In a traditional Comic Con year, Deb Aoki (Mangasplaining, Publishers Weekly) would host the manga publishing industry roundtable and relate where things are now and where they’re going next. But seeing how this Comic Con is anything but ordinary, Deb elected instead to recommend 31 manga titles that we should all read in “This Manga Is Awesome! New Series and Underrated Gems Worth Reading.” Sharing the spotlight with Deb was Ivan Salazar (Senior Marketing Director, Kodansha USA), Laura Neuzeth (Video Content Creator), and Stephanie Borria (Marketing and Operations Assistant Manager, Media Do Internation). While shojo manga took center stage, the quartet did talk about new titles and classics to consider.

SDCC21 This Manga Is Awesome

Each panelist was given 60 seconds to promote their title before a bell was rung to signal time. While most stuck within the time limit initially, the more the rounds continued, the longer and more passionate the advocacy for their chosen books. So without further ado, here are the titles that each panelist chose in eight rounds of play:


  • Blue Period (Kodansha)
  • Boys Run the Riot (Kodansha): “High school kids interested in fashion.”
  • My Brother’s Husband (Pantheon): “Shows the effects of homophobia and who they effect.”
  • Our Dreams at Dusk (Seven Seas)
  • Go For It, Nakamura (Seven Seas): “A very wholesome, longing, queer romance. It’s incredibly charming.”
  • Goloseum (Kodansha): “World War ass-kick. All martial arts is like watching a wrestling match.”
  • PTSD Radio (Kodansha, 2023)
  • Tesla Note (Kodansha, digital only): “Tenet better than Tenet.”


  • Sweat and Soap (Kodansha)
  • Skip and Loafer (Seven Seas): “A feel-good shojo for the modern ages.”
  • A Sign of Affection (Kodansha):
  • Something’s Wrong with Us (Kodansha): “Think of a Mexican telenovela set in Japan.”
  • You Got Me, Senpai (Kodansha): “Another shojo for the modern ages.”
  • Sayonara Game (SuBlime): “What one-shots should all be like.”
  • Doughnuts Under a Crescent Moon (Seven Seas)


  • Rose of Versailles (Udon Entertainment)
  • The Magnificent Grand Scene (Akita Publishing, digital only): “Highly recommended for all ages.”
  • Fire-Hot Aunt (Akita Publishing, digital only)
  • The Bride Was a Boy (Seven Seas): “A wholesome and sweet story” about a woman assigned as male at birth.
  • A Bride’s Story (Yen Press): “Very slice-of-life. The art carries the story.”
  • Fake (Compass/Tokyo Pop): “A blast from the past.”
  • Nobo and Her? (Coamix): “Girls love, with relatable topics for adult women.”
  • Princess Jellyfish (Kodansha)


  • Kamen Rider (Ishimori, 50th Anniversary Edition available Jan. 2022): “The Jack Kirby of Japan.”
  • Dandadan (Viz, digital only)
  • Kaiju No. 8 (Viz, digital only, print edition available in Dec. 2021)
  • Red Flowers (Drawn & Quarterly): “As influential as Robert Crumb…beautifully drawn and will make you think.”
  • My Love Mix-Up (Viz): “An odd little love triangle.”
  • In the Clear Moonlit Dusk (Kodansha, 2022)
  • Heaven’s Door (Last Gasp, 2022): “He draws what it feels like to trip on LSD better than anyone.”
  • Never Open It (Yen Press)
  • Tokyo Revengers (Kodansha, 2022): “Time travel, hot guys, and gangs.”

After the rapid-fire, roundtable discussions ended, the panelists challenged audience members to recommend a manga series to them or to have audience members solicit suggestions based on their likes. Among the titles recommended to audience members were Witch Hat Atelier (Kodansha), Medalist (Kodansha), and the Manga Shakespeare series (Abrams). Audience members recommended A Girl from the Other Side (Seven Seas) and Given (SuBlime).

The well-attended “This Manga Is Awesome” panel was enlightening, informational and humorous and provided attendees with worthy titles to check out in their leisure.

Miss any of The Beat’s earlier SDCC ’21 Special Edition Coverage? Find it all here!