspired more than one copycat murder. Boxed sets of the completed 12 volume series, which ran from 2005 to 2007, were a top seller this year.
Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya
I wasn’t the only reader sad to see the end of this 23 volume tale in 2009. Boxed sets and related gift items based on this fantasy drama involving a human family of reincarnated Chinese zodiac animals – and the outcast cat – remain exceedingly popular.
Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Volume 23 of this steampunkish science fiction adventure about brothers Edward and Alphonse on their search for the Philosopher’s Stone kept followers of this dark fantasy series happy this year, with the promise of a new issue in January 2011.
Hetalia: Axis Powers by Hidekaz Himaruya
This historical/political satire was a webcomic before crashing onto the manga market in 2010. The English publication of volume 1 in September left readers waiting for post-Christmas shopping to ease the need for volume 2, which has a street date of December 28.
Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
When a young boy carries a demon fox sealed within him, readers can’t help but track him as far as they can follow. Volume 49 of this fantasy adventure appeared in English in October, holding fans on a seven year trail that happily for them, seems to have no end.
Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki
Another Alice in Wonderland-ish series appealed to readers this year, but with a fifteen-year-old male protagonist named Oz, this mystery/fantasy holds some surprises for fans of the traditional tale. Three English volumes appeared over the last year, with a fourth promised for next month.