For manga fans, nothing beats unwrapping the first volume of what’s bound to be a favourite new series. But wow, our manga shelves are bursting with tried-and-true gems and a host of exciting new titles—where’s a gift buyer to start? Click the link for the official Conspiracy Comics Manga Retrospective and get the scoop on some great manga for the holidays!
“S/He’s Read Naruto—Now What?”
Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Fairy Tail—we like to call them “Gateway Manga” in these parts. But what’s the next step beyond those series? Here’s a few suggestions to help you out!
Rin Okumura, with his twin brother Yukio, was raised among a brotherhood of skilled demon exorcists. One day, Rin learns, by accident, that he is not only the son of Satan, but also the chosen heir of the Underworld. To change his fate, Rin enrolls in a school for exorcists to hone his powers—but what will happen when his new friends discover his demonic origins? An excellent series for readers who liked the blistering battles in Bleach and the tongue-in-cheek humour of Naruto or One Piece.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Set in a mythical world of Djinn-guarded dungeons and mysterious magic wielders, two young boys meet by fate and set out to conqueror the world. Magi borrows names and imagery from the infamous Arabian Nights and recasts that world as a sprawling manga tale. Ideal for fans of One Piece’s treasure-chasing antics and Fairy Tail’s magical landscape.
Allen Walker, a young boy whose left arm can transform into a monstrous claw, becomes an Exorcist tasked with eliminating Akuma, an army of evolving machines designed to destroy humankind. Allen is sent to recover a mysterious substance that gives Exorcists the ability to destroy Akuma, but the new quest threatens to launch a war even greater than the current battle. Great for fans of Bleach’s escalating warfare.
“I Know it’s Christmas, but S/He Loves Insanely Twisted Stories…”
Nothing says ‘the holidays’ quite like the cold chill of a dark, horrific manga—if your manga fan wants something sinister in their stocking, flip through these series for a great gift idea!
Attack on Titan
One of the hottest titles of the year, Attack on Titan offers more gore and apocalyptic, existential drama than any other manga on our shelves. For the past hundred years, humankind has hidden behind the safety of three concentric walls built to keep giant, man-eating Titans at bay; however, everything changes in an instant when a Colossal Titan appears and destroys the outermost wall. Three friends vow to eliminate the Titans at all costs, but how can they hold on to their humanity in the process? This series has well-deserved hype around it, and your manga fan will thank you immensely for the first nine volumes!
Doubt and Judge
Fans of the Saw franchise will feel right at home with both volumes of Doubt and the new ongoing series, Judge. Doubt revolves around a popular cellphone game called Rabbit Doubt, where one player is chosen to act as a wolf infiltrating a group of rabbits. In each round, the rabbits guess which player is the wolf—for each unsuccessful guess, another rabbit is eaten. As Doubt opens, four players become the victims of a real-life version of Rabbit Doubt and must find the wolf before their group is destroyed. Judge offers an equally sinister sequel for fans of Doubt and will keep your Christmas creepy.
Uzumaki returns in a sleek hardcover format collecting all three volumes of Junji Ito’s twisted horror classic. The inhabitants of the small Japanese town of Kurôzu-cho are cursed by supernatural events governed by spirals. As more people become obsessed or paranoid with spiral shapes, a series of gruesome deaths overwhelm the small town and threaten to destroy its inhabitants as well. “Silent Night”? More like, sleepless nights…
“S/He Loves Sailor Moon, But Is There Anything Else…?”
Of course there is, this is manga we’re talking about! Again, Sailor Moon counts as a “Gateway Manga” here, and there’s no shortage of great magical girl series to be found on our shelves.
Written and illustrated by CLAMP, Japan’s all-female manga supergroup, Cardcaptor Sakura is a little bit of Sailor Moon’s magic mixed with Pokemon’s need to catch ‘em all. At the start, ten-year-old Sakura Kinomoto accidentally unleashes a deck of mythical cards on the world after opening a strange, ancient Clow Book. Sakura sets out to collect the Clow Cards before their powers threaten those she loves most. An excellent first step into the diverse world of magical girl manga!
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
(Puella Magi Kazumi Magica & Puella Magi Oriko Magica)
Where other magical girl series take a light-hearted, ethereal approach to their subject, Madoka Magica opts for a refreshingly dark, existential track. Young girls make contracts with Kyubey, a mysterious white creature, who promises to grant a wish in exchange for a Soul Gem and the girls’ promise to fight witches preying on innocent victims. However, the girls lose far more than anticipated and learn the truth behind not always wanting what you wish for. Make sure to check out the Kazumi Magica and Oriko Magica spin-offs as well!
