Thinking about it now, am starting to wonder about the point of a making top 20: i mean, who really needs to know the 20 best manga of 2013, because technically anything below the top ten is second tier, less than stellar, unimportant material.
I guess there were that many manga series that stood out last year that i didn’t want to have to leave any of them out.
Anyway, this is where the drums roll as i introduce my top 10 manga of 2013:
Who would have thought that a few years after its creation, Beelzebub would evolve into such a dramatic and action packed story; this series about a juvenile high school kid that must act as surrogate father to the child of the lord of the underworld, has come a long way from its comedic routes.
And while still funny as heck, the series delivered some heart stopping, skin tingling moments in 2013 as the plot took some pretty dark turns, the stakes shooting through the roof as new foes rose to challenge the status quo of Ishiyama.
I don’t know if i have said it, but if there are two manga you need to sit down and get to reading NOW, if you’re not already, its Noblesse and Beelzebub.
Quality wise there is no denying this manga’s place on this list. And yes, it was miles ahead of Bleach in 2013. Okay, maybe not miles.
9. SOUL EATER
Soul eater has been an excruciatingly annoying obsession of mine. The anime being one of the first i ever watched seriously, i spent a few years watching this manga move from hiatus to hiatus, punctuating the silence with one or two chapter releases.
I don’t know the circumstances behind its creation but Soul Eater has been crawling for a while now; not that that actually affected the story quality in any way, because Soul eater went out with the sort of bang in 2013 that the anime couldn’t even come close to capturing.
Bringing to a close the story of the Kishin and his battle with the world, displaying moments of development in all of its primary characters, allowing the series to take another step of growth, Soul eater was a breath taking series with a pretty breath taking finale, definitely worth the recognition.
8. MAGI: THE LABYRINTH OF MAGIC
Magi is my second favourite new manga of 2013, and by new i do not mean it only began its publication in 2013, but rather i only began reading it within those 12 months; and all i can say is wow, this manga is one heck of a roller-coaster.
What makes this series so special, specifically those arc that run in 2013, Aun madaura, Magnoshtadt, the Medium, is how deep the stories are, quite surprising for a shonen series of its type, seemingly simplistic and basically battle oriented, yet infused with so many moving stories perpetrated by so many moving characters, some heroes, most villains.
There really isn’t anything like Magi out there at the moment, except for maybe Nanatsu no Taizai. Magi was absolutely phenomenal in 2013.
7. THE BREAKER: NEW WAVES
The first time i began working on these lists, a friend of mine and i disagreed on exactly where Breaker belonged, specifically in comparison to The god of High school, which my friend believed deserved this position best, while Breaker should have been assigned to a notable mention.
I disagreed of course; sure there is something to be said about how action packed The God of High school has been in the last 12 months; yet i don’t see how it can compete with the story that drivers The breaker.
Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that, rather than the Breaker, it’s Shion, its primary character, who was on fire in 2013, a character that, after 80 chapters of series one and more than a hundred chapters of series 2, finally came out of his shell and, as anime characters are fond of saying, showed us the results of his training.
The Breaker has been a thrilling ride and the fights weren’t just unpredictable in there execution; so many matches, most uneven, seemed to come out of nowhere, and that sort of blindsiding allowed each chapter to skate along the edge, entire arcs almost continuously suspended in no man’s land with regards to how they would be or if they would even be resolved.
Not only the island arc, the events that brought the school burning to the ground, the death of an elder, the unleashing of the black arts; but the presence of Goomoonryong and the mystery of his schemes allowed this Manhwa to stand a few steps above The God of High school.
There was something gratifying about watching Shion finally gain the sort of respect we’ve been waiting for him to acquire.
6. UBEL BLATT
Ubel Blatt felt like it exploded into my world this year. It’s a story of a brutal nature that i have rarely come across, not even in the likes of Claymore. And even when it seems to be cycling in a clichéd rut, its disturbing to realize just how unique the plots progress, how dark and violent the stakes can get, how deviant the characters can become in the face of very dire circumstances.
