Over the past few years, manga has gotten pretty darn popular – it’s now the #3 bestselling BOOK (not just graphic novels!) category in N. America. So it seems only right that this year, as The Beat has ramped up its manga news and reviews, 2023 marks the first time that we’re compiling a dedicated best manga of year list, just for the best new and continuing manga series. Just like The Beat’s writers, this best manga list is pretty eclectic – everything from horror to romance, action-packed adventures and goofy gag comics, artsy indie comics to popular picks with hit anime series, and almost everything in between. Just like manga, there’s probably something here for (almost) every reader.

How did we pick these manga series and one-shots? The guidelines are pretty simple: For “best new manga,” the first volume should be published (print or digital) sometime in 2023. For “best continuing manga series,” at least one new volume should have come out in the past year. We’re also shining a light on some “underrated gems,” which are either one-shots, new or continuing manga series that we think deserve a little more love and attention from Beat readers. So without further ado – here’s Comic Beat’s picks for the best manga of 2023.


The Summer Hikaru Died vol. 1 by Mokumokuren from Yen Press
The Summer Hikaru Died vol. 1 by Mokumokuren

The Summer Hikaru Died

Writer/Artist: Mokumokuren
Translator: Ajani Oloye
Lettering: Abigail Blackman
Editor: Abigail Blackman and JuYoun Lee
Publisher: Yen Press
[Buy The Summer Hikaru Died from Bookstore.org]

It’s summertime in a small rural town, the cicadas are buzzing, and two high school boys, Yoshiki and Hikaru are sitting in front of a neighborhood convenience store, eating ice cream and complaining about the heat and school stuff. It seems like it’ll be one of those slice-of-life, teen friendship stories… until Yoshiki turns to his friend and says, “You ain’t the real Hikaru, are you?” As “Hikaru’s” face melts into a mysterious, worm-like ooze, readers realize only pages into chapter 1 of The Summer Hikaru Died, that they’re in for a ride unlike any other.

Thanks in part to Junji Ito, Kazuo Umezu, and Hideshi Hino, horror manga is hot nowadays, but let’s not forget that there’s many more spooky, creepy comics from Japan worth checking out. With its mix of “there’s something awful hiding in the woods” suspense, Pet Sematary-like hints of the dead coming back in a way that they shouldn’t, thrilling brushes with forbidden boy/boy crushes, and art that’s the right mix of stylish and scary, The Summer Hikaru Died will grab you by the collar and have you gasping at every creepy twist that Momokuren throws at you. It’s a pretty new series (Yen Press’ edition of Vol. 2 only came out a few weeks ago), so it’s hard to say where the story is headed, but if it’s anything like these first chapters, not knowing what’s ahead is half the fun. – Deb Aoki


March Comes in Like a Lion vol. 1 by Chica Umino, from Denpa
March Comes in Like a Lion vol. 1 by Chica Umino

March Comes In Like a Lion

Writer/Artist: Chica Umino
Translator: Jocelyne Allen
Proofreading: Varrick Robinson
Production: Glen Isip, Nicole Dochych, Risa Cho, Kai Kyou
Publisher: Denpa (print and digital)
[Buy March Comes in Like a Lion from Bookstore.org]

Rei is a 17-year old shogi (Japanese chess) prodigy. He’s also a burnout. Thankfully, he has the support of the Kawamoto sisters, three young women that live with their grandfather. Their evolving relationship forms the core of March Comes In Like a Lion, the follow-up to foundational art school drama Honey and Clover. Chica Umino deploys all her standard tricks: cute animals, squishy faces and characters delivering gripping monologues about their feelings. Rei’s depression in particular is so vividly depicted that readers might want to pace themselves. Even so, this is a fantastic comic, and a great get for Denpa Books.
– Adam Wescott


Don't Call It Mystery vol 1-2 omnibus by Yumi Tamura from Seven Seas Entertainment
Don’t Call It Mystery vol 1 & 2

Don’t Call It Mystery

Writer/Artist: Yumi Tamura
Translator: Caroline Winzenried
Lettering: Aila Nagamine
Editor: Shannon Fay
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment (print and digital)
[Buy Don’t Call It Mystery at Bookshop.org]

It’s rare to find a mystery comic that isn’t also a thriller or supernaturally flavored, so I loved this double-sized start. It didn’t hurt that the gangly young man at its center seems geared to appeal to fans of a modern version of Sherlock. He’s taken in as a murder suspect and talks rings around the investigating officers, using his observations to deduce secrets and then reassure them about their lives. He’s odd, but surprisingly admirable, and wanting to find out what’s really going on kept me turning the pages. 
– Johanna Draper Carlson

Nejishiki by Yoshiharu Tsuge from Drawn & Quarterly
Nejishiki by Yoshiharu Tsuge


Writer/Artist: Yoshiharu Tsuge
Translator: Ryan Holmberg
Lettering: Anna Haifisch
Editors: Mitsuhiro Asakawa & Ryan Holmberg
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
[Buy Nejishiki from Bookstore.org]

Drawn and Quarterly’s series publishing the complete works of groundbreaking mangaka Yoshiharu Tsuge finally reaches his most acclaimed work, Neijishiki. Even more than fifty years since its original publication, nothing seems quite like that short story. Tsuge crafts the story with a dreamy logic, with the drawings ranging from hyper realistic to abstract. The story, rendered with a limited color palette, has images both sublime and disturbing. Nothing is explained but everything seems symbolic. It’s a short story that lays bare the author’s subconscious but leaves the meaning to the reader. 

