Spring is the time of graduation ceremonies in Japan and while the junior high school students are ruffling feathers with their risqué photos, the high school kids are getting ready for that life-changing transition to college life.
After countless hours of prep courses and after-school cram schools they have acquired the knowledge to enter tertiary education, but very little instruction is given on how to adapt to the social life of university.
That’s where manga comes in. To fill that void of knowledge, Naver has compiled a list of comics that have hit home with university students in Japan. Sure, some of them deal with unrealistic subject matter such as conversations with bacteria, but they still manage to capture the general atmosphere of college life pretty well.
So without further ado, if you’re about to make the switch to a campus or if you’re just looking for a new manga series to get into, sit back and enjoy this list of university-themed manga.
Genshiken (Shimoku Kio)
Genshiken follows Kanji Sasahara’s entrance to university. A “normal” guy for most of his adolescence, he decide to indulge and join “The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture” (abbreviated in Japanese to Genshiken). Here, he begins to get in touch with his inner otaku and begins to learn what type of person he really is. However, the club is rocked by the introduction of one Saki Kasukabe. An unwilling participant of Genshiken, she only attends because her boyfriend is a member. This motley crew of characters gradually learn to appreciate each other for what they are rather than what they want them to be.
Honey and Clover (Chica Umino)
Honey and Clover is the story of five art school students who while pursuing their own talents and aspirations, become involved in various love triangles. Against this backdrop the characters must also realize their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to dealing with members of the opposite sex.
Hen Semi (TARGO)
Nanako Matsutaka is your average girl who falls head over heels for Komugi Musashi. Unfortunately, her love for him lands her in the “Abnormal Psychology Seminar” (aka Hen Semi). Here she ultimately joins Komugi and his group as the try to get to the root of each others’ psychoses and fetishes together.
From Kobe (Kon Kimura)
Better than a travel guide, college student Katsura Tatsuki shows us the real Kobe, a city affected by one of the worst Earthquakes in Japanese history. Through her and the people she meets we can experience Kobe’s issues such as disability and ethnicity.
Moyashimon (Masayuki Ishikawa)
Tadayasu Sawaki has the uncanny ability to see and communicate with micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. It’s a power that he shares with his professor and family friend Keizo Itsuki. Still this is nothing compared to his long-time friend Kei who suddenly reveals his transgender goth lolita personality in probably the worst place possible; an “undisclosed agricultural university.”
Aoi Hono (Kazuhiko Shimamoto)
This manga follows the life of an aspiring manga writer at an Osaka art school. Beyond the story itself, controversy surrounds whether or not this is indeed fiction or a biographical work by Kazuhiko Shimamoto.
Femme Fatale (Kaya Shigisawa)
Hajime Saito (Hai) is a regular college student looking for love in all the wrong places. In a school club he meets and falls for Ebisawa, a bold and brash yet respected older student. To make matters worse, she is currently has an employed boyfriend ouside of the university life.
Nemuru Baka (Masakazu Ishiguro)
Translated to “Sleeping Stupid” this manga centers on two roommates years apart in grades yet close in their idyllic lives. One is a highly dedicated music student whose focus often finds herself without money. The other is a part-time used book store worker. Together these two young female Larry Davids tend to blow the minor nuances of life way out of proportion.
Strobelight (Kei Aoyama)
Novelist Tadashi Hamasaki continuously pens his “history” while riding the night train. Yet the figures he sees in his memories blend with movie characters. Reality and dream become hard to distinguish as the story continues.
Mahomromi (Kei Fuyumi)
Freshman architecture student Niwa one day follows his classmate Akira to a strange western-style building that is set for demolition. As they approach the building, a mysterious phantom door appears…
In many parts of the world, high school graduation is still a few months away. So why not take some time to brush up on college life throught these texts. How else will you know how to handle your cross-dressing best friend while carrying on conversations with Streptococcus Lactis?
Source: Matome Naver (Japanese)