Hinamori Amu, a new transfer student, has trouble showing her true personality to others. One night, Amu wishes for the courage to show her “would-be” self, and the next morning, she finds three brightly colored eggs in her bed, each containing a Shugo Chara (or Guardian Character) embodying a different aspect of her potential self. With their transformative powers, Amu sets out to protect the Shugo Charas of other kids at her school, and to find the Embryo, an egg believed to grant any wish to the one who possesses it. A fun and cute series for young kids entering the manga world for the first time!
“S/He Loves Anything with A Bit of Romance, or Anything About Relationships…? Help…?”
We’ve got you more than covered if you’re shopping for shoujo readers, whether your manga fan likes an antagonistic couple or whether s/he wants enough fluffy cuteness to drown in. Take a glance at the following titles for a nice place to start!
Alice in the Country of Hearts
Based lightly on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, this series follows the misadventures of Alice Liddell after she falls down the rabbit hole into a dangerous, chaotic world populated by a bevy of bishounen. Make sure to start with the main Alice in the Country of Hearts series and, from there, readers can pick their favourite guy and read on about Alice’s relationships across the country of Hearts, Clover, and Joker!
Demon Love Spell
Fans of Black Bird will find an all-new series worthy of their Christmas manga lists. Miko is a young shrine maiden frustrated by her inability to see or banish spirits. Eventually, Miko encounters Kagura, an incubus who’s been feeding off of the female students at Miko’s school. Miko manages to seal him, and accidentally binds him to her. In order for him to survive, he needs the love and attention of women; however, for Miko to retain her powers, she needs Kagura near her. Demon Love Spell offers a supernatural level of romantic tension, and a playful catch-22 to boot.
Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran is romcom manga at its finest, featuring a heavy dose of self-aware humour and a group of suitable bachelors to boot. Haruhi Fujioka becomes indebted to the infamous Ouran High School Host Club after breaking an antique vase valued at nearly $80,000. As payment, Haruhi is enlisted to work with the host club to entertain female students—of course, the gents in the club don’t realize at first that Haruhi is, in fact, a girl herself. A comedy of errors turns into a drama-tinged romcom in which one girl helps her new friends accept parts of themselves they never believed they could.
All right, so this one isn’t a romance exactly—but shoujo fans will find a delightful array of bishounen personifications of countries teaching readers a little bit about world history. Imagine Canada’s Heritage Minutes on an international scale, as told by a cast of attractive young men. No need to thank us—we can hear the fangirling from here.
“I Like a Little ‘T’ with My ‘A’, If You Catch My Drift…”
…And we do catch that drift. Nothing’s more attractive than a good sense of humour—well, almost nothing—and the following manga series are a true package deal.
Is This A Zombie?
Ayumu Aikawa was murdered—but wait, isn’t he the main character? Thanks to a soft-hearted Necromancer, Ayumu is brought back from the dead as a zombie. As he tries to make the best of his undead life, he encounters a magical girl and inadvertently takes her powers, girly transformation and all. Did we mention there’s a vampire ninja involved? Of course there is! Is This A Zombie combines undead hijinks with harem-style humour—what more could you want in a Christmas gift?
High School of the Dead
One part zombie horror, seven parts buxom hunters—the odds are stacked for these girls to survive the end of the world. This month, the second full-colour, drop-dead gorgeous edition of the series hit store shelves, and we’re confident you’ll make your fanboy’s or girl’s Christmas morning with High School of the Dead sitting under the tree.
Chizuru Minamoto is a fox—no really, she’s a fox spirit, guys. When the extremely innocent Kouta Oyamada moves from the country to the city, it isn’t long before he meets the second-year Chizuru, a yokai who falls madly in love with him. Antics ensue when a wolf spirit named Nozomu Ezomori enrolls in the school and winds up falling for our dear Kouta as well. Kanokon is a fun, flirty series bound to make anyone’s holiday a little brighter.
Kinjiro Sakamachi is a high school boy with a severe problem—he suffers from a type of gynophobia that causes intense nosebleeds any time he has physical contact with a female. As a result, he accidentally discovers the popular and handsome butler Subaru Konoe is, in fact, a girl. Now that Kinjiro knows about Subaru’s secret, he must work with Subaru and her sadistic mistress, Kanade Suzutsuki, to protect Subaru’s secret from being discovered. Mayo Chiki combines cuteness with a tricky sadistic edge that makes for an excellent harem manga.
Drop by Conspiracy Comics to check out these and other great manga titles, or feel free to call and reserve your copy today! Happy holidays!