The rest of the short stories in the collection walk the border of the everyday and the surreal. There’s a deep vein of alienation and boredom throughout this collection as characters encounter the familiar. Each of the seven stories have their unique style and visual approach from the cartoony “The Crab” to the realism of “Master of the Willow Inn.” Tsuge does nothing to indicate whether these stories are autobiographical, the leads are stand-ins for himself, or if they come from his own dreams. Produced around the same time period, it’s as if Tsuge implies that the waking world is as abstract and strange as the ones we encounter in dreams. D. Morris

Mothers by Kusahara Umi from Glacier Bay Books
Mothers by Kusahara Umi


Writer/Artist: Kusahara Umi
Translator:  Jocelyne Allen
Lettering: Tim Sun
Editor:  emuh ruh
Publisher: Glacier Bay Books (print and digital)

From manga’s small press scene comes a josei zine collection built on trusting the reader. Mothers are families, friends, taboos, elation, and loss. Mothers is magical realism, blending melodramatic and traumatic with reverie and horror. The line between what is real, what is memory, and what is fantasy is undecided. The intimacy of the art allows great emotional depth in moments a rushed eye might miss. The tap of a teardrop striking a shoe. I found this collection elegant, understated in tone but robust in subject matter.
-Arpad Okay

Since I Could Die Tomorrow vol. 1 by Sumako Kari from TokyoPop
Since I Could Die Tomorrow vol. 1 by Sumako Kari

Since I Could Die Tomorrow

Writer/Artist: Sumako Kari
Translator: David Bove
Lettering: Vibrraant Publishing Studio
Publisher: TOKYOPOP (print and digital)
[Buy Since i Could Die Tomorrow from Bookstore.org]

A last-minute addition to my favorites from an artist I like, Since I Could Die Tomorrow is a poignant look at Honna’s, a 42-year-old single woman, fears and struggles as she tries to navigate the changes menopause brings. The volume touches upon a lot of questions/anxieties I’ve been personally grappling with; from heterosexual nuclear family/partnership being the only ‘valid currency’ as far as the support systems go to social systems not being able to respond to people’s varying needs and how that leads to chronic loneliness to how medicine continually fails women and LGBTQ+ people. It was a cathartic read for me, but I’m sure it’ll be a thought-provoking read no matter where you are in life. With Kari’s chaotic, lively art style, can’t wait to find out how the story will go.
– Merve Giray


Dark Gathering vol. 1 by Kenichi Kondo from VIZ Media
DARK GATHERING © 2019 by Kenichi Kondo/SHUEISHA Inc.

Dark Gathering

Writer: Kenichi Kondo
Translator: Christine Dashiell
Lettering: Evan Waldinger
Editor: Andrew Kuhre Bartosh
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media (print and digital)
[Buy Dark Gathering from Bookstore.org]

Over the years, horror manga and anime has garnered a bit of a reputation for being not so terrifying, or even “spooky”, and more so just suspenseful, or at worst just unintentionally comical. So when I first heard about Dark Gathering being licensed for release in 2023, as well as it receiving an anime adaptation, I was less than enthusiastic about the prospects for the series. Fortunately, I decided to give it a shot, and the results ended up blowing away my expectations, so much so that I even wrote a review of the first three volumes as part of a lead up to Halloween. – Joel Savill | Gray Matter Manga


The Yakuza's Bias vol. 1 by Teki Yatsuda
The Yakuza’s Bias © Teki Yatsuda/Ichijinsha Inc.

The Yakuza’s Bias

Writer/Artist: Teki Yatsuda
Translator: Max Greenway
Lettering: Nicole Roderick
Editor: Maggie Le
Publisher: Kodansha (print and digital)
[Buy The Yakuza’s Bias from Bookstore.org]

What happens when a stoic yakuza enforcer gets introduced to the catchy songs, hot guys and manly friendships of K-Pop? Well, once top Washio Clan lieutenant Ken Kanashiro connects the intense obsession of K-Pop fandom with the yakuza principles of loyalty, honor, and brotherhood, he gets sucked into the addictive (and expensive!) hobby of being a Korean boy band addict. With a passion that he formerly channeled into managing hostess clubs, extortion rackets, and whacking his clan’s enemies, Ken tries to take his street-hardened colleagues down the KPop path with him, waving light sticks, going to handshake events, and writing fan-fic with a fervor that would make even teenagers blush.

