Manga That I’m Thankful For

Ahhhhh, November is here! It is the second to last month in the year, and people usually spend time with the folks they love and give thanks for the blessings: the literal and proverbial harvest that has carried them from last year to this one. With respect to the resilience of Indigenous folks everywhere but especially the ones in this country, November is a month greatly characterized as a month of giving thanks. November is a month where I sit down and think of all that I’m thankful and grateful for, and I wanted to share some manga that I’m grateful for and the small lessons I’ve learned from them.


The Savior’s Book Café Story in Another World

Based On Novels by Kyouka Izumi, Story by Oumiya, Art by Reiko Sakurada

Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment

Age Rating: 13+

Available Formats: Digital & Physical

Ongoing or Completed: Ongoing

Localization Team: Alexa Frank (Translator), Jennifer Skarupa (Letterer)

Isekai aka ‘other wordly shenanigans’ genre is a fave of mine in manga, manhua, and web comics. While I adore Accomplishments of The Duke Daughter and My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, my favorite manga series in the genre has to be The Savior’s Book Cafe Story in Another World. I always want more manga about people my age, and this series follows a woman in her 30’s who gets summoned to another world of magic and monsters. Instead of adventuring, she basically said, ‘Nah. I just wanna chill and do the things I like which include cooking and hosting my own book cafe.’

The Savior’s Book Cafe Story in Another World is such a worthy read. The romance is hitting somewhere between Shojo and Josei. The narrative threads are picking up on personal responsibility and obligation, and the artwork is great. You’ll love the dynamic between Tsukina, our main character, her love interest, and the supporting characters. There are plenty lot of wholesome moments alongside the funny ones, and the world building in this manga is clutch.

I’m thankful for this manga because it reminds me of the agency we should all strive to have in our own lives, no matter what curve ball comes our way; whether that be the unexpected like the loss of a job or stream of income or being whisked away to a fantasy world similar to the ones in our favorite games and novels. I love that Tsukina hasn’t reinvented herself but stayed true to herself. She’s just placed in a new environment and a new world, and she’s kept true to herself. She adapted quickly and in anything, just became a little more brave in tackling the new obstacles in this new world.

Recommended for: Fans of Isekai genre, readers who want short manga series to read, fans of female character centered works


My Dear Detective: Mitsuko’s Case Files

Creator: Natsumi Ito

Publisher: Azuki

Age Rating: 16+

Available Formats: Digital

Ongoing or Completed: Ongoing

Localization Team: Samuel R Messner (Translator), Barri Shrager (Letterer), Adela Chang (Production Manager)

Here’s another manga on the Azuki app that caught my attention, My Dear Detective: Mitsuko’s Case Files. I am a big fan of historical manga, you know the manga that takes place in the past. This series centers on Mitsuko, who is a detective, perhaps Japan’s first woman detective solving cases in 1930’s Japan. She’s joined by an incredibly nosy but handsome college student named Saku who ends up as her new assistant as he shows up with a case to be solved. Both he and his new boss find clients and cases that no one else cares about or will entertain. Mitsuko and Saku also have detailed backstories that we’re slowly learning about with each volume that really feel hard earned with all the little clues the creator leaves.

I really appreciate the attention to detail in My Dear Detective: Mitsuko’s Case Files. The mangaka did her homework from the historically accurate clothing, accessories, and hairstyles of the times to the ever changing and challenging cultural climate of early Showa-era Japan. In an afterword of one of the chapters after pondering with an editor on how long female detectives have been around, the mangaka started looking back at the Ginza district in Japan. In her words, she was fascinated with how it was a mix of Japanese clothing and Western clothing, there was something in the air. Somehow it was a bit like the Japan of today and somehow not. She was moved by a peculiar feeling of how it was foreign but not, something like a far-off place. She was inspired enough and went on to create a manga in that time period around that shopping and entertainment district.

I’m thankful for this manga because it reminds me that manga can and does offer commentary on the world around us and in the past. The first chapter actually opens with a content advisory mentioning that the series deals with examples and exploration of social prejudice of gender and gender expression. The very solid first chapter then goes on to include a story line with a trans woman character that doesn’t veer into trauma porn territory which made me want to read more. Through the series, we see Mitsuko experiencing all kinds of discrimination as a young woman who has chosen a career outside the home that makes her a target for the ire of men who are closed minded. This manifests in different ways: from the front of the detective agency that she works at being vandalized to being dismissed and chewed out by men from all lines of work. Through the cases she and Saku take on, we see stories of people who need help changing their lives for the better. I look forward to each new chapter on the Azuki app, and I want to read more historical manga centered on women written by women!

