February is just around the corner, so that would make a post about the best manga of 2013 quite late.
This list proved difficult to craft, because even though i was able to fairly easily list down the 20 best manga i had read in 2013, placing them in a specific rank was a whole other matter, specifically choosing the number 1 best manga of 2013.
Time didn’t help either, because just when the list seemed to make sense, certain events that occurred during the first half of the year floated to the top of my brain, causing me to reconsider several lower ranked manga series.
I made the decision to exclude Naruto and one piece from the list, because based on what i know about what happened, i couldn’t determine which was superior; and considering my adoration for Naruto, my decision to place Naruto at the top would have probably elicited cries of bias.
So, the list; this top 20 list is fairly general and consists of all manga that were published during 2013, whether weekly or monthly, and isn’t restricted to series that premiered in 2013 because…well, i haven’t read everything-or even a quarter- 0f all the manga that was first published last year.
Even more importantly this list is restricted to manga that i have read, which is obviously a small facet of what’s actually out there. So, without further adieu, the top 20 best manga of 2013:
20. ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM
I am still holding somewhat of a grudge towards this manga; even though it isn’t at fault for Hungry joker getting cancelled, i cannot help but remember how high it was flying at a time when Hungry joker was sinking.
None the less Assassination Classroom is clearly worth the mention, this manga following the story of a powerful alien that threatens to destroy the world, then postpones this action, enrolling as the teacher of a troubled class and assigning to the students, and hence the governments of the world, a year to kill him.
The manga makes the threat quite real, creating a time line of 12 months within which the world must bring to an end the life of this alien, lest it annihilates earth; yet there is also mystery, with regards to why this same alien would train a classroom of students in the art of assassination, assisting them in murdering him before he can destroy the world in 12 months.
The hook is obvious, each chapter focusing on a new attempt by the class of outcasts to destroy their favourite teacher; somewhat funny and charming, watching the large octopus contend with the educational need of his classroom.
19. AREA D
In a world where a few must contend with the hate of mankind after acquiring special powers following a mysterious incident years ago, Area D follows a group of convicts assigned to a special prison at a point in time where terrorist activities among the ‘special’ have forced governments to take drastic action against the majority of the population of powerfully endowed humans.
I will admit to not being particularly into Area D initially, despite its beautiful art; giving it a second chance has allowed to me appreciate the manga quite a lot though, specifically Jin as the S class prisoner whose actions years ago-murder on a massive scale- led to the persecution of a group of people the world had initially come to accept.
Area D has strived to prove itself in 2013, quickly progressing the conflicts on Area D, with Jin forced into a position where he must do the bidding of a terrorist organization and take on the four bosses that rule the island to allow his friends a chance at salvation.
While just as pointlessly fast paced as the first time i read it- and the reason i dropped it- the series has potential; and the powers look simply awesome when unleashed.
Toriko isn’t the easiest manga to get into; yet there is more to this muscle bound series than meets the eye, most people that refuse to grant it a chance unlikely to enjoy the evolution the series has undergone in recent times, the quality story telling we have been enjoying for the past 12 months, introduction of some really amazing new characters and villains and some epic battles with some of the best finales we have seen in 2013.
It is difficult to explain Toriko’s place on this list without spoiling it, only that the gourmet world is proving to be a destructive, dangerous and interesting place, both in the anime and the manga. If you haven’t given this series a shot you have no idea what your missing out on (with the series still running in the 200s of chapters it would be wise to start now before that number doubles).
You really cannot go wrong with a series about buff men and women traversing a quirky land to try and locate rare ingredients in their attempts to create the finest dishes. The premise is so dumb and outlandish you simply have to check it out just so you can try to work out just what the author thought could be so entertaining about the idea.
2013 wasn’t the greatest year for bleach, and that isn’t to say that it was terrible or anything close, simply taking into account how explosive it was in 2012 and how much more luck luster its run in 2013 was.
Maybe it was the long break, or the lull following such a thrilling invasion, or the endless training chapters that followed; whatever the reason though, there is still a spark in bleach, one that’s allowing this arc to shine as the series’ greatest.
And whatever its problems during 2013, Bleach closed out the year quite well as the shiningami began to fight back, Kubo allowing us a deeper glimpse into the story of each captain that either rose and fell.
Something has to be said about the body count that Kubo’s racking up; i wish Fairy tail would take a leaf out of the Bleach page.
16. TOWER OF GOD
So i just found out that we are going to be reading TOG for a while, because apparently its only the first story in the talse uzer story verse-no idea what that is. But it make sense, considering how many mysteries the series hasn’t even began to touch considering how far we’ve actually come.
If you haven’t read the series, it takes place in a massive tower consisting of a self contained world within which millions gather to defeat its many tests, traverse its 134 floors and the guardians that rule its domain, all in hopes of reaching the top, achieving the treasures proffered to the winner.