You could say that The Yakuza’s Bias is what would happen if the lovable thugs of The Way of the Househusband joined the BTS Army, but it’s actually way funnier than that. Yatsuda (a BL manga artist, who also drew A Home Far Away, available now from Kuma / Denpa Books) draws a cast of delectable boy band hotties who are both puzzled and flattered by their new tattooed tough guy fans, alongside motley crew of hoodlums who are reduced to swoons when their stan makes heart fingers in their direction. It’s no exaggeration to say that The Yakuza’s Bias made me laugh louder and more often than any other manga I read this year. I’m now a huge fan of this hilarious love letter to K-Pop addicts, and if you give it a chance, it might be your next manga addiction too. – Deb Aoki


Lullaby of the Dawn vol. 1 by Ichika Yuno from TokyoPop
Lullaby of the Dawn vol. 1 by Ichika Yuno

Lullaby of the Dawn

Writer/Artist: Ichika Yuno
Translator: Riley Keenan
Lettering: Vibrraant Publishing Studio
Editor: Lena Atanassova
Publisher: LoveLove / TOKYOPOP (print and digital)
[Buy Lullaby of the Dawn from Bookstore.org]

Lullaby of the Dawn is a fantasy BL centering on Elva, a young man burdened with the task of holding back the mysterious evil creatures that threaten to leave the black sea. He is known as a “kannagi,” and lives in isolation and is cursed to face an early death as the price for protecting the land. His work slowly poisons him over time, turning his skin jet black…until he meets the young boy Alto who becomes his only friend. Alto’s presence seems to push the poison of the black sea back, extending Elva’s life. The two grow close and Alto remains by Elva’s side over the years, his devotion becoming more than just friendship. 

Lullaby of the Dawn features an interesting fantasy world with the culture surrounding the kannagi who are destined to be shunned by society even though they have an important role to play to ensure its survival. The artwork is beautiful and expressive, including the character and costume designs, and the story between Elva and Alto drew me in. How will these two be tested? Will they realize their feelings for each other? And of course, will Elva live? The series is ongoing, and I can’t wait for these questions to be answered.
– Kristina Elyse Butke


One More Step, Come Stand by My Side by Toryumon Takeda from Yen Press
One More Step, Come Stand by My Side by Toryumon Takeda

One More Step, Come Stand By My Side

Writer/Artist: Toryumon Takeda
Translator: Jason Moses
Lettering:  Chi Bui
Publisher: Yen Press (print and digital)
[Buy One More Step, Come Stand By My Side from Bookstore.org]

In this magnificently illustrated collection of one-shot stories, Toryumon Takeda showcases their talent in hooking the reader with intrigue and delivering stories that are memorable and compelling. The collection having a somewhat overarching theme provides a smooth, unified read and did I mention how good this series looks? Drop-dead gorgeous. Here’s a detailed review without spoilers, and if you’re a lover of short form like me, do not miss this November release!
– Merve Giray


Superman vs. Meshi vol. 1 by Satoshi Miyagawa and Kai Kitago, from DC Comics and Kodansha
Superman vs. Meshi vol. 1 by Satoshi Miyagawa and Kai Kitago

Superman vs. Meshi

Writer: Satoshi Miyagawa
Artist: Kai Kitago
Translator: Sheldon Drzka
Lettering: Wes Abbott
Editor: Andrew Marino [DC], Yuhi Matsuo & Tomohiro Nagasawa [Kodansha]
Publisher: DC Comics, Kodansha (print and digital)
[Buy Superman vs. Meshi from Bookstore.org]

In today’s post-superhero era, there exists a cottage industry of hero fans searching for non-action genres– they want a peek into their fave superhero’s slice of life to complement the world-ending adventures. In a year with My Adventures with Superman, a flustered, blushing goodboy Clark Kent tirelessly thinking about Japanese food is the Superman we want and need. 

With heartwarming earnesty for tare sauce, perfectly grilled chicken, and glistening rice, Superman and a rotating cast of Justice Leaguers hit restaurant chains and conbinis (Japanese convenience stores) alike for a meal befitting a hard day’s work. Satoshi Miyagawa brings a heightened absurdist touch to the everyman manzai gags Clark constantly finds himself in while Kai Kitago drops a fully clothed, drooling Superman into the chapter’s next family restaurant. Hero comics can get stuffy and melodramatic, but few can satisfy like Superman vs. Meshi. – Beau Q.


Sakamoto Days vol. 9 by Yuto Suzuki from Shonen Jump / VIZ Media
SAKAMOTO DAYS © 2020 by Yuto Suzuki/SHUEISHA Inc.

Sakamoto Days

Writer/Artist: Yuto Suzuki
Translator: Camellia Nieh
Lettering: Eve Grandt, Arbash Mughal
Editor: John Bae
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media (print and digital), Manga Plus (digital)
[Buy Sakamoto Days from Bookstore.org]

Some days, I ask myself if it is a Sakamoto Day or not, and with the fast paced assassin battles at the heart of Yuto Suzuki’s shonen battle series, there’s never a time when it’s not Sakamoto Days. This year, Suzuki finished out the JCC Infiltration arc, brought us face to face with who X really is, and the world he’s shaping. While Sakamoto Days gets a lot from spectacle — constantly bursting through buildings, rooftops, and car chases — Suzuki renders motion blur and clothing rumples to furiously flurry from set piece to set piece. Team SD continue their use of gradient screentone and minute detail to juxtapose realistic locales behind Suzuki’s cartoonishly elite assassins.

Recently, the page count lowered from 19 pages to 15 a week, because each outing is a massive weekly undertaking, but this year Team SD made brilliant and efficient use of panel space with a new sniper that uses thought balloons to great, cinematic effect. I welcome those willing to get lost in sometimes comedic espionage action to ask yourself:  what is today if not another Sakamoto Day? – Beau Q.