Recommended for: Fans of historical settings in manga, folks who love detective fiction and comics, readers who like drama


Kowloon Generic Romance

Creator: Jun Mayuzuki

Publisher: Yen Press

Age Rating: 18+

Available Formats: Digital & Physical

Ongoing or Completed: Ongoing

Localization Team: Amanda Haley (Translator), Abigail Blackman (Letterer)

I read and fell in love with Jun Mayuzuki’s English language debut, After The Rain. I found it to be an incredible story about two different people figuring out their paths in life. When I heard about the mangaka’s newest translated work, I knew that I wanted to read it.  Kowloon Generic Romance is a manga series that is hard to describe as it is a genre blurring work. It is a romance within a dystopian story with a sort of slice of life approach with mystery and intrigue. Wait, let me try this again based on the real life setting of the Kowloon Walled City, is a story about real estate agent Reiko Kujirai and her daily adventures. She loves the city with all her heart, and every day brings her a feeling of nostalgia.

Kowloon Generic Romance is anything but a generic story as the manga takes a science-fiction tinged feel the more chapters you read. Mayuzuki’s ability to create manga that not only blurs genre but gives us very personal looks into the lives of her characters also leaves me pouring over each chapter and rereading them. This manga follows a woman who is missing something but content at the same time, a late volume reveal sparked all kinds of theories for the sci-fi lovers amongst us. One of the best manga podcasts on the net, Mangasplaining, did a great episode on it, which I recommend checking out.

I’m thankful for this manga because it reminds me that manga does contain storytelling that will continue to keep me on my toes! Sometimes when I talk about the media we consume, I can become frustrated and alternatively enamored with the media text we read and watch that don’t spoon feed us the information we need. For some of us, it leaves us unfulfilled for stories that seem incomplete. In other cases, it works and works brilliantly. For Kowloon Generic Romance, the mangaka has made it work and has hooked with just one volume. For me, this manga is amazing for its intricate narrative that has really stunned me and left me guessing in such a pleasant and surprising way-minus that cliffhanger!

Recommended for: Folks who like of Slice of life structure in their manga, readers of science fiction and dystopian vibes, fans of genre-blurring manga



Creator:  Okaya Izumi

Publisher: Star Fruit Books

Age Rating: 16+

Available Formats: Digital

Ongoing or Completed: Completed for now?

Localization Team:  Dan Luffey (Translator), Kelly Ngo (Letterer), Matt Haasch (Project Manager)

I remain grateful to the Azuki app as it has helped introduce me not just to indie and emerging manga publishers like Glacier Books but another fave, Star Fruit Books. Drunks is a short collection of two stories from mangaka Okaya Izumi who appears to make a lot of manga in the slice of life genre. Reading this was my intro to Izumi, and I was really impressed with the range of both stories in regard to romance. The titular story, Drunks centers on a man falling in love with a vampire whom he first mistakes as an alcoholic, hilariously. The second story titled Tick Tock is a tale about the awakening of a woman frozen for years and the start of the romance she has with the caretaker of her cryogenic chamber she’s been asleep in.

I really appreciate Drunks. This manga offering to me just feels like a quiet impactful duo of weird stories that say so much in a few pages. There’s a variety of emotions that find a home in the panels including: curiosity, longing, and hope that don’t feel out of place and really resonated with me as a reader. I would love to read more of Izumi’s work and more manga in this vein that gently teases narratives that I can get lost in, despite their short page lengths.

I’m thankful for this manga because it reminds me that romance, one of the oldest genres in the world, will never be stale when I read manga. Seriously, these two stories are not your average love stories, nor do they disappoint in making me laugh and wonder. Izumi’s manga takes a quiet approach in its storytelling, showing characters questioning their realities (A real life vampire who has a job! A person frozen for over a hundred years who now walks around the apartment!) and just going with the flow. Her manga is a bit strange, and I totally want to read more of it. Here’s to hoping we get more translated in English.

Recommended for: Folks who love the Sci-fi genre, readers of oddball stories, fans of indie manga

What manga have you read lately that you are thankful for? Let us know in the comments or on our social media channels!

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  • Carrie McClain is writer, editor and media scholar. Other times she's known as a Starfleet Communications Officer, Comics Auntie, and Golden Saucer Frequenter. Nowadays you can usually find her avoiding Truck-kun and forgetting her magical girl transformation device. She/Her

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