WOW! I feel like it's not often that I'm genuinely shocked by a book the way I was by Sazan & Comet Girl. I read a lot of manga and comic books. Just an absolute ton of both. But I'd never heard of this before. Nor had I heard of the creator Yuriko Akase. I saw this on the "New Arrivals" shelf at the library and picked it up because it looked cool and went in with no other previous knowledge.
Now that I've already made lists covering my picks for the best books and comics that were released in 2020, I figured I'd put together a list of my favorite reads from the year regardless of release year. I decided to exclude things in my other two lists (if only to make it easier to fit more things!). Check out my favorite books, comics, and manga reads below.
It's the end of the year, which means it's time for top ten lists! It was a bad year, but it was a good year for comics. It took me forever to whittle down my list of favorites, but below you can find my top ten (in no particular order) comics/graphic novels/manga that were released in 2020 and plenty of honorable mentions!
Dragon Ball Super, vol. 3 is the third volume in the revived Dragon Ball series from Akira Toriyama. This series finds Toriyama himself taking over the story telling duties on the series for the first time since Dragon Ball Z concluded. With the help of artist Toyotaro, Toriyama is once again telling stories about the characters and in the world of one of the most well-known manga of all time.
Pure Invention by Matt Alt is a new release that chronicles that wide-ranging impact that Japan's pop-culture has had on the world from the years following World War II through today. The breadth of topics is fairly wide-ranging, rather than focusing on a single industry or phenomenon. It's a testament to the sheer size of the pop-culture juggernaut that Japan has become over the 70-plus years that the book covers. While Pure Invention isn't an "own voices" history, Alt lives in Tokyo and seems to have a deep love for Japanese pop-culture and has crafted a compelling and well-researched history.
This was absolutely bonkers. Usually I start a review by giving a brief synopsis of what the book is about, but I felt this one warranted a bit of commentary first. Crocodile Baron is a manga about a talking, high-class crocodile novelist who is always on the search for the finest culinary treats that Japan has to offer. Donning his top hat, with his side-kick, Rabbit, in-tow, Crocodile departs to a new area of Japan in each chapter after hearing about the best place to get Japanese favorites like Udon or Takoyaki. If that sounds like a pretty crazy premise for a book, it's only because it absolutely is.
I picked up a copy of Kakushigoto: My Dad's Secret Ambition Vol. 1 through Net Galley. The premise of the book sounded interesting: a single-father manga artist writes dirty manga series and is terrified what it will mean for his daughter should she find out.
Today I'm reviewing Uzumaki by Junji Ito. This beautiful hardcover is the 3-in-1 edition, containing all three volumes of the series.