Though this series is more than contests and fights, with lots of scheming and treachery, as those residents of the tower continue to live their lives amidst all the turmoil.
Say one thing about Tower of God, say its consistent, the story always unpredictable and dynamic, and the characters this year, the entire massive cast of the series, all colliding together in some of the cleverer plots i have seen used in the series, yet allowing for so many mysteries to remain unsolved.
Most major series make use of very large casts; most such series have never utilized their casts the way Tower of God uses them, so quick to discard the best of them only to pick them up at the most unpredictable moment.
And of course this series wouldn’t be nearly as addictive if not for its primary protagonist, Viole, so humble yet lacking in the self sacrificing whiny personalities most shonen heroes possess.
And with the events of the past year that saw Viole take a step further in completely discarding 25thbaam, FUG stepping up its game to bring the fight to King Hazard, the slayers moving independent of Viole or FUG’s instructions, there’s no way Tower of God was going to miss out on this list as one of the best manga of 2013.
15. ONEPUNCH MAN
Onepunch man is a story about a man that defeats his opponents with one punch. The end. Seriously, that’s it, the totality of the premise, which should leave you curious as to why this is one of, if not the best manga of 2013 according to some people.
Maybe its the bald head.
Dare i weep, that an anime that so thrilled me over endless Saturdays suddenly exited the otaku world? The first few weeks after i saw the posts on Facebook i didn’t believe it, mostly because i thought Gamaran was set to conquer the manga world as the next big thing.
This story, following youthful gama and the only four members of his dojo on his quest to kill his father, the thousand man slayer, the strongest swordsman in the land, who betrayed his son in the most dastardly way, isn’t unique.
Not at the core of its premise; what’s unique is the execution, the level of realism injected into each new arc, conflict and battle, the casualties numerous, the fancy sword techniques surprisingly grounded in reality.
Did Gamaran go out well enough? Well…am still ambivalent here and all i will say on the matter is the mangaka did a wonderful job in setting up that climax, allowing us a glimpse of the true man slayer, creating some of the most epic samurai clashes we have seen on paper and rationally bringing the story to a close.
It might have been sudden, but the fated meeting between Gama, Iori and the man slayer Jinsuke was more than worth the 200 chapter wait, and more than enough to cement Gamaran’s place on this list.
And who can forget the art displayed in this manga, the clarity of the sword fights, truly epic.
13 HUNGRY JOKER
Yes, i know, Hungry Joker was disappointingly luck lustre in its finale, but who can blame it; the series was meant to survive beyond its 24 chapters and only the low ratings forced its successful run to come to a premature end.
For all its failings though, Hungry Joker was gold, a potential star in the making, the story of a young genius endowed with telekinetic powers each time he takes a bite out of a black apple, learning of the presence of somewhat divine beings intricately linked to the only image of his past, that of a battle field and a shimmering man.
I only wish the series had survived another 2 years to really unleash its true potential; but i guess the manga business is tough. And the series did quite a lot in the few chapters it gave us.
12. NANATSU NO TAIZAI A.K.A THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS
Nanatsu no taizai is the new kid on the block, not quite found its feet but getting there, with its stories evolving satisfactorily each week to allow for darker plots to take root, characters engaging and charismatic and the art surprisingly fitting for a story of this nature.
In the more than 50 chapters we have received this year, Deadly sins is showing signs of a true super star, maybe the next big thing. God knows it has everything it needs to take its place once Bleach and Naruto slide aside.
The story takes place in the kingdom of Lioness. Once the holy knights rose to defeat the Seven deadly sins, a team of powerful knights that turned against their king. Now the princess of Lioness rides out into the wild lands to find the deadly sins, her only hope against the holy knights who have now usurped the power of her father.
In the light of a prophesied holy war, Meliodas, captain of the sins, might be her only hope.
11. THE GOD OF HIGHSCHOOL
GOH was the furthest Manhwa from my mind when i first considered this list. I remember a friend of mine mentioning it to me, but i didn’t really think of it as a serious contender until i ruminated on all the events that transpired in the past year.
GOH brings more than color to the table when it comes to 2013 manga; it also consists of great art, the most inventive i have come across, and an explosive collection of battle scenes.
And 2013 was the year that The God of high school chose to take its training wheels off, basically letting loose as the general plot that began a while back when the Manhwa first started came full circle, characters clashing in gargantuan battles, mysteries being revealed, demonic pasts returning with a bang and ancient personalities finally beginning to crack through.
It wasn’t just the birth of a god that allowed this Manhwa to impress so immensely, each chapter so creative and designed to leave you wailing for the next one, it was the injection of so many previously passive characters into the equation, the abilities growing in scale, martial arts taking on some interesting aspects.
Manhwa has been gaining considerable ground in the past few years, and The God of High school bares a portion of responsibility for this proliferation of an undervalued entertainment format.
And that’s it for the lower ranked 10 most awesome manga of last year. See you at the top 10