Boys Run the Riot by Keito Gaku

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Boys Run the Riot revolves around three teenage boys: Jin, the scary-looking older kid who got held back a grade, Ryoko, a transman navigating his gender identity and school-life, and Itsuka, a painfully ordinary pushover. The three of them create a clothing brand as a way to express themselves and fight back against society and the assumptions other people put on them.

This manga is fast-paced, exciting, and heartwarming. The friendship between the three main characters is endearing and a nice change of pace from the typical shonen rivalries of manga. It’s an uplifting story about chasing one’s dreams and building self-confidence.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA GAKU)

Devil’s Candy by Bikkuri

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Devil’s Candy takes place primarily at Hemlock Heart Academy, a high school for demons. The story follows Kazu Decker, a science-loving boy, his friends Nemo and Hitomi, and the girl Kazu created for a biology project, Pandora, as they navigate school, their feelings, and teaching Pandora how to live in society.

This slice-of-life manga has splashes of action and lots of comedy that complement the cutesy art style well. It’s a fun, quick read for teens.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA BIKKURI)

Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Made in Abyss follows Riko, a twelve year old girl living in Orth, the city that rests on the rim of a great pit. Her goal is to become a white whistle, a cave raider who traverses the vast depths of the abyss in search of rare and valuable treasures. Currently, she is a red whistle, an apprentice only allowed to explore the first layer of the abyss. On one of her expeditions, she finds a mechanical boy, Reg, who she smuggles home.

This first volume sets up Riko and Reg’s journey into the bewildering and dangerous abyss in search of answers to Riko’s questions about her mother and Reg’s questions about his past and purpose.

The thing that really sets Made in Abyss apart from other manga works is its worldbuilding. The mysteries are set up wonderfully and seeing the creatures and relics of the great pit are enticing enough to keep me reading. That said, some of the art and dialogue are a bit… awkward. There were some questionable choices in terms of representing these minor characters in compromising situations which can be uncomfortable to see/read. As stated on the back of the book: this manga is for older teens and adults due to explicit content.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA TSUKUSHI)

Call of the Night by Kotoyama

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Call of the Night is about Nazuna, a vampire woman, and Ko, a human boy. At the beginning of the story, Ko finds himself suffering from insomnia and apathy. He no longer attends school, has no friends, and decides to start going out in the middle of the night. When he meets Nazuna, he decides to become a vampire, since the nightlife is far more exciting than being awake during the day. Unfortunately, in order to be turned by Nazuna, he has to fall in love with her. And just the word “love” makes Nazuna squeamish.

I enjoy the humor of this manga. It isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, but it is enjoyable and a quick read. The art is wonderful and stylish and the characters are likable. I’m definitely looking forward to reading volume two.

This manga is meant for older teens and adults as there is some suggestive content.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA KOTOYAMA)

Moriarty The Patriot by Ryosuke Takeuchi

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Before he became Sherlock Holmes’ rival, James Moriarty was a crime consultant hellbent on destroying the unfair class system of England in the 1800s. In this manga, we see James begin his quest as an underclass orphan who had been taken in by the Moriarty noble family alongside his younger brother, Louis. Only Albert, the eldest Moriarty son, treats the boys with dignity. Together, the three of them decide to pursue their ideal world by punishing the corrupt nobles and creating a more balanced world.

The concept and characters are interesting and the episodic nature of the chapters make for a quick read.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA TAKEUCHI)

Getter Robo Devolution by Eiichi Shimizu & Tomohiro Shimoguchi

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

If you like gritty mecha stories, Getter Robo Devolution is a pretty dang good. It falls into some genre specific tropes early on (tough, no-nonsense teenage protagonist, shady government entity, giant alien monster things) but a twist in the first chapter kicks things into high gear. Getter Robo Devolution is a quick read, even by manga standards. The art is fluid and the story is gripping. The paneling in this manga is really something special and adds to the intense action.
This manga is fairly graphic, so I recommend it for older teens and adults.

Time Killers by Kazue Kato

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Time Killers is Kazue Kato’s first collection of short stories. These manga one-shots span Kato’s career, from when she started at nineteen to her late twenties. Some of the stories are definitely better than others, the ones that are longer than five pages are especially entertaining reads. That said, reading the shorter, sometimes only one page long, stories never felt like a waste of time. The art is wonderful and the writing dips into several genres without being bogged down by tropes. Time Killers is a great read if you’re looking for literally anything to read. It’s fast-paced, slick, and perfect for killing time.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA KATO)

Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

The father is a spy, the mother is an assassin, and the only one who knows both their secrets is the daughter, a telepath. Spy x Family is the perfect blend of comedy and drama. Every character is lovable and distinct; Tatsuya Endo is a master at writing and drawing intriguing and memorable characters.

Spy x Family is one of the best manga I’ve ever read. It’s fun and funny and hard to put down. And with only four volumes released so far, it’s easy to pick up too.

Available through Wisconsin Digital Library