Ask any fan why they love manga and they’re bound to bring up the d-word: detail. The rich and evocative illustrations, the extended cast of characters, the marathon-like length of the storylines – many of Japan’s most popular manga have been building up their universes for decades, with dozens of volumes to their name.
The flip side to all this detail? Storage issues, of course. For fans of long-running manga, the question of where to put stacks of volumes is enough to cause giant, anime-style sweat drops to form on the forehead. But while some collectors end up ceding large portions of their bedrooms to back issues of their comics, a growing number are now moving their collections to the cloud.
It’s with this group of passionate readers in mind that Rakuten Kobo recently released their new Kobo Aura ONE Comic Edition eReader.* The device builds upon the original Aura ONE by adding 32GB of memory. At an average size of 40MB per volume, that means you can fit approximately 700 manga. Add the new quick-turn page function and this may be the best-ever eReader for manga-lovers.
To celebrate the release of the Kobo Aura ONE Comic Edition eReader, we asked the manga experts from Kobo’s Japan team to share a few of their favorite titles.
This classic follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a boy who gains the power to stretch like rubber after accidentally eating a magical “devil fruit.” Along with a posse of pirates, Luffy sets out in search of the legendary One Piece, said to be the greatest treasure in the world. It may sound a little ‘out there,’ but in Japan, the series is ubiquitous. Now in its 21st year, “One Piece” has spawned movies, anime and even set a Guinness World record as the comic book series with the most copies published by a single author.
Having reached pro status in middle school, 17-year-old Rei Kiriyama is one of Japan’s top players of shogi (also known as Japanese chess). Seeking independence from his troubled home life, he moves into an apartment in Tokyo, where he lives a semi-reclusive life, until meeting the Kawamoto family, consisting of three sisters and their grandfather. As the story progresses, Rei deals with his maturing as a player and a person, while developing feelings for one of the sisters. Since the emergence last year of real-life 15-year-old shogi prodigy Sota Fujii, “March Comes in Like a Lion” has enjoyed a renewed surge in popularity.
Set in an alternative universe where the only thing separating human civilization from hordes of gigantic man-eating humanoids is a set of enormous walls, “Attack on Titan” is one of the most popular manga of the decade. Written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, the series has been adapted into both a hit anime and live-action film. “Attack on Titan” brings the genre of apocalyptic teen fiction – recently dominated by “Hunger Games,” “The Divergent Trilogy” and other well known book-to-big-screen series – to terrifying new heights.
Who is Captain Tsubasa? If you’re a die-hard football fan, you probably already know. For the rest of us, Captain Tsubasa is the fictional star of a Japanese manga series that bears his name. Originally created by artist Yoichi Takahashi in 1981, “Captain Tsubasa” is one of the most successful sports manga of all-time, with sales of over 82 million copies around the world. It has also been adapted into an animated TV series considered by many to be one of the best manga-to-anime adaptations of all-time.
Shizuku is the son of a recently-deceased, world-renowned wine critic. In order to take ownership of his father’s legacy – an extensive wine collection featuring some of the rarest labels in existence – he must find 13 wines, the “Twelve Apostles” (real-life labels from France, Spain, Italy and California) and a wine known as the heaven-sent “Drops of God” described in his father’s will. During its 10-year run, “Drops of God,” captured the imagination of connoisseurs across Japan, including Rakuten’s founder and CEO, Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, who is a noted fan.
Emma and her foster brothers Norman and Ray are the brightest students at Grace Field House orphanage. Under the care of a woman known as “Mama,” the kids have enjoyed a carefree and comfortable life. One night, however, as they chase after Conny, another orphan on her way to adoption, to return a stuffed rabbit she has left behind, Emma and Norman uncover the dark, twisted truth about the outside world they are forbidden to see. Winner of the influential Kono Manga ga Sugoi! 2018 award (men’s division) published by Takarajimasha, Inc., “The Promised Neverland” may be the next big thing.
Kingdom is a fictional story based on the Warring States Period in Chinese history, which took place more than 2,000 years ago. Popular with history buffs of all ages, the award-winning series has sold more than 30 million copies to date. Little surprise that the series has been spun off into anime and video games.
What manga make your list? Let us know in the comments below.
*Links to Japanese language version.