Chosen by the readers, these awards represent the cream of the current crop.
Two years ago, the Yomiuri Shimbun decided to celebrate 140 years of newspaper excellence by asking their readers to vote for a Japanese manga or anime series that would appeal to foreign audiences. Last year, votes in each category were tallied to find the 10 most sugoi (amazing) titles with Attack on Titan (manga), Puella Magi Madoka Magica (anime), My Teen Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected (light novel), and Library War (novel) taking the top spots.
The newspaper has recently conducted this year’s poll, and while the featured titles have been shortened to the top five, the choices are definitely guaranteed to fill up all your free time in the coming months.
Top 5 Manga
If you haven’t gotten on the One-Punch Man train yet, you’re missing out on something special. The story follows its superhero protagonist, Saitama, who has grown bored with his incredible powers because no one can provide a sufficient challenge. This action/superhero/parody manga is still ongoing and has yet to lose any of its original steam.
2. Tokyo Ghoul
After a terrible date, Kaneki finds that he’s been turned into a half-ghoul who must eat human flesh to survive. This dark fantasy depicts his struggles of being a monster that still has a human heart.
Fans of sports manga will fall in love with Hinata who wants to be the best high school volleyball player despite his short stature. Friendships and rivalries are tested as well as showing how our greatest weakness can actually be our biggest strength.
4. Twittering Birds Never Fly
This dark love story features a young yakuza boss who seems to sleep with anyone, and an up-and-coming new recruit. Their painful backgrounds and dangerous lives make for characters that have been rarely seen in a boy’s love manga.
This romantic comedy pairs one lucky guy and a harem of cute monster girls. How is a young human supposed to survive?
Top 5 Anime
1. Your Lie in April
Kosei, a music prodigy, loses his ability to hear the sound of his piano after a mental breakdown following the death of his mother. He resigns to live his life away from music until he meets a free-spirited girl whose skill with the violin reflects her unbounded personality.
Five girls vow to work together in the anime industry after successfully making an animation in their high school club. Their experiences not only give the audience an inside look into the stresses of a job in animation, but also into their own personal lives.
3. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!
The pessimistic protagonist who has no friends is forced into a club where he has to help people solve their problems. His outlook on life paired with his negativity causes him to solve them in strange ways, but his interactions with people starts to change him little by little.
This school comedy is all about the hilarity of missed opportunities and the beating of your heart when love is in the air. Will the high school girl be able to get her feelings across to her classmate who’s yet to experience his own first love story?
In a dystopian future where crime is measured by computers in Japan, the question of justice is pondered when the fates of the characters intersect.
Top 5 Light Novels
As the title suggests, a young man struggles through that question after he is saved in a dungeon by a beautiful swordswoman. He then devotes all his time training to be her equal while also trying to capture her heart, though failing to realize he’s captured the hearts of many around him.
2. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
A mega-otaku is convinced that the girl he saw at the top of a hill is the ultimate heroine for his dating game. It turns out though that she’s the most boring girl in school, but he won’t be deterred. Now he’s got to make this dull girl into a worthy heroine.
3. Amagi Brilliant Park
A high school student is chosen to be the savior of the most boring amusement park in history. This romantic comedy blends idealism with the harsh reality of when our dreams don’t come true.
A popular online game turns into terrifying reality that no one can escape, from which a dark hero emerges to seek out world domination in this new world.
5. Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist
In a world that bans dirty jokes, a rude and flashy terrorist group refuses to accept the new norms of society. Part comedy and part social commentary, the story shows how anything can be made dirty.
Top 5 Novels (Entertainment Novels)
1. The Empire of Corpses
In this psychological, science fiction adventure, Frankenstein’s monsters roam the world in the 19th century as laborers. A man named Watson is chosen to be a secret agent by the British government and is sent on a mission to learn more about the first resurrected monster, called “The One”.
2. Kaidanto Series
On an island of abandoned people who are controlled by a witch, you can only escape if you find that which you have “lost”. A young high school boy is living peacefully on the island, remembering nothing of his life before it, until his ex-girlfriend shows up and changes everything.
3. The Murder of Alice
A graduate student begins dreaming of herself as Alice in Wonderland, but it’s not the land of whimsical fantasy anymore. Murders are happening across the land and when Humpty Dumpty dies in the dream and a professor nicknamed “Egg” also passes, she must investigate the murders or else become a suspect and perhaps lose her own life.
4. A Vow Fulfilled
Six characters are richly depicted in six short stories that give life to the light and dark sides of the world around us.
If it looks human, but doesn’t have a heart, can this “thing” be loved and love in return? In a near-future where androids known as hEIs are a part of everyday life, this is the question one high school student must face when he finds an escaped hEI and agrees to be her owner.
Do you agree with readers of the Yomiuri Shimbun? Let us know which titles you’ve enjoyed and which ones have been unjustly left off the list in the comments! And if you want more details about any of these winners, head to the Sugoi Japan website where you’ll find more about each of them.