Sasaki and Miyano vol. 9 by Shou Harusono from Yen Press
Sasaki and Miyano vol. 9 by Shou Harusono

Sasaki and Miyano

Writer/Artist: Shou Harusono
Translator: Leighann Harvey
Lettering: Carolina Hernandez
Editor: Danielle Niederkorn
Publisher: Yen Press (print and digital)
[Buy Sasaki and Miyano from Bookstore.org]

Sasaki and Miyano is an ongoing series (on its 9th volume currently) that focuses on two high school boys—Sasaki, an upperclassman, and Miyano, his younger classmate who loves to read boys’ love manga in secret. Over the course of the series, Miyano has struggled to identify his feelings for Sasaki, who clearly adores him, but in 2023 the two are finally a couple and deal with issues such as coming out to family, imagining the relationship long into the future, deepening their romance, and doing cute things like celebrating birthdays. 

Sasaki and Miyano remains one of the sweetest, most wholesome BL series I’ve read and the relationship between the two has been engaging to watch. You just want to root for these boys and hope that they will be together forever. –Kristina Elyse Butke

Choujin X vol 4 by Sui Ishida
CHOUJIN X © 2021 by Sui Ishida/SHUEISHA Inc.

Choujin X

Writer/Artist: Sui Ishida
Translator: Jan Mitsuko Cash
Lettering: Evan Waldinger and Snir Aharon
Publisher:  Shonen Jump / VIZ Media, Manga Plus (print and digital)
[Buy Choujin X from Bookstore.org]

The part where the biker gang (who all have sheep heads) chase the farmer girl (driving a tractor) off a cliff, that’s gotta be one of my Favorite Scenes In A Comic, 2023. 

The comeback manga from the creator of Tokyo Ghoul is kind of a mess, with a lot of experimenting with ideas until something worth pursuing bubbles up. Is it weird that I love that? The result is a friendship/love-triangle forms within a complex society of self-policed mutants with superpowers. The powers are so much fun, this series is X-Men completely unhinged— though I’ve been sticking with it mostly because it mines anachronistic and often problematic themes from the origins of superhero comics. A flawed but intriguing series with some real high highs. -Arpad Okay


Call of the Night vol. 3 by Kotoyama from VIZ Media

Call of the Night

Writer: Kotoyama
Translator: Junko Goda
Lettering: Analiese “Ace” Christman
Editor: Annette Roman
Publisher: Shonen Sunday / VIZ Media (print and digital)
[Buy Call of the Night from Bookstore.org]

After an outstanding 2022 for Call of the Night (Yofukashi no Uta), with a successful anime adaptation and reaching a milestone in sales, its momentum carried into 2023 with Kotoyama’s series winning the 68th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shonen manga category. Sadly, Call of the Night finished the year with the announcement that the series was inevitably reaching its climax and was set to conclude with it’s 200th chapter.

Call of the Night started off as a slice-of-life comedy mainly following the ridiculous antics of Ko,  a teenager struggling with boredom and insomnia, and Nazuna, a bratty and immature vampire with a thirst for Ko’s blood. In 2023, Call of the Night began to go through a substantial genre shift as the series began to focus more heavily on drama between Ko, Nazuna, her other vampire friends (although she would never admit to it), a mysterious vampire “hunter”, and all the mysteries around Nazuna’s past. The series also began to feature some incredibly well-drawn action and fight scenes, something that was relatively new for Kotoyama. This shift in genre and content, while also not forgetting its heavily comedic roots, brought a whole new level of enjoyment to a series that was already extremely enjoyable.– Joel Savill | Gray Matter Manga

Run Away With Me Girl vol 1 by Battan from Kodansha
Run Away With Me, Girl © Battan/Kodansha Ltd.

Run Away With Me, Girl

Writer/Artist: Battan
Translator: Kevin Steinbach
Lettering: Jennifer Skarupa
Editor:  TJ Ferentini
Publisher: Kodansha (print and digital)
[Buy Run Away With Me Girl from Bookstore.org]

The beginning of Run Away With Me, Girl promises unbearable pain. A young woman runs into her high school crush, who announces she’s pregnant and invites her to her wedding. Rather than three volumes of doomed pining, though, we get something else: a story of two people gathering the courage to “run away” from crushing societal expectations. Battan’s flowing character drawings and fox-eyed faces convey both heartbreak and cathartic release. The result is a sweet and savory classic of girl’s love comics.
– Adam Wescott


Blue Box vol. 1 by Kouji Miura from VIZ Media
AO NO HAKO © 2021 by Kouji Miura/SHUEISHA Inc.

Blue Box

Writer/Artist: Kouji Miura
Translator: Christine Dashiell
Lettering: Mark McMurray
Editor: Jack Carrillo Montoya
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media print and digital), Manga Plus (digital)
[Buy Blue Box from Bookstore.org]

Remember that first crush from high school? Or hearing your name called for one of the school’s sports teams? The goosebumps from locking eyes with that person or being on cloud nine after winning a match… Those were the days, right? Blue Box takes us back to simpler times. The manga recreates those overflowing feelings of youth by blending the burning passion for sports and romance. 

