Manga for Summer Afternoons
By Alain McAlister
Whenever summer hits I always get the itch to reread some of my favorite stories. Whether it’s because I suddenly have more time than normal or because of the heat, I always want to curl up with a good manga in the afternoon. Here are a few of the manga I love and always come back to reread!
Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi
Teenager Usagi is not the best athlete, she’s never gotten good grades, and, well, she’s a bit of a crybaby. But when she meets a talking cat, she begins a journey that will teach her she has a well of great strength just beneath the surface and the heart to inspire and stand up for her friends as Sailor Moon! The original Sailor Moon
in a new, affordable edition.
My first love of manga was this series. Full of amazing full page chapter dividers and stunning layouts, Sailor Moon is truly deserving of its popularity. With a complicated romance story, time travel, and intergalactic enemies, this series has an amazing poignancy with a character at the center who feels real. Usagi not only has to handle the stress of young friendships and classes, but she also bears the weight of the world at times. It can be a lot, but she isn’t afraid to let herself feel her feelings and be honest. This whole series is lovely, featuring a cast of openly queer characters later on, so I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t given it a try yet.
Kitchen Princess by Miyuki Kobayashi
Najika is a great cook and she likes to make meals for the people she loves. But something is missing from her life. When she was a child, she met a boy who touched her heart–and now she’s determined to find him. The only clue Najika has is a silver spoon that leads her to the prestigious Seika Academy, where every kid has a special talent and no one seems to like Najika. But Sora and Daichi, two popular brothers who barely speak to each other, recognize Najika’s cooking talent for what it is–magical. Is either boy Najika’s mysterious prince?
This manga was one of my most frequently checked out books from the library. While the story is predominantly a romance, it also contains actual recipes for some of the dishes Najika makes. All of the art is so cute and looks delicious, with special care for the baking/cooking process. This would be a perfect book to bring on a picnic with delicious treats.
Cardcaptor Sakura by Clamp
From the all-female manga writing collective Clamp comes the thrilling adventures of Sakura, a fourth-grader who accidentally finds an enchanted book called The Clow. The book once contained a set of magical Clow Cards, but they all escaped while the guardian of the book fell asleep. Now, Sakura is thrust into a mystical journey to capture all the cards before they wreak chaos and destruction!
This manga is full of amazing art and adventures. Whether Sakura is trapped in a maze or running around the city, her outfits are always as wonderful as the story’s character development. Each Clow Card adds to the ever confusing reason for Sakura’s power, which creates a really interesting plot later on. This is a great read for any fans of magical girl manga!
Bonus: The new collectors editions each come with a collectible card you can keep!
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
Once upon a time, wizards tried to conquer the Sacred Realm of Hyrule. The Spirits of Light sealed the wizards’ power within the Shadow Crystal and banished them to the Twilight Realm beyond the Mirror of Twilight. Now, an evil menace is trying to find the fragments of the Shadow Crystal to gain the power to rule over both the Twilight Realm and the World of Light. Link sought out the anonymity and peace of life in a small village after the darkness swept his home, hoping to live quietly. But danger and adventure always find heroes to set things right, and when the dark minions of the King of Shadows threaten his new home, Link answers the call!
This book is an amazing exploration of one of the darkest Legend of Zelda games that has been made so far. As a huge Legend of Zelda fan, I found this version of Link to be the most like my own vision of him; he is cheeky, flawed, and real as he experiences the emotions and battles it takes to protect the people he loves. The story was adapted really well from the game, so fans can consume more Twilight Princess content by reading this manga as they play the game or simply read it on its own. The inking is beautiful and rich, filled with genuinely striking illustrations that push the story even darker than the game at times.
Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura
Tsukimi Kurashita has a strange fascination with jellyfish. She’s loved them from a young age and has carried that love with her to her new life in the big city of Tokyo. There, she resides in Amamizukan, a safe-haven for girl geeks who regularly gush over a range of things from trains to Japanese dolls. However, a chance meeting at a pet shop has Tsukimi crossing paths with one of the things that the residents of Amamizukan have been desperately trying to avoid–a beautiful and fashionable woman! But there’s much more to this woman than her trendy clothes! This odd encounter is only the beginning of a new and unexpected path for Tsukimi and her friends.
This book is one of the classics from my teen years. The story has amazing outfits, complicated gender presentations/thoughts, and introverted artist characters I can see bits of myself in. It’s a snapshot of identity, being yourself, and what it’s like to be with your people while also staying open to new things. And who doesn’t love a bit of exaggerated drama and unlikely friendships along the way? Overall, this manga is well drawn and very entertaining, whether it’s your first read or a countless reread!
She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat by Sakaomi Yuzaki
Cooking is how Nomoto de-stresses, but one day, she finds herself making way more than she can eat by herself. And so, she invites her neighbor Kasuga, who also lives alone. What will come out of this impromptu dinner invitation…?
This newer manga is one that instantly became one of my favorites. This story is a great slow burn between two women as they learn the power that good food has. The story is sweet, realistic, and natural, filled with amazing food that will leave you craving a delicious meal. I’d definitely recommend this one for my food lovers who enjoy romance manga!
Your friend Alain