The Balestar war still ranks as one of the best arcs i read/finished in 2013, mostly because of how vibrant the aspect of conflict were, the shocking revelations that followed and the unpredictable situation within which the story now exists, with the reputation of the authorities of the land shattered, the power of the heroes broken by infighting and the held breath that is Lord Glenn and what is expected to be a vicious assault.
If only this manga was weekly instead of monthly, it would easily take number 1.
Its true, Claymore hasn’t really been hitting all the right notes lately, and with the latest chapters the battles are starting to feel like they are dragging on, which is quite rare for this manga.
So how does such a manga rank so highly? Well, its Claymore, and the first half of Claymore’s 2013 was nothing short of CHAOTIC, the good kind; it isn’t just the revelations made about the source of Claymore and Yoma that saved the latter half of Claymore in 2013, but the events that followed the awakening of the former number 1’s, the RIDICULOUS BATTLES that ensued and Raki’s necessary involvement in the conflict.
And who could forget the Priscilla/Clare/Destroyer situation and the exciting events that led to its resolution, the introduction of male era Claymore, the revelation of Priscilla’s true power…good days, bad days, it doesn’t matter, Claymore is always Claymore, simply awesome beyond words.
What have i said about Noblesse in these past three or four months that needs repeating? If any review i have written in the past finally convinced you to read Noblesse, then you should have a basic idea why this Manhwa should be in the top 5 of any 2013 manga list worth its while.
And the premise seems so simple: a vampire awakens from an 800 year convalescing sleep, to a new world, meets Frankenstein, the servant that so feverishly searched for his whereabouts after his disappearance, after which he instead poured his efforts into building a school in his master’s memory, the same school his master chooses to enrol into while he tries to get his bearings.
Little genius there, loads of genius in the execution. Any year where Raizel finally steps up to the plate to show us just what makes him the Noblesse is worth the hype i heap over this manhwa.
Noblesse should have been number 1 for 2013, if not for the presence of my Top 3 manga of 2013, which are listed below.
3. DEADMAN WONDERLAND
How long has it been, since Ganta first woke to find his entire classroom slaughtered by the red man, since he was tried and found guilty of murder, since he was marooned on the cruel prison island, Deadman wonderland, since we first began to explore this vicious theme park?
Well, its been quite a ride, one that i think couldn’t have been wrapped up any better. It was quite the sad finale, if you think about it, seeing these fast friends, old friends, Shiro and Ganta, finally tear their chains and enter into a brawl, understanding just how cruel the sweet white haired Shiro had been to Ganta, how dreadfully the world had treated her, and how she had in turn aimed her wrath towards her only friend, Ganta.
The art only accentuated that final clash, which, despite the spectacular blood manipulation occurring, was more talk that fighting, during which Shiro laid her soul bear and Ganta absorbed her rage.
2. VINLAND SAGA
VIKINGS ROCK…need i say more: and if i do, where the hell have you been where they don’t have Vinland Saga?
Considering how irritating the little runt was when Thorfinn first set out on the high seas to find and murder his father’s killer, then joined him in an effort to achieve this fruitless goal, its heartening seeing just how far he’s come, transforming into a more rounded character; then a little depressing realizing that this new found warmth and peaceful persona is going to get him and all he knows and now loves killed.
One might point to 2013 as the year of Canut’s rampage, though maybe rampage isn’t quite the word considering how calm the new king is. Still, its a shame how low he’s fallen. But i guess it matters that all he does is in the name of justice.
Am really hoping Thorfinn’s new friend survives 2014. With the way events left off everything seems to be balancing on a knife edge in Vinland Saga.
1. SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN A.K.A ATTACK ON TITAN
Really, SNK? On another top ten manga list? Again?
Yes, again, because, whether you like it or not, Attack on Titan is that damn popular, and almost deserving of the hype its received from the Otaku world. And yes, there is more to its success in 2013 and position as number one than those massive revelations about the large and armoured titans.
Then again what do you expect from a story following humanity as it employs Spiderman type abilities to battle a horde of mindlessly violent giant naked human beings with some of the oddest running poses i have ever seen anywhere.
SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN IS MANGA AND MANHWA KING OF 2013.
And that’s my list of the top 10 best manga of the year 2013. Comment below and agree with me.