Blue Box is a synonym for wholesomeness. It is impossible not to endear yourself with Chinatsu or Hina (Chinatsu is obviously the best girl). And seeing our boy Taiki grow makes me feel like a proud dad. The emotional connection with the characters truly puts your heart to the test. This year we saw love triangles, on-and-off-court rivalries, wholesome moments, hardcore training, glorious victory, crushing defeat, heartbreak, and one of the best-executed confession scenes I’ve ever seen. Blue Box has it all.  – Matias De la Piedra


Soloist in a Cage vol. 1 by Shiro Moriya from Seven Seas Entertainment
Soloist in a Cage vol. 1 by Shiro Moriya

Soloist in a Cage

Writer/Artist: Shiro Moriya
Translator: Adrienne Beck
Lettering: Viet Phuong Vu
Editor: McKenzie Carnahan
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment (print and digital)
[Buy Soloist in a Cage from Bookstore.org]

Sci-fi dystopias are such a staple of manga you could throw a worn-out volume of Akira into the manga section and hit one. So for Soloist in a Cage, the debut series from writer and artist Shiro Moriya, to stand out and be one of the best manga this year says something.

The setting of Prison City, where people serve life sentences, feels fully realized thanks to Moriya’s detailed art and smart writing. The lead Chloe is one of the few people to have escaped this hellish environment. So for her to go back into this world says a lot as the series explores the lengths one goes to protect one’s family. Moriya’s depiction of cities ranks up there with Katushiro Otomo. But the artist has his own artistic touches from fight scenes rendered in scratchboard or the terrifying blank expressions of the Yes Men, Prison City’s merciless robot guards. Soloist in a Cage marks Shiro Moriya as a talent to watch. D. Morris


Akane Banashi vol. 1 from VIZ Media
AKANE BANASHI © 2022 by Yuki Suenaga, Takamasa Moue/SHUEISHA Inc.


Writer: Yuki Suenaga
Artist: Takamasa Moue
Translator: Stephen Paul
Lettering: Snir Aharon and Vanessa Satone
Editor: Rae First
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media (print and digital), Manga Plus (digital)
[Buy Akane Banashi from Bookstore.org]

If you think “Shonen Jump” manga is all about action, fighting, and manly teamwork, take a look at my current go-to must read Jump series, Akane Banashi.  It’s set in modern day Japan, with a female lead character AND it’s about rakugo, Japanese traditional storytelling that’s kind of a mix between stand-up comedy and folk tales. Akane is a spunky tween who falls in love with rakugo thanks to her dad, a professional storyteller on the rise, until his career gets cut short due to a harsh critique from his master/mentor. Fast forward a few years, and Akane is now in high school, and she’s been honing her storytelling chops to rise to the top in the competitive world of rakugo. 

Akane-Banashi defies expectations by presenting a story with wonderful characters, fantastic art, compelling drama, AND it teaches you about something you never knew you’d ever care about, and does it all with humor, heart, and a high level of visual storytelling craft. It might not be the typical Shonen Jump hit, but take a read and you might just get hooked on its unexpected charms too. – Deb Aoki


My Love Mix-Up! vol. 9 by Aruko and Wataru Hinekure from Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
KIETA HATSUKOI © 2019 by Wataru Hinekure, Aruko/SHUEISHA Inc.

My Love Mix-Up!

Translator: Jan Mitsuko Cash
Lettering: Inori Fukuda Trant
Editor: Nancy Thistlethwaite
Publisher: Shojo Beat / VIZ Media (print and digital)
[Buy My Love Mix-Up! from Bookstore.org]

My Love Mix-Up! is a sweet rom-com about young love with the ninth and final volume releasing in October of this year. Aoki is an outgoing guy who has a crush on Hashimoto, the girl who sits next to him. One day in class she lets him borrow her eraser. Aoki’s soul nearly leaves his body when he sees that she wrote “Ida” on the eraser. After a mix up with Hashimoto’s eraser, Ida thinks that Aoki has a crush on him. Instead of getting offended or reacting negatively because Aoki “liked” him, Ida was sincere and thoughtful when rejecting Aoki. 

This series is filled with hilarious and relatable panels. The panels of Aoki panicking when he realizes he might have feelings for Ida are some of my favorite representations of bi-panic. Learning more about yourself and who you love can be scary, especially if it’s outside the “norm”. I love the way My Love Mix-Up! gives characters the space to work through their feelings and learn what it means to feel the way they do. I could have kept reading this series for many more volumes but the story had a satisfying ending. – Yazmin Garcia


What Did You Eat Yesterday? vol. 15 by Fumi Yoshinaga from Kodansha
What Did You Eat Yesterday? © Fumi Yoshinaga/Kodansha Ltd.

What Did You Eat Yesterday?

Writer/Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga
Translator: Jocelyne Allen
Editor: Alexandra McCullough-Garcia
Publisher: Kodansha (print and digital),  K Manga (digital)
[Buy What Did You Eat Yesterday? from Bookstore.org]

It’s a good year when we get more than one installment of this series; 2023 brought only one, volume 20, mid-summer, (Its English publication run started in 2014) yet that’s a gift in itself. Each chapter shows middle-aged lawyer Shiro – or sometimes, his long-time partner Kenji, or their friends – making a meal, complete with recipes, but along the way, we also see a touching portrait of their everyday life. The stories deal with concerns that rarely make it to the comic page in the US, such as how to navigate mid-life career choices or which relatives to invite to a gay wedding or how to make sure aging parents are living somewhere appropriate. And it’s all shown via Yoshinaga’s elegant linework and expressive emotional portrayals. A wonderful, comfortable read that’s taught me how to think about balancing meals and side dishes in a healthier fashion. – Johanna Draper Carlson


River's Edge by Kyoko Okazaki from Kodansha
River’s Edge by Kyoko Okazaki

River’s Edge

Writer/Artist: Kyoko Okazaki
Translator: Alexa Frank
Production: Risa Cho, Pei Ann Yeap, Lorina Mapa
Editor: Micah Q. Allen
Publisher: Kodansha (print and digital)
[Buy River’s Edge from Bookstore.org]

Artist Kyoko Okazaki, whose masterpiece Pink hammered the excesses of 1980s Japan, turns her poison pen on the apocalyptic 1990s with River’s Edge. The schools are crumbling, the ozone layer is collapsing, and teens are going down to the riverside to look at corpses just to feel something. Okazaki’s characters are spiky and consistently frustrating, but she never judges them for their actions. She depicts teens as they are: smart, stupid, pop-culture savvy and prone to monologuing. FLCL, Ciguatera, and even Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Lost at Sea all owe something to this hard-edged book. 
– Adam Wescott

Me & Roboco vol. 8 by Shuhei Miyazaki from Shonen Jump / VIZ Media
BOKU TO ROBOCO © 2020 by Shuhei Miyazaki/SHUEISHA Inc.

Me & Roboco

Writer/Artist: Shuhei Miyazaki
Translator: Paul Starr
Lettering:Jin Chan Yum Wai
Editor: Alexis Kirsch
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media, Manga Plus (digital only)

WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF ME & ROBOCO! Roboco is so perfect and wonderful, has an anime you should watch, a movie in production, and I’m not being paid directly by Roboco to say any of this. End joke. This year, Shuhei Miyazaki started using arcs to bundle consecutive chapters into the same framing device, and milk the speedy manzai gags that use Shonen Jump as a prop in Roboco’s talk shit era. 

From repeated color pages to longer page counts, Roboco’s goofy cast have old jokes to fall back on and new charm with every week’s shtick. We endured EDEN’s foray into Roboco’s ordermaid life, the Roboco Grand Prix (a self-aggrandizing Roboco popularity contest), and the multiverse of Robocos, which allowed Team Roboco to flex their classic shonen art styles. If you’re down to clown, then…*reads note* “…go ask VIZ Media to start printing Me & Roboco locally.” – Beau Q.

Yakuza Fiancé: Raise wa Tanin ga Ii vol. 5 by Asuka Konishi from Seven Seas Entertainment / Kodansha
Yakuza Fiancé: Raise wa Tanin ga Ii vol. 5 by Asuka Konishi

Yakuza Fiancé: Raise wa Tanin ga Ii

Writer/Artist: Asuka Konishi
Translator: M. Fulcrum
Lettering: Arbash Mughal
Editor: Abby Lehrke
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment (print/digital) | K Manga (digital)
[Buy Yakuza Fiance from Bookstore.org]

I had some misgivings about recommending TWO manga series with “Yakuza” in the title for this list, but no matter how much I thought about it, I just couldn’t pass on recommending this stylishly drawn, unconventional yet compelling romance/action/drama series by the creator of Haru’s Curse.

Yoshino is a straight-talkin’, takes-no-BS Osaka-born-and-bred teen who just happens to be the granddaughter of Kansai’s top yakuza gang leader. So when her grandfather sends her off to Tokyo to be engaged to Kirishima, his rival’s/best friend’s grandson (a suave, smiling high school sociopath who’s in an equally powerful and notorious gang), sparks fly, and not always in a romantic way. I love how Yoshino is street-smart and strong, while also being a high school girl who isn’t quite sure if her “fiance’s” confessions of love are sincere, or if it’s just stuff he says to yank her chain. Konishi keeps readers guessing, throws in some great fight scenes and surprising twists that’ll keep you reaching for the next volume as soon as it comes out. Bonus: It’s currently simulpubbed on K Manga, so you can read the latest… and trust me, you’ll want to. – Deb Aoki


Rainbow Days vol. 7 by Minami Mizuno from Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
Rainbow Days vol. 7 by Minami MIzuno

Rainbow Days

Writer/Artist: Minami Mizuno
Translator: Max Greenway
Lettering: Inori Fukuda Trant
Editor: Nancy Thistlewaite
Publisher: Shojo Beat / VIZ Media (print and digital)
[Buy Rainbow Days from Bookstore.org]

Rainbow Days focuses on four high school boys who are dealing with love and relationships in their own way. Natsuki Hashiba is a romantic at heart and is currently navigating his feelings for his crush, Anna. Keiichi Katakura is a friendly, smiling boy who has a sadistic side to him. Tomoyo Matsunaga is a bit self-centered and a playboy with tons of girls and is fruitlessly pursuing Anna’s friend Mari. Meanwhile Tsuyoshi Naoe has a steady girlfriend and both of them geek out together as otakus. 

Rainbow Days is an adorable and funny slice-of-life story dealing with school, friendship, and love. Currently on its 7th volume, where Anna is starting to realize her feelings for Natsuki, and more characters are crushing on each other, the relationships are only deepening. It’s fun to watch these characters fumble through love and you can’t help but want to encourage them.  I’ll continue with this series to see how it all plays out!
–Kristina Elyse Butke


Magus of the Library vol 1 by Mitsu Izumi from Kodansha
Magus of the Library © Mitsu Izumi/Kodansha Ltd.

Magus of the Library

Writer: Mitsu Izumi
Translator: Stephen Kohler
Lettering: Paige Pumphrey
Editor: Kristin Osani
Publisher: Kodansha (print and digital), K Manga (digital)
[Buy Magus of the Library from Bookstore.org]

Although rare, every once in a while you come across a series so well done, that it absolutely blows your mind to see almost no one else reading or talking about it. Magus of the Library is one such series for me, as despite its ever-growing popularity and success in Japan, has  simply not caught on as much with fans in the West. 

Very early on, Magus of the Library establishes its core themes and messaging; the endlessly captivating worlds that unfold within stories, the historical and cultural importance of preserving ancient texts, and the sheer power that messages (both positive and negative) within documented speeches can hold, and how learning and educating oneself and others can bring about meaningful change in the world.

Magus of the Library enforces this through some of the most detailed world and lore-building you can find in a modern fantasy story, and how each and every country and their many groups of people go about their daily lives. The very first character we are introduced to is a young, nameless child that is just a little different from the rest. See, in their town the people tend to have darker hair and skin tone, while this child is fair skinned with sun-bleached hair and bizarrely pointed ears. As the series progresses, we learn more about the struggles this child goes through, and how they escape from it thanks to the incredible power of books. This love of literature, and the worlds within books leads to a fateful encounter, one that has the power to fundamentally change the very world they live in. Magus of the Library is one story that speaks to the heart of all book lovers, and is one that deserves to be on one’s shelves and reading lists. ~ Joel Savill | Gray Matter Manga


Old-Fashioned Cupcake by Sagan Sagan from SuBLime Manga
Old-Fashioned Cupcake by Sagan Sagan

Old-Fashioned Cupcake

Writer/Artist: Sagan Sagan
Translator: Adrienne Beck
Lettering: Yuan Han
Editor: Jennifer LeBlanc
Publisher: SuBLime Manga / VIZ Media (print and digital)
[Buy Old-Fashioned Cupcake from Bookstore.org]

A middle-aged guy with a boring life – work, sitting at home watching TV – is encouraged to try the silly things he dreams of by a co-worker. Together, they rediscover his passions, even if they’re just for trendy cafe desserts, and become a couple. I loved every page of this, to the extent of taking pictures of some to share with friends, because it’s a great way to encourage thinking about what matters in life, and how to enjoy it. I didn’t realize I needed a boys’ love (man’s love?) story to demonstrate how to beat a mid-life crisis. 
– Johanna Draper Carlson


Hajime no Ippo: Fighting Spirit!! by George Morikawa
Hajime no Ippo: Fighting Spirit!! by George Morikawa

Hajime no Ippo: Fighting Spirit!

Writer/Artist: George Morikawa
Translators: Kevin Gifford, Susamaji, Nicholas Plante, Elodie Legay, Samuel R. Messner, YKS Services LLC/SKY JAPAN
Lettering: Dan Macaran, Arbash Mughal, Toppy, Kai Kyou, Monika Hegeusova, Carla Gil Caba, Greta Hoiko, Brendon Hull, Aidan Clarke, Gareth Bentall, Andrew Bastos, Darren Smith, Jan Lan Ivan
Editor: Jordan Reynolds, Salud Campos Biasco, Sarah Tilson / YKS Services/SKY JAPAN Inc.
Publisher: K Manga / Kodansha (digital)

At long last, one of the most wanted (and longest-running) sports manga series is available in English! Besides the legendary boxing drama Ashita no Joe (also not yet available in English), Hajime no Ippo is THE best example of how much fun and how addictive great sports manga can be. The art is dynamic, the hero is worth rooting for, the action-packed fight scenes are super exciting – and just gets better and better as this series unfolds.

Ippo Makunouchi starts off as a kind, but somewhat self-effacing high schooler who’s often bullied by his much bigger classmates. But a chance encounter with a professional fighter sets Ippo on the path to the gym and eventually the boxing ring where he meets friends, foes, and rivals who’ll test the limits of this rookie boxer’s skills and strength. Sure, there’s some raunchy, 1990s-style locker room humor (mostly about how Ippo is… packin’ heat in those shorts) and yes, it’s currently only available on Kodansha’s K Manga app, but don’t let that stop you from checking out this legendary sports manga series – there’s a good reason why it’s now 139+ volumes and counting. It’s just that good. – Deb Aoki


Boat Life by Tadao Tsuge
Boat Life by Tadao Tsuge

Boat Life

Written and illustrated by Tsuge Tadao
Translated by Ryan Holmberg
Lettered by Jason Leivian and Ryan Holmberg
Edited by Ryan Holmberg and Jason Leivian
Published by Floating World Comics (print)
[Buy Boat Life from Bookstore.org]

Boat Life is light and silly, and that’s what I love about it. The manga does not take itself seriously, just like our protagonist, Tsuda Kenta. Escaping from his mundane responsibilities, Kenta makes it his life mission to spend as much time in a cheap houseboat he made himself. Paddling out to the Tonegawa river, the story unfolds with a series of absurd yet endearing wanders featuring a cast of eccentric and relatable characters. None of them amount to anything, but our characters are having the time of their lives being their true selves. It sounds stupid for grown ass men to behave this way, but that’s where its beauty lies.

What is really interesting about this story is that it is a somewhat mirrored image of Tsuge Tadao’s daily life. All of these magical stories take place in the river. Some are joyful, others not so much. But no matter the type, the river and its fauna were always there. Tsuge had a strong attachment to the Tonegawa river, and this manga is a testament to his love for it. Boat Life may be a light read, but it has some wisdom to it. Can’t recommend this manga enough! – Matias De la Piedra


My Picture Diary by Fujiwara Maki from Drawn & Quarterly
My PIcture Diary by Fujiwara Maki

My Picture Diary

Writer/Artist: Maki Fujiwara
Translator: Ryan Holmberg
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly (print)
[Buy My Picture Diary from Bookstore.org]

My Picture Diary covers roughly a year in the life of actress and artist Maki Fujiwara, a project originally started as something Fujiwara could give her son. Each entry starts with the weather for a particular day and then one or two things that she did. There’s an accompanying image drawn in an unvarnished style. She details her interest in ichimatsu dolls and what meal she might cook on a given day. During that year, she sees her son Shosuke enter kindergarten. 

Also during this year though, she sees her husband, legendary mangaka Yoshiharu Tsuge, slip further into a deep depression. Fujiwara documents Tsuge’s struggles getting out of bed and going to bed late at night. There are fights between the two, sometimes reaching physical violence. She also documents her own depression, both the situation and with the changes of day-to-day life. Throughout the book, Fujiwara documents what it’s like living with depression in a frank manner. Her depiction isn’t much a warts and all approach that wallows in depression. My Picture Diary simply portrays this as a facet of  life she and her family live. D. Morris


Stigmata -Love Bites- by Takahashi Hidebu, from Futekiya / Manga Planet
Stigmata -Love Bites- by Takahashi Hidebu

Stigmata -Love Bites-

Writer/Artist: Takahashi Hidebu
Translator: R.L. / Amimaru
Lettering: D. / Amimaru
Proofreader: Lauren Elyse
Publisher: Futekiya Library / Manga Planet (digital)

Takahashi Hidebu’s second title to hit Manga Planet’s library, Stigmata tells the suspenseful and dramatic story of Hiroto, an investigator in the Special Investigation Unit, and his subordinate Asako, who can “embody” a murder victim’s scars and inherit the most recent memories until the case is resolved. The two men’s lives become deeply intertwined when Kuroiwa’s ex-wife is murdered and Asako has to step into Mari’s ‘body’. Stigmata feels less like a run-of-the-mill Boys’ Love story and more like a murder/mystery title with queer main characters, so I think it has the potential to appeal to a greater audience. If you’d be interested in reading a two-volume complete manga that looks like it’s out of a ’90’s crime TV show with compelling character writing, don’t miss out on it! Merve Giray


Matcha Made in Heaven vol. 2 by Umebachi Yamanaka from Kodansha
Matcha Made in Heaven © Umebachi Yamanaka/Kodansha Ltd.

Matcha Made in Heaven

Writer/Artist: Umebachi Yamanaka
Translator: Rie Iwamoto
Lettering: Barri Shrager
Publisher: Kodansha (digital)

After some unsettling events with her fiance, Chako flees the city to go to her parents’ tea farm in the countryside. Her parents have passed away so she’s expecting to see her brother, but instead she finds a young girl washing her feet in the sink. Matcha made in Heaven is a beautifully frustrating slow-burn romance. Chako is determined to move on from her past but Isshin, the farm’s caretaker, is very cold towards her. To get away from her fiancé, Chako declares that Isshin is her husband. 

This fake marriage had me hooked from the very beginning. Chako’s determination to prove to Isshin that she’s serious about helping out and Isshin’s constant pulling away from her had me yelling at the screen. There are moments of miscommunication but Isshin always makes it clear that he only has eyes for Chako. They both have good intentions for each other so they’re easy to root for as a couple. This series is a great romance story for anyone who wants more frustration and angst in their life.  – Yazmin Garcia


Go! Go! Takoyaki-kun by Hiro Tadayuki
Go! Go! Takoyaki-kun by Hiro Tadayuki


Writer/Artist: Yukihiro Tada
Publisher:  Mosh Mosh Books (print)

Takoyaki is a street food snack, a little batter ball dumpling with octopus and brown sauce, normally a bunch in a boat (think hot dog basket). This endearing micro-press release is about one such gang, having a run around town before their consumption. That’s the story, little sentient food dudes travel through liminal spaces. It reminds me of Kevin Huizenga’s Supermonster dedicating an issue to walking around the neighborhood. From playgrounds to promenades the path the takoyaki-kuns take is everyday and compelling in equal measure. -Arpad Okay

Don’t miss all of our “best of 2023” lists:
Comics and Graphic Novels | MangaWebtoons | Anime | Movies | Television

In case you missed it, here are The Beat’s best of 2022.

So what did you think? What are your picks for the best new and continuing manga series of 2023? Add your comments below and share your favorite reads of the past year.


  1. You exclude non-US based customers with your web-site. I can enter an at c/o address, but can’t enter a non-US billing address.

    What do you suggest ?

    The Summer Hikaru Died, Vol. 1
    Mokumokuren, Abigail Blackman, Ajani Oloye


    Available Available
    $13.95 $15.00
    Quantity: 1
    What Did You Eat Yesterday? 19
    Fumi Yoshinaga


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